Professor James M. Tour is one of the ten most cited chemists in the world. He is famous for his work on nanocars (pictured [below], courtesy of Wikipedia), nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures, carbon nanovectors in medicine, and green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. He has authored or co-authored 489 scientific publications and his name is on 36 patents. Although he does not regard himself as an Intelligent Design theorist, Professor Tour, along with over 700 other scientists, took the courageous step back in 2001 of signing the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, which read: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
In a new peer-reviewed paper in BIO-Complexity, Michael Denton challenges the view that biological organisms are accidents of random mutation and natural selection, instead adopting a structuralist view that body plans are like Platonic “types,” woven into the fabric of nature.
According to Denton, a biochemist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, this perspective, popular before Darwin wrote Origin of Species in 1859, “was not based, as Darwinists often claim, on a priori philosophical belief in Platonic concepts, but rather upon the empirical finding that a vast amount of biological complexity, including the deep homologies which define the taxa of the natural system, appears to be of an abstract, non-adaptive nature that is sometimes of a strikingly numerical and geometric character.”
On June 19, the day after Darwin’s Doubt was first available for purchase, Nick Matzke published a 9400-word “review” of the book in which it appears that he tried to anticipate many of Stephen Meyer’s arguments. Unfortunately, he often either guessed wrong as to what Meyer would say or — assuming he actually read the book as he claims — misread many of Meyer’s specific claims. As I showed in a previous response to Matzke, Matzke repeatedly misquoted Meyer, at one point claiming he referred to the Cambrian explosion as “instantaneous,” when Meyer nowhere makes that claim. Indeed, Matzke faulted Meyer for not recognizing that the Cambrian explosion “was not really ‘instantaneous’ nor particularly ‘sudden.’”
The non-fine-tuning hypothesis, non-design, or even, dare I say, Darwinism have several different forms but, broadly speaking, is anything other than fine-tuning (or the design hypothesis). There are three primary non-fine-tuning (non-design) versions: chance, necessity, and chance and necessity. Each one has different explanatory strengths and weaknesses.
This objection to intelligent design is within a theistic philosophy and theology. The theistic evolutionist would make the arguments for Darwinism just like the atheist would make his arguments for Darwinism; the only difference is that the former is a theist. Asa Gray (1810-1888) was a proponent of evolution who suggested that God guided evolution. The problem for the theistic evolutionist at this point is that if God guides evolution, it is design. Guidance implies purpose and involvement.
When evaluating population drift/evolution one must keep in mind a pattern/process distinction.
- To be explained: A pattern of a sequence of ancestors to present (a phylogenetic sequence)
- Explanation: High random mutation rates + high selection coefficients –> Incremental genetic change over time (“evolution”)
We now know that the majority of anatomical changes unique to fully aquatic cetaceans (Pelagiceti) appeared during just a few million years.
The argument from junk DNA suggests that a designer would be maximally efficient in his use of information. There appears to be some information that does not execute or have any meaningful coding. Darwinism takes this issue and uses it as the result of the prediction that there would be left over information not being used due to natural selection and random mutation. However, it doesn’t appear that all junk DNA is actually junk.
The following objection to intelligent design is from observing the natural data and claiming that it could not have been designed because there are some things that lack proper function or there could have been a better way for a certain [i.e. organ] to function. This objection is often made by many theistic evolutionists, though, still non-theists object as well, is based on an inappropriate and misconceived understanding of design. The design hypothesis merely states that there is intelligent causation that permits the existence of life (a probability factor). Optimality of what has been designed is not a criterion for design. Motor vehicles break down and computers crash. With comparing motor vehicles to design, there is a natural decay and effects of heat, friction, and weather decay. What is interesting about the comparison to malfunctioning software is that a frequently known cause of malfunction is an intentionally designed malware or virus, which has been designed for the primary purpose of malfunction, it is designed to break down or decompose a previous design.