Skip to comments.The challenge to Darwin’s theory of evolution – Part 5
Posted on 10/20/2006 9:49:15 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
TOKYO -- Unlike his collegue Dr. Scott Minnch, Dr. Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry, did not develop doubts about Darwinism during his years in research. This is because Darwinism was described as a proven fact in many college textbooks and taught accordingly.
What triggered his doubts about Darwinism was a book entitled Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, written by Australian molecular geneticist Michael Denton. He read the book in the latter half of 1980s during spare time while doing research.
Denton presented his critique of neo-Darwinism based on the latest biochemistry achievements of the time. One of the focal points of his presentation was a comparison of the amino-acid sequence of cytochrome-c, a small heme protein loosely associated with the inner membrane of the mitochondrion commonly found in all aerobic organisms. It is an important protein involved in taking in oxygen and generating energy, and is composed of a little more than 100 amino acids. The three-dimensional structure of all types of cytochrome-c is similar and therefore common. But its amino-acid sequence differs according to organisms.
The book points out the remarkable fact that the cytochrome-c amino-acid sequences of bacteria, horses, pigeons, tuna, silkworm moths, wheat and natural yeast are 64 to 69 percent identical.
Neo-Darwinism claims that organisms evolved from bacteria to intermediate types, and then to sophisticated species. However, based on evidence in the book, cytochrome-c of natural yeast is not considered to be an intermediate type between bacteria cytochrome-c and eukaryotic cytochrome-c. The book states: Whatever eukaryotic cytochrome it may be, it is not considered to be an intermediate type between bacteria cytochromes and other eukaryotic cytochromes. This was clearly contrary to neo-Darwinism.
Professor Behe grew indignant over the fact that he could only teach neo-Darwinism in colleges and graduate schools. After this, he started to reflect on his chosen field seriously. He arrived at the term and concept of Irreducible Complexity.
Behe received his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. After engaging in the research at the National Institutes of Heath, he became associate professor in 1985 and professor in 1997 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Moravian Christian immigrants from Czechoslovakia founded Bethlehem in the 18th century. Professor Behes laboratory is in the Iacocca Hall at Lehigh Universitys Mountaintop campus.
Professor Behe took time to welcome Sekai Nippo reporters to his lab despite his busy schedule. In addition to his teaching and research, he was writing a book. Prominently displayed was a family photo with his wife and all nine of his children.
Asked about his feelings when he coined the term Irreducible Complexity, he said, I think it was in1990. I didn't jump in excitement, but I wrote it down.
It did not take much time to come up with the phrase, he said, "but I was certainly very excited when I did.
"This is because with this phrase I could encapsulate the problems [of Darwinism].
"Usually, if a phrase does not adequately express the issue, people have difficulty understanding it. I found that most people will intuitively understand the issue when they hear the phrase Irreducible Complexity.
Simply speaking, Irreducible Complexity means complexity that cannot be reduced to anything simpler.
So what is your very best reason for thinking the evidence doesn't support evolution?
No you haven't. You are however on a "timeout", such as is given to bratty children when they go on a tantrum.
Never saw THAT coming!
There are a great many things you don't see.
I tolerated the most biting, skin-peeling insults and profanity on there,
No you didn't. Dave, if people rolling their eyes at your sophomoric attempts looks like "the most biting, skin-peeling insults and profanity" to you, you really need to get out more. You are tolerated far better at DarwinCentral than you deserve, given your behavior.
and the moment I become impatient that everyone refuses to answer an actual point
Dave, where in the heck did anyone (much less "everyone") "refuse to answer an actual point"? You're hallucinating again. You didn't make any "actual point", and no one "refused" to answer your non-points.
and attempt an intellectual discussion,
Dave, if this is your idea of "attempting an intellectual discussion", then you're truly delusional:
Ah, the musty smell of unused brains... Does ANYONE here care to address the actual thread, and subsequent point? Is anyone capable? Or has the complacency of DarwinCentral eroded all your mental faculties?And again, what "point" are you babbling about? Your only previous post on that thread didn't *make* any "point", it just said, "*ehem ehem* [link] *ehem*". Yeah, so? That's not making a point, that's clearing your throat and dropping a link. If you *had* a point, you should have made it instead of wasting your time jacking around and then hoping we could all read your so-called mind to determine if you actually had a point, and if so what it actually might have been.
they nuke me.
No we don't.
That is so rich.
No, what is "so rich" is your petulance, your childishness, your martyr complex, and your bizarre notions of an "attempt at an intellectual discussion"
In all seriousness, grow up.
You basic problemMe Tarzan. You Jane.
is that you post stuff that you don't understand, and say it supports a position that it doesn't support. And when we point this out, you say our posts are too long and difficult to read.You don't point this out. You copy-paste links that disagree. Real talented-like.
The account is suspended or inactive. How would you define nuked?
...not unlike all the times you've whined about the fact that some of my links or excerpts come from TalkOrigins.org, while you've ignored the material it actually contains, eh?
Nice to know that you recognize your own tactics as bogus and of the kind a liberal would dishonestly use, though.
I agree, I actually went back to see if he had been truly flamed. Nope. Even after Dave called us his enemies, implied we were evil, and compared us to terrorists people were still being nice to him and telling him we can be friendly even if we disagree. Dave's wandering around poking people in the eye and then whining when they smack him after the second or third time they're poked.
You don't point this out.
Yes, Dave, we do -- would you like me to link to numerous recent examples, to document just how dishonest you're being here?
You copy-paste links that disagree.
We include links that demonstrate and document that the stuff you post doesn't support your position, because it does not hold up under examination.
You, however, are unable to deal with the contents of those links, except by flinging even more stuff that doesn't stand up to scrutiny either.
We also post arguments in our own words, and you can't deal with those either. For a prime example, see how lamely you whined about my post #14, written by me, without actually addressing anything I said in it refuting Behe's "IC" notion that YOU brought up.
Yes, it does take talent to refute the great volumes of horse manure you post. Sadly, you're not "talented-like" enough to deal with it maturely, or even tackle it head-on.
Nuked means your posts are deleted. You have neither been nuked nor banned.
You are lying about the cut and paste. I do not quote without using blockquotes or italics, and links. And I seldom quote.
You assume that because you know nothing, that no one knows anything. Bad assumption.
Now, once again, what us YOUR best reason for thinking the evidence does not support evolution?
Anyone can check this out. Everything is still there. There is no martyrdom; just a jerk starting his career at a forum by insulting everyone, saying they are evil, and being surprised when he isn't welcome. It's all there for the public to see.
Yes, here is an example of the way that you were so horribly tormented:
"Why am I here? Just...keeping tabs on things."
Well, you didn't need to register and post to do that. So I think you are not being entirely forthcoming here. And since you registered and started posting you've implied you are in an enemy camp, in the presence of evil, and that there are people here who have stabbed you in the back.
So, I'm still wondering why you are here.
BTW, I think you can see by the replies you've recieved that you are welcome here even though I doubt anyone here agrees with your religious beliefs and your position on evolution. There's a lot of live and let live sentiment here. I just don't understand why you want to be here. Are you wondering what it would take to get banned? I hope that's not your intent. So far, no one here has been banned or suspended or even warned by a mod.
"I see I've been banned at DarwinCentral. Never saw THAT coming! I tolerated the most biting, skin-peeling insults and profanity on there, and the moment I become impatient that everyone refuses to answer an actual point and attempt an intellectual discussion, they nuke me."
When you joined you implicitly agreed to abide by the posted rules, which forbid:
2. Trolling or inciting flame wars
3. Spam regurgitation (dumping tracts into threads)
4. Advocating violence, making threats, etc.
5. Posting ads
6. Promoting anti-science or anti-conservative websites
7. Racism or bigotry
8. Obnoxious behavior
9. Promoting ID/creationism
10. Promoting the agenda of the left
Do you see any of the above rules you might have violated?
So what is your very best reason for thinking the evidence doesn't support evolution?
Four and a half billion years, more or less.
Dave, once again, you seem to think the world revolves around you. I regret to have to be the one to inform you that this is not the case.
I archive *my* posts, not yours. And I need make no "effort" to "trap" you; you ensnare yourself, I just document it.
The two examples I found of you clearly denying the evidence for evolution, contrary to your assertion that you've "never" done so (your hairsplitting lawyeristic weaseling notwithstanding) were easy to find because they were in MY posts -- while replying to you in the past I had quoted portions of your posts wherein you had said those things.
If I could so easily find two examples of you denying the evidence for evolution just in the snippets of your posts that appear in *my* old posts, one boggles at the idea of how many times you must have said such a thing in all of your posting history combined.
But Dave, if you're so self-centered that you really long for me to archive *your* posts too, it would take only a few keystrokes (and a few dozen megabytes of disk space) for me to kick off the scripts I use to automatically archive and index my own posts, in order to have all *your* posts right at hand and fully searchable also. Do you really want to go there? Because if so, you'll be *totally* screwed the next time you try to deny what you've said before, or contradict yourself, or feign ignorance on something that has already been prevously explained to you, etc...
The only ones that he did not violate are numbers 3 and 5. At least I don't think he violated those. To be honest, I try to ignore bratty little 12-year-olds.
"Ah, the musty smell of unused brains..."
How well do you think that would go over on this site if you said that to JR?
You came over to DC with a HUGE chip on your shoulder and basically trashed everyone there.
Just what did you expect?
So what is your very best reason for thinking the evidence doesn't support evolution?
He doesn't have one.
So what is your very best
reason motive for thinking wishing the evidence doesn't support evolution?
I previously responded to the above retort from DaveLoneRanger with impatience, because I felt that anyone who actually wanted to understand the issues would have no problem reading the few pages of the post where I refuted Behe's "IC" argument, and thus I felt that DaveLoneRanger must have just been making cheap excuses so that he wouldn't have to deal with the material.
But then I realized that DLR is from a generation that has grown up with MTV, video-games, sound-bite journalism, and flash-cut Michael Bay movies. Throughout life he has been conditioned to have a 500 microsecond attention span, and is not used to being presented with concepts more complex than can be imparted in a thirty-second news segment.
So given Dave's admitted inability to follow the argument in a presentation that flows over more than a single double-spaced page, or to "dig for the point" in a post of moderate length, I thought I'd do him and the other "if it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker I can't follow it" anti-evolutionists a public service and repost my #14 in "Dave-o-Vision(tm)", with conveniently located labels assisting him in finding and following the highlights and thread of the argument, with bright eye-catching graphics like DLR is used to seeing on TV. So without further ado:
Yeah, that's Behe's definition -- it has the same fuzziness problems as Dembski's. "System"? "Parts"? "Basic"? "Effectively cease"?
But ambiguous language aside, so what? If Behe wants to slap a label on something, that doesn't advance understanding any.
|Dave, the following part of the post introduces the theme of the post, the main point to be discussed -- that Behe's "Irreducible Complexity" notion is useless as a club against evolution, because it is fatally flawed.|
Behe's line of "reasoning" for arriving at that conclusion is fatally and unfixably flawed.
|Dave, here's the part where I explicitly said that this discussion is my own work, so you're invited to retract your slanderous claim that it wasn't.|
Here's some of my own analysis of Behe's central thesis (some from older posts of mine) -- let me know if you find any oversights in it...
The next idea you probably will not like, and that is irreducible complexity.
As an "idea" I like it just fine, and so do evolutionary scientists. The problem is that Behe (and the creationists who follow him) have created a "straw man" version of "IC" which is quite simply incorrect -- but appears to give the conclusion they want.
Dave, here's where I give the reader an introduction to the original concept of "Irreducible Complexity", described by Charles Darwin in 1859, in case the reader was not previously familiar with it.
The original notion of "IC" goes back to Darwin himself. He wrote:"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."That's "Irreducible Complexity" in a nutshell. It's not as if Behe has pointed out anything that biologists (or Darwin) didn't already realize.
-- Charles Darwin, "On the Origin of Species", 1859
But let's examine Darwin's description of "IC" in a bit more detail (emphasis mine):No doubt many organs exist of which we do not know the transitional grades, more especially if we look to much-isolated species, round which, according to my theory, there has been much extinction. Or again, if we look to an organ common to all the members of a large class, for in this latter case the organ must have been first formed at an extremely remote period, since which all the many members of the class have been developed; and in order to discover the early transitional grades through which the organ has passed, we should have to look to very ancient ancestral forms, long since become extinct.
We should be extremely cautious in concluding that an organ could not have been formed by transitional gradations of some kind. Numerous cases could be given amongst the lower animals of the same organ performing at the same time wholly distinct functions; thus the alimentary canal respires, digests, and excretes in the larva of the dragon-fly and in the fish Cobites. In the Hydra, the animal may be turned inside out, and the exterior surface will then digest and the stomach respire. In such cases natural selection might easily specialise, if any advantage were thus gained, a part or organ, which had performed two functions, for one function alone, and thus wholly change its nature by insensible steps. Two distinct organs sometimes perform simultaneously the same function in the same individual; to give one instance, there are fish with gills or branchiae that breathe the air dissolved in the water, at the same time that they breathe free air in their swimbladders, this latter organ having a ductus pneumaticus for its supply, and being divided by highly vascular partitions. In these cases, one of the two organs might with ease be modified and perfected so as to perform all the work by itself, being aided during the process of modification by the other organ; and then this other organ might be modified for some other and quite distinct purpose, or be quite obliterated.
The illustration of the swimbladder in fishes is a good one, because it shows us clearly the highly important fact that an organ originally constructed for one purpose, namely flotation, may be converted into one for a wholly different purpose, namely respiration. The swimbladder has, also, been worked in as an accessory to the auditory organs of certain fish, or, for I do not know which view is now generally held, a part of the auditory apparatus has been worked in as a complement to the swimbladder. All physiologists admit that the swimbladder is homologous, or 'ideally similar,' in position and structure with the lungs of the higher vertebrate animals: hence there seems to me to be no great difficulty in believing that natural selection has actually converted a swimbladder into a lung, or organ used exclusively for respiration.
In considering transitions of organs, it is so important to bear in mind the probability of conversion from one function to another, that I will give one more instance. [Long detail of example snipped] If all pedunculated cirripedes had become extinct, and they have already suffered far more extinction than have sessile cirripedes, who would ever have imagined that the branchiae in this latter family had originally existed as organs for preventing the ova from being washed out of the sack?
-- Charles Darwin, "On the Origin of Species", 1859
Darwin makes two critical points here:
Dave, here's the part where I point out that Darwin (in the text above) had warned readers of two potential pitfalls -- two fallacies -- that could make an attempt at arguing that something was "unevolvable" bogus if the person putting forth the argument did not take these pitfalls into account.
1. A modern organ need not have evolved into its present form and function from a precursor which had always performed the same function. Evolution is quite capable of evolving a structure to perform one function, and then turning it to some other "purpose".
2. Organs/structures can reach their present form through a *loss* of function or parts, not just through *addition* of function or parts.
Despite the fact that these observations were laid out in 1859, Behe's version of "Irreducible Complexity" pretends they are not factors, and defines "IC" as something which could not have arisen through stepwise *ADDITIONS* (only) while performing the same function *THROUGHOUT ITS EXISTENCE*.
Dave, here's where I point out that Behe was such an idiot that he did *not* take those pitfalls into account, and in fact his definition of "IC" and his subsequent argument about it FALL FACE-FIRST into those pitfalls by defining a test for "IC" that utterly fails to account for those two cases warned about by Darwin.
It's hard to tell whether Behe does this through ignorance or willful dishonesty, but the fact remains that *his* definition and analysis of "IC" is too restrictive. He places too many "rules" on how he will "allow" evolution to reach his examples of "Behe-style IC" structures, while evolution itself *IS NOT RESTRICTED TO THOSE RULES* when it operates. Thus Behe's conclusion that "Behe-style evolution" can not reach "Behe-style IC" hardly tells us anything about whether *real-world* evolution could or could not have produced them.
For specific examples, Behe's example of the "Behe-style IC" flagellum is flawed because flagella are composed of components that bacteria use FOR OTHER PURPOSES and were evolved for those purposes then co-opted (1, 2), and Behe's example of the "Behe-style IC" blood-clotting process is flawed because the biochemistry of blood-clotting is easily reached by adding several steps on top of a more primitive biochemical sequence, *and then REMOVING earlier portions which had become redundant* (1, 2).
Dave, here's the part where I illustrate this by way of example, using three of Behe's own favorite "examples" of alleged "IC".
Even Behe's trivial mousetrap example turns out to not actually be "IC".
The usual qualitative formulation is: "An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced...by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system, that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional..."
Dave, here's where I show that this double-edged failure is inherent in Behe's definition, his "IC test".
Note the key error: By saying that it "breaks" if any part is "missing" (i.e. taken away), it is only saying that evolution could not have reached that endpoint by successively only ADDING parts. True enough, but Behe misses the fact that you can also reach the same state by, say, adding 5 parts one at a time, and then taking away 2 which have become redundant. Let's say that part "A" does the job, but not well. But starting with just "A" serves the need. Then add "B", which improves the function of "A". Add "C" which helps A+B do their job, and so on until you have ABCDE, which does the job very well. Now, however, it may turn out that CDE alone does just fine (conceivably, even better than ABCDE does with A+B getting in the way of CDE's operation). So A and B fade away, leaving CDE. Note that CDE was built in "one change at a time" fashion, with each new change improving the operation. HOWEVER, by Behe's definition CDE is "Irreducibly Complex" and "could not have evolved (been built by single steps)" because removing C or D or E from CDE will "break" it. Note that Behe's conclusion is wrong. His logic is faulty.
The other error in Behe's definition lies in this part: "...any precursor to an irreducibly complex system, that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional". The problem here is that it may be "nonfunctional" for its *current* function, but perfectly functional for some *other* function helpful for survival (and therefore selected by evolution). Behe implicitly claims that if it's not useful for its *current* function, it's useless for *any* function. The flaw in this should be obvious.
"Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on."
True as far as it goes, but but this is hardly the same as Behe's sleight-of-hand in the first part of his statement, which relies on the false premise that a precursor to a structure is 100% useless for *any* purpose if *taking away* (but not adding) one part from the current purpose makes it unsuitable for the current purpose. Two gaping holes in that one...
Behe (an anathematized name)
For reasons I've outlined above.
talks of the bacterial flagellum, which contains an acid-powered rotary engine, a stator, O-rings, bushings, and a drive shaft. The machinery of this motor requires approximately fifty proteins.
Dave, here I point out that the flagellum is not "IC" even by Behe's flawed definition.
Except that it doesn't. As many biochemists have pointed out, other organisms have function flagella (even *as* flagella) with fewer proteins (and/or different proteins). That flagellum isn't even "IC" by Behe's own definition since you *can* remove proteins and have it still work as a flagellum. [...]
Dave, here I present research that has been done that indicates that the evolution of the flagellum does not seem to include insurmountable steps.
For a far more realistic look at the evolutionary "invention" of the flagellum, see Evolution in (Brownian) space: a model for the origin of the bacterial flagellum , which I linked earlier in this post. From the abstract:The model consists of six major stages: export apparatus, secretion system, adhesion system, pilus, undirected motility, and taxis-enabled motility. The selectability of each stage is documented using analogies with present-day systems. Conclusions include: (1) There is a strong possibility, previously unrecognized, of further homologies between the type III export apparatus and F1F0-ATP synthetase. (2) Much of the flagellums complexity evolved after crude motility was in place, via internal gene duplications and subfunctionalization. (3) Only one major system-level change of function, and four minor shifts of function, need be invoked to explain the origin of the flagellum; this involves five subsystem-level cooption events. (4) The transition between each stage is bridgeable by the evolution of a single new binding site, coupling two pre-existing subsystems, followed by coevolutionary optimization of components. Therefore, like the eye contemplated by Darwin, careful analysis shows that there are no major obstacles to gradual evolution of the flagellum.Now *that's* science. Behe's stuff is just hand-waving and ivory-tower blowhardedness.
For an analysis of numerous errors and such in Dembski's Design arguments/examples, see Not a Free Lunch But a Box of Chocolates: A critique of William Dembski's book No Free Lunch. It also contains material on the flagella issue you raise next.
As for Behe (the other author):
One small example is the flagella on a paramecium. They need four distinct proteins to work.
Dave, this is more deconstruction of Behe's false claims about that flagellum.
Actually they need a lot more than that. And as far as I know, Behe never used the cilia on paramecia as his example, he has primarily concentrated on bacterial flagella.
They cannot have evolved from a flagella that need three.
Contrary to creationist claims (or Behe's) that flagella are Irreducibly Complex and can not function at all if any part or protein is removed, in fact a) there are many, many varieties of flagella on various species of single-celled organisms, some with more or fewer parts/proteins than others. So it's clearly inaccurate to make a blanket claim that "flagella" in general contain no irreplacable parts. Even Behe admits that a working flagella can be reduced to a working cilia, which undercuts his entire "Irreducibly Complex" example/claim right off the bat.
For a semi-technical discussion of how flagella are *not* IC, because many of their parts can be eliminated without totally breaking their locomotive ability, see Evolution of the Bacterial Flagella
But even if one could identify, say, four specific proteins (or other components) which were critically necessary for the functioning of all flagellar structures (and good luck: there are three unrelated classes of organisms with flagella built on three independent methods: eubacterial flagella, archebacterial flagella, and eukaryote flagella -- see Faugy DM and Farrel K, (1999 Feb) A twisted tale: the origin and evolution of motility and chemotaxis in prokaryotes. Microbiology, 145, 279-280), Behe makes a fatal (and laughably elementary) error when he states that therefore they could not have arisen by evolution. Even first-year students of evolutionary biology know that quite often evolved structures are built from parts that WERE NOT ORIGINALLY EVOLVED FOR THEIR CURRENT APPLICATION, as Behe naively assumes (or tries to imply).
Okay, fine, so even if you can prove that a flagellum needs 4 certain proteins to function, and would not function AS A FLAGELLUM with only 3, that's absolutely no problem for evolutionary biology, since it may well have evolved from *something else* which used those 3 proteins to successfully function, and only became useful as a method of locomotion when evolution chanced upon the addition of the 4th protein. Biology is chock-full of systems cobbled together from combinations of other components, or made via one addition to an existing system which then fortuitously allows it to perform a new function.
And, lo and behold, it turns out that the "base and pivot" of the bacterial flagella, along with part of the "stalk", is virtually identical to the bacterial Type III Secretory Structure (TTSS). So despite Behe's claim that flagella must be IC because (he says) there's no use for half a flagella, in fact there is indeed such a use. And this utterly devastates Behe's argument, in several different ways. Explaining way in detail would take quite some time, but it turns out that someone has already written an excellent essay on that exact thing, which I strongly encourage you to read: The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" .
(Note: Several times that essay makes a reference to the "argument from ignorance", with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with it. I'd like to point out that contrary to the way it sounds, Miller is *not* accusing Behe et all of being ignorant. Instead, he's referring to this family of logical fallacies, also known as the "argument from incredulity".)
That is called irreducible complexity.
That's what Behe likes to call it, yes. But the flagella is provably *not* IC. Oops for Behe. Furthermore, while it's certainly easy to *call* something or another "Irreducibly Complex", proving that it actually *is* is another matter entirely.
As the "Flagellum Unspun" article above states:
Dave, here I quote a short but good passage from an essay, explaining the vacuity of trying to find "design" by elimination of natural processes.According to Dembski, the detection of "design" requires that an object display complexity that could not be produced by what he calls "natural causes." In order to do that, one must first examine all of the possibilities by which an object, like the flagellum, might have been generated naturally. Dembski and Behe, of course, come to the conclusion that there are no such natural causes. But how did they determine that? What is the scientific method used to support such a conclusion? Could it be that their assertions of the lack of natural causes simply amount to an unsupported personal belief? Suppose that there are such causes, but they simply happened not to think of them? Dembski actually seems to realize that this is a serious problem. He writes: "Now it can happen that we may not know enough to determine all the relevant chance hypotheses [which here, as noted above, means all relevant natural processes (hvt)]. Alternatively, we might think we know the relevant chance hypotheses, but later discover that we missed a crucial one. In the one case a design inference could not even get going; in the other, it would be mistaken" (Dembski 2002, 123 (note 80)).
For more bodyblows against the notion of Irreducible Complexity, see:
Dave, here I present links to other analyses of Behe's nonsense, which arrive at essentially the same conclusions that I did.
|Dave,here I wonder how creationists/IDers can be so clueless as to keep using a fallacious argument for years despite the fact that it was analyzed and show down from all directions (i.e. its errors exposed) from the very beginning.|
What's funny is that by Behe's own argument, a stone arch is "irreducibly complex" because it could not have formed by nature *adding* sections of stone at a time (it would have fallen down unless the entire span was already in place -- and indeed will fall down if you take part of the span away):
Needless to say, what Behe's argument is missing in the case of the stone arch is that such arches form easily by natural means when successive layers of sedimentary rock added on top of each other, and *then* erosion carves a hole out from *under* the arch by *removing* material after the "bridge" of the arch itself *was already there*.
Similarly, Behe's arguments about why certain types of biological structures "could not" have evolved fall flat because he doesn't realize that evolution does not only craft features by *adding* components, it also does so by *lateral alteration*, and by *removing* components.
Behe's "irreducible complexity" argument is fatally flawed. It only "proves" that a *simplified* version of evolution (as envisioned by Behe) couldn't give rise to certain structures -- not that the *actual* processes of evolution could not.
Or if you can't do that, I look forward to your admitting that I have successfully identified serious flaws in Behe's "IC" definition and argument, and your promise not to use it anymore nor post anything bogus enough to include Behe's "IC" as part of its argument.
|Dave, now here's the part where you are expected to make a mature, rational response that actually deals with the argument and evidence I've presented, and does not waste my time and yours with your common tactics of evasion, whining, running to AiG for propaganda, or hand-waving.|
The original #14 took a pretty long time to write, of course (and parts were originally written as different posts at different times), but if you mean how long did it take me to modify it into the "DLR-friendly" version, it took me about fifteen minutes to get the "bullet point" table formatting looking like I wanted (I experimented with it for a while), about ten minutes to find a good (and appropriately sized) animated GIF for the "looky here" graphic, then about twenty minutes to write and insert the bullet point text and the intro/concluding text, and proofread/revise them.
At the same time I was watching a humorous video, too (Anna Russell's classic comedy recap of Wagner's "Ring" opera), so the time wasn't entirely wasted if Dave keeps avoiding discussing the issue.
Dave--let me throw a slightly different spin on this.
Apparently many of the examples chosen as possible cases of irreducible complexity, would only *be* irreducibly complex, IF they were forced to be constructed "from scratch" and "from the ground up" FOR their specific purpose.
What Ich is saying is that (at least for the cases chosen) they are not really I.C. because they are (bad pun) "adapted" from stuff lying around. Call it improvisation or biological (self-) plagiarism.
Ich and Vade et al. differ from the cres by taking the tack that "since so many of the supposed I.C.'s aren't really I.C., but are in fact modifications of existing structures / processes, we form the conclusion that 'this is how nature works' and so any supposed I.C. structure came about in this way."
What the cre's are saying is, "All it takes is one good counterexample." And in effect, trying for a "Darwin of the gaps" by finding more and more things that Darwinism cannot explain. That'd be fine (in principle, that's how falsification works) but due to either insufficient study on the subject, or piss poor bad luck, the examples chosen don't seem to be cooperating.
Cheers! What remains to be se
The closest I know (and it isn't in the same league) is the classic Warner Brothers Bugs Bunny / Elmer Fudd Cartoon What's Opera, Doc?.
In the world of hogwash, evidence is nothing more than spam -- placemarker.
Yeah, that's the tactic!
"One third of the army is enough for that bunch! We'll attack with what we've got!" -- George Armstrong Custer
*genuflects while laughing himself sick*
that, sir, was a thing of beauty.
Dave started the thread. Manners require him to monitor the thread and respond.
The (no longer with FR) Right Wing Professor pointed this out to *me* when I left his name off a post.
No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that Behe's very criteria for declaring something "IC" are entirely insufficient for proving anything about whether that thing could or could not have evolved, which is how Behe and his acolytes misguidedly attempt to use it. The whole attempt is a complete dead-end, it's based on faulty reasoning.
What the cre's are saying is, "All it takes is one good counterexample." And in effect, trying for a "Darwin of the gaps" by finding more and more things that Darwinism cannot explain.
The problem is, as the one quote in my post explains, and as has been expanded at length elsewhere by myself and others, is that a) it's exceedingly hard to conclusively demonstrate that something could *not* have evolved (and it sure as hell isn't as simple as Behe's flawed stab at doing just that), because evolution can take so many circuitous paths and it's hard to map out and eliminate each and every one, much less determine them all to be infeasible, and b) it's pretty impossible even in theory to rule out something as being the result of *any* possible natural processes (including natural processes which may be at work that we haven't even conceived of yet), and barring such an exhaustive elimination, one has not thus "proven" intelligent design by elimination, as the IDers so often try to do.
In both cases, the sensible researcher keeps the "we don't know yet" label on the item in question, instead of presuming that the answer must lie one way or the other lacking positive evidence *for* a particular explanation in a given case. For details see: The advantages of theft over toil: the design inference and arguing from ignorance
And note that while in (a) above I say that it's often hard (for a sufficiently nontrivial case) to rule *out* an evolutionary origin (for something biological), the converse is not true -- one *can* often make a very solid case *for* an evolutionary origin for something, and this has been done often enough for enough features of living things that biologists can confidently say that the reality and utility of evolution have been demonstrated (for that, and for many other reasons based on many other lines of independent cross-confirming evidence).
Here you go:
A good and fitting obituary: Anna Russell
Did he start the thread?
Once again our little straight shooter has cut and run and is starting other threads while his IN-basket has piled up here.
Dave has made a number of factual claims, and he has failed to respond to about a dozen simple questions I have asked him.
He gets no pings from me until he begins responding to questions about statements he has made.
Manners require me to do no such thing. I cannot possibly follow every comment, jab, zinger and argument that is carried out in a thread I began.
Nor am I required to jump through every hoop you hold out and snap your fingers for. That would be letting the debating opponent set the rules, which is a real no-no in debating.
Keep up with my posts if you want my opinion on things. If you choose not to, stop whining that I don't address every question you can conceive while brushing your teeth at night.
If you can defend your nonsense, don't post it.
Do you impose such a standard on PatrickHenry? That he be capable of shooting down every cockamamie (but long-winded and complex) argument that any one of hundreds of posters come up with? I have to deal with any and every objection raised by any of the "370+" evolution list members?
You amuse me.
Yes, I do. I am not asking you to monitor every comment made; I only ask that you defend your own comments when questions are raised.
I reproduce the relevant parts of *MY* side of it below:
My point was that if one is attempting to falsify something, you only need one case where it is definitively *disproven*.
I.C. is a weird duck, for several reasons. I tried to hint at them in the post you are responding to. IF one does manage to find a structure or a chemical process which really does *look* I.C., that won't actually affect anything, unless you can *prove* that it really cannot have arisen naturalistically. And that is harder than it looks--what if (blowing smoke /handwaving mode/ forming an example for the sake of argument) one comes up with a creature which has a complex chemical process inside its cells for which there is no analogue in any closely related species / genus / family, what have you.
There are several possibilities:
2) Evolution where a similar process started in a distant ancestor, was propagated to more recent ancestors of our I.C. candidate, and then mutated to the I.C. But after that, all of the species *leading up to* the I.C. candidate died out, leaving the trait a biochemical "island" if you will.
3) It wasn't *really* I.C. after all, either because there was an unknown way to come up with enough of the subunits independently, or a *lightning strikes twice* type event where *exactly* the right combination of otherwise unrelated mutations happened to make the event possible.
Leaving aside the idea that "you can't prove a negative" we still run into the philosophical suppositions--fervent evos will say "evolution did it, we just don't know how in this case, yet...but we're not worried. evolution *always* comes through" and fervent cres will say "aha! gotcha!" while certain grey kitties will say "not enough info to tell for sure, I'm gonna pop me a beer."
Oh that's not true and we both know it.
How about you giving us your very best reason for thinking the evidence doesn't support evolution?
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