Ohio school board considers adding "Intelligent Design Theory" to science curriculum.
February 8, 2002 7:50 AM   Subscribe

Ohio school board considers adding "Intelligent Design Theory" to science curriculum. I wish I could find better links than these. I've been hearing about this on NPR every morning this week, but have been unable to find any news links - I can't even find the Ohio State School Board site. They are debating whether or not to start teaching IDT, which seems to be Creationism with a pseudo-scientific background. Here is a transcript of comments that were given to the board by John Calvert, J.D., a supporter of IDT. Anybody know any more about this theory?
posted by starvingartist (64 comments total)

 
Of course, right after I post, I find the web site for the Ohio State Board of Education, but there's nothing on there about the debate.

My favorite part of the comments by Mr. Calvert: "What qualifies a lawyer to talk about origins science? Lawyers are qualified because the key issues do not involve issues of fact."

He then goes on to say that Intelligent Design Theory "is supported by an abundance of scientific evidence and does not derive its authority from any religious text." He also references the fossil record. Well, if the key issues do not involve facts, why the emphasis on scientific support of the theory?

It failed in Kansas, and I can only hope it fails here.
posted by starvingartist at 7:59 AM on February 8, 2002


Here's the site for the Discovery Institute, a right wing think tank which pushes ID theory. Here's an expose of their strategy for promoting ID theory, which seems to be moving along at pace.
posted by Ty Webb at 8:11 AM on February 8, 2002


IDT, which seems to be Creationism with a pseudo-scientific background

You pretty much hit the nail on the head starvingartist. IDT is nothing more than a Creatonist back-up tactic. Since they have failed to force fundamentalist Creationist teachings into schools, they strip out all the specific references to God, the Bible, and Genisis, repackage it as a scientific thoery and get some "scientists" to agree with them. Mostly, its all along the "the fossil record is incomplete so we can't know anything for sure" route of attacking evolutionary theory. They try and come across as serious scientists proposing a plausible contrary theory. All the while spinning mainstream criticism of IDT as a form of academic martyrdom, and how the "liberal academic establishment" can handle honest challanges to their "godless theory".

However, IDT fails a fundamental scientific test: plausible denaibility. There is no way to disprove the core of IDT, especially to the people promoting it. However, an honest scientist would have to admit that evolution, despite the immense amount of evidence supporting it, could be disproven and replaced by an even better theory. In fact, certain parts of evolutionary theory as Darwin believed them to be have already be replaced, but the basic theory is still sound.

IDT is all crap then, basically. I would like to add, though, that a great many evolutionary scientists are not athiest or agnostic, and feel that God does have a place within mainstream evolutionary theory. What that place is, and the limitation of that role, obviously vary from person to person depending on faith, but it always pisses me off that hardcore creationists think of evolution as HAVING to be "godless." (And I say this an an athiest myself)
posted by thewittyname at 8:20 AM on February 8, 2002


doh...that should read:

...and how the "liberal academic establishment" canNOT handle honest challanges to their "godless theory".
posted by thewittyname at 8:22 AM on February 8, 2002


Seems to me that thewse guys arguing in behalf of intelligent design in fact make clear that there is precious little of it that they got at birth.
posted by Postroad at 8:22 AM on February 8, 2002


thewittyname - do you have a good rebuttal for the "fossil record" argument? I'm writing a letter to my district representative right now, and I would like to be able to mention that. Thanks!
posted by starvingartist at 8:36 AM on February 8, 2002


In the words of one great Christian, John Henry Newman:

...I say, then, he who believes Revelation with that absolute faith which is the prerogative of a Catholic, is not the nervous creature who startles at every sudden sound, and is fluttered by every strange or novel appearance that meets his eyes...He is sure, and nothing shall make him doubt, that, if anything seems to be proved by astronomer, or geologist, or chronologist, or antiquarian, or ethnologist, in contradiction to the dogmas of faith, that point will eventually turn out, first, not to be proved, or, secondly, not contradictory, or thirdly, not contradictory to anything really revealed, but to something which has been confused with revelation. And if, at the moment, it appears to be contradictory, then he is content to wait, knowing that error is like other delinquents; give it rope enough, and it will be found to have a strong suicidal propensity.

--"Christianity and Scientific Investigation" (lecture, 1855)

Newman, incidentally, had absolutely no problem with Darwin whatsoever.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:40 AM on February 8, 2002


one would think that discoveries like this would be the death nail of IDT.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:46 AM on February 8, 2002


thewittyname: I agree with everything you said, except 'plausible deniability'. That's an expression from the Nixon era, IIRC, indicating nefarious political acts that can be 'plausibly denied' if they are detected.

What you probably mean is 'falsifiability' , a concept advanced by philosopher of science Karl Popper. Popper said that a scientific idea only can be taken seriously if test can be designed which might, if it succeeded, disprove it.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:48 AM on February 8, 2002


Here's a Cincinnati Enquirer article about this, the only article I could find.
posted by techgnollogic at 8:56 AM on February 8, 2002


"Evolution just flat out doesn't happen." - David Snyder, Ohio Valley Creation Education Association

Jeez.
posted by starvingartist at 9:02 AM on February 8, 2002


Slithy_tove,

You are absolutely correct about the falsifiability...and thank you for correcting me so I don't sound like an idiot in the future.
posted by thewittyname at 9:12 AM on February 8, 2002


Starvingartist: it's difficult to rebut the fossil record argument, since it is incomplete, after all. Debates typically go like this:
Creationist: You say that Z is descended from A, but there are no transitional fossils from A to Z.

Paleontologist: Actually, there are. Here's M, forming the sequence A-M-Z.

Creationist: Well, you don't have any transitional fossils from A to M, or from M to Z.

Paleontologist: Here's H, between A and M; and S, between M and Z. Now we have a nice sequence of A-H-M-S-Z.

Creationist: Well, what about transitional fossils between A and H, or H and M, or M and S, or S and Z.

Paleontologist: Here's D between A and H; P between M and S; and V between S and Z.

Creationist: What about the gap between H and M?

Paleontologist: We haven't discovered any transitional fossils between H and M yet.

Creationist: A-ha!!! Evolutionary theory is a failure!!
Obviously, the creationist can always "win" the argument this way, since he can always keep demanding more and more intermediates, until a level is reached where we have no direct evidence of an intermediate species.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:12 AM on February 8, 2002


starvingartist,

I think a good thing to point out in your letter is the use of the word "theory" in regards to evolution. In common speech, theory indicates an unproven idea, or a hypothesis in needs of testing. In science-speak, however, the meaning of the word "theory" is almost interchangeable with that of the common usage phrase, "accepted as fact". Note how this works in the sense of "theory of gravity." The concept of gravity is so well proven, and so well validated by kinds of experiments across a wide variety of fields (from astronomy, to quantum physics, to civil engineering in-between) that it is accepted as a fundamental force of nature.

Same with evolution. The fundamentals of evolution:
1) Random mutations will arise in organisms, and that some of these mutations will have discernable outside effect on the organisms traits, physical, psychological or otherwise
2) That while some of these traits can be entirely neutral (such as the different kinds of coats that horses posses), others are not, and that these changes will lead to a benefit or detriment to the organism
3) This benefit or detriment is determined according to how well the organism, and its descendents, reproduce. The characterizes that give an organism an advantage in obtaining scarce resources like food and territory will likely lead to prosperity, and thus success, as well as the reverse being true.
4) Eventually, these changes can lead to an entirely new organism being created, that can no longer reproduce with its "mother" species. Thus, this new organism, which has been selected for it's beneficial (but random in origin) mutations, has evolved.


All of this and more are undeniable facts proven by experimentation across a variety of fields (from geneticists to sociologists to even computer science). Any serious scientist is either forced to accept evolution as reality, or come up with some very extraordinary evidence to disprove it.

However, I feel like I'm avoiding your question. As for the scarcity of the fossil record, you can look here for a very good FAQ on the completeness of the human fossil record. The Talkorigins site also has a lot of other good supporting evidence for evolution.

Also, try this site.

I hope that this post does not come too late to help your with your letter starvingartist.
posted by thewittyname at 9:38 AM on February 8, 2002


sad indeed that the state that brought the world DEVO is even considering such a completely silly and utterly baseless idea.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:39 AM on February 8, 2002


Christ in heaven! I was taught the Theory of Evolution in 4th grade science class at an Ohio parochial school. In religion class I was taught that the story of creation was a metaphor.

Seems like the public schools will continue to offer a sub-par science curriculum when compared to the archdiocese's efforts...the irony
posted by Mick at 9:39 AM on February 8, 2002


"Anybody know any more about this theory?"

Freely filched from Aquinas's "Summa Theologica", who freely filched it from Plato's"Timeaus".

The concept of an ordered universe is pretty much tautologous by necessity -- after all, we don't have an "unordered" one to compare it to.
posted by RavinDave at 10:03 AM on February 8, 2002


starvingartist:

As regards your letter -- I've said this before but I can't get to the link right now: Science is the study of observable, explainable, repeatable, naturally occurring physical phenomena. All discussion of God -- a supernatural force, a prime mover, unexplainable, non-repeating, arbitrary and inscrutable -- is out of place in a science class. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or shouldn't be discussed; only that by definition God is off-topic -- like mathematics in a literature class.

Unless the "Intelligent Design" people are trying to prove that aliens living behind the moon created us.
posted by coelecanth at 10:12 AM on February 8, 2002


[first, some full disclosure; at this point in my life, I neither reject nor accept evolution. It's an open question for me]

thewittyname: You're recommending TalkOrigins for scientific evidence? Heavens, you really are an ideologue, aren't you? That would be like recommending TrueOrigins for scientific evidence!

Also, your attempt to link ID theory to Creation Science is laughable. Whereas Creation Science starts with the a priori assumption that Genesis is correct, and seeks to undercut evolution at every turn in order to prove that fact, ID Theory is not aligned with religion at all. In point of fact, many of the leaders of the ID movement are not Christians.

Unlike Creation Science, ID Theory is not necessarily opposed to evolution -- not really. Rather, ID Theory is opposed to something else: the frequently made, philosophically based assumption that often preceeds scientific inquiry: namely, that the origin of life was completely naturalistic. Real science does not let philosophy get in the way of honest inquiry, but a great many scientists do. ID proponents are just scientists who have rejected naturalism and believe that they can back that claim up with evidence.

That's why you'll find a few lawyers among the ID camps; the scientists fight the scientific battles, the lawyers use their expertise in rhetoric to fight the philosophical assumption of naturalism. I think that Professor Phillip Johnson of Boalt Law School put it best:

"At the heart of the problem of scientific authority is the fact that there are two distinct definitions of science in our culture. On the one hand, science is devoted to unbiased empirical investigation. According to this definition, scientists should follow the empirical evidence wherever it leads--even if it leads to recognition of the presence of intelligent causes in biology. According to the other definition, science is devoted to providing explanations for all phenomena that employ only natural or material causes. According to the second definition, scientists must ignore evidence pointing to the presence of intelligent causes in biology, and must affirm the sufficiency of natural (unintelligent) causes regardless of the evidence."
posted by gd779 at 10:23 AM on February 8, 2002


All discussion of God -- a supernatural force, a prime mover, unexplainable, non-repeating, arbitrary and inscrutable -- is out of place in a science class.

That's a little extreme. God is relevant to a discussion of science as God relates to the "first action;" I agree that evidence for evolution is pretty solid, but the question of "something from nothing" is still open, and the study of religion in the context of science is very compelling. it says a lot about the progression of the human mind, and the evolution of thought. This is how we first explained things.

This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or shouldn't be discussed; only that by definition God is off-topic -- like mathematics in a literature class.

Unless mathematics figured into the literature at hand, as I think God might into, specifically, a discussion of evolution.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2002


Intelligent design theory is, in fact, a whole bundle of theories and arguments. From molecular biology comes an argument that organic processes... are too fundamentally complex for evolution to explain them; from statistics, a claim that probability theory can show whether an organism has had enough time to evolve; from philosophy, a rhetorical study suggesting that Darwinism isn’t science so much as a closed-minded materialist viewpoint that needs rethinking.

- Looking for God at Berkeley, Mark Athitakis, San Francisco Weekly, June 20, 2001
posted by gd779 at 10:27 AM on February 8, 2002


"Faith, in the face of the unknowable, is courage. In the face of the knowable, it is cowardice."

I wish I knew who to credit for that quote.

Can anyone out there tell me why the religious-folk in our nation are trying so hard to cram religion into the state run school system. Anyone who disagrees with the public school curriculum is allowed to home-school their children with as much religious brain-washing as they want. And, if that is not adequate, any private citizen can create a publicly funded "charter school" or a privately funded private school with its own curriculum and teachers. So why must these freaks try to ruin the one avenue for intelligent people to get a decent science education that is actually useful in this world. Even the non-believers might learn a thing or two that could help them fake their way through this life until they are vindicated upon entry into heaven...
posted by plaino at 10:45 AM on February 8, 2002


This is the beauty and utility and the heart of MetaFilter, at least to me: The last time Evolution was discussed here created enough interest that I have been researching it on the internet and reading books from the library. I can't make an intelligent comment on the subject, but I'm going to learn as much as I can, free of pre determined outcome.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:51 AM on February 8, 2002


I think evolution is a fine theory -- it exaplains things we see in the world pretty well, but, just like gravity, it's subject to change as we find out more. Science works in a certain way, that is, inside paradigms.

Phillip Johnson says (as quoted by gd779): scientists should follow the empirical evidence wherever it leads--even if it leads to recognition of the presence of intelligent causes in biology.

This is my problem with ID: no falsifiability (as previously identifieyd by thewittyname and Slithy_Tove).

Phillip is a lawyer, so I don't think it's up to him alone, but if there is 'emperical evidence' about intelligent design, let's have some. No philosophical theories will do. I'm talking about experiments. Scientific experiments we can do to prove or disprove this theory. But there aren't any.

Because ID is a position. Not a testable theory. So scientists will never have cause to 'recognize the presence of intelligent causes in biology.' Because ideas about causation are just that, ideas. They're impossible to test.
posted by zpousman at 11:20 AM on February 8, 2002


I was wondering if anyone here has read the book "Darwin's Black Box" by Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe? In the book he discusses the fact that biological systems are "irreducibly complex at the molecular level." Evolution has a very difficult time dealing with origins, whether it be origin of matter or origin of "life." In fact, most evolutionists completely ignore it, accepting the knowledge as a priori knowledge. When compared to IDT, God is considered a priori to the theory. On one hand, God is eternal, on the other, matter is eternal.

The evolutionist argues that random occurences over lots of time (and if you need more time, just add another billion or so years to the age of the Earth, because who's counting anyway) to get complex, reproducing, self-sufficient life-forms. IDT, on the other hand, says "not likely," because we can look at the overall complexity of the biological process, from RNA and DNA formation and reproduction, through organelles, all the way to the macro model of anything (be it a single cellular organism, prokaryotic or otherwise, to a human), and a pattern in life emerges that says that "hey, there is some order here, and that order makes sense."

IDT in and of itself is not religion, it merely says that God created the universe and all things in it. I think all religions can accept that, the only objectionable crowd being the atheists. If the community was trying to have seven day creation, a very different theory (which, by the way, some geologists have shown that there is a possibility that the Earth could be around six thousand years old, so don't throw it out because your biology teacher said so), then I would agree that the religion was being brought into the classroom.

I wanted to respond, also, to the fossil argument that seems to be popping up, and which seems to be misinterpreted. The fossil record argument is not saying that there is no "A-M-Z" argument, it is saying that there is nothing between, say, A and B, like Aa, Aab, etc. There is no real "link" between different organismal forms. Which, the evolutionists conclude, represents spontaneous generation. However, when you look at the fossil record, you can accurately say "hey, here is something that existed before that does not exist today." So what does that mean? Well, certainly it can be assumed that the fossil record is a record of extinction, right?
posted by Uncle Joe's Brother at 11:27 AM on February 8, 2002


RavinDave, when you said:
The concept of an ordered universe is pretty much tautologous by necessity -- after all, we don't have an "unordered" one to compare it to.


Is that your own wording? 'Cause that's great. An absolutely lovely sentence--I've never heard it put quite so well before. I'm going to start using it. Wow.


gd779 says:
ID Theory is opposed to something else: the frequently made, philosophically based assumption that often preceeds scientific inquiry: namely, that the origin of life was completely naturalistic.


Are you familiar with the term "the natural sciences"? This term is typically used to refer to physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc. as disctinct from the "social sciences": sociology, economics, psychology, etc. The reason these disciplines are referred to as natural sciences is because they are the sciences that deal with nature. Speaking philosophically, we might refer to the natural sciences together as that branch of epistomology which deals with empirical observations of nature.


My point? Since the natural sciences deal with empircal observations of nature, they can answer only questions about nature. For example, they can answer questions regarding the mechanism of the emergence of life in the natural world. They are inherently limited, however, from dealing with questions that move beyond empirical observations of nature. Physics, for example, will never answer the question "Does God exist?"--this question falls under the purview of the branch of philosophy called metaphysics. Similarly, the question "are the origins of life naturalistic?" is an unscientific question. This is not a criticism of the question itself--it remains a perfectly valid question, and it can be addressed by several lines of philisophical inquiry. It cannot, however, be addressed by the natural sciences.


This, I fear, is where the rhetorical skills of the lawyers really come into play. They are not making a philisophical argument about flaws in Darwinian theory; rather, they are using a rhetorical device to confuse the very nature of scientific inquiry itself. In short, gd779, you're being bullshitted. By lawyers, no less. (n.b. That, also, is a rhetorical device, my sly little shot at lawyers. He he he.)


There is another option, however. Perhaps advocates of intellegent design theory have discovered a philisophical argument fusing metaphysics and empirical epistomology. If so, they have made what is perhaps the most important breakthrough in the history of human thought. Kudos to them. I don't think this is the case, however....
posted by mr_roboto at 11:47 AM on February 8, 2002


biological systems are "irreducibly complex at the molecular level."

I haven't read "Darwin's Black Box" but if it actually says this it is either absolutely wrong or more than 50 years old and absolutely wrong now, but debateable then. Reproduceable experiments have shown that the building blocks of life (amino acids, RNA bases, and other small basic subunits) can be made under 'pre-biotic' conditions: methane + ammonia + H2S + water + an energy source (lightening as an electrical arc in most experiments). Once this happened enough and there was a high enough concentration of these things then self replication was automatic (the peculiar shape of an RNA strand allows it to serve as a template for its own self replication. This has also been shown experimentally!) In fact, these experiments plus a helping of evolution and a few billion years are enough to be a plausible mechanism for the origin of life on earth. God doesn't seem to have played an important role so far.
posted by plaino at 11:59 AM on February 8, 2002


Uncle Joe's Brother says:
IDT in and of itself is not religion, it merely says that God created the universe and all things in it.


Do you have any idea how utterly ridiculous that sentence sounds? It is a completely self-contained contradiction. Which of the following words do you not understand the definition of: "religion", "God", "created", "not"? What the fuck? Hold on; I think I can come up with a few:


Football in and of itself is not a sport, it merely involves two organized teams of people engaged in a contest of strength, dexterity, speed, and strategy.


Chris Rock in and of himself not a comedian, he merely gets on stage and tells jokes to an auditorium full of people in an effort to entertain.


Copper in and of itself is not a metal, it is merely a malleable, highly conductive transition element.


Does anybody have any others?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2002


This is my problem with ID: no falsifiability...if there is 'emperical evidence' about intelligent design, let's have some... Scientific experiments we can do to prove or disprove this theory.

Evolutionary science, like ID theory, is as much akin to history or archeology as it is to science. To insist strictly upon a reproducible laboratory experiment in this arena is to reject as "unfalsifiable" the great bulk of human knowledge. The claim, however, that speculations about the past should be backed up by reproducible experiments and falsifiable evidence in the present is perfectly valid, and should be addressed. (It's also why, as a lawyer, Johnson can appropriately comment on this. Weighing evidence, judging proofs and evaluating logic is what lawyers are trained to do. Or maybe I'm just overly sympathetic, being in law school myself).

Let's being with exhibit one: The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities (Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction and Decision Theory), by William Dembski; Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago, Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois, M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

The book is highly technical, so here's the grossly simplified, stripped-of-all-but-intuitive-proof layman's version:

There was a certain type of reasoning that came up over and over again whenever people tried to sift the effects of intelligence from natural causes. They were looking for a combination of complexity and specification. And when those two came together, that was a reliable pointer to intelligence.

In every instance where we find specified complexity, and where the underlying causal history is known, it turns out that design actually is present. If we could fully trace the creation of a book, for example, our investigation would eventually lead us to the author. Similarly, if archaeologists could trace the creation of an arrowhead or farming implement, it would lead to the person who made it. Why should the natural world be any different?


Then there's always Darwin's Black Box, by Michael Behe. For years, Darwinists have reacted to claims of unfalsfiability -- notably, the same claim being leveled against ID, which just shows you that this area of science is not as black and white as we might prefer -- by pointing out that Darwinism would be demonstratably false if it could be shown that an existing system could not have arisen by a series of gradual changes. Behe, a professor of biochemistry, alleges that our understanding of biochemical processes have advanced since the time of Darwin to the point that Irreducibly Complex (IC) biochemical systems can now be demonstrated.

(Note: a lot of Darwinists have criticized Behe's work by alleging that we'll eventually figure out a series of small steps to account for each of his IC examples. But, in addition to missing the point and being purely speculative, it also undercuts their argument for falsifiability).

There are, of course, a great many other scientific arguments in favor of design; I just picked two of the better known examples.

IDT in and of itself is not religion, it merely says that God created the universe and all things in it.

UJB: Not really. ID Theory has nothing to say about the existence of a god, per se. As the name implies, ID theory deals with the liklihood of design as opposed to naturalism.
posted by gd779 at 12:10 PM on February 8, 2002


roboto - good point, but let's keep the invective to a minimum. I pointed my school board rep to this thread - let's make a good impression :)

Thanks for all the information from both sides. I'm playing E.K. Hornbeck in "Inherit The Wind" in April, and I'm sure all this stuff will come in handy. I have bookmarked this thread.
posted by starvingartist at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2002


BTW, gd779 et. al., who created God? Super-God? Then who created Super-God? Ultra-God? Then who created... Intelligent design is logically flawed because if it is true it produces an unresolveable paradox unless God was somehow created by a reasonable process like evolution but then evolved magical powers to intelligently design all subsequent creations. Talk about absurd!
posted by plaino at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2002


gd779,

I'm curious as why you belittle TalkOrigins so, as I find it a respectable source of valid information. However, it is a controversial site, so perhaps some other links on human evolution are in order:

UCSB, UCLA, Washington State University, University of Glasgow, University of Arkansas, Palomar College, UC Berkeley.

I could go on and on, but anyone interested should just check out this site at Harvard.

Anyway, as for the rest of your argument. My attempt to link IDT with Creationism is not laughable. While I will be the first to admit there are many differences between the two concepts, and that there are probably people who believe in one concept and not the other, I don't think it is possible to deny the common ground between the two.

While a complete examination of both concepts is not appropriate for this site, the core of Creationism and Creationist thought can be described as a literal interpretaion of Genesis in the Bible. Intelligent design allows for a more scientific approach to the formation of life and the earth. It can include the idea that the universe is billions of years old, and that dinosaurs and man did not cohabitate the earth before the Flood. The defining characteristic of IDT centers around "how all of this got started." It is the belief that nature could not have, and never will be able to, jumpstart itself, and that the machinations necessary to evolve life, or on a grander scale, create the universe, are too improbable to have happened randomly.

(Check out this site which draws a connection between the two theories.)

I stand by my linking of Creationism to IDT for the following reason: falisifiability (Thanks Slithy_Tove!). As others have also pointed out, both Creationism and IDT suffer from the inabililty to be disproven. One cannot construct an experiment to test whether God created Life. In the end, I have to consider these theological theories instead of scientific ones, despited IDT's scientific window dressing.

Finally, I want to nitpick on part of your quote. I agree with the first "cultural" definition of science, in which it is devoted to finding empirical evidence wherever it leads. However, I disgree with the second definition:

..According to the other definition, science is devoted to providing explanations for all phenomena that employ only natural or material causes.

Really, Prof. Johnson is loading his words here. Choosing the words "natural or material causes" seems a bit...sly. It's circular logic on his part. He creates his own evidence (his second definition) to allow for his conclusion that science is biased against God by being able to find evidence for Him via the first definition of science, but being forced to ignore Him because of the second definition.

Except, that in order to be fair to everyone, we must realize that science is limited to providing explanations for all phenomena that employ measurable causes. I'm not aware of any instrument that can measure the presence of God. And until that device is invented, tested and accurately calibrated, science cannot be asked to account for His/Her/Its effect on the natural world.

Thus, Prof. Johnson's conclusion is invalid:

...scientists must ignore evidence pointing to the presence of intelligent causes in biology, and must affirm the sufficiency of natural (unintelligent) causes regardless of the evidence.

To which I say: Scientists CAN'T get evidence pointing to the presence of intelligent design....its not possible to percieve or understand God's role in a scientifically controlled manner.
posted by thewittyname at 12:28 PM on February 8, 2002


my invisible magical overlord is cooler than your invisible magical overlord

posted by UncleFes at 12:33 PM on February 8, 2002


starvingartist:
Sorry. I didn't realize that the grownups would be seeing this.... But really, how could I resist? I mean, it was a really ridiculous statement!
posted by mr_roboto at 12:35 PM on February 8, 2002


Sorry, it's a troll-bait Friday. I promise not to do it again.
posted by UncleFes at 12:37 PM on February 8, 2002


Since the natural sciences deal with empircal observations of nature...[they cannot answer the question] "Does God exist?" [Also,] the question "are the origins of life naturalistic?" is an unscientific question. [These questions] cannot, however, be addressed by the natural sciences.

Ah, if only that were true. Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely to me that the real world would map so nicely into such a clean, obvious theoretical distinction. There are three problems with that theory:

A) Scientists are people; as such, they routinely discard or ignore evidence contrary to their philosophical worldview. ID is not so much a conclusion as a it is plea to hear all of the evidence. Notice that ID theory argues against the assumption of naturalism in science, not against the conclusion of naturalism in your personal life.

B) Even assuming that biology alone is not able (see Behe, above) to strictly answer the question of design, when we combine that knowledge of biology with a knowledge of other scientific disciplines, such as statistics and information theory, the question may become answerable.

C) Science may never be able to tell us anything about our origins directly, but it can certainly shed some light on the problem. Science is not so much an oracle as it is a tool; like any tool, it can be used improperly. And the truths that science discovers in the present can certainly shed some light onto our inquiry into the past.

So to claim that the design issue is an improper inquiry for science: 1) ignores the reality that the inquiry is made every day (because scientists are human beings), 2) robs us of our most valuable tool in answering one of life's biggest questions, and 3) perverts real science by ignoring evidence that doesn't fit the paradigm, unduly limiting the acceptable range of hypothesis.

I'm not aware of any instrument that can measure the presence of God.

To which I can only say, read Dembski's book. It's all about mathematically sorting the effects of design from those of natural chance. Design IS detectable.

By definition, we will never be able to perceive other universes in the proposed multiverse. That doesn't keep scientist Hawkings from speculating about it.
posted by gd779 at 12:37 PM on February 8, 2002


Mr roboto -- I agree with everything from your first post.

But help me untangle this argument *for* ID.

1. Entropy, the law (theory) that states that 'the disorder of all systems is always increasing' is very well proven. It's, I read somewhere, more proven than gravity. Who knows what that means. But suffice it to say that it's true to basically all people who'll look for it.

2. Since the entropy of all systems is always increasing, we should see it everywhere we look, and we do. The universe - getting more chaotic. The galaxy, the solar system, the earth, the nation, my bedroom, atoms themselves.

3. Evolution however, even if it is totally random and natural, is the process of increasing complexity. And that's the same thing as increasing order. You and I are more orderd than grass. And grass is more ordered than eukariotic bacteria.

4. How can this be?

5. Entropy only increases if no external forces act upon a system. But if external forces act -- they can counter act entropy. That's why MercedesBenz cars last longer than Fords -- their engineers are better at fighting entropy. Thus, a force exists outside the universe that powers evolution.

Yeeeech.

I don't like this argument -- I thought it up as a rebellious teenager (imagine it: a rebellious teenager thinking about bacteria. sheesh.) But now I think I'm stuck with it. And now it even has a name -- Intelligent Design. Can some one help me out of this?
posted by zpousman at 12:43 PM on February 8, 2002


zpousman - The external source for evolution on our planet is the SUN. We get energy from geothermal heat and from the star we spin around, and that allows our system to build complexity rather than fall apart.

Entropy is only true in a closed system, and in that, we are falling apart. We've got another - 5 billion years I think? Before our sun will red dwarf - white giant - supernova, & our solar system will fall apart.
posted by mdn at 12:59 PM on February 8, 2002


The external source for evolution on our planet is the SUN. (taken out of context)

That's why I worship Ra.

(Sorry, these origins discussions always get too serious)
posted by Llama-Lime at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2002


I haven't read "Darwin's Black Box" yet, but here is an excellent review of it by Allen Orr.
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on February 8, 2002


zpousman:
mdn is right. Entropy always increases in a closed system. If you put energy into the system, you can decrease it's entropy. (Students of thermodynamics will be familiar with the concept of free energy, which can be used to describe how a process that involves a decrease in entropy will still occur spontaneously so long as there is a flux of energy into the process. DeltaG=DeltaH-T*DeltaS, don't you know.) The source of energy on earth is the sun. Of course, as the sun burns, it's entropy increases. So even though entropy decreases on earth through biological processes, the total entropy of the universe is still increasing.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:32 PM on February 8, 2002


thank you. praise DeltaG.
posted by zpousman at 1:46 PM on February 8, 2002


Remind me never to hire anyone from Ohio, either. Wait, I'm from Ohio...

Seriously, Starvingartist, in writing to your rep consider downplaying the science and instead pressing the economic argument: at a time when good jobs require the best possible education (esp. in science and technology), and competition from overseas has never been stronger, Ohio sabotages its own economic opportunities by teaching its kids anything but the best.

Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and German kids aren't learning this crap: they're learning real science. If US students are fed a diet of politicized pabulum, they will fail to compete in the market.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 1:49 PM on February 8, 2002


gd779,

A) Scientists are people; as such, they routinely discard or ignore evidence contrary to their philosophical worldview. ID is not so much a conclusion as a it is plea to hear all of the evidence.

Don't be so naive. ID is just as much of a conclusion as evolutionary theory. Intelligent Designer's obviously have a belief that God has a role in evolution, and as humans, they are just as susceptible to distorting the evidence as normal scientists

Design IS detectable.

Mathematics can be used to find patterns in numbers, but how are we to define a said pattern as "God's handiwork". Besides, there are already discussions of this sort that go nowhere fast. Example: the discussion surrounding the anthropic principle.

There are a large number of physcial forcesthat have to be just as they exist currently for man to exist and observe nature around him. This includes the rate of expansion of the universe and the strength of the strong force.

And there are many more examples. The point: The total combination of all of these remarkable coincidences is mind bogglingly improbable, that some take it to mean that God had to have helped put all of those forces in balance to create a universe where life could exist. Of course, there is no way to know whether or not God had any role in this turn of events. There is certainly no scientific way of proving it. And again, God's involvement in creation is forced back into the realm of theology.
posted by thewittyname at 2:00 PM on February 8, 2002


Behe's Response to Allen Orr's review.

Intelligent Designer's obviously have a belief that God has a role in evolution, and as humans, they are just as susceptible to distorting the evidence as normal scientists

Yeah, I completely agree. Though you passed all the rest of my justifications by in silence, I should still point out that I didn't mean that first point the way you took it. It's my fault, though: I've been drawing a distinction in my head between ID (the movement) and ID (the theory), and I haven't been making it clear when I'm talking about which. Here, I was talking about ID (the movement); my point was not that ID scientists were less biased, but that evolutionary scientists currently hold the power, and so their paradigm is capable of shutting out contrary voices. Since we can't just up and grant that ID is true without hearing it out, the goal of ID (the movement) is to get rid of the assumption of naturalism and allow debate to occur unhindered. (Obviously, once that debate starts, ID-as-theory enters with the goal of winning).
posted by gd779 at 2:22 PM on February 8, 2002


Behe's Response to Allen Orr's review.

Intelligent Designer's obviously have a belief that God has a role in evolution, and as humans, they are just as susceptible to distorting the evidence as normal scientists

Yeah, I completely agree. Though you passed all the rest of my justifications by in silence, I should still point out that I didn't mean that first point the way you took it. It's my fault, though: I've been drawing a distinction in my head between ID (the movement) and ID (the theory), and I haven't been making it clear when I'm talking about which. Here, I was talking about ID (the movement); my point was not that ID scientists were less biased, but that evolutionary scientists currently hold the power, and so their paradigm is capable of shutting out contrary voices. Since we can't just up and grant that ID is true without hearing it out, the goal of ID (the movement) is to get rid of the assumption of naturalism and allow debate to occur unhindered. (Obviously, once that debate starts, ID-as-theory enters with the goal of winning).
posted by gd779 at 2:23 PM on February 8, 2002


zpousman--the way out is that entropy doesn't mean exactly what you think it means.

"Entropy is disorder" is a decent approximation for the layperson, but it is an oversimplification. Most importantly, unlike a vague concept of "disorder," entropy is measurable. Also, in as much as disorder is an approximation of entropy, it's primarily disorder at the atomic and molecular scale that contributes to entropy. Disorder at the level we commonly perceive really doesn't pertain to entropy.

Entropy, the law (theory) that states that 'the disorder of all systems is always increasing' is very well proven.

The second law of thermodynamics says that the entropy (not "disorder") of closed systems is always increasing. A closed system is one in which neither matter nor energy can enter or leave. (The only truly closed system is the universe itself. But the second law is still useful, as a) we can create systems that are so nearly closed, that the second law applies as a pretty good approximation; and b) if only heat energy is exchanged between a system and its surroundings, we can calculate the change in entropy of the surroundings, and draw conclusions and make predictions about the change in entropy of the system.)

There is no requirement for the entropy of an open system to increase. For example, when water freezes into ice, its entropy decreases. (Both as a result of its temparature decreasing, and the ordering of water molecules into the crystal pattern of ice.) For the second law to hold, all that is required is that the entropy somewhere else increases enough to more than offset the decrease in entropy of the water. If (as some people erroneously claim) the entropy of all systems, closed or open, always had to increase, water could never freeze.

Digression: this is why an air-conditioning unit must always have at least part of the unit outside of the area being air-conditioned. Cooling of air also involves a decrease in entropy, so there must be a more-than-offsetting increase in entropy (which usually involves heating something else up) somewhere else. For air conditioning to be effective, that increase better be outside the area you're trying to air condition.

Since the entropy of all systems is always increasing, we should see it everywhere we look, and we do.

Entropy often increases even in open systems, but not always. If we look closely, we can easily find open systems where entropy decreases--a lake freezing over in winter, for example.

Evolution however, even if it is totally random and natural, is the process of increasing complexity. And that's the same thing as increasing order. You and I are more orderd than grass. And grass is more ordered than eukariotic bacteria.

This completely misses the nature of entropy. First of all, we may be more "ordered" than grass or bacteria (aside: bacteria, by definition, are not eukaryotic. "Eukaryotic bacteria" is an oxymoron) but a living human has pretty much the same entropy as a bunch of grass or bacteria, as long as the grass/bacteria is of the same mass as the human and at the same temperature.

Second, the previous caveats about open vs. closed systems apply. In particular, you can't look at just a living organism alone without considering its inputs and outputs as well. An animal (including humans) for instance, takes in carbohydrates and oxygen, and gives off carbon dioxide and water. This may involve a decrease in the entropy of the animal (particularly if the energy from the conversion is used to make additional complex molecules, which it usually is). But this isn't in violation of the second law of thermodynamics, because the conversion of carbohydrates + oxygen to water + carbon dioxide involves an increase in entropy which more than offsets the decrease involved in the formation of complex molecules. If you looked at the human alone, you'd see a decrease in entropy, but when you consider the inputs and outputs as well, you have an overall net increase in entropy.

But if external forces act -- they can counter act entropy.

They can cause a decrease in entropy in an open system, yes. But it's important to keep in mind that those external forces can either be the product of an intelligence, or they can occur naturally. It's also important to keep in mind that there must be an overall increase in entropy. It's fine to have a localized decrease in entropy--which can be either the result of an intelligence (such as air conditioning) or natural (lake freezing over) as long as you have a greater increase in entropy somewhere else.

I guess my main point here is that entropy is not simply "disorder." That's a good starting point for thinking about entropy, but it's an oversimplification, and really only applies when you're looking at order/disorder on the molecular level.

The main factors in determining the entropy of a system are:
- the temperature of matter in the system. All other things being equal, hotter material has more entropy than colder material.
- state of matter in the system. A solid with molecules in a regular, crystalline pattern has less entropy than a liquid, where molecules are free to move about but have to stick together, which in turn has less entropy than a gas, where molecules can fly about pretty much independently of other molecules.
- arrangement of atoms in molecules. All other things being equal, a single molecule with 1000 atoms has less entropy than 100 molecules with 10 atoms each.

"Disorder" at a macro scale doesn't really enter into the amount of entropy a system has. A set of papers neatly arranged in a filing cabinet may be more orderly than those papers scattered about randomly on the floor, but the entropies of the two are very very nearly the same. (Note the factors I gave above: both cases are at the same temperature, same state of matter, same arrangement of atoms in molecules.)

Sorry to go on for so long, but to understand why your argument fails, you need to understand that entropy is not simply "disorder," and especially not macro-level disorder.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:24 PM on February 8, 2002


Darwinian evolution is scientific theory, and the evidence supporting it is in dispute by biologists. Stephen Jay Gould, a leading Harvard biologist, has serious problems with many notions of evolution (read this excellent article, via Salon)

Does that mean it should be taught in classes? Of course! It's science. The problem with this education question is that people have tried to politicize science, and thus hampered scientific inquiry. Generally, scientists do not take sides on an issue, they merely try to disprove theories with evidence. I am certain that eventually, as science progresses, a newer and better explanation will be developed. Instead of this happening, people are taking sides, because they wrongly assume that a) proving evolution proves that there is no God or b) disproving evolution somehow proves there is a God. I'm sure you can figure out who falls on each side of this coin. Neither of them are right, because the existence of God cannot be proven or disproven by science, because the idea of God is not scientific.

I would liken this debate to Galileo's observations, which disproved the Church's geocentric view of the universe (which they actually adopted from Aristotle). The Church assumed because he disagreed with Aristotle (who's ideas they adopted thanks to Thomas Aquinas), he was comitting heresy, equivalent to denying God. The church today wrongly feels threatened by evolution, as it wrongly felt threatened by Galileo.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:41 PM on February 8, 2002


"The church" which felt threatened by Galileo was the Catholic Church. There are some churches today which feel threatened by evolution, but the Catholic Church is not one of them. Just to clarify.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:49 PM on February 8, 2002


i think that if evolution is ever proven, that churches will merely adapt to the new data and move on to worrying about something else, as they have done in the past.

ID theory is a mutation of Creationism, which will--over time--evolve into a acceptence of evolution as fact. Just like modern day christians/religionists who believe the earth is older than 6,000 years are an evolved form of the ancient christian, better suited to survival in our society. Ideas evolve. Honestly, does anyone here, using the internet, really believe the earth is only 6,000 years old? If you don't, and you are a follower of bible-religions, it is because the organization you belong to has Evolved.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:38 PM on February 8, 2002


You down with entropy? Yeah you know me...
posted by kindall at 5:34 PM on February 8, 2002


kindall - word.

DevilsAdvocate - nice explanation of entropy - thanks! I've occassionally entertained zpousman's idea, over the years, and it's nice to know that entropy isn't quite as I thought it was.
posted by epersonae at 5:59 PM on February 8, 2002


[This is good]

Sorry for my trite interruption, but someone has to say it about this thread.
posted by DaShiv at 7:18 PM on February 8, 2002


does anyone here, using the internet, really believe the earth is only 6,000 years old? If you don't, and you are a follower of bible-religions, it is because the organization you belong to has Evolved.

Not really. The 6,000 year old figure didn't appear until 1642, just after the King James Version of the Bible was published. James Ussher and John Lightfoot of Cambridge calculated those figures, using some very questionable assumptions (for example, they assumed -- contrary to Jewish tradition -- that accounts of historical lineages didn't skip any generations).

On a related note, there is ample historical basis for a non-literal (or 6 eons) interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2. Many first century Jewish scholars, notably Philo and Josephus, believed that the 6 creation days in Genesis were figurative.

Similarly, the earliest Christian scholars often (though not uniformly) rejected a strictly literal reading of Genesis 1 and 2. Martyr (c AD 100-166), Irenaeus (c AD 130-200) and probably Hippolytus (c AD 170-236) believed that the 6 creation days were each a thousand years long; Clement of Alexandria (c AD 150-220) believed that the Genesis creation days communicated order and priority but not time; Origen (c AD 185-254) taught that the Genesis creation days had a spiritual meaning, not a literal one; Augustine also believed in a figurative creation story. More contemporaneously, Francis Schaefer -- who, for all his faults, has never been accused of being anything but a Biblical literalist -- believes that the Genesis story is symbolic.

Were these men reacting to pressures from science? Obviously not. (Excluding, arguably, Schaefer). Holding, for the most part, to the strictly literal interpretation of scripture, many early Christians nevertheless viewed Genesis 1 as figurative on its face.

(A lot of opponents of Christianity try and create a straw man by refusing to recognize the possibility of any middle ground between a rabidly, unreasonably literal interpretation of scripture - which not even the fundamentalists espouse -- and a completely, unreliably figurative one; I trust that no one on MeFi will make that mistake).

I'm not at all sure that this is the proper view of scripture. But the implication that Christianity is contentless and at the mercy of rational science because it may one day change it's official position on the Genesis story is clearly unfounded.
posted by gd779 at 7:54 PM on February 8, 2002


Since Genesis is internally inconsistent (made up of two stories, the 6 day story and the garden of eden story, which contradict each other) scholars since the beginning probably chose to see it metaphorically. But I bet most lay christians took it at face value, and far fewer do these days, since there's more information available. Anyway, even if you say each day represents a thousand years, that still leaves you about 4.499988 billion years off.
posted by mdn at 8:29 PM on February 8, 2002


Back when the old testament was written, it was common practice to keep inherently inconsistent records of supposedly historical events. The idea was that it really wasn't the chronicler's job to reconcile the contradictions; let the future uncover whether one is more true, or both are somehow true. I get this from Chaim Potok's history of the Jews.

thewittyname: . In science-speak, however, the meaning of the word "theory" is almost interchangeable with that of the common usage phrase, "accepted as fact". Note how this works in the sense of "theory of gravity."

But isn't it a "law" of gravity, and not a theory?
posted by bingo at 1:04 AM on February 9, 2002


I think it was Newton's law until Einstein kinda revised it. According to relativity, gravity is the result of mass actually curving space-time.

Gravity itself, the fact that if you drop something it goes down, is just a plain old fact. How or Why that happens is a theory, and the descriptions of in which cases it happens is a law. The earlier point was that even if we're pretty certain of how/why something works the way it does, it'll still be referred to as a theory.
posted by mdn at 10:25 AM on February 9, 2002


Okay, but isn't that point wrong, because some principles are called laws, and others are theories?
posted by bingo at 10:48 AM on February 9, 2002


Perhaps another problem with intelligent design theory is that basically is a restatement of the old "god of the gaps" theory. Basically it insists that the scientific inability to explain the mechanism of a phenomenon must mean that a designer is responsible for the phenomenon. Of course one of the issues is that Behe and other intelligent designers are rather out of the mainstream of the creation science sets because they freely admit that evolution does occur pretty much as evolutionary scientists say it does with the exception of some key episodes where there are significant gaps. Of course, at least since John Dewey and more importantly quantum physics science has pretty much given up the quest for certainty and so scientists are much more comfortable with saying "we don't know" then theologians or philosophers.

In addition, I find it interesting that this discussion the theory of abiogenesis (the theory that life started from simple organic molecules) and the theory of evolution (the theory that species evolved from other species) are confused. One of the better proponents of evolutionary biology that I have heard speak used a "big Mac" metaphor for describing the current state of natural history. We have a very poor understanding of what happened in the first seconds of the universe (although what we do know makes a possibility of a god more and more remote) but we do have a very good understanding of what happened over the next several billion years. We don't know very much about how life first got started on our planet, but we do have a very good understanding of what happened after it got started. The last bit of fuzziness (the bottom bun) involves the evolution of human consciousness.

The big problem with intelligent design is that it replaces "we don't know" with "ahah! There was a designer"
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2002


Perhaps another problem with intelligent design theory is that basically is a restatement of the old "god of the gaps" theory.

Wrong, just dead wrong. Dembski's work, for example, is all about mathematically eliminating the possibility of chance as an explanation for life. It has nothing whatsoever to do with any knowledge gaps that might exist in the theory of evolution. Similarly, Behe's work can only be classified as a "god of the gaps" argument AFTER you've debunked it... which no one has yet been able to concretely do. (Orr's argument may be intuitive, and it is probably persuasive for those whose inclination to accept Darwinism prevents them from peering too closely at it, but there's certainly no concrete evidence there.) Unlike a "God of the gaps" argument, Behe doesn't argue that we can't find an evolutionary solution, he argues that there is demonstratably no possible evolutionary solution. You can question the validity of that argument, but to try and charecterize it as "god of the gaps" is a straw man.

As usual, Kirk, you're seeing what you want to see.
posted by gd779 at 11:19 AM on February 9, 2002


Heck, Dembski's work only mentions evolution tangentially. It focuses on applications in a broad range of fields, from cryptography to intellectual property law.
posted by gd779 at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2002


On further reflection, the distinction that I'm drawing between Behe's work and a "God of the gaps" argument is a pretty fine one, particularly given that God of the gaps arguments tend to masquerade as arguments similar to Behe's. The distinction is clearly valid and important, so far as it goes, but my vitroil on the point was perhaps misplaced.
posted by gd779 at 11:26 AM on February 9, 2002


RavinDave said: The concept of an ordered universe is pretty much tautologous by necessity -- after all, we don't have an "unordered" one to compare it to.

I'm not sure I understand mr roboto's problem with this sentence. It makes sense to me, and I agree with it. Our concept of what "design" means comes from events that have taken place after the universe was created; things might have worked a different way in the actual creation.
posted by bingo at 1:40 PM on February 9, 2002


Unlike a "God of the gaps" argument, Behe doesn't argue that we can't find an evolutionary solution, he argues that there is demonstratably no possible evolutionary solution. You can question the validity of that argument, but to try and charecterize it as "god of the gaps" is a straw man.

Well I suppose the devil is in the details. At least from what I've seen his argument that there is no possible evolutionary solution rests primarily on the premise that no mechanism has been found to date. Likewise statistical arguments depend on the a priori assumption that there is no mechanism working other than random chance, when in fact there may exist conditions that make a particular result inevitable. Likewise, statistical arguments don't point to the existence of a designer, only to the existence of mechanisms that reduce the possible number of trajectories within the system. For example, the distribution of height among humans is distinctly nonrandom. We don't see any humans the size of mice, or the size of elephants. This appearance of order can be explained simply by evolution without invoking the need for designer.

For example, Behe uses the examples of bacterial flagellum, which do not function unless all genes are active and working. Of course, in this he is stacking the deck by using a feature for which we can provide no fossil evidence, and by using a species for which we have a minimal natural history. Basically, it is the same argument used by early anti-Darwinists. "Look at man! There is no possible way that we could have evolved from simpler creatures because man is just too darn complex!" Many years later we do have a much better view of the evolution of mammals. The same argument was made with the eye, but again we have, if not a complete picture of how eyes evolved, a good enough picture that we can propose a hypothesis from light sensitivity in skin, to more complex organs.

But in many ways, it is a god of the gaps and a rather dishonest one by pointing to aspects of evolutionary biology that microbiologists freely and honestly admit that we would probably never be able to find an answer. However there is a good justification for using the principal of parsimony. We know that evolution works for natural selection for many different features, including some extremely complex features. So do we then assume that evolution works for only some features an arbitrary different number of features were "designed". And why do many of the features most frequently pointed to as "designed" seem to have arisen multiple times with radically different solutions in different branches of the evolutionary tree? Why would a designer choose to design eyes independently three different times, at three different points in history? In addition, the complexity of many basic pathways in metabolism would seem to argue against a designer. For example, why do many plants use a more inefficient form of photosynthesis? Why does the metabolic pathway used to process basic sugar start with the same metabolic pathway found in anaerobic bacteria, and then is pasted onto a pathway used to process three carbon compounds, before producing a rather clumsy way to get rid of toxic ethanol?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:57 PM on February 9, 2002


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