Home » Darwinism » Mike Behe replies to Jerry Coyne, …

Mike Behe replies to Jerry Coyne, …

defending his recent paper.

Mike Behe’s reply (excerpt):

Yes, complex gain-of-FCT events would not be expected to occur, but simple GOF’s would. Yet they didn’t show up.

Professor Coyne then proceeds to put words in my mouth:

What [Be]he’s saying is this: “Yes, gain of FCTs could, and likely is, more important in nature than seen in these short-term experiments. But my conclusions are limited to these types of short-term lab studies.”

No, that is not what I was saying at all. I was saying that, no matter what causes gain-of-FCT events to sporadically arise in nature (and I of course think the more complex ones likely resulted from deliberate intelligent design), short-term Darwinian evolution will be dominated by loss-of-FCT, which is itself an important, basic fact about the tempo of evolution.
Above I quoted Coyne talking about “complex FCTs, which take time to build or acquire from a rare horizontal transmission event.” Yet cells aren’t going to sit around twiddling their thumbs until that rare event shows up. Any mutation which confers an advantage at any time will be selected, and the large majority of those in the short term will be LOF. Ironically, Coyne seems to underestimate the power of natural selection, which “is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest….” A process which scrutinizes life “daily and hourly,” as Darwin wrote, isn’t going to wait around for some rare event.

Go here for the rest.
My best guess is that Coyne will end up regretting that he engaged in a civil dialogue with someone who is not afraid to state the science-based evidence against the claim that Darwinism creates huge gains in information. Lobbing insults is safer, and the trolls love it.
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16 Responses to Mike Behe replies to Jerry Coyne, …

  1. Excellent response! (Off-topic: is Dr. Behe’s amazon blog still up? I can’t find it.)

  2. Quite ID, Dr. Behe’s blog is now here at UD:

    http://behe.uncommondescent.com/

    He has a article on his new paper by the way

  3. Thanks! I was hoping to read up on Dr. Behe’s earlier exchanges with Jerry Coyne, which were at his amazon blog, but all that stuff seems to be gone. :-(

  4. QuiteID as far as I know Dr. Behe’s entire amazon blog is now on UD. You have to go to the bottom of the page I listed and hit ‘previous page. I believe there are 7 pages total.

  5. Since both Behe and Coyne accept evolution, common descent and human evolution, what are they arguing about?

    R. Martinez

  6. Coyne is in the awkward position of having no recourse but to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic Not-So-Good Ship Darwin while it is obviously doomed to sink to the bottom of an ocean of logic, reason, and empiricism.

    Such Darwinian “scientists” continue to amaze me with their blatant disregard of the most fundamental dictate of true scientific investigation, which is:

    Follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    If following the evidence wherever it leads requires abandoning a lifetime philosophical commitment, a true scientist (one who, by definition, is a seeker of knowledge and truth) must be honest and admit that this commitment was in error and should be abandoned.

    This was very difficult for me, and I had no monetary, career, or academic prestige investments at stake, as does Coyne.

    But I had to admit the obvious.

  7. Ray, Dr. Behe has established, with the best empirical evidence science has to offer, that purely material/evolutionary processes are vastly insufficient to account for the complexity we see in life. And in the most recent paper he has summarized the results of four decades of work to show that the overwhelming primary path that Natural Selection will take in course of Darwinian evolution will be one of molecular degradation. Whereas Coyne, though the empirical evidence dramatically testifies to the contrary, thinks that purely material (Darwinian) processes are sufficient to produce the unmatched complexity we find in life. Thus though Dr. Behe and Jerry Coyne may agree on common descent, (A position many other prominent IDists do not agree with) they are polar opposites as to mechanism needed to explain such complexity. i.e. Dr. Behe is adamant that Intelligence is required to explain much (most?) of the complexity we find in life whereas Coyne, though having no evidence for the generation of any ‘non-trivial’ complexity, maintains Intelligence is not required. Seeing that we routinely witness intelligence generating complexity, then ID is the most causally adequate ‘presently acting cause’ know to give rise to the effect we wish to explain:

    Stephen C. Meyer – The Scientific Basis For Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4104651/

  8. Ray:

    They are arguing about the *cause* of evolution — whether it happens essentially by accident, or is planned or directed somehow by an intelligence.

    A rather important distinction.

    T.

  9. Timaeus (#8): They are arguing about the *cause* of evolution — whether it happens essentially by accident, or is planned or directed somehow by an intelligence.

    A rather important distinction.

    Yes it is, but if Intelligent agency is operating in nature (and we know it is) then effects cannot be called evolutionary since evolution was accepted as being caused by unintelligent agency.

    Intelligent and unintelligent agencies are mutually exclusive. This is what both Behe and Dembski do not understand.

    ‘A’ cannot be ‘A’ and not ‘A’ at the same time.

    A person cannot be a true IDist and a true Evolutionist at the same time.

    Both Behe and Dembski exist in a state of humiliation since mutual exclusivity is a BASIC and FUNDAMENTAL fact in the History of Evolution and ID.

    Ray (species immutabilist)

  10. I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure if this particular Ray Martinez was the same Ray “Egregious Error of Stupendous Ignorance” Martinez from days of yore.

    Didn’t take long to figure that out.

    Hi Ray. :)

  11. @ray
    -”Since evolution was accepted as being caused by unintelligent agency.”

    No, it never has and never will, despite of who “agreed” to it or not. Evolution is agnostic. Whether it is directed (and there are multiple models for this) or not is a philosophical question, not a scientific question.

    If you didn’t know this then fine, but if you did then I think it is you that is in perpetual humiliation, not Behe and Dembski.

  12. Ray M.

    I don’t think I have the same definition of evolution as you do. After all, people talk about the evolution of cars and language and music. All intelligently designed, but show signs of common descent too.

  13. Ray @ 9:

    We’ve been through this already, a year or two ago now, on another thread.

    You were already shown then that your definition of evolution was narrow and arbitrary.

    You clearly haven’t made use of the intervening time to go to a university library and read some good books by non-fundamentalist scholars on the history of evolutionary thought.

    None of us are going to waste time quibbling with you about definitions, and we are not going to adopt yours. So if you want to discuss Behe, you will have to accept our usage at least for the purposes of this thread. What definition you use privately is up to you.

    What’s really bugging you is that Behe accepts the process of species transformation, and you don’t. I would suggest that you focus on Behe’s scientific reasons for accepting species change, and criticize those, if you have any valid criticism to offer. Arguing over his definition of evolution is pointless and utterly unintelligent.

    T.

  14. I remember the exchange mentioned in #13 very well. What I was struck by was Timaues’ entirely disarming approach to Ray. Brotherly might be an appropriate description. I also remember how it was to no avail.

    I remember being both upset and sorry about the matter. I would think there are a great number of things that Ray and I (perhaps others) might agree upon, but I can’t ignore that I think he does a great disservice to Christianity. Frankly, he is a poster child for the overbearing voice of religious authoritarianism (and division). Issues are not matters of understanding, but wars to be fought with the errant being struck down. And struck from the record. As if Chritianity is a matter of who gets it “right” and who doesn’t. Like a credit score to be summed upon death, following Christ is less a matter of character and living than a having the best set of certainties to boast about while alive.

  15. OT: If anyone knows how to get hold of Paul Nelson, he is going to absolutely love this new study:

    ORFan genes are found to be just as essential as older genes:

    Age doesn’t matter: New genes are as essential as ancient ones – December 2010
    Excerpt: “A new gene is as essential as any other gene; the importance of a gene is independent of its age,” said Manyuan Long, PhD, Professor of Ecology & Evolution and senior author of the paper. “New genes are no longer just vinegar, they are now equally likely to be butter and bread. We were shocked.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142523.htm

    ORFan Genes Challenge Common Descent – Paul Nelson – video – short version
    http://www.vimeo.com/17135166

  16. Ray,

    Dr Behe makes it very clear that he is arguing against Darwinian evolution, which is, as you say, non-telic, ie teleology not allowed.

    That said, “evolution” has several definitions/ meanings- from mere change to universal common descent via blind, undirected chemical processes (including UCD via targeted searches).

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