Monday, June 7, 2010

Conceding the Debate

Bilbo at Telic Thoughts comments on remarks by Craig Venter who recently succeeded in coaxing a cell to accept the synthesized DNA from a different species. An article in Technology Review says of this feat:

Venter also points to what the cells--powered by genomes made in a lab from four bottles of chemicals, based on instructions stored on a computer--reveal about what life is. "This is as much a philosophical as a technological advance," he says. "The notion that this is possible means bacterial cells are software-driven biological machines. If you change the software, you build a new machine. I'm still amazed by it."

Bilbo says that Venter has in these four sentences conceded the debate over intelligent design to the IDers. I think he's right, but materialists will surely object. If they stay true to past practice one thing they can be counted on to do is criticize IDers for quoting them. Darwinian materialists hate it when IDers quote their own words because it's so unfair to have to be on one's guard all the time, fearing that one's frank admissions will be used as evidence against one. It's misleading, too, because it should be understood that materialists would not be nearly so clear and forthright if they knew that their antagonists would be taking their words seriously and embarrassing them with them.

As for Venter's statement, it's exactly what IDers have been saying for almost thirty years: Cells are software (information) driven biological machines. Neither information nor machines are the product of random processes conjoined with physical forces. Four bottles of chemicals mixed together for billions of years by wind and sun would never produce a library of coherent information. Neither would they produce DNA. Only a mind can do that and Venter pretty much acknowledges the fact.

I'm sure he's already received dozens of emails from colleagues telling him to just shut up.


Everyone Has Their Price

Renowned blogger Mickey Kaus has entered the Democratic primary against incumbent California Senator Barbara Boxer and, in the spirit of Democratic political machinations, has announced that he can be bought off if the Obama administration is willing to bribe him with any of three jobs. Kaus declares that he could be persuaded to drop out of the race by being offered:

--Head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that he could push for an actual physical fence on the Mexico border to stop illegal immigrants and to end the "anointed incumbent...Boxer's obsessive talk of amnesty, sorry, 'a path to citizenship'" that actually acts as a powerful lure for even more illegal immigrants.

--Second, Kaus kindly offers, Obama could put him on the National Labor Relations Board so he could thwart "Big Labor's attempt to add to their dwindling memberships by avoiding secret ballots in union organizing drives."

--Finally, Kaus offered to accept an administration job offer to the Department of Education to write "a scathing report" on California teachers' unions and their deleterious impact on the state.

Kaus is tweaking the Democrat establishment, of course, particularly the Obama administration which has been embarrassed by revelations that they have been bribing primary candidates with offers of jobs in the administration.

His announcement is pretty funny, especially since Kaus is a liberal, or at least I always thought that he was, and you might expect that he would have actually supported the positions he skewers. I doubt that he'll be welcome at many Democrat functions after this.


Wrong Gig?

You gotta watch the drummer. Steve Moore is his name. I don't know how hard all of this is to do, but it certainly looks impressive, and the video has apparently gone viral. You can read about Moore here. Enjoy.

The ZZ Top tune is perfect for this guy.

Thanks to Hot Air for the video.