Friday, March 21, 2008

Antibiotic Resistence

Dr. Michael Egnor authored the blog entry titled Dr. Larry Moran, Darwinism, and Vicious Personal Invective at Evolution News and Views. Some personal invective from biochemistry professor Larry Moran is the focal point. The initial barrage was aimed at Dr. Jonathan Wells, who dared to suggest that recent research, related to bacterial resistence to antibiotics, was made independently of Darwin's theory. Egnor was also a target. The rhetoric can be viewed at the link. The insults were laced with predictable but unimaginative verbiage like "Idiots" and "lying for Jesus." So what else is new?

What do Moran, Myers and other wannabe tough guys get out of their poddy mouth antics? The approval of their readers? Promotion of the jackbooted image? And why is it so important to them to liken design to ignorance when ignorance is the byword aptly describing empirical supporting evidence for a non-design origin of life theory?

There is a practical effect of denigration that is worth noting- it tends to freeze fence sitters. Humans possess a herd instinct. Most of us do not like to buck popular opinion particularly when its spokesperson is an authority figure. Who is likely to say of another: "He raises a good point."- if the he is being demonized by one's college professor? Few have that kind of moral courage.

Here is Egnor's description of what Wells said from the linked blog entry:

…Darwinian evolution had nothing to do with [the research]…some bacteria happen to have a very complex enzyme (acetyltransferase), the origin of which Darwinism hasn’t really explained…And although an understanding of genetics is important when dealing with antibiotic resistance, Darwin’s theory of the origin of species by natural selection is not…they were not guided by Darwinian evolutionary theory [Emphasis mine] Dr. Wells pointed out that research on antibiotic resistance wasn’t guided by Darwinian evolutionary theory. That evolution occurred — that is, that the population of bacteria changed over time — is obviously true, and obviously was relevant to the antibiotic resistance research. Dr. Wells made the observation that the research owed little to Darwin’s theory that all biological complexity arose by natural selection without teleology.

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