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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Signature in the Cell and Intelligent Design

• By Fred Reed

A question that never ceases to fascinate is that of how life originated, and how and why it has progressed as it seems to have. The official story and de rigueur explanation is that that life came about through spontaneous generation from seawater. Believing this is the mark of an Advanced Person, whether one has the slightest knowledge of the matter. In academia researchers have been fired and careers ruined for questioning it. If you doubt that scientists can be ideological herd animals, as petty, intolerant, vindictive, and backstabbing as professors, read Heretic, by the PhD biotechnologist and biochemist Matti Leisola, who fell on the wrong side of the herd. Ths establishment's continuing effort to stamp out heresy looks increasingly like a protracted desperatoon.

The other, more intuitive view of life is that of Intelligent Design. When one sees an immensely complicated system all of whose parts work together with effect and apparent purpose, such as an automobile or a cell, it is natural to think that someone or something designed it. There is much evidence for this, certainly enough to intrigue those of open mind and intelligence. Those of a philosophic bent may note that Freud, Marx, and Darwin are equally relics of Nineteenth Century determinism, and that Darwin wrote when almost nothing was known about much of biology. Note also that the sciences are tightly constrained and limited by their premises, unable to think outside of their chosen box.  Others, wiser, wonder whether there are not more things in heaven and earth.

The theory of ID is seen by the official story as a form of biblical Creationism of the sort holding that the world was created in 4004 BC. This is either wantonly stupid or deliberately dishonest.  There is of course no necessary connection between ID and Buddhism, Islam, or the Cargo Cult. There are scientists who are not proponents of ID but simply see that much of official Darwinism does not make sense or comport with the evidence. Some IDers are Christians, which does not affect the validity, or lack of it, orf what they say. To judge by my mail, many people have serious doubts about the official explanation without being zealots of anything in particular.

(For what it is worth, I am myself a complete agnostic. Faith and atheism both seem to me categorical beliefs in something one doesn't know. ID certainly provides no support for the existence of a loving Sunday School god, given that in almost all places and all times most people have lived in misery and died in agony.)

To me, though, things look designed. By what, I don't know.

Two difficulties affect the presentation of ID to the public.  First, most of us have been subjected to thousands of hours of vapid "science" programs and mass-market textbooks. These tell us  that doubters must be snake-handling forest Christians with three teeth. The second is that following the argument requires more technical grasp than most have. Trying to explain the question to a network-news audience is hopeless and makes those attempting it seem foolish.

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