I have to make this post because I’m getting bored of seeing the same tropes circle around in the pro-ID community. The two I have in mind here are two extremely grandiose and unsupported conclusions that ID proponents appear to have hallucinated from some articles that simply don’t support them.
1. Attempts to construct the minimal cell is not relevant to understanding the origin of life.
The first I have in mind is the idea that it has somehow been shown that a form of life simpler than a cell with 256 genes could not exist. This idea is apparently derived from the Craig Venter institute’s work on trying to design what they call “the minimal cell”, or “the cell with the minimal genome”.
I keep running into creationists and ID proponents propagating the falsehood that this is thought, intended, or implied to represent the first form of life to come into existence at the origin of life, or an attempt to make the simplest possible form of life.
It is not, and that idea is not supported anywhere in ANY of the references. It is not found in the introduction, or in the discussion, or in the conclusion in any of the references given in support of the claim. It is not in any popular press articles, and to my knowledge have not been stated anywhere in a presentation by any of the scientists working on those projects.
It is a fantasy entirely dreamt up by creationists and ID proponents. It appears to be what ID proponents want the results to imply. But that is all it is, a want inside the privacy of their heads. And once it comes out in the real world, it fails to make contact with any putative supporting evidence.
2. Experiments on fruit fly development do not even remotely imply that the gene regulatory networks that establish basic body plans could not have evolved.
Another trope that rears it’s ugly head here and there is the idea that basic body patterning genes, such as those that control bilateral symmetry, could not have evolved. This one seems to be based on various experiments done on fruit flies. Some where scientists have tried to select for things like asymmetry and failed to produce any are then interpreted by creationists to mean the symmetrical body patterning could not have evolved in the first place.
And even worse is where scientists have simply been using experiments designed to look for essential genes, and thus deliberately put mutations into genes to deactivate them, the idea being that if the mutation causes lethality, the deactivated gene must have been essential.
These results are then taken to by creationists to simultaneously imply both that basic body plan patterning could not evolve in the first place, and that any and all mutations in these only lead to death. As with the previous trope, none of these are of course implied by any of these experiments, nor stated in any of the publications on them, nor believed or supported by any of the authors of those experiments. Because it simply doesn’t follow nor is it even weakly indicated.
These tropes have been debunked probably hundreds of times on the internet, and yet they keep circulating apparently completely uncritically in the ID community, some times even finding their ways to people who ostensibly claim to not be creationists or ID proponents (such as James Tour). And yet they’re demonstrably false.
Dear ID proponents and creationists who post here, please stop propagating these historical and scientific falsehoods. If you see others within your community who regurgitate them, you should tell them to stop. They’re myths.