The shy, fragile face of ID
Over at The Panda’s Thumb there is a highly informative guest post by Dan Brooks detailing a pro-ID conference he was invited to in June of last year. After the conference, Brooks and others received an email "stating that the ID people considered the conference a private meeting,and did not want any of us to discuss it, blog it, or publish anything about it. They said they had no intention of posting anything from the conference on the Discovery Institute’s web site (the entire proceedings were recorded). They claimed they would have some announcement at the time of the publication of the edited volume of presentations, in about a year, and wanted all of us to wait until then to say anything." Apparently the little blossom that is ID is too fragile to survive under the harsh light of scientific scrutiny. Thankfully, Brooks has refused to play these reindeer games and details his experiences listening to the following speakers and talks:
- Stephen Meyer – “The Theory of Intelligent Design as an Inference to the Best Explanation for the Origin of Biological Information.”
- Doug Axe – “The Language of Proteins – Revisiting a Classic Metaphor with the Benefit of New Technology.”
- Michael Behe – “Observational Data that Strongly Circumscribe the Role of Randomness in Molecular Evolution.”
- Richard von Sternberg – “Genomes, Formal Causes and Taxa.”
- Robert Marks – "The Need for Active Information in Evolutionary Search.”
- William Dembski – “Conservation of Active Information in Evolutionary Search.”
- Scott Minnich – “Testing Competing Hypotheses for the Origin of the Bacterial Flagellar Motor and the Type III Secretory System: Co-option, Co-evolution or Aboriginal Design?”
- Ann Gauger – “Assessing the difficulty of pathway evolution: an experimental test.”
- Scott Turner – “Agents of Biological Design: Why Are Living Things Well-Crafted for the Things They Do?"
- Paul Nelson – “Why Building Animals is Hard.”
- Jonathan Wells – “Designing an Embryo: Beyond Neo-Darwinism and Self-Organization.”
Gunther Wagner and John Collier were also in attendance. Wagner was prevented from questioning Marks while Collier – whom Brooks describes as "a world class philosopher" – had to put up with Marks patronizing him. Also attending were Gregory Chaitin, Jonathan Smith, and Robert Ulanowicz. It would be interesting to hear what their impressions of the ID dog and pony show are.
Probably the highlight of Brooks’ account is the following:
[Gauger] was then prompted by one of her colleagues to regale us with some new experimental finds. She gave what amounted to a second presentation, during which she discussed “leaky growth,” in microbial colonies at high densities, leading to horizontal transfer of genetic information, and announced that under such conditions she had actually found a novel variant that seemed to lead to enhanced colony growth. Gunther Wagner said, “So, a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?” at which point the moderator halted questioning. We shuffled off for a coffee break with the admission hanging in the air that natural processes could not only produce new information, they could produce beneficial new information.