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Shroder Responds on Intelligent Design

This is from Tom Shroder, editor of the Post magazine:

I think it's easy to overlook the truly interesting point in the horrendously named "intelligent design" theory. Which is not that someone "intelligent" must be tinkering with DNA (unless that refers to someone in a lab coat with a bioengineering patent in his pocket), but that the idea that random mutations alone could result in all the variety and adaptations of life forms we see in the world is hard to believe. I'm no biologist, but I'm taking those folks at their word when they say that there are highly complex structures in the human immune systems that would require millions (or billions?) of individual mutations to come into being, yet no amount of those mutations alone would have any adaptive value at all. You need all of them, working together, to get the benefit. So how does that happen to evolve, randomly? You don't have to jump to the conclusion that "God did it" to find that intriguing. There are lots of things in nature where new, previously unidentified forces had to be discovered to explain the observable facts on the ground. So maybe there's something else -- as yet unknown -- at work in evolution, besides simply random mutation and natural selection. -- Tom Shroder

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 10, 2005; 4:49 PM ET
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