Ann Gauger's Response to My Themelios Review

Agauger wrote

I believe that life looks designed because it is designed …

I find it interesting how people (such as engineers) who are trained to design things may see the world as designed. I’m a statistician, trained to understand probability, and I see randomness everywhere.


Astute observation. Note, also, that I both see randomness everywhere and “design” everywhere too.

This is perfectly sustainable as a theological or philosophical position if we are diligent in rejecting bad scientific arguments in support of design. The potential legitimacy of “design” as a theological claim, however, is a very bad reason to presume with can some how come to the same conclusion when limited to language, rules, and tools of science.

If all ID proponents want is for divine “design” to be a legitimate proposition in the larger conversation, they could just drop the scientific case which is all to often laden with problems.


So, I’m just realizing that after Ann’s next article, there are going to be 7 articles published that reference me at ENV this month. Is that a record? What does it mean?

One thing I want to say about this set of articles is that they are focused on substantive issues, and do not have any hint of ad hominem. I’m very thankful for this, and hope we will return this good will by doing the same.

1 Like

60 posts were split to a new topic: Side Comments on Ann Gauger’s Response to Themelios Review

Ann’s final article is here:

There are interesting things coming to the surface here, but it bears emphasizing that I had only 2,000 words to address a 1,007 page book, 2 words per page. This is just the opening part of an ongoing conversation. It is to be expected that I did not deal with every point in the review, and leave many questions unanswered.

I’ll be reaching out to @Agauger, and if there is interest, I’ll be publishing my next entry in this exchange in the coming weeks.

I would be interested to see if @Agauger could explain why she thinks recombination rates and chromosomal rearrangements should occur at any constant or predictable rate. We expect substitution mutations to tick along at a reasonably constant rate, but I haven’t seen anyone ever claim that chromosomal rearrangements and large recombination events should behave the same as substitution mutations within the auspices of neutral theory.


A post was split to a new topic: Side Comments on Ann Gauger’s Response to Themelios Review

I agree that ID is valid as a philosophical view, and from certain religious views. I have encountered a fair number of people who ignore the theological implications of ID.


Why comment anything further?

Are you asking her because she is a practicing scientist doing research in this area? Or because she is a paid staffer of DI?

Since most mutations come from the father the Y chromosome should have accumulated more substitution mutations since the split with the chimp lineage. This is what we find, as noted by Dr. Gauger:

Then Dr. Gauger makes this strange statement:

Without going too deeply into all of the issues within that statement, the one that really jumps out (at least to me) is why Dr. Gauger thinks that the rate of indel mutations and recombination events can be directly compared to the rate of substitution mutations. These involve very different mechanisms, so I am wondering if she has any reason for thinking that the number of bases affected by recombination, insertion, and deletion should be the same as the substitution rate, or that the indel and recombination rates should be predictable like the substitution rates are.

1 Like

My question still stands "why is Ann Gauger relevant? Is she at the forefront of analyzing ancient genomes? Is she part of a lab or an institution doing cutting edge research on genomes?

She is relevant in the small world of ID/creationist debates, but not outside of it. This isn’t meant as a criticism, either. There are tons of really good scientists out there who aren’t big players in their scientific field.

The one positive is that Dr. Gauger is willing to engage in meaningful scientific discussions.

1 Like

Scientific discussions about what? non-scientific items? As far as I can tell, she isn’t a practicing scientist any more.

I don’t know how appropriate it is to directly post links to discussions at BioLogos, so I hope the mods can forgive at least one transgression. Dr. Gauger has a few posts in the thread below and makes meaningful additions to the conversation.

Dr. Gauger has published with Dr. Axe over at BioComplexity. Say what you want about the quality of the journal, but at least there is some real bench work found in the paper. As far as I know, Dr. Gauger is still employed by the Discovery Institute where she has access to a lab, and in my discussions with her she was planning future experiments. I have a lot more respect for ID proponents who actually handle some pipettes now and again.


BioComplexity journal is an ID journal. Marks is editor in Chief, Axe is Editor. They have published about 5 papers in the past few years total - all supporting ID. This is psuedoscience.

I was focused more on the effort than the results, along the lines of the old saw, “it is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all”.

1 Like

Well then I would like to suggest a subscription to the Journal of Improbable Results.
Improbable Research » Blog Archive

1 Like

I would say if you found THREE that embrace ID with no interest in its theological implications… that would qualify as “a fair number”.

I think the vast majority of ID proponents have an “interest in the theological implications” of design arguments. But the point is that theological premises are not smuggled into the arguments for design. I have asked over and over again for opponents of ID to show me where, in Signature in the Cell, No Free Lunch, Darwin’s Black Box, etc., an ID proponent assumes the truth of some religious belief and bases his argument (mathematical, genetic, whatever) for design on that. So far not a single atheist or EC/TE proponent has produced a single passage.

In contrast, the arguments against ID by Ken Miller, beaglelady, etc., along the lines of “If nature is designed, then God must be a horrible, cruel monster, and I won’t accept such a God,” are arguments built on religious premises. The arguments of Darrel Falk, Ken Miller, John Polkinghorne and others that God would not want to tyrannize over nature (by determining evolutionary outcomes) but would give it some “freedom” (and hence leave evolution somewhat open-ended) are also arguments built on religious premises.