More wishful thinking from the Centre for Intelligent Design

It would seem that the critical scientific thinking so lacking among Intelligent Design creationism proponents is still absent over at the Centre for Intelligent Design.  An update to their website reports on a recent review paper in Nature (New research on protein folding demonstrates intelligent design).  The article is by Antony Latham, a GP on the Isle of Harris.  Latham has published a number of books and articles with a general theme opposing evolution.  We find a page at the Christian Medical Fellowship with a book review and an article; the abominably (and dishonestly) named website Truth in Science offers a review of his book The Naked Emperor: Darwinism Exposed; so it’s pretty clear where he stands.  In the usual way, here we have a non-scientist with christian religious leanings exhibiting the usual comprehension failure where the complexities of life are concerned.

The article referred to on the C4ID site is what looks like a pretty comprehensive review of the roles of molecular chaperones in ensuring proteins adopt a correct conformation following synthesis (Hartl et al (2011) Molecular chaperones in protein folding and proteostasis. Nature 475; 324-332 doi:10.1038/nature10317 – here’s the abstract – you’ll need a subscription to read the full article).

Latham’s take, as is usual with ID creationism, is that “this is all terribly complicated, I don’t understand how this could possibly have appeared naturally, so a designer must have done it”.  This is just intellectual cowardice, and differs from conventional creationist claptrap by merely replacing ‘god’ with ‘a designer’.  And let’s face it, for a member of the Christian Medical Fellowship, who can the ‘designer’ be if not the biblically described god?

I sometimes wonder whether scientists open themselves to this kind of thing.  I note from the abstract that:

[…] cells invest in a complex network of molecular chaperones, which use ingenious mechanisms to prevent aggregation and promote efficient folding.

Which does use language of design.  Of course (as I’ve pointed out before) scientists use analogy and metaphor to explain complicated concepts.  We are all exposed to concepts such as ‘information’, ‘code’, ‘transcription’, translation’ and the like as we learn about biology. It is the misuse of such terms as literal descriptors that is so common in the writing produced by ID creationists.



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