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The monkey sentence returns, this time in a sophisticated version

The theory of "intelligent planning" considers the existence of a super-planner a scientific determination. Darwinists see this as another attempt to push God into science

Michael stared. "It is rational for us to conclude that these systems were designed" At the heart of the controversy over intelligent design is the following question: Can a scientific explanation for the history of life include the actions of a higher power? The theory of intelligent design (Intelligent Design) is a school of thought, there are those in the US who claim that it should be taught in schools alongside the theory of evolution. Its followers believe that the complexity and diversity of life is above and beyond the explanations that evolution can offer. Miraculous biological phenomena - such as the optical precision of an eye, the tiny "engines" that move bacteria and the array of proteins that cause blood to clot - are, they claim, proof of the handiwork of a higher being operating in the world. Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and one of the leading theorists advocating intelligent design, compares, to illustrate his argument, complex biological phenomena such as blood clotting to a mousetrap: take one part - the spring, the base or the metal part that impales the mouse - and the trap will not be able to trap mice. In the same way, claims Baha, if one or more of the 20 proteins involved in blood clotting are absent or do not function properly, as is the case with hemophiliacs for example, the clotting will not take place properly. Such systems, of "all or nothing", say the followers of the intelligent design theory, could not have been created through cumulative changes, which, according to the followers of evolution, allowed life to develop from a primitive bacterium to the human brain based on its capabilities. Such complex systems "always involve planning," said Beha. "We find such systems in biology, and since we know of no other way in which they can be created, including the Darwinists' claims, it is rational for us to conclude that they were designed." This is an argument that appeals to many believing Americans. 404 scientists signed, some retracted them Evolution correctly predicted that fish would not have certain clotting proteins (Photo: Reuters) But mainstream scientists say that the claims of intelligent design contradict more than a hundred years of research, which supports the explanatory and predictive power of Darwinian evolution, and that the idea of ​​intelligent design suffers from fundamental problems , placing it outside the scope of science. First, they say, reliance on a higher power is unscientific. "One of the laws of science is that you shouldn't rely on miracles," said Douglas Irwin, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, "this is a basic assumption in what we do." This does not mean that scientists do not believe in God. Many of them believe. But they see science as an effort to discover how the physical world works, without saying why we are here or how we should live. And within the framework of this ambition, they say, there is no need to turn to explanations that are not of this world. Evolutionary studies have provided so much evidence that biologists can explain even the most complex natural phenomenon and fill in gaps with solid theories. This is largely possible because evolution leaves traces, such as fossilized remains of ancient animals or DNA findings uncovered in genetic research. While Beh and other supporters of the design theory recognize, for example, the blood clotting system as the product of design, mainstream scientists see it as the result of a sequence of evolutionary events. They believe that early vertebrates had a simple system of a few proteins that made blood clot, said Russell Doolittle, a professor of molecular biology at the University of California, San Diego. At a certain point, they assume, an error that occurred during DNA replication caused a gene to be duplicated, thus increasing the number of proteins produced by cells. Usually such a change is useless. But in this case, the excess protein helped with blood clotting and animals that had it had a greater chance of surviving and reproducing. Over time, more developed species evolved, and additional proteins joined the blood clotting system. For example, some of the proteins involved in clotting seem to have started life as enzymes that aid in digestion. Through the study of the evolutionary tree and the genetics and biochemistry of living organisms, Dr. Doolittle said, scientists have largely succeeded in determining the order in which various proteins involved in blood clotting were made, and over time created the sophisticated mechanisms in humans and other evolved animals. The study of the genome of various animals provided evidence to strengthen this position. Scientists expected, for example, that more primitive creatures, such as fish, would not have certain coagulation proteins, which has recently been shown to be true by deciphering fish genomes. Proponents of intelligent design published their ideas in books for the general public and in a small number of scientific articles. Some of them developed mathematical formulas, designed to determine whether something was designed or created by a natural process. Mainstream scientists say that intelligent design is a more sophisticated, and therefore more tempting, attack on evolution. Unlike creationists, proponents of the theory of intelligent design accept many of the conclusions of modern science. They agree with cosmologists that the age of the universe is 13.6 billion years, and not less than 10,000 as can be deduced from reading the Holy Scriptures as they are. They agree that mutation and the process of natural selection, which are the central mechanisms of evolution, have sometimes operated in the natural world, for example in the degeneration of the eyes of certain salamanders, which live underground. Some even accept the idea that the origin of species is from a common ancestor - one of the cornerstones of evolution. A large majority of scientists agree with the theory of evolution. Still, the "Discovery Institute", a research group that began operating in Seattle as a center for the intelligent design movement, claims that 404 scientists, including 70 biologists, signed a petition questioning the Darwinist concept. However, some of those scientists have since published a denial of this use of their name. Many scientists see intelligent design as nothing more than the creationist theory disguised in a pseudoscientific guise. According to them, despite the use of scientific language and the fact that some of the followers of the theory are scientists, the intelligent design approach has so far offered only philosophical arguments against evolution, without any findings for the intervention of a higher power. The bacteria that might convince Darwin. Some of its details may be disputed, but no one in the mainstream questions its basic assumptions (Photo: University of Miami) If Prof. Beh's mousetrap is one of the arguments most familiar to followers of planning, another argument is the idea that intelligence is clearly visible in what it creates. Read a story by Ernest Hemingway, look at the pyramids. In all of these, the hand of a planner stands out, say the proponents of planning, who claim that mainstream scientists are unwilling to look beyond the material world when it comes to issues such as the function of the eye or the movement of bacteria. What's wrong, they ask, with testing the idea that what appears to be the product of planning, is actually created as a result of planning? "If we define science in a way that it can't get to the real answer, that's a pretty poor definition," said Douglas X, a molecular biology researcher and director of research at the Biological Institute, a new research center in Seattle that also deals with issues related to intelligent design. Dr. Ax said he received "significant funding" from the Discovery Institute, but declined to provide details about the institute or the funding. Steven Meyer, director of the "Center for Science and Culture" at the Discovery Institute, compares the planning approach to the work of archaeologists studying ancient culture. "Imagine that you are an archaeologist who examines an inscription and says to himself, 'Sorry, this seems reasonable, but I cannot use such an explanation because within the framework of the research method, we must limit ourselves to material processes,'" said Dr. Mayer mockingly and added: "They said it was a miracle, call it By any name you want, but the fact remains that the material point of view is a fragmented perception of reality." Mainstream scientists say that the scientific method is indeed limited to the material world because it tries to find out how it works. According to them, the words "it must have been planned" are simply a way to avoid dealing with the most difficult problems. It is not that they are opposed to examining phenomena that do not yet have explanations. But they oppose the assumption that there was a master planner, because there is no biological evidence for his existence, and in fact no scientific proof. In contrast, Darwin's theory provided such solid findings that no mainstream biologist today questions its basic assumptions, even if he disagrees with some of its details. The theory solved many of the mysteries of nature. By studying the skeletons of whales, for example, evolutionary scientists have been able to reconstruct the history of their descent from land-dwelling, small-hoofed mammals. They made predictions about what the first whales that lived in the water would have looked like, and indeed, in 1994, paleontologists discovered two such species, which had many of the characteristics that scientists had predicted. Proponents of design theory are careful to say that they cannot identify a designer in the world, although they are quick to make it clear that God is the most likely possibility. And they give different answers to the question of when, how and how often the planner intervened. Prof. Beha, for example, said that he could imagine the possibility that the planning data was "entered" into the universe already when the big bang occurred, 13.6 billion years ago. However, he added, it is also possible that the designer has been at work continuously throughout the history of life. Mainstream scientists say that this obscurity about when and how the alleged planning took place makes disproving the claims impossible. It does not make sense, in their opinion, for the followers of planning to demand that every detail of evolution be clear and known. Advertisement But Beh insists he might be convinced if scientists can observe evolutionary leaps in the lab. He pointed to an experiment being conducted by Robert Lansky, a professor of microbial ecology at Michigan State University. Lenski has been following the evolution of this E. coli bacterium for more than 15 years. "If he finds out something, that will be one way to convince me," said Beha. According to him, if he is right, the bacterium in Lansky's laboratory will evolve only in small steps, and never in a way that gives it completely new abilities. In fact, such an ability seems to have already developed. Dr. Lansky said that his experiment was not designed to test this aspect of evolution, but nevertheless, "we recently discovered a dramatic exception, in which a new and very surprising function developed." Lansky refused to provide details before the experiment was completed and published. But, he said, "If someone bases his faith in God on the assumption that the results of our experiment will not include a major biological innovation, I humbly suggest that he reconsider the distinction between science and religion."

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