May 30, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Leading Evolutionist Provides His Best Proof: HIV

[Guest article]  Sarah Crown reports in the Guardian Unlimited (“Why Creationism Is Wrong”) on biologist Steve Jones’ speech to a crowd at an English bank holiday, the Hay Festival:

The aim of the talk, he explained, is to establish the testability and therefore prove the truth of evolution.  After gaining the audience’s sympathy with a few well-aimed gags at the creationists’ expense …he waltzed them off at top speed on a whistle-stop tour of evidence for that evolution, this fundamental theory which he described as “the grammar of biology”.

Eagerly anticipating the end of a long search for the elusive proof, the reader is presented with Jones’ greatest proof of evolution:

“…the progression of the HIV epidemic.  This example proves illustrative when it comes to the other great principle of evolution, natural selection: if you contract the HIV virus, Jones explained, your chance of remaining asymptomatic depends on your possession of a protective gene.  Chimpanzees, in whom the virus first appeared, tend to have the protective variant; in Africa it is becoming more common; in Europe it remains rare.  However, said Jones, if he were to make an evolutionary prediction, it is that in 1000 years time, every one of us will possess the protective gene, rendering the HIV virus no more harmful than flu.

In his concluding remarks, he had nothing more to offer:

He stuck with the example of HIV in his concluding examination of the ways in which we as humans are evolving now.  While we have as a species evolved very little on a genetic level for many thousands of years, Jones said, there are other ways in which we have, quite clearly, evolved dramatically.  Despite our extreme physical susceptibility to HIV, for example, we do, unlike chimps, have the power to contain the epidemic, via education and the development of drugs – cultural and intellectual evolution, in other words.  “There are,“ he concluded, “intelligent designers out there.  But they work for the pharmaceutical industry.“

The reviewer ends with a lament that Jones uses a “religious“ metaphor:

The only problem, in the end, is that Jones was – to use an inappropriately religious metaphor – preaching to the converted this morning.  One is left wishing that the 100m American creationists – or the one in three people in the UK who allegedly believe that the universe was designed – could be made to listen to him talk.  Surely even they would find it difficult to resist him.

In a related article in The Guardian, Jones said he has given up trying to confront creationists directly.  (See 04/21/2006 bullet on Jones’ podcast, “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution Is Right.”)

That’s it?  Surely there must be something more concrete than this.  Again, we have witnessed microevolution slipped in cleverly in place of some real evidence for macroevolution
    So, the evidence that we evolved is that we now have the ability to design intelligently, by evolving it.  The evidence of millions of years of random events worked on by natural selection is a creature that can design intelligently.  No proof here – only a logical non-sequitur
    They would find him difficult to resist only because they have never been taught the truth.  Unless Jones can, in the words of ID champion Phillip Johnson, follow the evidence wherever it leads, he is as much a preacher of religion as any pastor on the podium on Sunday morning
    The evidence here of course, leads nowhere if one if trying to reach Evolutionary Promised Land.  Weeding out information from the human genetic code to gain resistance to HIV is not evidence of evolution, it is evidence of loss of information.  It is evidence of natural selection, but where did the information come from in the first place?  Jones skipped right by that problem, and for good reason: he had no answer.

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Categories: Intelligent Design

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