Intelligent design apologists, BioLogos, and the attack of the facepalms

Earlier today I subjected myself this video, which claims that a paper by some ID "researchers", like, totally proves that old pesky what's-his-face Oxford biologist guy, um, Darkins? Dawking? oh yeah, Richard Dawkins, has no idea what he's talking about. Why the maker of the video chose to focus on Richard Dawkins, I'm not really sure – probably just because he's a prominent biologist and atheist. Clearly those clods at Oxford don't know what they're talking about.

Anyway, I couldn't help but be curious what "peer-reviewed paper" the author was referring to, so I looked it up. It was done by two authors for the Biologic Institute (the "research" arm of the Discovery Institute) who are a chemical engineer and a zoologist, and it was a paper presumably on genetics and molecular biology. That's the funny thing about the Discovery Institute – you don't find too many people who actually have the credentials to suggest they have the specialized knowledge required to do proper research.

I'll leave the detailed thrashing of such research to folks at places like Panda's Thumb, but the whole episode amused me. The Discovery Institute has long been criticized for not actually producing any research which demonstrates how Intelligent Design works. So they created a small research arm, which doesn't actually do a lot of research. But what research is done, well, don't expect that to be published in, say, Nature. They just publish it right there online in a PDF, reviewed by their "peers" in the research institute itself, and then they claim that Intelligent Design is backed by "published, peer-reviewed research". See how easy that was?

Meanwhile, ID proponents seem delighted at the failure to repeal the "Academic Freedom Act" in Louisiana, which essentially allows teachers who don't like evolution to express their unabashed ignorance. It's the old "teach the controversy" nonsense with a shiny new coat of paint. Since ID proponents can't establish their theories with an ounce of scientific and academic legitimacy, they just go straight to the public sphere. Although to be honest, I'm not sure how you can force someone to teach evolution, particularly if they don't actually understand evolution. Chances are they'll just teach it incorrectly and further fuel the ignorance that pervades some 40% of the American public.

While I was thumbing through these articles, I stumbled across something called the Center for Origins Research, which aims to develop a Young-Earth Creationist model of biology, including "how animals and plants spread around the Earth after the Genesis Flood" (which of course we already know the answer to: they walked on logs across the whole freaking ocean). Here's the real kicker though: I found this over at the "resources" page at BioLogos. In case you're out of the loop, BioLogos is the quasi-scientific organization founded by the geneticist/Christian apologist Francis Collins, who is a stark opponent of young-earth creationism and intelligent design. But his site links to a number of organizations, including the always-good-for-a-facepalm Answers in Genesis, that teach "different perspectives" on the topic of science and faith. I guess I just find it ironic.


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