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It’s Another Great Nobel Year for Design


And a bad year for a 19th-century creation myth.

After more than a century of shut-outs at the Nobel Prizes, it’s understandable that Darwinists are a bit dejected. It’s embarrassing that the “greatest idea anyone ever had” and the “theory that explains all of biology” can’t in a century garner even one of science’s most distinguished awards. Instead, it must make do with wordplay, as we saw with last year’s Prize in Chemistry for “directed evolution.” (See Ann Gauger’s post, “It’s Not ‘Evolution’ — A Nobel Prize for Engineering Enzymes.”)

It’s understandable why Darwinian scientists spend so much time in court silencing scientists and teachers who question their theory. In the arena of world-class science, Darwinism is a joke, and it wouldn’t last a day unless challenges to it were silenced by force.

Elegant Reverse-Engineering

On the other hand, the inference to design won big again this year. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019 was awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.” Their work as described in Forbes was elegant reverse-engineering:  

Think of your body as a large and complex metropolitan area with many different neighborhoods. Red blood cells are like little Ubers picking up oxygen at your lungs and then carrying the molecules of oxygen along your blood vessels, which serve as roads to different parts of your body. Just as the roads are different in different parts of the Boston area, the density and networks of blood vessels vary throughout your body. Thus, not every part of your body will always get the same amount of blood and oxygen. These differences can be exacerbated when your blood circulation in general decreases, such as when you are lying on the coach after eating way too much macaroni and cheese, or blood flow in a particular part of your body gets interrupted, such as when you are bleeding or have a blood clot.

Therefore, like a well-run city, your body needs ways of sensing what’s going on in each of the neighborhoods and adjusting oxygen levels accordingly. One way of adjusting your body’s oxygen supply in general is by changing your breathing rate. The carotid arteries are the major blood vessels in your neck and the ones that often spurt blood in slasher horror movies. These arteries include structures called carotid bodies that can check the oxygen levels in the passing blood. If oxygen levels are too low, the carotid bodies sends signals through nerves to increase your breathing rate. If the oxygen levels are too high, the carotid bodies will signal to slow your breathing. While this may help the overall amount of oxygen getting into your lungs and blood circulation, it alone can’t monitor and adjust the oxygen that’s getting to more local levels throughout your body.

Harnessing the Design Inference

“Think of your body as a large and complex metropolitan area with many different neighborhoods… Like a well-run city… sensing what’s going on in each of the neighborhoods and adjusting oxygen levels accordingly…” Scientists implicitly (and sometimes, quietly and explicitly) ask “How is this structure designed? What is its purpose and how does it work?” Time and again, the use of the design inference to guide the study of living systems pays enormous dividends. Most of good biological science is reverse-engineering of living systems. All of this is the design inference.

The inference to “chance and survivors survived” is worthless to science and medicine. The Darwinian inference is of value only as an atheist creation myth, and for that purpose it’s had quite a run. Darwinism is a mass of just-so stories pretending to be science. Perhaps the Nobel Prize in Literature is the Darwinists’ best bet.

Photo: Nobel Prize, by Adam Baker, via Flickr (cropped).