Thursday, June 04, 2009

Acts & Fiction: Werner Arber and the ICR, Again

Lawrence Ford of the ICR has a rebuttal article in this month's Acts & Facts, in which he supports Jerry Bergman's original conclusions in his article of June of 2008 in which he called Nobel Laureate physiologist Werber Arber a "Darwin Skeptic." Arber issued a sharp criticism of the ICR in general and Bergman in particular, following that article. Ford writes:
Our September 2008 issue featured the article "Werner Arber: Nobel Laureate, Darwin Skeptic" by Dr. Jerry Bergman, a frequent contributing author. While not labeling Dr. Arber a creationist, Dr. Bergman demonstrated to readers that this brilliant scientist has included God in his equation when considering the origin of life.
While quite true, that was not the point of Bergman's article in the first place and it sure as all get out wasn't what fueled Arber's response. When asked by Bergman about the origin of life, Arber, in his initial response to Bergman's article, said this:
On solid scientific grounds one cannot expect to discover if a Creator as defined by religious beliefs and sometimes referred to as intelligent design or God's Will, could be responsible for the origin and subsequent evolution of life. Serious scientific investigations can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God or a possible impact of God on evolutionary processes. In our civilization, both scientific knowledge and religious beliefs contribute essentially to our orientating knowledge, but these two sources of our worldview should not be intermingled.
Sounds okay to me. But here's the problem. That wasn't the point of the original article. In the originial article, Bergman stated that Arber was a Darwin skeptic. Arber responded that he was nothing of the sort:
In conclusion, I am neither a "Darwin skeptic" nor an "intelligent design supporter" as it is claimed in Bergman's article. I stand fully behind the NeoDarwinian theory of biological evolution and I contributed to confirm and expand this theory at the molecular level so that it can now be called Molecular Darwinism.
In response to this, the ICR state that:
Dr. Bergman's correspondence with him and review of the original materials supports the conclusions of the Acts & Facts article. Those who rely on macroevolution as the source of life stand on shaky ground because of the obvious design in molecular structures. Creationists, however, have no trouble finding an explanation--life was designed by God.
This is patently false. Dr. Arber's response in no way supported the conclusions of Jerry Bergman's article, which sought to portray Werner Arber as someone who did not accept evolution. Whether or not Dr. Arber believes in God is irrelevant. Further, there was nothing in Dr. Arber's response that indicated that he did not accept macroevolutionary mechanisms. Questions about the origin of life do not encompass evolutionary theory. Of course Dr. Arber would respond by saying he didn't know about the origins of life. That is not part of his research.

More Acts and Fiction from the ICR.

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