Keeping the lid on — and the science out

As a long-ago biology major, I once shared romantic notions of scientific geniuses like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein shrugging off critics of their paradigm-changing theories and following the physical evidence wherever it led.

I now know that science is sometimes sacrificed to ideology, as exemplified by the recent scandal at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit and the ongoing attempt to silence proponents of Intelligent Design (ID).

More than 800 Ph.D.-level scientists around the world are seriously considering ID to explain the origin of life, but you’d never know it. Most do so clandestinely for fear of being ostracized by their peers or even forced out of their academic positions.

Some have secretly contacted the Discovery Institute (www.discoverinstitute.org) after researching ID, said Stephen C. Meyer, author of “Signature in the Cell” — now in its fifth printing and one of Amazon.com’s top 10 science titles.

Others, like Cold War dissidents making furtive contact with the West, arrange discreet meetings to discuss what “evolutionary biologists don’t want to talk about: The origins of the information in the digital code of DNA necessary to produce life.”

When former Cambridge biochemist Douglas Axe computed the chances that the four amino acids that form DNA could self-arrange themselves into just one functional protein, he found it was 1:10164) — or less than the odds of finding one marked sub-atomic particle in the entire observable universe.

In other words, the evolutionary story now universally taught to students fails to account for the origin of the basic information that forms the very blueprint of life. Yet even though most of the scientific establishment rejects the notion of an intelligent designer, Meyer says nobody has come up with a better explanation.

Ironically, attempts to discredit ID have turned it into forbidden fruit on college campuses. Many recruits are grad students who understand the complex nanotechnology of the cell and the dead-ends in Darwinian evolution much better than their professors. “It looks like engineering,” Meyer says. “Replication. Digital code. We own the metaphors. They know the future is with us.”

The day before a debate in Shrewsbury, England commemorating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth in February, Meyer quietly met with some of the top biologists in the United Kingdom who wanted him to know they “were on our side” despite the “reflexive hostility” shown by evolutionists who resist the theistic implications of ID, but find it easier to brand its adherents as “creationist whackos” than to address the numerous deficiencies in Darwin’s theory.

“The actual evidence shows that major features of the fossil record are an embarrassment to Darwinian evolution; that early development in vertebrate embryos is more consistent with separate origins than with common ancestry; that non-coding DNA is fully functional, contrary to neo-Darwinian predictions; and that natural selection can accomplish nothing more than artificial selection — which is to say, minor changes within existing species,” writes Discovery Institute senior fellow Jonathan Wells, who has two Ph.D.s from Berkeley in molecular and cell biology. “Faced with such evidence, any other scientific theory would probably have been abandoned long ago. Judged by the normal criteria of empirical science, Darwinism is false.”

Isn’t it interesting that the vast majority of Americans have never heard any of these scientific challenges to Darwinism even though the scientific method is based on questioning existing theories? “If we’ve defined science such that it cannot get to the true answer, we’ve got a pretty lame definition of science,” Axe said.

Amen to that.

Barbara F. Hollingsworth is The Washington Examiner’s opinion page editor.

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