Joined: Dec. 2002
The Dean Kenyon Story
How an ID perspective ruined my career
Dean Kenyon is an interesting fellow. In 1969 he wrote a book on then-current origin-of-life theories, in which he advanced the hypothesis that primordial proteins may have arisen because of the intrinsic self-assembly properties of amino acids. The book, "Biochemical Predestination", is moderately well cited in the relevant literature during the early 70s (peaks of 13 citations in '72 and '75), but drops off quickly thereafter.
Kenyon's publications drop off quickly too: he published NOTHING of a scientific nature after 1975.
The recent ID propoganda piece "Unlocking the Mysteries of Life" tells the story this way: in 1975, Kenyon was faced with a dilemma. His theory of a primordial protein world, if true, would not account for how protein sequence information could have ended up in an unrelated molecule, i.e., in DNA. Kenyon realized that his theory was fatally flawed. His response to this realization? To decide that "ID did it", and to literally give up on the project. On all projects, in fact. (Although Kenyon did go on to co-author "Of Pandas and People").
[Side note: at around this time, Thomas Cech was developing the system that would lead to the discovery of ribozymes -- molecules that could simultaneously catalyze chemical reactions and code for their own primary structure. The implications of this led to the RNA-world hypotheses for the origin of life. Cech won the Nobel Prize.]
This story should be pointed out to the scientific wannabes (Mike Gene, are you there?) who claim that an ID perspective is useful to expand the creative direction of a research program.
Does anyone else have anecdotal correlations between a scientist's explicit adoption of an ID stance and the drying up of his productivity? Please share!