Darwinian apologists absent from conference on evolution research

Structure of DNA
Where do you get your information?

Thomas Cudworth explains at Uncommon Descent.


From June 17 to June 21, 2011, at the University of Oklahoma (Norman) campus, the conference “Evolution 2011” was in session.  It was co-sponsored by three scientific societies – The Society for the Study of Evolution, The Society of Systematic Biologists, and the American Society of Naturalists.  It was billed by its promoters as “the premier annual international conference of evolutionary biologists on the planet.”

That billing may be somewhat hyperbolic, yet two things are clear:  the conference was huge, with an expected turnout of 1400-1500 people; and many of the big names of evolutionary biology were to be there.  Jerry Coyne was to give an address; H. Allen Orr was to chair a session; and Gunter Wagner and Sergey Gavrilets, cutting-edge biologists from the famed 2008 Altenberg conference, were to be there as well.  Hundreds of papers were scheduled, and the research contributors to the various papers and presentations, according to the index for the conference, numbered something like 2,000.

[…]Let’s start with those Darwin defenders who are actively anti-religious or show contempt for religion in their writings and internet remarks.  Conspicuously absent from the list of conference contributors were evolutionary champions Richard Dawkins, P. Z. Myers, Larry Moran, and Eugenie Scott.

Among those who have not attacked religious belief, but have violently bashed ID and/or passionately upheld neo-Darwinian theory, Paul Gross (co-author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse) and plant scientist Arthur Hunt (who has debated ID people live and on the internet) were not listed as contributors to any of the papers.

Among those who were active in the Dover ID trial, as witnesses for the plaintiffs, the no-shows include Kevin Padian, Robert Pennock, and Brian Alters.

Among the prominent Christian Darwinists, i.e., theistic evolutionists/evolutionary creationists, only Ken Miller was going to be there, and not to read a scientific paper, but to issue a cultural manifesto on why evolution matters in America today.  The leading figures of Biologos – Darrel Falk, Dennis Venema, Kathryn Applegate, David Ussery, David Kerk, Denis Lamoureux – who have so often been presented, explicitly or implicitly, as experts on evolutionary biology – produced no papers for this conference.    British scientists Oliver Barclay and Denis Alexander, who have posted several guest columns on Biologos, are not mentioned.  The frequent UD commenter and Quaker TE Allan MacNeill, who has penned hundreds of thousands of words on UD and on his own blogs, apparently couldn’t manage 5,000 or so words for an original research paper for the conference, nor could the belligerent Calvinist TE and almost as prolific anti-ID blogger Steve Matheson.

Here’s why I think this is significant. The people who are the most aware of what intelligent design scholars are publishing in their books and research papers are these Darwinian apologists. They are the ones who know what has to be proven by the Darwinian side in order to counter the research being done by the intelligent design side, e.g. – the protein synthesis papers by Ann Gauger and Doug Axe. So at a major research conference on evolution, you would expect that they would have some research to present to counter the pro-ID research. But there isn’t any.

What I suspect is that the Darwinian side is going to be focused on proving the things that the ID already agrees with as being naturalistic – micro-evolution, adaptation and so forth. That’s what the conference will be about. But the conference will not be about responding to the really hard questions that are required for evolution to be a seamless explanation for all that we see. And that is telling. I see P.Z. Myers writing blog posts that are read by atheists and accepted as true. But what I don’t see is PZ Myers presenting the research to back up his blog posts in a real academic conference. And I especially don’t see PZ Myers agreeing to participate in public debates against pro-ID scholars.

Here are some papers from pro-intelligent design Biologic Institute researchers:

D’Andrea-Winslow L, Novitski AK (2008) Active bleb formation is abated in Lytechinus variegatus red spherule coelomocytes after disruption of acto-myosin contractility. Integrative Zoology 3: 106-113. doi:10.1111/j.1749-4877.2008.00086.x

Axe DD, Dixon BW, Lu P (2008) Stylus: A system for evolutionary experimentation based on a protein/proteome model with non-arbitrary functional constraints. PLoS ONE 3: e2246. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002246

Sternberg RV (2008) DNA codes and information: Formal structures and relational causes. Acta Biotheoretica doi:10.1007/s10441-008-9049-6. PMID: 18465197

Gonzalez G (2008) Parent stars of extrasolar planets – IX. Lithium abundances. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Online Early Articles doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13067.x

Duren RW, Marks II RJ, Reynolds PD, Trumbo ML (2007) Real-time neural network inversion on the SRC-6e reconfigurable computer. IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks 18: 889-901. PMID: 17526353

Gonzalez G, Laws C (2007) Parent stars of extrasolar planets VIII. Chemical abundances for 18 elements in 31 stars. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 378: 1141-1152. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.11867.x

Gravagne IA, Marks II RJ (2007) Emergent behaviors of protector, refugee and aggressor swarms. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics 37: 471- 476. PMID: 17416173

Weinschenk JJ, Combs WE, Marks II RJ (2007) On the avoidance of rule explosion in fuzzy inference engines. International Journal of Information Technology and Intelligent Computing 1, #4.

Gonzalez G (2006) Condensation temperatures trends among stars with planets. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 367: L37-L41. doi:10.1111/j.1745-3933.2005.00136.x

Gonzalez G (2006) The sun’s interior metallicity constrained by neutrinos. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 370 : L90–L93.

Gonzalez G (2006) The chemical compositions of stars with planets: A review.
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 118: 1494-1505 (invited review paper). doi:10.1086/509792

Gonzalez G (2005) Habitable zones in the universe. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 35: 555-606. doi:10.1007/s11084-005-5010-8

Keller D, Brozik JA (2005) Framework model for DNA polymerases. Biochemistry 44: 6877-6888. PMID: 15865433

Shapiro JA, von Sternberg R (2005) Why repetitive DNA is essential to genome function. Biological Reviews 80: 227-250. Review. PMID: 15921050

von Sternberg R, Shapiro JA (2005) How repeated retroelements format genome function. Cytogenetic and Genome Research 110: 108-116. PMID: 16093662

Axe DD (2004) Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds. Journal of Molecular Biology 341: 1295-1315. PMID: 15321723

Lu H, Macosko J, Habel-Rodriguez D, Keller RW, Brozik JA, Keller D (2004) Closing of the fingers domain generates motor forces in the HIV reverse transcriptase. Journal of Biological Chemistry 279: 54529-54532. PMID: 15385563

Keller D, Swigon D, Bustamante C (2003) Relating single-molecule measurements to thermodynamics. Biophysical Journal 84: 733-738. PMID: 12547757

von Sternberg R, Cumberlidge N (2003) Autapomorphies of the endophragmal system in trichodactylid freshwater crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Eubrachyura). Journal of Morphology 256: 23-28. PMID: 12616572

Bustamante C, Keller D, Oster G (2001) The physics of molecular motors. Accounts of Chemical Research 34: 412-420. PMID: 11412078

D’Andrea-Winslow L, Strohmeier G, Rossi B, and Hofman P (2001) Identification of a Na/K/2Cl cotransporter (NKCC) in sea urchin coelomocytes: microfilament dependent surface expression mediated by hypotonic shock and cAMP. Journal of Experimental Biology 204: 147-156. PMID: 11104718

Gonzalez G, Brownlee D, Ward P (2001) The Galactic Habitable Zone: Galactic chemical evolution. Icarus 152: 185-200. doi:10.1006/icar.2001.6617

Axe DD (2000) Extreme functional sensitivity to conservative amino acid changes on enzyme exteriors. Journal of Molecular Biology 301: 585-595. PMID: 10966772

von Sternberg R (2000) Genomes and form. The case for teleomorphic recursivity.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 901: 224-236. PMID: 10818573

Wuite GJ, Smith SB, Young M, Keller D, Bustamante C (2000) Single-molecule studies of the effect of template tension on T7 DNA polymerase activity. Nature 404: 103-106. PMID: 10716452

Axe DD, Foster NW, Fersht AR (1998) A search for single substitutions that eliminate enzymatic function in a bacterial ribonuclease. Biochemistry 37: 7157-7166. PMID: 9585527

Axe DD, Foster NW, Fersht AR (1996) Active barnase variants with completely random hydrophobic cores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 93: 5590-5594. PMID: 8643620

Gauger AK, Goldstein LS (1993) The Drosophila kinesin light chain. Primary structure and interaction with kinesin heavy chain. Journal of Biological Chemistry 268: 13657-13666. PMID: 8514798

So there is plenty there to refute – if there were refutations available.

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