I was thinking about Intelligent Design and I thought of the old children’s game that we used to play – Pin a tail on the donkey. The children competing would be blindfolded and each would be given a tail with a pin in it. They would have to guess the correct position of the donkey and pin the tail where it was supposed to go. Get the tail in the right place and you are a winner.
This is a bit like finding a protein that works by random mutation. The protein that works is the donkey with the tail in the right place.
The key variables are the size of the available space for your pin and the number of people trying to stick the pin in the right place.
Of course there is not just one right sequence that works and gives a selective advantage and there are of course many more players in protein building than children at a party. However the key question is - how realistic is it to think that random mutation and natural selection are sufficient tools to build all the proteins and protein combinations that are required to explain biology as we know it?
If we made our illustration realistic….
- How big would the board space be for sticking the pins in?
- How big would the area be that give a selective advantage?
- How many tails need to be stuck on how many donkeys at once?
- How many children do we need on the board to make life as we know it a realistic achievement for chance mutation and natural selection?
These are the big questions for ID research. One would have thought that biologists would agree that these are really exciting questions to be asking. This is the area where there is a real possibility for the main mechanism proposed for evolution to be falsified and shown to be unrealistic. That surely makes this research great science and exciting science.
That is the sort of research that Doug Axe is trying to do…. But it isn’t being funded by the usual biology funding pathways. He has developed a good method. He has published good work in the field. When you mention that he works in the Biologic Institute to the Darwin faithful at best you get a sneer at worst a snarl and curses!
You could put his decisions down to one big weird publicity stunt or say that the fellow has lost his marbles or you could say that there is more going on in modern molecular biology than a disinterested pursuit of the truth…wherever it leads.
I have a hunch that it isn’t just a publicity stunt and that his marbles are pretty much all present and correct and that he might be right and he might be able to demonstrate that he is right. I hope so and wish him well!