For several years now, proponents of ID have been trying to get themselves taken seriously in the scientific community. It's a tough sell, since, according to some studies, upwards of 90% of scientists are agnostics or atheists. Scientists, as a whole, require data to be convinced.
The road to scientific acceptance runs roughly like this:
Step 1: Come up with an idea, preferably one that can be tested experimentally and that you can make some predictions as to the outcome.
Step 2: Test your idea.
Step 3: Take the results from Step 2, and show other scientists how they agree with your hypothesis from Step 1.
Step 4: Repeat, incorporating those new data into a new hypothesis.
The problem is, ID seems to be stuck at Step 1. They're like the Underpants Gnomes from "South Park," believing that the mere collection of ideas will win them profit in the end. It just doesn't work like that with scientists. And, lacking any testable hypotheses or actual data, they revert to metaphors and keep cramming a 'designer' into the nooks and crannies of the last few unknowns out there.
But now it appears that ID has taken a new tack. Lacking data, and therefore reputable publication, they seem to be moving more to a public relations campaign that gives a veneer of reputability while remaining as empty as their entire hypothesis.
This last week, some of us here at Give Up attended the annual meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology
. It's a fairly large conference, with approximately 10,000 attendees and around 2,500-3,000 poster presentations of peoples' research. All posters contain an abstract (a brief description of your hypotheses and your findings), and the abstracts are published in the Society's journal, which has an official-sounding name, is well-cited, and is peer-reviewed.
We happened to notice that one poster there was from Jonathan Wells of the Discovery Institute. If you're not familiar with Dr. Wells's past, check here
. Briefly, he's a Moonie who got a PhD in order to "devote [his] life to destroying Darwinism." (his words). Why then, would he go into a lion's den of non-believers to present his ID theory?
The easy answer is that he didn't. The poster he presented was entirely fluff - a virtually untestable hypothesis and no data. It was titled in such a way to sound respectable but ultimately unnoticeable. In fact, the only people I ever saw standing in front of it were myself and the people in our circle that know who Dr. Wells is. He put the poster up overnight, stood in front of it for an hour and a half, and then left. Only one person that I know of actually confronted him, and it was fairly brief. An image of the poster is below. For a hi res image of the poster
, or conclusion
, click the links.
So we now have an outspoken Creationist, sponsored by the Discovery Institute
, presenting a data-free poster at a large scientific conference. All posters from this conference are published as a supplement in what would normally be a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It's safe to say that the malarkey he proposes would be ripped apart during a real peer-review. But to the general public, there's little distinction between a supplement and the real deal. So be wary if you start seeing that the Discovery Institute has published its findings in Molecular Biology of the Cell, and that they've presented at ASCB. It's a load of crap designed to look like they're being accepted by the scientific community when in fact they exploited a loophole and flew under the radar.
I'll publish the abstract in the comments section if you want to read further. It sounds quite official, until you read it carefully and see that it sounds like one of those 'context free grammars'
that are randomly generated to get into scientific conferences.