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+--Forum: The ID-files
+---Topic: The Dean Kenyon Story started by Tom Ames


Posted by: Tom Ames on June 03 2003,02:18

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!
Posted by: charlie d on June 03 2003,11:47

I think Behe would qualify.  

He had 31 papers, including several in PNAS and JMB up to 1996.  Later in 1996, DBB comes out.  Since then, a 1997 in Biochem Biophys Res Commun, and something that looks like a review (or a theoretical paper - I don't have access) in 1998 in DNA Seq.  After that, nothing.

Sad, really...
Posted by: Tom Ames on June 03 2003,13:24

Quote (charlie d @ June 03 2003,09:47)
I think Behe would qualify.  

He had 31 papers, including several in PNAS and JMB up to 1996.  Later in 1996, DBB comes out.  Since then, a 1997 in Biochem Biophys Res Commun, and something that looks like a review (or a theoretical paper - I don't have access) in 1998 in DNA Seq.  After that, nothing.

Sad, really...
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I was thinking of Wells, also, but there wasn't much productivity before he "came out" as a public voice for ID.

Keep 'em coming, folks!

Maybe we can compile these stories into a "Catalog of Scientific Decrepitude" (CSD). I envision a lot of graphs showing catastophic decline in output and citation index, coincident with the public adoption of an ID stance.
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