From Science News:
Protein analysis rules out multiple sources
A new study uses statistics to test whether life on Earth can be traced back to a common ancestor (example shown in a) or multiple primordial life forms (b). Dotted lines indicate gene swapping between species. M. Steel and D. Penny/Nature 2010
One isn’t such a lonely number. All life on Earth shares a single common ancestor, a new statistical analysis confirms.
Science continues its march forward, while the creationists/IDer’s will fall over themselves trying to explain this away.
Another excellent article rom Recovering Fundamentalists in their misconceptions about science series:
This misconception is frequently alluded to in Christian circles in an attempt to discount the findings of the scientific community as merely “one man’s opinion.” While there is a constant hum of debate among scientists, Christians seem to think that no one agrees on anything, and that there are no theories that aren’t questionable.
This is not true. The body of accepted scientific knowledge is vast and elegantly interwoven. But this is only accomplished through dialog and criticism.
From Recovering Fundamentalists:
Misconception #2: Theories Require “Faith” to Believe.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that scientists have just as much faith in their theories as religious people do in their dogma. It frustrates me every time. Anyone who says this is defining theory, faith, or both, incorrectly.
Faith has multiple definitions.
1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing
2. Belief that is not based on proof
When Christians make the statement that science requires faith, it seemingly defines “faith” under definition #1, but the implication bleeds into definition #2. The statement implies that just as Christian principals [sic] haven’t been proven, scientific theories haven’t been proven either. One implication, for example, that the Theory of Evolution is “just a theory” and therefore should not be believed.
The word “Theory” also has multiple definitions. Here are two:
1. A coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena
2. A proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
Christians often think the scientific use of the word “theory” falls under definition #2. That is incorrect. Science uses the word as defined in definition #1. Evolution is a theory that explains the developing complexity of life. Gravity is a theory that explains physics. If a person doesn’t believe in either theory, then they are faced with the daunting task of refuting the mountains of data that support them. Simply saying, “well, gravity is just a theory” is a very weak argument against gravity, and reveals an incorrect usage of the word “theory.”
So if someone says it requires faith to believe a theory, they are being slippery with definitions and implying something absolutely wrong.
Evolution and Global Warming are frequently referred to as religions by fundamentalists. Its misleading and dishonest and nothing more than a desperate attempt to undermine science that threatens their preconceived notion of how the world should work. Read the rest of the article here.
The Discovery Institute has created a new “peer-reviewed” journal dedicated to promoting intelligent design called BIO-complexity. They have created it because they can’t get their research published in any reputable journals so they can now claim that they have peer-reviewed researched to back up their claims. I have pointed out before that simply getting a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal is only the first step in developing scientific theories. If the paper is ignored by the scientific community then it is a good indication that its findings aren’t considered important or credible. This happens not just to intelligent design oriented work but to a whole host of other scientists pursuing mainstream scientific ideas. It took decades for plate tectonics to be taken seriously. Many papers submitted to reputable journals such as Science and Nature get rejected because they haven’t followed sound protocol or simply because the ideas presented in the paper are considered quackery. The Discovery Institute makes it sound like ID is the only subject that gets rejected outright by journals. There isn’t a reputable journal around that would publish a paper claiming to have found a way to trisect angles, create perpetual motion machines or confirm that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth. Intelligent design/creationism is in the same categories as those long dismissed relics of ignorance.
The Discovery Institute also likes to trot out Richard Sternberg as their poster child for ID persecution. In the same article the link above points to, they hold him out again as their martyr and continue to spread the same misinformation regarding his dismissal from the Smithsonian.
But surely, you might ask, there’s an open-minded editor at some journal somewhere who would give ID a fair shake? I do know of one such editor, Richard Sternberg, who several years ago sent out for review an article by some guy defending a design perspective and then, when the article passed peer-review, Sternberg published it. If there are any remaining open-minded editors willing to send out similar articles for peer-review, the Sternberg affair reminds them what will happen if they do.
Check this link out for the real story behind Sternberg. It was Sternberg himself who violated protocol and did not get the paper properly reviewed. He essentially peer-reviewed it himself.
It will be interesting to see if BIO-complexity allows papers advancing evolution and/or challenging ID to be published. After all, the Discovery Institute is highly committed to academic freedom and teaching the controvers,y and for so long they have criticized journals for discriminating against views that are contrary to the journal’s ideological bent. Will they uphold the same principles that they demand mainstream journals uphold? I doubt it.