Steve Reuland posted Entry 989 on April 29, 2005 05:20 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/987

The Center for Renewal of Science and Culture’s Program Director Stephen Meyer on human/ape ancestry:

As reported in Newsweek, 2/7/05:

But I.D. has nothing to say on the identity of the designer or how he gets inside the cell to do his work. Does he create new species directly, or meddle with the DNA of living creatures?  …Meyer’s view is simply that “we don’t know.” He declines even to offer an opinion on whether people are descended from apes, on the ground that it’s not his specialty. The diversity of life, in his view, is a “mystery” we may never solve.

As reported on the CRSC blog (quoted from William Provine), 4/26/05:

I asked Steve Meyer if he thought that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor. He said no, for two reasons. He argued first that extreme similarity of DNA said nothing about a common ancestor. This means that systematics (making evolutionary trees) is a sham science since modern methods stress using DNA evidence to support tree structures. Secondly, he said, in answer to my question, that humans had God-given immortal souls, and thus could not possibly share a common ancestor with chimpanzees, also a main argument of the young-earth creationists.

With such consistent, sincere, and unambiguous views on the origin of humanity, how could anyone not understand where ID theory stands when it comes to common descent vs. special creation?  (Paging Jay Mathews, come in Mr. Mathews…)

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Comment #27333

Posted by Hiero5ant on April 29, 2005 5:44 PM (e)

Oh, give me a break. Next thing you know, you’ll be complaining about ID not taking a position on the age of the Earth. After that. it’s just a slippery slope to pointing out that ID makes no claims whatsoever, which as we all know is false, because ID is science, and has nothing to do with religion, and not teaching ID is discrimination against religion.

Comment #27340

Posted by Longhorm on April 29, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

Meyer is, of course, incorrect. Humans and apes share common ancestors. For that matter, humans and bacteria share common ancestors.

I appreciate that Meyer has been clear on this point. Some of the claims made by some people who refer to themselves as proponents of intelligent design are vague claims.

Comment #27342

Posted by BC on April 29, 2005 6:24 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #27345

Posted by Jim Foley on April 29, 2005 6:30 PM (e)

Of course, it’s not simply the fact that chimp and human DNA is similar that needs explaining. Why is it that human and chimp mtDNA is similar, gorillas are somewhat further away from both, and orang-utans further away from all of those - even though mtDNA has the same function in all these species (and, indeed, in many many more species). What is the intelligent design explanation for this? The only one I can think of is that the intelligent designer must want to deceive us into thinking that evolution occurred.

Comment #27346

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 29, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

“ because ID is science, and has nothing to do with religion, and not teaching ID is discrimination against religion.”

ROFL!

ID is science, but not teaching it is against religion.

a better argument for the illogic that IDiots use I could not think of.

that’s gotta be the quote of the day.

Comment #27347

Posted by JSB on April 29, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

In his recent Heritage Foundation speech, Meyers expressed disbelief in common ancestry. He later cited DNA evidence to argue that Type III secretions systems are derived from flagella, not the other way around. Is he aware of the DNA evidence supporting common ancestry with apes?

Selective use of DNA evidence…following the evidence where it leads, of course.

Comment #27349

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 29, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

“ because ID is science, and has nothing to do with religion, and not teaching ID is discrimination against religion.”

ROFL!

ID is science, but not teaching it is against religion.

a better argument for the illogic that IDiots use I could not think of.

that’s gotta be the quote of the day.

Comment #27358

Posted by Stan Gosnell on April 29, 2005 7:24 PM (e)

When you’re a preacher, you have to tailor your sermons to your audience, and which message you preach depends on whether you’re preaching to the choir or to the courts.

Comment #27360

Posted by Stan Gosnell on April 29, 2005 7:43 PM (e)

If you’re a preacher, you have to tailor your sermons to your audience. You preach one thing to the choir, and something different to the courts.

Comment #27363

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on April 29, 2005 8:01 PM (e)

I asked Steve Meyer if he thought that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor. He said no, for two reasons.

Uh-oh, Meyers is coming dangerously close to equating “intelligent designer theory” with “creation science” – and not ONLY because his whole “peer-reviewed science journal article” was nothing but a regurgitation of the tired old “Cambrian explosion” BS that YECs were putting out for decades …

The tenets that characterized creation “science”, according to the Maclean decision, are:

(1) Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing; (2) The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism; (3) Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals; (4) Separate ancestry for man and apes; (5) Explanation of the earth’s geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and (6) A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.

As we already know, the IDers fall all over themselves asserting number 2. In the ID text “Pandas”, there is some drivel about “some geologists compress the earth’s timescale into less than 10,000 years (and IDers studiously avoid answering questions about how old they think the earth is), thus treading dangerously close to number 6. They reject abiogenesis as reqiuring a designer, hence falling into number 1. And now what does Meyers come along and assert …… ? “4. Separate ancestry for man and apes.”

Gee, all they need now is Noah’s Flood and some blither about microevolution vs macroevolution (wait, they ALREADY do that, don’t they)?

Comment #27364

Posted by snaxalotl on April 29, 2005 8:06 PM (e)

creationism has such a long history of promotion by proponents who are eminently qualified in physics, astronomy, etc. (what! no biologists or geologists?), it’s kind of weird seeing someone who’s reluctant to speak outside his speciality.

hope this tactic doesn’t catch on - creationism will collapse and we’ll have to find amusement elsewhere. reality tv maybe.

hmmm, maybe it’s just because I’m interested in this stuff, but I would love to see a reality tv show centered on the evocre debate

Comment #27365

Posted by snaxalotl on April 29, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

oh, did I say weird?

I meant disingenuous

Comment #27367

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on April 29, 2005 8:28 PM (e)

He argued first that extreme similarity of DNA said nothing about a common ancestor.

Meyer should be hired for paternity cases, “Your honor, the similarity of the child’s hereditary material to the defendents does not establish that the defendent is his father. For all we know, the child is the product of intelligent design and not of a broken condom.”

Comment #27369

Posted by Intelligent Design Theorist Timmy on April 29, 2005 8:53 PM (e)

He argued first that extreme similarity of DNA said nothing about a common ancestor.

Indeed! That kid ain’t mine! Damn judge is a methodologistical naturalist.

Comment #27377

Posted by Air Bear on April 29, 2005 10:22 PM (e)

Meyer should be hired for paternity cases, “Your honor, the similarity of the child’s hereditary material to the defendents does not establish that the defendent is his father. For all we know, the child is the product of intelligent design and not of a broken condom.”

I love it!

I served on a jury in a paternity case. The lawyer for the defendant was almost this bad. He tried to create a confusion between “statistical probability” and “mathematical probability” in the DNA test results, because his client was obviously the father, and the lawyer had nothing but obfuscation to work with. Sounds familiar.

Comment #27379

Posted by qetzal on April 29, 2005 10:43 PM (e)

Wouldn’t it be possible for God to insert a soul into a pre-existing being?

Well, sure, he could. But He wouldn’t. He just wouldn’t, okay?

[/sarcasm]

Comment #27384

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on April 30, 2005 1:18 AM (e)

Air Bear wrote:

I served on a jury in a paternity case. The lawyer for the defendant was almost this bad. He tried to create a confusion between “statistical probability” and “mathematical probability” in the DNA test results, because his client was obviously the father, and the lawyer had nothing but obfuscation to work with. Sounds familiar.

A former postdoc in the lab next to our was once had jury duty for a rape case with DNA evidence. So he gets up and explains that he is a geneticist at UGA, and the defense attorney asks him if he has any background in DNA fingerprinting. The postdoc explains that that is all he does. He fingerprints fish embryos to figure out the mating system of fish. The defense attorney then asked him if he had ever worked with human DNA, to which the answer was no. Apparantly, the defense attorney was satisfied (because human DNA fingerprinting is some how significantly differant than fish DNA fingerprinting), and the postdoc was picked to be on the jury. It didn’t take long for the jury to convict.

Comment #27388

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on April 30, 2005 3:56 AM (e)

Foley writes: “Of course, it’s not simply the fact that chimp and human DNA is similar that needs explaining. Why is it that human and chimp mtDNA is similar, gorillas are somewhat further away from both, and orang-utans further away from all of those - even though mtDNA has the same function in all these species (and, indeed, in many many more species). What is the intelligent design explanation for this? The only one I can think of is that the intelligent designer must want to deceive us into thinking that evolution occurred.”

Actually I wonder what the ID explanation is for why our (humans, chimps, Gorillas, Orangs) have a “Vitamin-C” gene broken in the same spot.

Comment #27390

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on April 30, 2005 7:04 AM (e)

Actually I wonder what the ID explanation is for why our (humans, chimps, Gorillas, Orangs) have a “Vitamin-C” gene broken in the same spot.

God – uh, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Desigenr – designed it that way.

Comment #27398

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on April 30, 2005 9:18 AM (e)

The explanation is simpler than that! Obviously God- uhh I mean aliens- I mean the “intelligent designer” who is not in any way associated with religion or aliens (phew)- decided to destroy the Vitamin-C gene so that pirates would get scurvy due to poor diets and die. See, God- I mean the designer, the designer! Ahem, though ahead to punish the wicked by taking away their vitamin-C. It makes PERFECT scientific sense.

Comment #27415

Posted by Richard on April 30, 2005 10:43 AM (e)

Seems to be more of the same old same old… ID “theory” is infinitely fungible, and can be anything IDists like Meyer say it is (or not, when it suits them). So the apparent fusion of two chromosomes (still extant in modern apes) in human chromosome 2 says “nothing about a common ancestor.” Right.

Comment #27473

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 30, 2005 4:11 PM (e)

I just came up with a new theory as to why conservative politicians are supporting the creationist movement.

It’s simply about the money.

If they don’t have to provide budgets for legitimate scientific research, then they can scratch off another 0.5% off of the budget, which can be used for things they like better, like tax cuts.

since there is essentially NO creation science research of any kind, no budget need be set aside to fund it.

it’s an easy decision to make.

Comment #27474

Posted by qetzal on April 30, 2005 4:23 PM (e)

I think you’re giving some of those politicians too much credit, Sir Toejam.

After all, your hypothesis is actually logical.

;-)

Comment #27475

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 30, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

yeah, i thought about that after i posted it, and it scared me.

Comment #27478

Posted by Frank J on April 30, 2005 4:44 PM (e)

Steve Reuland wrote:

With such consistent, sincere, and unambiguous views on the origin of humanity, how could anyone not understand where ID theory stands when it comes to common descent vs. special creation?

Especially since “special creation” is a weasel word that does not necessarily exclude common descent. If they meant “independent abiogenesis events” (what else can it be if not common decent?) they’d say it. But they can’t because they have no evidence for it.

Let’s see, regarding human/ape common ancestry, Meyer says both “No” and “I don’t know.” Behe says “I think so.” Dembski says only “I don’t know,” and most other IDers lean toward “No.” Even classic creationists rarely commit to an unambiguous “No” these days.

I, for one understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with what they personally believe, and everything to do with what flavor of snake oil they want to sell. YECs and OECs have only one flavor, ID wants to sell them all.

As long as we try to portray ID as a belief, at best we get nowhere with the public. Apologies to Dobzhansky, but nothing in ID makes sense except in light of misrepresentation.

Comment #27497

Posted by Steve Reuland on April 30, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

Frank J wrote:

Especially since “special creation” is a weasel word that does not necessarily exclude common descent. If they meant “independent abiogenesis events” (what else can it be if not common decent?) they’d say it.

As I was using it, I intended “special creation” to mean independent abiogenesis events. In other words, a rejection of common descent. Of course they don’t call it independent abiogenesis because that leaves the creating part out of it, which is what they care about most. So they call it “special creation”, which by definition is anti-evolution. If the term is expanded to include people who accept common descent, it’s not a very useful term.

It’s on this issue more than any other that the ID movement has been highly inconsistent and deliberately vague. Even the Program Director of the CSC can’t keep his story straight.

I don’t doubt that the overwhelming majority of ID advocates are special creationists (or simply “creationists” if you will), but they don’t want to be associated with creationism. So they say that ID isn’t incompatible with common descent even though many of them do little more than argue against it. These very arguments are considered by some to be ID theory. So the movement finds itself having to walk a very fine line between rejecting common descent and not rejecting it, mostly trying to make it appear as if it’s an open question that is only tangentially related to ID. Which of course is nonsense.

Comment #27510

Posted by Greg on April 30, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

I’m interested in this “immortal souls” argument. I want to see the data that shows that humans HAVE these functionless, featureless entities and chimps do not.

It is hard for me to imagine a more desperate ploy that resorting to an absurdity to bolster your case for an implausibility. Using “immortal souls” to prop up creationism is like invoking banshees to support your claim for sucessful cold fusion.

Comment #27536

Posted by Frank J on May 1, 2005 6:39 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam,

I posted a reply to #27473 on the Bathroom Wall, as it was getting off-topic.

Comment #27538

Posted by Frank J on May 1, 2005 7:07 AM (e)

Steve Reuland wrote:

I don’t doubt that the overwhelming majority of ID advocates are special creationists (or simply “creationists” if you will), but they don’t want to be associated with creationism.

If you mean the ID leaders, again we agree to disagree. Again, to be clear, I am sure that they want the audience to be “special creationists,” and they don’t care whether it’s YEC, OEC-day-age, OEC-gap, OEC-progressive, or even OEC + common decent, as long as they don’t debate the details and discover what is wrong with all of them. I agree that most or all believe that a designer causes biological changes, but so do many of their “evolutionist” critics. My guess is that at most a few of them honestly think that independent abiogenesis of many lineages occurred. IMO the ones who are most likely to believe that are Schwabe and Senapathy, and AIUI they have nothing to do with ID or creationist strategy.