QUOTE(Moulton @ Fri 11th April 2008, 3:18pm)
Now take a look at the entirety of that otherwise unnamed petition that circulated in academia in 2001 (before the DI gave it a name and spun it into a PR campaign for ID)...
QUOTE(The 32-word unnamed petition)
We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.
I happen to think it's a poorly worded pair of sentences, since Darwin's Model (descent with random modifications) addresses neither the origin of life nor the complexity of life. James Tour, whose nano-technology group engineers extremely complex organic molecules says he has no idea how such complexity arose in nature. He (and a lot of us) would love to know. But science doesn't yet have a viable theory for how DNA-based self-replicating organic systems ever got started in the first place.
Examining the evidence therefore seems a sensible way to begin answering interesting questions that Darwin's Model doesn't address: How (and where) did DNA-based life begin, and how did such astonishingly complex mechanisms arise out of the laws of organic chemistry?
Moulton, I don't know if you had referred to the actual wording of the petition before here on WR (I don't remember you doing that), but it has done much to clarify and sharpen the issue for me, a non-scientist. I would appear to me that The New York Times
made the error of adding 2+2 and coming up with 100, and the Wikipediots further compounded the error by coming up with a thousand. Whether the petition is badly worded for the reason you suggest or not, it does not strike me as a neccessarily anti-Darwin, anti-evolution or pro-ID petition. It just expresses doubt about random mutation and natural selection as the explanation for the complexity of life, and calls for a closer examination of the evidence. So what? Aren't scientists supposed to
take a skeptical view (in the modern sense of the word)?
Even if we assume that the petition was a clever ruse by the Discovery Institute to rook a number of unsuspecting scientists into signing on to just one particular principle that the ID polemicists also advance, what of that? Is that any real excuse compound and extend the humiliation suffered through the adverse publicity through the means of a Wikipedia BLP especially designed to give undue weight to the incident? Just who, exactly, appointed these assholes, most (if not all) of whom are non-scientists like myself, to serve as judge, jury and executioner over the professional reputations and careers of these unfortunate scientists? Outrageous!
All the more reason to say
Hasten The Day!