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Old 02-14-2006
Lefty_the_Right Lefty_the_Right is offline
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Default Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists
Biologists are beginning to solve the riddles on which intelligent-design advocates have relied

By Jeremy Manier
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 13, 2006


To advocates of intelligent design, the human sperm's tiny tail bears potent evidence that Charles Darwin was wrong--it is, they say, a molecular machine so complex that only God could have produced it.

But biologists now are starting to piece together how such intricate bits of biochemistry evolved. Although the basic research was not meant as a response to intelligent design, it is unraveling the very riddles that proponents said could not be solved.

In contrast, intelligent design advocates admit they still lack any way of using hard evidence to test their theories, which many biologists find revealing.

The new insights on evolution at its smallest scale were a major yet little-noticed reason why a federal judge late last year struck down a plan in Dover, Pa., that would have put intelligent design in public school classrooms. The findings the judge cited will provide the ultimate test of ideas about the origins of life, more lasting than court rulings or the politics of the moment.

Most scientists have long rejected intelligent design, or ID, on the grounds that it is a religious proposal not grounded in observation. ID adherents say biochemistry actually supports their view. They argue that many tiny mechanisms--the tails of sperm and bacteria, the immune system, blood clotting--are so elaborate they must have been purposely designed.

Yet biologists have made major strides on each of those phenomena since the first ID books were published in the mid-1990s.

Working without the benefit of fossils, experts are using new genome data to study how fish evolved the crucial ability to clot blood. A wave of new research on the evolution of the immune system seemed to stump ID witnesses in the Dover case. And even the once-mysterious sperm's tail now appears related to other cell parts.

"Once you take apart any system in the cell, you find it's incredibly complex," said Joel Rosenbaum, a professor at Yale University. "But that complexity is falling to experiment."

No one yet has a complete theory of how the cell's most complex systems evolved--a fact seized upon by Michael Behe, a biochemistry professor at Lehigh University who first outlined intelligent design in 1996.

Behe was a central witness in last year's federal suit over whether the school board in Dover could require ID to be taught in biology classes. U.S. District Judge John Jones III ruled against the school board, concluding after a review of the testimony that "ID is not science." Behe said the ruling did not faze him.

"It probably gave a black eye to [ID] in the newspapers and so on," Behe said. "But in my mind ID is an explanation for the biology we see."

The most forceful rebuttal of ID has come from Kenneth Miller, a professor of cell biology at Brown University whose pro-evolution testimony helped guide the Dover court decision.

Like Behe, he is a practicing Roman Catholic who believes life is part of God's plan. But Miller said such religious beliefs do not belong in science classes--and they do not conflict with evolutionary theory's attempts to understand the natural world.

Miller happily concedes the ID movement's point that biologists have not fully explained how structures like the sperm's tail, or flagellum, evolved.

But science works by exploring such puzzles with testable theories, experts say. It is a slow process of evaluating new ideas against the evidence, gradually leading to new discoveries.

Critics of ID say its proponents have ignored the scientific method, offering no testable ideas about how the sperm flagellum or anything else came to be. Instead they simply leap to the conclusion that a designer made complex biochemistry.

"They've admitted, under oath, that they have no direct evidence for design at all," Miller said.

That's true, Behe said; his focus has been on arguing that some systems could not have evolved naturally. He said he has no idea how complex biochemistry actually came about, no suggestions for testing how intelligent design occurred, and he knows of no scientists who are planning such tests.

"Trying to figure out how something was designed--where or when, or by whom--are different questions and much more difficult to address," Behe said.

Everyone seems to agree that the flagellum used by sperm and many bacteria to swim around is an almost unbelievably complex piece of work.
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Old 02-14-2006
Lefty_the_Right Lefty_the_Right is offline
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

At the core of the bacterial tail is a miniscule rotary motor consisting of about 30 different protein types that interlock and move in concert. The tail acts as a propeller, spinning at up to 60,000 revolutions per minute. In arguing for ID, Behe often quotes flagellum expert David DeRosier, who wrote in 1998 that "the flagellum resembles a machine designed by a human."

Behe says the flagellum and other intricate systems are "irreducibly complex"--like a mousetrap, they wouldn't work if you took away even one part. Behe argues it's impossible that such a structure could have come about through natural selection, which is thought to build complex structures one step at a time. So a designer must have done it all at once, he says.

Opponents of evolution made similar arguments in the past based on complex organs such as the eye, though these have largely been discredited. They still cling to the flagellum, which ID proponent William Dembski has described as "the mascot of the intelligent design movement."

That faith is misplaced, scientists believe.

In the last several years Miller and other evolutionary researchers noticed that the flagellum resembled a needle-like structure that bacteria such as salmonella use to inject toxins into living cells. The needle's base has many elements in common with the flagellum, but it's missing most of the proteins that make a flagellum work.

The system seems to negate the claim that taking away any of the flagellum's parts would render it useless. It also suggests how the marvelously complex flagellum could have evolved from simpler forms.

"The parts of this supposedly irreducibly complex system actually have functions of their own," Miller said.

Evolutionary studies also have shed more light on blood clotting, another pillar of Behe's intelligent design ideas.

To stop bleeding from an injury requires an elaborate cascade of proteins and compounds that chop up other molecules. The "Rube Goldberg machine" that makes clots is too complex to have evolved piece-by-piece, Behe says.

Yet studies over the last 10 years have shown that many animals lack some of the steps humans use for blood clotting--a sign that the system is not irreducibly complex.

Figuring out how the blood-clotting system evolved has been a 45-year mission for biologist Russell Doolittle of the University of California at San Diego.

In 2003, Doolittle's team made a key discovery by analyzing the newly decoded genome of the sea squirt, which is related to the ancient ancestors of animals with backbones, including humans. They found that the sea squirt, which cannot clot blood, nevertheless has most of the chemical parts needed to build a clotting system.

Perhaps the strongest rebuke to ID in the Dover case concerned the claim by Behe and others that it would be impossible for evolution to produce the immune system. Miller testified that since Behe wrote his 1996 book, evolutionary biologists have built a rich account of the immune system--a point Judge Jones highlighted in his ruling.

"[Behe] was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system," Jones wrote, "however, he simply insisted ... that it was not `good enough.'"

Behe still staunchly defends ID, saying Miller and other biologists have yet to show how evolution originally produced any complex biochemistry.

"They're saying part of the flagellum looks like some other part of the cell," Behe said. "None of that says what the first step would be in trying to construct the flagellum."

Proponents of intelligent design clearly are refusing to play by the normal rules of scientific evidence, Miller responds.

Behe's dismissal of the immune system research "tells you right away, ain't nothing gonna convince this guy," he said.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/techno...ck=1&cset=true
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Old 02-14-2006
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Joe Dawson Joe Dawson is offline
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Lefty, to the Ignorant Design advocates, including a lot of the religio-crazies on this board, science that contradicts the Bible is false science. You will never convince these fucking whack jobs that they have been lied to.
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Old 02-14-2006
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Joe, are you saying people who believe in the bible are delusional sheep?
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Old 02-14-2006
dewey189 dewey189 is offline
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty_the_Right
"They've admitted, under oath, that they have no direct evidence for design at all," Miller said.
Behe said; he has no idea how complex biochemistry actually came about, no suggestions for testing how intelligent design occurred, and he knows of no scientists who are planning such tests.
TIf the ID crowd wants legitimacy in science they should stop pontificating, stop waging school wars and start collecting evidence in support of their theory, following the well-established scientific method required of the sciences. The only thing stopping ID "theory" from gaining respect in the scientific community is their ridiculous assumption that they don't have to meet fundamental requirements of scientific inquiry that has served us well since the 17th century.
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Old 02-14-2006
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew
Joe, are you saying people who believe in the bible are delusional sheep?

People who take the Bible or any other holy book as absolute literal fact are delusional sheep, yes.
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Old 02-14-2006
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Quote:
People who take the Bible or any other holy book as absolute literal fact are delusional sheep, yes
So if they believe in Jesus, and that he came back from the dead, then they are delusional?
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Old 02-14-2006
fundimon fundimon is offline
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

From the article :

" Behe was a central witness in last year's federal suit over whether the school board in Dover could require ID to be taught in biology classes. "

This is a distortion of what the case was about .It was not about the teaching of ID . I don't know why the author who seems to place a great deal of emphhasis on scientific evidence in support of NS would want to lie here .

The article is about science , a story about science . more than that it is about the story called Natural Selection that is taught in Biology classes . You know , like a story about Jesus .
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Old 02-14-2006
Lefty_the_Right Lefty_the_Right is offline
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Quote:
fundimon wrote: This is a distortion of what the case was about .It was not about the teaching of ID . I don't know why the author who seems to place a great deal of emphhasis on scientific evidence in support of NS would want to lie here.
Quote:
HARRISBURG, Pa. - In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching ´┐Żintelligent design´┐Ż in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones delivered a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board, saying its first-in-the-nation decision in October 2004 to insert intelligent design into the science curriculum violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10545387/

Um, who's lying funidmon?
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Old 02-14-2006
fundimon fundimon is offline
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Default Re: Unlocking cell secrets bolsters evolutionists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty_the_Right
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10545387/

Um, who's lying funidmon?
OH , this is the " lie" . Check . Well we have another lie then , lefty .

You need to go and read the actual decision , you know , the primary evidence . The Board was required to stop distributing the following to the kids in the biology class :


" Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations. Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Drawin's view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves. With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families."

There was no attempt to teach or intention to teach ID.
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