Disco Goes Digital

Disco Goes Digital:
[Via Good Math, Bad Math]

It sometimes seems like every day, some “intelligent design” bozo comes out with another book rehashing the same-old crap. I usually ignore it. But this time, I felt like the promotional materials for one of the new books really stepped right into my part of the world, rhetorically speaking, and so I figured I should give it a quick smackdown.

The book in question is Stephen C. Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell”. Meyer’s argument basically comes down to one that is seems like we’ve heard and dealt with a thousand times already. There’s stuff in the cell which looks kinda-sorta like a machine if you look at it in the right way, and since machines were designed, therefore so were cells.

If that’s all he said, I’d just ignore him. Why rehash the same old shit? But no. This time, the DI needed to add a youtube video, which makes some amazingly strong, unsupported claims.

[More]

Really nice computer-generated video but the idea that the metaphor of a machine makes these protein complexes real machines, meaning they must be constructed, is really flawed.

Metaphors are used to simplify things. Calling a ribosome a molecular machine is a metaphorical representation of a large biological structure with multiple pieces of RNA and upwards of 80 proteins. It does not make it a machine. Putting a tiger in your tank represents the power the gas provides not the fact that the gas company put a feline in your car.

Arguing science by misplaced metaphors is not likely to produce the best research in the long run. But I guess it lets some people publish some books supported by cool computer graphics.

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