I am going mildly nuts right now—somehow, I managed to arrange things so multiple deadlines hit me on one day: tomorrow. I’ve got a new lecture to polish up for our introductory biology course, a small grant proposal due, and of course, tomorrow evening is our second Café Scientifique. Let’s not forget that I also have a neurobiology lecture to give this afternoon, and I owe them a stack of grading which is not finished yet. I’m really looking forward to Wednesday.
Anyway, so my new lecture for our introductory biology course is on…creationism, yuck. What I’m planning to do is to describe some of the most common creationist arguments and then give a biologist’s rebuttal. Creationism is really a waste of our class time, but using it to explain some general concepts that any informed biologist should understand (and that the creationists, including Mike Behe, are astonishingly clueless about) will make it a little more productive, I hope. We’ll find out tomorrow.
One of the common creationist claims I plan to shoot down is the whole idea of “irreducible complexity” as an obstacle to evolution. I was going to bring up two ideas that invalidate it: the principle of scaffolding (which I discussed here), and exaptation, in which features evolved for some other purpose than the one that they play in an organism we observe today. I was looking for a good example, and then John Wilkins fortuitously sent me a paper that filled the bill (we evilutionists, you know, are sneakily sending each other data behind the scenes to help in our assault on ignorance. We’re devious that way.)