Home| Letters| Links| RSS| About Us| Contact Us

On the Frontline

What's New

Table of Contents

Index of Authors

Index of Titles

Index of Letters

Mailing List

subscribe to our mailing list:


Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site

Dr. Dembski's compass

How to lose one's way while looking for misdirection.

By Andrea Bottaro

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Updated September 19, 2003.

Leading Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC) proponent Dr. William Dembski has quoted my recent critique of the video "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" [1] in "The Myths of Darwinism", the Introduction to his latest edited book "Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing" [2]. Unflatteringly, alas, the quote is meant to illustrate a purportedly common misinformation strategy (the "Myth of Victory Past") used by "Darwinists" to surreptitiously dispatch significant objections. According to Dembski, when a valid criticism to evolutionary theory is leveled, first it is "dismissed without an adequate response", and later defined as a "discredited criticism that was refuted a long time ago", without an adequate refutation in fact ever being offered. I am fingered by Dembski as an example of how this supposed "Darwinist" conspiracy works

Here, I wish to specifically address Dembski's charge that I "misdirected" readers of my "Unlocking" critique, and argue that, in fact, it is Dembski's own compass that must be malfunctioning [3].

1. Setting off... in the wrong direction

After describing the "Myth of Victory Past" for his readers, Dembski writes:

It will help to see how this Darwinist technique of "passing the buck" actually plays out in practice. ...

Here is what Bottaro says about irreducible complexity:

The crucial argument ... widely discussed in the video, is the concept of "irreducibly complex" systems, and the purported impossibility of conventional evolutionary mechanisms to generate them. Although it was quickly rejected by biologists on theoretical and empirical grounds [ref.#6], "irreducible complexity" has remained the main staple of [Intelligent Design] Creationism. Ironically, this argument was just recently delivered a fatal blow in the prestigious science journal Nature, where a computer simulation based entirely on evolutionary principles (undirected random mutation and selection) was shown to be able to generate "irreducibly complex" outputs [ref.#7]."

This sounds quite impressive and damning until one follows the paper trail. Indeed, what are references #6 and #7 to which Bottaro refers? Reference #6 is to Kenneth Miller's book "Finding Darwin's God". Unfortunately, you won't find the promised refutation of irreducible complexity's challenge to Darwinism there." [2]

Dembski continues with a brief account of some of Miller's counter-arguments in "Finding Darwin's God", and references his own book "No Free Lunch" as the site of refutation of those arguments. Solemnly, Dembski concludes:

Reference #6 is therefore an exercise in misdirection."[2]

Well, actually, it isn't. In fact, quite ironically, Dembski has barely set foot on the "paper trail" and he's already lost. His confident statement notwithstanding, my original reference #6 is not to Miller's "Finding Darwin's God". It's unclear how Dembski even reached that conclusion, since my reference, in its entirety, reads:

"6. see for instance several articles by Dr. Ken Miller, Brown University: http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/ Accessed 6/30/03"1 [emphasis added]

As anyone can verify at the click of a mouse, that link leads to Dr. Miller's web site, where more links to a number of articles are found. Here, "Finding Darwin's God" is represented by a single excerpt from its concluding chapter, very general in tone and void of any mention of either Behe or irreducible complexity. Oddly enough, Dembski even goes as far as directly quoting Miller from what he says is my own reference, but for the life of me I cannot find that quote on Miller's web page, or any of its side-links. On the other hand, Miller's site does contain several pertinent works, including his original review of "Darwin's Black Box" and a few more articles on irreducible complexity and IDC, written both before and after Dembski's "No Free Lunch". Dembski ignores the articles I referenced, discusses an arbitrarily chosen quote from "Finding Darwin's God" (that I didn't reference), and tells his readers to trust that he already neatly disposed of all these objections in his own book [4].

Without excessively dwelling on this rather straightforward issue, if Dembski wishes to publicly accuse me of "misdirection" in my use of references, at the very least he should discuss, and direct his own readers to the references I actually give, rather than others of his own choosing.

2. A detour

Perhaps Dembski might still contend that even my real reference does not contain "the promised refutation of irreducible complexity's challenge to Darwinism"2. Except, that'd be wrong as well. As Dembski's own quote of my writing plainly shows, I never "promised" that readers would find some sort of definitive "refutation of irreducible complexity's challenge to Darwinism" in my reference #6, as he implies. What I did in fact was to simply refer readers to a source where they could find examples of the theoretical and empirical arguments based on which biologists rejected Behe's irreducible complexity [5]. Of course, it shouldn't surprise anybody that Dembski finds those arguments insufficient - or he wouldn't be today at the top of yet another list of "Darwinism doubters". Similarly, however, Dembski himself should perhaps consider the real possibility that biologists, such as myself, still find these same objections quite convincing, and his supposed refutations of them inadequate [6]. For someone like Dembski, who has been engaged in essentially the same argument for almost a decade in the absence of any significant rate of "conversion" of his opponents, this shouldn't represent a major revelation.

Truthfully, I can't actually tell what point Dembski is ultimately trying to make here. He certainly can't be arguing that biologists did not quickly reject irreducible complexity on several theoretical and empirical grounds, or that some of those grounds are not described in reference #6 (either mine, or his imaginary one). And if this is the case, and my reference accurately reflects what was "promised" in the text, then Dembski's claim to the contrary is manifestly unsupported.

3. Walking in circles

Next, Dembski goes on to deal with my reference #7. The Lenski paper [7], he informs us,

"...describes a computer simulation and thus contains no actual biology. ... The validity of this study therefore depends on whether the simulation maps faithfully onto biological reality.

Unfortunately, it does not, and the study therefore doesn't prove a thing about real-life biological evolution." [2]

There are two separate issues here. The first relates again to my alleged "myth-making". Clearly, I was not referring here to some old paper which failed to really address the issue in question and/or had since been refuted (the forms of "Myth of Victory Past" previously described by Dembski). On the contrary, I was referring to a very recently published paper, which (to my knowledge) had not been formally addressed, let alone refuted, by Dembski or any other prominent ID advocate. Unless in Dembski's eyes I am guilty of misdirection because I did not anticipate a forthcoming refutation, and didn't proactively alert my readers to it, it's hard to understand his objection to this part of my critique and supporting references.

Secondly, and more importantly, Dembski's purported refutation of Lenski still has to come. Dembski's entire justification for the dismissal of the Nature paper boils down to his claim that its computer simulation does not "map faithfully onto biological reality". Why it doesn't, however, Dembski forgets to tell us, either in Myths or (as far as I know) anywhere else [8]. Until Dembski does so, of course, he can hardly accuse me of misdirection. At most, he can charge me with incompetence, for not seeing the obvious faults he finds in the paper, but then I'd still be in such company as the paper's own authors (as well as Nature's reviewers and editors). If the alternative is to take Dembski's rain check for a future substantial and convincing refutation [9], I'll gladly stick with the other "incompetents" for the time being.

4. Conclusion -- Dr. Dembski's compass

In "Myths of Darwinism", Dr. Dembski levels against me the rather serious accusation that I misled my readers, making me a participant in the pervasive misinformation ploy he alleges "Darwinists" routinely engage in. But, Dembski assures, if his readers follow his steps on the "paper trail", they can find their way back and safely arrive to their truthful destination.

Alas, at the end of the road, it is Dembski himself who appears quite off course, having lost his way, along with a chance for restraint and careful scholarship, while looking for signs of deceit in those 2 fateful references. When the facts are examined, one finds that:

  • quite embarrassingly, in his efforts to prove my "misdirection" Dembski seems to have taken the wrong turn himself (intentionally or as a result of plain shoddiness, I can't say), all the way to a reference which is not the one I clearly pointed to;
  • contrary to Dembski's claim, the first of my references leads my readers exactly to the information I said it would;
  • the second reference, Lenski's paper, still seems to represent the fatal blow to "irreducible complexity" I said it is, and will remain so as long as Dembski and fellow IDC advocates fail to provide any meaningful rebuttal of its conclusions.

In my critique of "Unlocking the Mystery of Life", I commented on the tendency of that unfortunate "documentary" to create straw-man versions of scientific knowledge to oppose to ID philosophy. Regrettably, in his Introduction to "Uncommon Dissent", Dembski appears to have chosen the very same approach to reach his rhetorical goal: he needed a good example of his purported "Darwinian Myth", and he simply made one up.

Addendum, 8/5/03: Dr. Dembski has recently charged that my critique of "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" misleads readers. He's wrong.

Update -- September 19, 2003

Dr. Dembski has now edited and reposted (at the same URL) his "Myths" paper to correct the most obvious mistakes I pointed out in my "Compass" response. However, in trying to save himself from the previous embarrassment, he still misses the point of my reply.

In his revised piece, Dembski now goes to great lengths to enumerate all his and Behe's objections to all refutations of "irreducible complexity" found on Miller's web site, and further comments on the Lenski paper. I harbor no doubt that Dembski truly believes in his mind that all criticisms to "irreducible complexity" have been answered. However, as I already explained in "Compass", his and my convictions are irrelevant here. This is not the place to enter yet another diatribe on whose refutations of whom are stronger (I'd rather have interested readers do this themselves by checking out the references provided).

What I objected to in "Compass" was Dembski's accusation that those who do not agree with him on this are doing so in bad faith, and that when they do so publicly, as I did in my "Unlocking" critique, they are actively misleading the public and participating in some pervasive Darwinian censorship system. This old Creationist strategy is not just silly, but also inflammatory. At its core, it is just a simplistic justification for the failure of Intelligent Design Creationism, years after publication of its founding principles, to generate any research from either mainstream scientists or even sympathizers, and to make any meaningful inroads in the scientific discourse. Rather than blaming the "establishment", IDC supporters should seriously ask themselves why this is the case. This, of course, if they are serious about the potential merit of their ideas, and not just their instrumental use in political fights.

Some IDC supporters (for instance, Del Ratszch [10]) recognize these deficiencies and accept that at least some IDC critiques are well-grounded, but Dembski and others seem just comfortable deflecting criticism by stepping up their rhetoric. So be it; conspiracy theories sooner or later become the last refuge of most pseudoscientific ideas. That Dembski considers devoting twenty-odd pages to imaginary "Darwinian conspiracies" and "dirty tricks" a worthwhile use of his and his readers' time may just be another telling sign of the state of Intelligent Design Creationism.

Letter to WNYE

Mr. Laing Kandel
General Manager
New York

Dr. Joe Klein
Dept. of Education
New York

Dear Mr. Kandel and Dr. Klein:

It was recently announced by the Discovery Institute in Seattle, WA, that the New York Department of Education's WNYE television station is planning to broadcast the documentary video "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" (hereafter, UML) on July 6, 2003. While I realize that the purpose of WNYE is to provide its viewers with the broadest and most diverse information from different sources and points of view, there are a few background issues about this video that I believe you and WNYE viewers should be made aware of.

UML presents itself as a well-crafted, purely scientific documentary, while it is factually misleading in many respects, and its main purpose is propaganda for a pseudo-scientific movement known as Intelligent Design Creationism. UML has its (strategically concealed) origins close to religious fundamentalist and Creationist circles, and displays a pattern of poor scholarship, including misrepresentation/omission of key scientific evidence. Ultimately, these result in a misleading picture of the facts and of current scientific knowledge, as well as of the ultimate goals of the documentary itself. (More details about these problems are found in the attachment to this letter.)

While as a scientist I fully subscribe to the free dissemination of opinions from any source, I think you owe WNYE viewers that such background information is made available to them, so that they may properly judge the documentary's message. Addition of a disclaimer to the broadcast, explaining that the documentary presents a one-sided view of a fringe, pseudo-scientific idea rejected by the overwhelming majority of scientists, and that its main purpose is religious/philosophical in nature, would probably be sufficient to alert your viewers of the true significance of "Unlocking the Mystery of Life".

Thank you very much for your consideration. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions or require additional information.


Andrea Bottaro
Rochester, NY, 6/30/03

Unlocking the Mystery of Life -- More omissions than facts

The source:

"Unlocking the Mystery of Life" is the first and only production of an entity called "IllustraMedia". In fact, "IllustraMedia" is one and the same with "Discovery Media Productions" [11]. Discovery Media is a production company whose previous videos are devoted to evangelical topics, such as "Heaven and Hell" and "The End Times" [12]. While there is nothing wrong with an evangelical video company producing a science documentary, the fact that to do so it was felt necessary to create a "shell" production outfit highlights the aura of ambiguity that pervades the entire enterprise (more examples to follow). Furthermore, the purpose of the video as a propagandistic and religious, rather than scientific/educational tool is underscored by how UML is being publicized within fundamentalist circles. For instance, Mission Frontiers, the Bulletin of the evangelical U.S. Center for World Missions, hails it as "the most impressive evangelistic tool ever made" [13].

The contents:

As a documentary, UML is a skillful and sophisticated production, showing some well-made computer animations of cellular processes at the molecular level. In discussing such mechanisms, the video claims that the scientific evidence points to insurmountable difficulties for standard evolutionary theory, and supports instead the hypothesis that a superior intelligence directly intervened to create and/or diversify life (hence the name "Intelligent Design", or ID, Creationism [14]). The video discusses such purported evidence and devotes much of its time to the historical origins and philosophical underpinnings of the ID movement.

The fundamental question is whether ULM conforms to basic scientific standards of adherence to evidence and facts. In this, it fails at several levels. First of all, throughout the documentary mainstream scientific views, supported by the overwhelming majority of scientists, are not even independently presented. Instead, oversimplified, sometime downright scornful presentations of mainstream scientific theories and hypotheses are provided by supporters of ID (as a counterexample, the recent PBS "Evolution" series, though clearly favoring a scientific view, featured the opinions of several prominent representatives of Creationism). In UML, therefore, the viewers are treated to descriptions of scientific evidence and theories that have little connection with what is in fact going on in the science world. For reasons of space, I'll just mention a few examples.

The most glaring omission deals with UML's discussion of Origins of Life (OoL) science. The only non ID-based views on OoL discussed in the video are those proposed, in the late '60s, by one of the current ID proponents, Dr. Dean Kenyon. According to UML, those models have been later shown by Kenyon and colleagues to be insufficient to explain key aspects of early molecular and cellular evolution. In fact, most of Kenyon's original views have long been superseded by more thorough, and better empirically supported, scientific hypotheses -- indeed, it was those hypotheses and evidence that led to the demise of Kenyon's ideas in scientific circles long before ID Creationism appeared on the scene. Alas, what is arguably the current (and has been for more than a decade now) favored hypothesis about OoL, the so-called "RNA World" model [15], finds no mention whatsoever in UML. This is not surprising, perhaps, since the objections raised in UML by ID proponents to Kenyon's original theory would not stand against this new model. Thus, the viewer is given the false impression that the current scientific choice is between ID Creationism and its outright miraculous Origin of Life, or Dr. Kenyon's outdated 1960's theory. Of course, our understanding of OoL is still very limited, and highly speculative. Nevertheless, it is far more advanced and scientifically solid than the UML parody would want its audience to believe.

Other mistakes in UML include an equally superficial, almost mockingly simplified discussion of cooption, a crucial evolutionary mechanism for which in fact significance evidence exists in the biological world. UML's "experts" even commit a basic error regarding the role of nucleic acids in the cell, which are presented as uniquely involved in genetic information storage and transfer, while it is now well known that they are directly active in crucial molecular processes functionally comparable to those carried out by protein enzymes - a key piece of evidence in favor of the "RNA World" hypothesis mentioned above (and the possible reason why it also went unmentioned).

The crucial argument underlying the whole ID philosophy, widely discussed in the video, is the concept of "irreducibly complex" systems, and the purported impossibility of conventional evolutionary mechanisms to generate them. Although it was quickly rejected by biologists on theoretical and empirical grounds [16], "irreducible complexity" has remained the main staple of ID Creationism. Ironically, this argument was just recently delivered a fatal blow in the prestigious science journal Nature, where a computer simulation based entirely on evolutionary principles (undirected random mutation and selection) was shown to be able to generate "irreducibly complex" outputs [17]. While of course the video cannot be faulted for not predicting the results of future scientific research, this episode serves as a good example of the shaky grounds on which ID reasoning is built. Indeed, not only does scientific evidence continue to accumulate contradicting the ID arguments, but even more damningly, in over 10 years from the onset of the "movement", no single scientific result supporting ID has been published in the scientific literature, despite its supporters continuing claims of the existence of such results. Indeed, even the ID advocates' own journal, the electronically published Progress in Complexity, Information and Design, has failed to publish any experimental result supporting ID [18].

In short, despite the appeals by ID advocates to "let the evidence speak for itself", there is in fact no positive scientific evidence in support of ID, and on the contrary the theoretical arguments of its advocates are constantly being proven erroneous in the professional literature. To avoid facing this lack of evidence, UML resorts instead to systematic distortions of mainstream science theories and omissions of key ideas and pieces of evidence.

The people

The experts interviewed for UML, and ID advocates in general, are fond to present themselves as "scientists", often accompanied by the qualifier "a small but growing number of". In fact, most ID advocates are not scientists by any meaningful definition of the term, and their numbers (for which "small" is an overstatement) are anything but growing.

Of the experts who appear in UML, 4 can in fact qualify as bona fide scientists: Michael Behe, Scott Minnich, Dean Kenyon, and Jed Macosko. The first two hold tenured positions in Biochemistry and Microbiology, respectively, at mainstream universities, but despite their own research experience and active labs, as discussed above they have failed to produce any evidence in support of the ideas they so eloquently argue for. Dean Kenyon was scientifically active until the mid-'70s, after which he has not published further in the scientific literature (however, he has since co-authored the notorious Creationist school textbook "Of Pandas and People" [19]). [26] Jed Macosko, whose image is accompanied in UML by the qualifier "Molecular Biologist, UC Berkeley", although a Berkeley graduate and former postdoctoral trainee, in fact is not, or has ever been, on the Berkeley faculty, as that title could suggest. Indeed, Dr. Macosko is apparently not even affiliated with UC Berkeley anymore; if he was at the time of interview, he certainly was there as a junior postdoc trainee, hardly an "expert" in the field by any standards. Currently, Dr. Macosko is listed on some ID web sites as teaching chemistry at the religious La Sierra University in Riverside, CA [20], although he does not appear on the faculty list there either [21]. Such "generous" use of credentials is not unique in the documentary. One of the leading proponents of ID, William Dembski, is labeled as a "mathematician -- Baylor University" in UML, although he is affiliated with Baylor's Institute for Faith and Learning, which focuses on theology and philosophy [22]. Indeed, almost the entirety of Dr. Dembski's vast published opus, with the exception of a mathematics paper in 1990, is about various aspects of theology, apologetics and philosophy [23] (Dr. Dembski holds PhDs in Mathematics and Philosophy, and a M.Div. in Theology). Finally, Jonathan Wells, presented as "biologist" in UML, does hold a PhD in Developmental Biology from UC Berkeley. By his own words, however, he entered the program not based on any genuine interest in science and biology, but following the direction of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, with the expressed goal to "devote his life to destroying Darwinism" [24]. Not surprisingly, there is no record of Dr. Wells performing any meaningful research work after his training at Berkeley, and he has since entirely dedicated himself to anti-evolutionist propaganda (including the book "Icons of Evolution", some editions of which even contained stickers for students to deface biology textbooks [25]).

Thus, the definitions of professional background and academic affiliation used throughout UML are at the very least ambiguous, and clearly result in an inflation of the apparent academic clout and relevant expertise of the participants.

In summary, "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" is a depiction of a fringe, at best semi-scientific philosophical movement very close, ideologically and organizationally, to religious Creationism. The documentary misrepresents itself, its goals, the existing scientific evidence and its own experts in several significant ways. While it is your prerogative to air the programs that you believe best suit your audience's needs and interests, it is equally important that your viewers be provided with information that may help them put this product's contents and purpose in the appropriate context. This is necessary not only in the spirit of openness and full disclosure, but also to avoid that your broadcast of the documentary appear as an implicit endorsement of this new form of "stealth" Creationism by one of the largest Departments of Education in the country.


[1] "Unlocking the Mystery of Life - More Omissions Than Facts", in "Bottaro's Letter to WNYE", at the National Center for Science Education web site: http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/
, accessed 7/29/03, and above.

[2] http://www.designinference.com/documents/
pages 12-16. Accessed 7/29/03

[3] My primary concern here is to uphold my professional standards, as well as the contents of my "Unlocking" critique, against Dembski's misguided accusation. However, substantial criticisms can in fact be raised to Dembski's other claims regarding Miller's and Lenski's work. At the risk of being accused of another round of myth-making, I would refer the reader to the comments by Nic Tamzek and others (see http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=44bf3b362e138e2a;act=ST;f=2;t=90, and links therein. Accessed 7/29/03.

[4]Paradoxically, Dembski seems here to engage in diversion tactics himself: first, my reference of Miller's site turns into a reference to "Finding Darwin's God", then Miller's numerous and complex arguments in that book get distilled into just his 4 counterexamples of "evolved" irreducible complexity. Finally, Dembski simply declares he has definitively shown those to be faulty in "No Free Lunch" -- case closed. In fact, whether he successfully did it or not (arguable, but that's beside the point here), that can hardly be considered a wholesale refutation of "Finding Darwin's God", let alone of the many arguments against irreducible complexity raised by biologists I was referring to in my text.

[5]For irreducible fans of the controversy, there are luckily many other freely available critiques of irreducible complexity on the web, in addition to Miller's. Among the best are several at www.talkorigins.org and www.talkreason.org (links found here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html and http://www.talkreason.org/index.cfm?category=10. I particularly recommend Pete Dunkelberg's recent overview "IC Demystified": http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/icdmyst/ICDmyst.html and, closer to my own field of expertise, Matt Inlay's discussion of immune system evolution: http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/Evolving_Immunity.html). An often entertaining series of exchanges between several ID advocates, including Dembski, and my U of R colleague H. Allen Orr can be found at the Boston Review web site (http://bostonreview.net/BR21.6/orr.nclk; http://bostonreview.net/BR22.1/BR22.1.nclk; http://bostonreview.net/BR27.3/orr.nclk; http://bostonreview.net/BR27.5/exchange.nclk). All sites accessed 7/29/03.

[6] I suspect this very inability to accept even the possibility of honest disagreement, out of absolute self-assuredness and/or lack of internal critical feed-back, is in fact the origin of some of IDC's recurrent and often bizarre conspiracy theories about "darwinian censorship" and the likes, such as Dembski's "myth" discussed here.

[7]Lenski RE, Ofria C, Pennock RT, Adami C. "The evolutionary origin of complex features." Nature. May 8 2003; 423 (6936):139-44

[8] To be fair, Dembski goes on to offer a cursory explanation. The authors, he says, begged the issue of irreducible complexity

"by requiring of their simulation that complex features exhibiting complex functions can always be decomposed into simpler features exhibiting simpler functions... There is no evidence that real-life irreducibly complex biochemical machines can be decomposed this way." [2]

As pointed out by Tamzek, however, this can't really be Dembski's reason for rejecting Lenski's conclusions, since Dembski himself has previously conceded this very same point:

That an irreducibly complex system may have subsystems that have functions of their own (functions distinct from that of the original system) is therefore allowed in the definition."

from "Still Spinning Just Fine: A Response to Ken Miller", http://www.designinference.com/documents/2003.02.Miller_Response.htm.

This is actually just one of several Dembski's statements on the same subject, quoted in the previously linked Antievolution.org thread by Tamzek).

[9] Cynics could say they almost see a strategy emerging:

When a valid criticism ... is first proposed, it is dismissed without an adequate response, either on some technicality or with some irrelevancy or by simply being ignored. ... Thereafter, the criticism becomes known as "that discredited criticism that was refuted a long time ago". [2]"

But of course, according to Dembski only "Darwinists" do that, so I am looking forward to his forthcoming refutation of Lenski's paper.

[10] Nature, Design, and Science (SUNY Press, 2001), see also: Del Ratzsch: Nature, Design and Science Transcript .

[11] Verifiable by a "WHOIS" search for the domain name "illustramedia.com". Accessed 6/30/03

[12] http://www.discoverymedia.org/dm_products_page.htm Accessed 6/29/03.

[13] http://www.missionfrontiers.org/2002/06/PDFs/Unlocking_Mystery.pdf Accessed 6/28/03.

[14] For an in-depth discussion of ID Creationism, see "Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics", Robert T. Pennock, ed, MIT Press, 2001, ISBN 0-262-16204-0; review in http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~cheathwo/Phil100/nytimes.html Accessed 6/30/03.

[15] http://www.lawrenceroberge.com/RNAWORLD.htm Accessed 6/30/03.
http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/21438?fulltext=true Accessed 6/30/03.

[16] see for instance several articles by Dr. Ken Miller, Brown University: http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/ Accessed 6/30/03.

[17] Lenski RE, Ofria C, Pennock RT, Adami C. "The evolutionary origin of complex features." Nature. May 8 2003; 423 (6936):139-44

[18] http://www.iscid.org/pcid.php Accessed 6/29/03.

[19], reviewed at the National Association of Biology Teachers web site http://www.nabt.org/sub/evolution/panda1.asp Both accessed 6/30/03.

[20] http://www.iscid.org/jed-macosko.php; http://www.lasierra.edu/ Both accessed 6/30/03.

[21] http://www.lasierra.edu/resources/phonelists/phonename_m-s.html Accessed 6/30/03.

[22] http://www3.baylor.edu/IFL/ Accessed 6/28/03.

[23] http://www.designinference.com/documents/05.02.CV.htm Accessed 6/30/03.

[24] http://www.tparents.org/library/unification/talks/wells/DARWIN.htm Accessed 6/30/03.

[25] Links to reviews of Icons of Evolution can be found at the National Center of Science Education's web site http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/
Accessed 6/30/03.

[26] Note added July 8, 2003: Since this letter first appeared on the web, Dr. Kenyon kindly and quickly informed me that he has in fact one scientific publication later than the mid-'70s: "A Comparison of Proteinoid and Aldocyanoin Microsystems as Models of the Primordial Protocell", in Molecular Evolution and Protobiology [K. Matsuno, K. Dose, K. Harada, and D. L. Rohlfing, eds.], pp. 163-188, Plenum Press, 1984. My original statement was based on a search of the main scientific literature databases available: Pubmed, BasicBIOSIS, CSA Biological Sciences, and the Institute for Scientific Information's "Web of Science" Science Citation Index. The book article in question does not seem to appear in any of these databases, nor has it apparently ever been referenced by any other later publication also in the database. Nevertheless, for the record, the existence of Dr. Kenyon's 1984 paper should be noted.