Biologist frequently make the argument that intelligent design is a science stopper. By resorting to the “God of the Gaps” approach ID renders science futile, biologist argue. ID proponents hate this argument.
Recently, I ordered a copy of Human Evolutionary Genetics: Origins, Peoples and Disease (I’m on chapter 3 and all I can say is buy it!). On page 12 you will find the best statement of the ID as science stopper arguement I have encountered:
The great twentieth century evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote that:
‘Nothin in biology makes sense except in light of evolution’
All of the sizes, shapes, chemistries and genes of organisms alive today derive from ancestors that can be traced back over billions of years. All of these features have been shaped by the environmental challenges faced by these organisms and their ancestors. If it were not the case that humans share a common ancestor with every species on the planet, there would be no value in performing any form of comparitive analysis. There would be nothing that the Escherichia coli bacterium, brewers yeast, fruit fly, nematode worm, zebra fish, mouse or chimpanzee could tell us about ourselves. It is our shared evolutionary heritage that makes them such powerful ‘model organisms’.
The authors of the above quote then go on to make a point about comparing segments of DNA in the mouse genome to segments in the human genome:
…we can identify regions whoseevolution has been constrained by the need to perform a specific function. In otherwords, we can identify a gene not because it looks like a gene, nor because an organism treats it like a gene…, but because it evolves like a gene.
Which really strikes to the heart of the matter. Sans evolution, sequencing all those genomes can tell us absolutely nothing about ourselves. What we would have, without evolution, is a series of species with no relationship to each other. Which creates the methodological issue mentioned in the above quote. If Escherichia coli bacterium, brewers yeast, fruit fly, nematode worm, zebra fish, mouse and chimpanzees are not related how can we compare them (leaving aside the question of the value of the comparison – i.e. whether it would tell us anything meaningful)?
Filed under: Intelligent Design