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Methinks New PNAS Paper Is Like a Weasel

A paper by Wilf and Ewens recently published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, titled “There’s plenty of time for evolution,” reads like a printed version of Groundhog Day — the classic movie where comedian Bill Murray keeps awakening to find it’s the same day again. The paper’s authors sniff at unnamed benighted folks who think there hasn’t been enough time for (Darwinian) evolution to build the complexity we see in life. Not so, they protest. Why, all one has to do to see the light is to use the right mathematical model: “After guessing each of the letters, we are told which (if any) of the guessed letters are correct, and then those letters are retained. The second round of guessing is applied only for the incorrect letters that remain after this first round, and so forth.”

But this is no more than a mathematized version of Richard Dawkins’ “Methinks it is like a weasel” analogy published in his classic 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, where a string of letters is compared to that phrase in Dawkins’ computer’s memory, the letters that match are kept, and the ones that don’t are randomly replaced until all letters match. But even Dawkins acknowledged in his book that the analogy “is misleading in important ways” because the results were judged by his computer “according to the criterion of resemblance to a distant ideal target… Life isn’t like that.” Well, little problems like “life isn’t like that” apparently don’t matter to some Darwinists who think every day is Groundhog Day.

Michael J. Behe

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Michael J. Behe is Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Behe's current research involves delineation of design and natural selection in protein structures. In his career he has authored over 40 technical papers and three books, Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, and The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, which argue that living system at the molecular level are best explained as being the result of deliberate intelligent design.



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