Leading Intelligent Design Advocate Challenges Former President of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to Debate

The Discovery Institute has invited Dr. Francisco Ayala to debate the thesis of the book Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design with the book’s author, Dr. Stephen Meyer. Those who’ve been following the debate between Meyer and his critics know that there has been a bit of back and forth since Ayala was invited to critique SITC on the Biologos website. Meyer has responded this week, with the first of two parts on the Biologos site. Discovery Institute would like to initiate a full-fledged, official debate between the two, and so we have already sent the following invitation to Dr. Ayala. Dear Professor Ayala: I am writing to you in my capacity as the Director Read More ›

Stephen Meyer Responds to Evolutionary Biologist Francisco Ayala on Signature in the Cell

Earlier this year, evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala critiqued Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature in the Cell, in an invited essay for the Biologos Foundation website. Dr. Meyer has now responded with the first part of a two-part response, “On Not Reading The Signature in the Cell.” In this first part, Meyer argues that Ayala unfortunately does not appear to have read Signature in the Cell, and so his effort to refute the book falls flat. Indeed, Ayala’s “review misrepresents the thesis and topic of the book and even misstates its title.” Read more here.

Thank Goodness the NCSE Is Wrong: Fitness Costs Are Important to Evolutionary Microbiology

The evolution of antibiotic resistance is typically the result of small changes allowing for survival in a microbe or other organism under special circumstances where the organism faces extremely strong selection pressure due to the presence of some antibiotic drug. In other cases, it is the result of the transfer of pre-existing antibiotic resistance genes from one microbe to another, and the selection of such microbes in an environment containing antibiotics. Even in the first example, evolution does not produce a truly new function. In fact the change produced often makes the microbe less fit when the antibiotic is removed–it reproduces slower than it did before it was changed. This effect is widely recognized, and is called the fitness cost Read More ›

Testing the Orchard Model and the NCSE’s Claims of “Nested Patterns” Supporting a “Tree of Life”

In my previous post responding to the National Center for Science Education’s (NCSE) attacks on Explore Evolution‘s treatment of biogeography, I explained that there are many examples where there is inconsistency between evolutionary expectations of biogeography and plate tectonics. The NCSE is thus wrong to have claimed that “The consistency of these sorts of nested patterns cannot be explained without reference to common descent. The creationist ‘orchard’ is scientifically meaningless, since it makes no predictions.” * The classical “universal common descent” view is contrasted with the orchard model at below: The NCSE’s claim is perplexing because, as noted, the NCSE also claimed that “continuity [between biogeographic and evolutionary patterns] is what would be expected of a pattern of common descent, Read More ›

Sea Monkeys Are the Tip of the Iceberg: More Biogeographical Conundrums for Neo-Darwinism

In my previous post responding to the National Center for Science Education, I observed that the origin of South American monkeys (platyrrhines) is a striking example of a discontinuity between evolution and biogeography. As I observed at the end of that post, which was adapted from “The NCSE’s Biogeographic Conundrums: A Defense of Explore Evolution‘s Treatment of Biogeography“: the NCSE was not quite accurate when claiming that “By comparing macroevolutionary patterns between different groups, we find that the same patterns repeat. This strongly suggests that the same forces drove the diversification of those different groups.” The truth is that whenever oceanic “sweepstakes” dispersal is required, we find an exception to expected neo-Darwinian rules of biogeography. And as will be seen Read More ›