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AS I SEE IT: An open mind reveals we are not here by chance

By MARCUS L. SCARBROUGH - Special to The Star
Date: 03/21/00 

On Charles Darwin's 191st birthday, a tribute to him written by Liz Craig, a self-described "fan of science" who is also a member of Kansas Citizens for Science, was published in The Kansas City Star's "As I see it" column. As most people know, Darwin is heralded as the first to bring forth the argument that supports random chance as the explanation for the appearance and development of life on Earth. This theory is known as the theory of natural selection or, more popularly, evolution.

Craig stated that some nonscientists dispute Darwin's work based on its religious and sociological implications. I think that if Darwin were alive today, he would dispute his own work based on proven molecular biology.

In his Origin of Species, Darwin acknowledged that, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modification, my theory would absolutely break down."

The concept of a system with irreducible complexity effectively refutes Darwin's theory. This concept is described by Michael Behe, an associate professor at Leigh University who has a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, as a single system that is composed of several interacting parts, where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to cease functioning.

This means that such a process cannot evolve in stages because all of the parts that make it work must be present at one time. Two examples given by Behe are the numerous proteins that help comprise the ciliated cells in your respiratory tract and the protein tracking system in your cells that makes the United Parcel Service look like child's play.

If you remove any one component of either of these processes, you die. You can't "evolve" and develop these systems over time because without the core irreducible pieces, you can't live.

The concept of intelligent design has been purported by many as a valid explanation for the origin of life on Earth. Craig participated in a public forum on evolution on KCPT's "Week in Review" on Jan. 14, where she characterized intelligent design as a religious belief.

The Intelligent Design Network, Craig's counterpart in the KCPT forum, defines intelligent design as a scientific theory of origins and development. Its basic tenet is that intelligence is required to account for the order and complexity observed in the universe and living systems. Intelligent design is most elegantly reflected in the functional, interrelated, information-processing systems found in organisms.

Nowhere do I see that this group is attributing creation to a deity.

I think that as our "fan of science" and the formal scientific community at large examine this theory in a rigorous, scientific, unbiased and nonprejudicial manner, they will see that intelligent design is responsible for life as we know it.

Until then, let's leave religion and the Bible out of the discussion. We can discuss that once you open your mind to the possibility that we are not here by chance.

Marcus L. Scarbrough is a resident in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. He received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Kansas State University and his doctor of medicine from the University of Kansas.

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