Weirdest Anti-Evolution Bill Ever


Rep. Rick Brattin of Missouri has submitted what may be the strangest anti-evolution bill ever. HB 291 is, in some ways, a standard “teach intelligent design along with evolution” bill, but when you dig into the details and definitions in the bill you’re just left shaking your head. It starts out tamely enough, with this silly but standard definition of ID:

(3) “Biological intelligent design”, a hypothesis that the complex form and function observed in biological structures are the result of intelligence and, by inference, that the origin of biological life and the diversity of all original species on earth are the result of intelligence. Since the inception of each original species, genetic material has been lost, inherited, exchanged, mutated, and recombined to result in limited variation. Naturalistic mechanisms do not provide a means for making life from simple molecules or making sufficient new genetic material to cause ascent from microscopic organisms to large life forms. The hypothesis does not address the time or sequence of life’s appearance on earth, time or formation of the fossil record, and time or method of species extinction. The hypothesis does not require the identity of intelligence responsible for earth’s biology but requires any proposed identity of that intelligence to be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation.

So just some vague and non-identified “intelligence” created life on earth — but not God, remember. Never call it God because then it would be obvious that they’re just talking about a religious belief. But then it goes into extraordinary detail on all of the various “concepts inherent within the hypothesis” of ID, including:

(a) The origin of life on earth is inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism;

(b) All original species on earth are inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no significant mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic development of earth’s species from microscopic organisms;

Notice so far that these are purely negative, “not evolution, therefore God” — I mean, therefore the unspecified “intelligence” that created all the “original species on earth.” And note the change from “plausible mechanisms” in the first part to “significant mechanisms” in the second. That’s rather odd.

(c) Complex forms in proteins, enzymes, DNA, and other biological structures demonstrated by their constituent molecules in regard to size, shape, quantity, orientation, sequence, chirality, and integration imply intelligent design was necessary for the first life on earth. Intelligence is capable of designing complex form;

(d) Complex functions demonstrated by growth, reproduction, repair, food metabolization, waste disposal, stimuli response, and autonomous mobility in microscopic organisms imply intelligent design was necessary for the first life on earth. Intelligence is capable of designing complex function;

Translation: “Wow, that’s really ‘complex.’ God must have done that.”

e) Within the history of human experience, all exhibits of recurring discrete symbols from a set of symbols arranged in a specific sequence which store information and can be read by human intelligence, is itself the result of intelligence. DNA contains stored information for the assembling of proteins and enzymes which can be read by humans and is the result of intelligence. The recurring discrete symbols sequenced within DNA which store information are the molecules adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine;

Seriously? The amino acids are “recurring discrete symbols”? Talk about bizarre analogies.

(f) Intelligence-directed design and construction of all original species at inception without an accompanying genetic burden is inferred rather than random mutational genetic change as a constructive mechanism. Random mutational genetic change results in an increasing genetic burden and species degradation rather than species ascent;

A terrible argument. Remember Michael Behe’s idea that God may have built all future evolutionary developments into the genetic code of the first cell, to lay dormant for hundreds of millions of years until they are expressed to develop new functions. Talk about a “genetic burden” — and one that then requires the invocation of a miracle to keep from being turned into gibberish by mutations that can’t be weeded out by natural selection because they don’t code for anything.

(g) Intelligence-directed action is necessary to exceed the limits of natural species change, which is a combination of autogenous species change and environmental effected species change. Multi-generation breeding experiments illustrate the limits of natural species change and its inadequacy for developing required genetic information found in dissimilar species;

So “natural species change” combines “autogenous species change” (change that arises from within) and “environmental effected species change” (change arising as a result of environmental change), but these things have “limits” that are never defined. Where is this limit? At the genus level? Family? Order? They don’t say, of course, because they can’t.

(h) The irreducible complexity of certain biological systems implies a completed design and construction at inception rather than step-by-step development, as indicated by the structures observed for sight, hearing, smell, balance, blood coagulation, digestion, and hormone control;

*yawn* Like this claim hasn’t been disproven many times, including by Behe himself on the witness stand in the Dover trial.

(i) The lack of significant transitional forms between diverse species existing today and in the fossil record implies all original species were completed at inception rather than by a step-by-step development from other species. A lack of transitional forms is illustrated by the appearance of large complex life forms in the Cambrian fossil record without any significant previous fossils;

That’s an old chestnut from the creationist jokebook. Still bullshit.

And here’s where things really get weird. Among the alternatives to evolution that they want taught: destiny.

(4) “Destiny”, the events and processes that define the future of the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, earth, plant life, animal life, and the human race and which may be founded upon faith-based philosophical beliefs;

Uh, what? And then there’s the definitions of hypothesis and theory:

(7) “Hypothesis”, a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion which may lack acceptance because it is a new idea, contains faulty logic, lacks supporting data, has significant amounts of conflicting data, or is philosophically unpopular. One person may develop and propose a hypothesis;

(9) “Scientific theory”, an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy. The inferred explanation may be proven, mostly proven, partially proven, unproven or false and may be based on data which is supportive, inconsistent, conflicting, incomplete, or inaccurate. The inferred explanation may be described as a scientific theoretical model;

Swing and a miss. Not even close. Not even close to being close. The best part is that Brattin, the sponsor of the bill, told a local paper, “I’m a science enthusiast. I’m a huge science buff.” No you’re not. You’re another ignorant creationist blathering about things you are utterly clueless about.

Comments

  1. says

    “Seriously? The amino acids are ‘recurring discrete symbols’? Talk about bizarre analogies.”

    Sure, but it sounds like it has science-iness. … Like truthiness applied to science.

  2. Taz says

    Multi-generation breeding experiments illustrate the limits of natural species change and its inadequacy for developing required genetic information found in dissimilar species

    Citation needed. I’d like to see the published results.

  3. John Hinkle says

    Sounds like the Discovery Institute found another sucker and sent him the same old bull puckey with different gift wrapping AND a ribbon this time.

    The Discovery Institute: just can’t seem to scrape them off your shoe.

  4. parasiteboy says

    I Wonder if he pulled the definition of a hypothesis and a theory from his own ass or if they are definitions that are given in creationist text books. If it’s the latter then I am beginning to understand why they don’t believe in evolution, since they do not understand the basics of the scientific method

  5. unbound says

    The really sad part is that these bills might have a chance of surviving basic scrutiny if they would stop putting in things that were dis-proven long ago (e.g. complexity of the eye argument). I guess this goes hand-in-hand with the level of stupidity required to try to push the bill forward in the first place…

  6. jameshanley says

    Biological intelligent design

    When did they start adding “biological” to “intelligent design”? Is this the next stage in the evolution of the name, as they keep looking for a form that will be successfully selected in the law and politics ecological niche?

    Hypothesis”, a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion which may lack acceptance because it is a new idea, contains faulty logic, lacks supporting data, has significant amounts of conflicting data, or is philosophically unpopular

    And pi=3.

    The hypothesis … requires any proposed identity of that intelligence to be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation.

    Oh, then you guys are so screwed.

    The lack of significant transitional forms between diverse species existing today and in the fossil record implies all original species were completed at inception rather than by a step-by-step development from other species

    Uhm, where are the ancient homo sapiens fossils that your theory says must be there?

    Complex forms…imply intelligent design was necessary

    So an intelligent designer for the intelligent designer is necessary? And an intelligent designer was necessary for that intelligent designer, and…? “Don’t worry kid, it’s intelligent designers all the way down!”

  7. says

    “Where is this limit? At the genus level? Family? Order? They don’t say, of course, because they can’t.”

    Yes they can. Baraminologically, it’s at the “Kind” level. I mean, really, Ed Brayton, it’s basic Biblical Creationism…I mean…science.
     

    “The best part is that Brattin, the sponsor of the bill, told a local paper, ‘I’m a science enthusiast. I’m a huge science buff.’ No you’re not. You’re another ignorant creationist blathering about things you are utterly clueless about.”

    Yes he is. In the same vein, I have no idea how they work and I still qualify as a vagina enthusiast.

  8. jnorris says

    Since Rep. Rick Brattin definition of a Hypothesis doesn’t need any supporting data, he doesn’t have to provide any at all. And without data to teach the science teachers can just ignore the whole thing.

  9. eric says

    Within the history of human experience, all exhibits of recurring discrete symbols from a set of symbols arranged in a specific sequence which store information and can be read by human intelligence, is itself the result of intelligence

    Seriously? The amino acids are “recurring discrete symbols”? Talk about bizarre analogies

    Aw, Ed, you don’t see the beauty of this whopper. I’m loving this one. Na..Cl…Na…Cl… aliens built my salt crystal!!!!

  10. DonDueed says

    Apparently there was no intelligent designer prior to 1953. But after we figured out how to read the sequence of nucleic acids in the DNA, the designer was retroactively poofed into existence.

  11. raven says

    Within the history of human experience, all exhibits of recurring discrete symbols from a set of symbols arranged in a specific sequence which store information and can be read by human intelligence, is itself the result of intelligence.

    1. This isn’t true at all. DNA stores information and isn’t read by human intelligence necessarily, although we can do so with modern instruments.

    This is just the latest lies of creationists and I’ve heard it several times in the last month.

    “Creating information requires a creating intelligence.” By which they mean goddidit.

    The fact is natural processes like evolution can create information and we see this often on short for human timescales. It’s just an assertion without proof by ignorant religious kooks.

    We also see it in astronomy, pulsars and the cosmic microwave background.

    The usual. If their religion was true, they wouldn’t have to lie all the time.

  12. scienceavenger says

    What in the world does he mean by “original species”? The Cambrian explosion critters? If so, then how does he explain he we got from them to us? Or does he mean “the first example of each species”, which would have his designer busy throughout history up to the current day.

    The hypothesis does not require the identity of intelligence responsible for earth’s biology but requires any proposed identity of that intelligence to be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation

    Is he saying that God is now subject to the scientific method? Strange indeed.

    (7) “Hypothesis”, a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion …
    (9) “Scientific theory”, an inferred explanation [that] may be proven…

    So a proven explanation with minority support is a hypothesis? May I have some dressing for this word salad please?

  13. raven says

    Within the history of human experience, all exhibits of recurring discrete symbols from a set of symbols arranged in a specific sequence which store information and can be read by human intelligence, is itself the result of intelligence.

    This is sort of true if you limit it to books, and various types of computer storage.

    It is also irrelevant.

    Within the history of human experience, all self propelled metal based vehicles powered by energy sources and taht can be driven by human intelligences are the result of intelligence.

    The fact that cars exist doesn’t have anything to do with the gods one way or another.

    It’s obvious that Rick Brattin has no idea what he is talking about and just copied and pasted material from other people…who have no idea what they are talking about.

    I’d ask who elects these moron like Rick Brattin in Missouri but I already know the answer. Other morons in Missouri.

  14. lordshipmayhem says

    Yet again, we see this blathering about “proved” and “proof”. Science cannot, should not, talk about “proof” – that is for mathematics and fools who don’t know how science works.

    Theories are never proven, they are supported by the evidence – or refuted, in which case they either need to be modified or consigned to the dustbin of history. Hypotheses are not theories, as they have yet to accumulate the requisite supporting evidence and had their falsifiable predictions tested.

  15. dingojack says

    So Rick – Linear A was written by a human intelligence, therefore you can fill us in what all those Minoan inscriptions say., right Rick? Right? :)

  16. Reginald Selkirk says

    There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism;

    We can’t tell you who the Designer is (wink wink), but He is certainly supernatural.

  17. Reginald Selkirk says

    “Scientific theory”, … whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy.

    One of these is not like the others.

  18. jaytheostrich says

    @JamesHanley @7:
    “Biological intelligent design

    When did they start adding “biological” to “intelligent design”? ”

    A quick Find reveals they didn’t at least not in the quoted parts in this article. If they did, they’d eliminate the ‘spiritual’ out-of-space-and-timey part of God, and we could actually start looking for him as a being, right?

  19. baal says

    The bill’s science is completely wrong. Well some of the words are words used in science the meaning we infer from how the bill uses them is just not so. For example (and this is just 1 word from that mess) how does chirality support ID? All living things use ‘left handed’ version of molecules that could be chemically made either left or right handed mirror image. If it didn’t we’d have twice as many enzymes as we do. This supports common decent since the left handed life is making more left handed life.

  20. escuerd says

    baal @23,

    I think the typical trope is along the lines of

    “What are the chances that all 20 of the amino acids used by life would be the L-isomers? [They then proceed to calculate these chances to be .5^19 (or .5^20 if they forget glycine’s not chiral) based on a bunch of unstated, likely false assumptions.] OMG, the probability is really low. Therefore God.”

  21. eric says

    @24: that’s only 1E-6, a trivial probability. IDers typicaly don’t go “therefore God” until they get to something like 1E-180 or 1E-200. Not that it matters; for any such probability its trivially easy to produce an event less probable than the limit they say beyond which God is required. Take the positive of the power of 10 (i.e. the 180 or 200), multiply by 1.3, roll that number of six-sided dice, and you’ve produced an event less probable than the one they said required God. For 1E-180, roll 234 dice. Which takes approximately a minute to program and do in Excel.

  22. Tony says

    With the emphasis that ID advocates place on NOT referring to the intelligence that designed us as being God, perhaps we need to dig up a few of Erich Von Daniken’s books and have these school boards review them as viable science/history texts. ;-)

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