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  Topic: Biological Information: New Perspectives, The Springer Book Flap< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 1999
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2012,22:58   

During another discussion of the Biological Information: New Perspectives "conference" John Colliers reported on the 2007 ‘Wistar Retrospective Symposium’:
A few years ago I was sucked into a conference run by the Discovery Institute. Some the ID people were sincere and perhaps naive. One had done their PhD at Cambridge, and another at Northwestern, under David Hull, my own mentor. I was a bit annoyed at finding I had been duped, but was pleased to renew friendships with Dan Brooks, Bob Ulanowicz, Bruce Weber and some others, as well as meeting Gunther Wagner and Steve Chaitin, and hearing Stuart Kauffman's confusion once again about spontaneous self-organization (Prigogine style self organizing systems) and movement to a minimal energy point.

Michael Behe was there, and we talked. He is a nice guy, unlike the cads at the Discovery Institute. I had refereed a paper of his responding to criticism in Philosophy of Science. Since the criticism was both wrong and poorly argued, I thought he must have his say (as did the other reviewer, a prominent philosopher of biology whose name I am pledged not to reveal). A warning to those attacking ID: these people are much brighter than your garden variety creationists, and do be careful that you know what you are talking about, or else you guarantee them a refereed publication. In this case the original paper should never have been published.

Behe conveniently missed my talk in which I mentioned recent work showed that rotary "motors" in bacteria resulted from just two mutations, contrary to Behe's argument that they are too complicated for evolution to produce. I also showed how Rosen's non-reducibility argument applied to the resulting network, which Chaiting remarked was the clearest expression of the idea he had seen. So the meeting was worthwhile. But I still resent being duped.

cross posted at Panda's Thumb

"[...] the type of information we find in living systems is beyond the creative means of purely material processes [...] Who or what is such an ultimate source of information? [...] from a theistic perspective, such an information source would presumably have to be God."

- William Dembski -

  297 replies since Mar. 05 2012,07:36 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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