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UK Christians Embrace ID;

I had the privilege of attending Michael Behe’s talk at Westmister Chapel in London on Monday evening.  

The talk was organised by Premier Christian Radio, so it is safe to assume that most of those in attendance were Christian listeners of that radio station. The hall was almost full as Professor Behe began his talk by illustrating how we intuitively recognise design. He contrasted a ‘natural’ mountain range in Idaho with the famous sculptures of four US Presidents at Mount Rushmore, before explaining how his ground-breaking concept of irreducible complexity provides a more rigorous method of establishing whether a particular structure is the product of purposeful design by an intelligent agent. This was illustrated by his famous mousetrap and bacterial flagellum.   

The workings of the latter are not easy to grasp for those without a degree in mechanical engineering, but Professor Behe’s relaxed and clear delivery, interspersed with flashes of wry humour, had  the audience hanging on his every word. Anyone unfamiliar with ID  might suppose that a predominantly Christian audience was bound to be sympathetic, but those who have followed this debate will know that some Christian theologians have sought to reconcile their beliefs with Darwinian materialism. If Monday night was anything to go by, however, many ordinary Christians have recognised that this is a futile enterprise, and are ready to re-embrace the argument from design. 

All in all it was a very encouraging evening from an ID perspective.

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20 Responses to UK Christians Embrace ID;

  1. Considering the extreme level of abuse Dr. Behe has patiently and gracefully endured, for merely relentlessly standing up for the truth, as any true scientists should be willing to do, He has become a modern day hero of science for me, and indeed a shining example of Christian character by his not returning kind for kind for the many slurs he has received.

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5066181/

  2. BA:

    You have said a very true thing. Behe is a true hero. Like all true heroes, he is simple and works without any obstentation, having the courage to do that from an official position in the Academy, with all the possible hostility we can imagine, and unfortunately see.

    One of the most squalid things I have ever witnessed in the academic world are the “disclaimers” added to the site of Behe’s university, both from institutional representatives and by individual “scientists”, to clearly state that they vehemently disagree with the ideas of their colleague, and possibly also that they are ashamed to be in an institution with him.

    That is really, really bad.

  3. I was also at this presentation and what a privilege it was. One thing that emerged during Q&A was that many seemed to think the argument of IC with the bacterial flagellum as refuted. We know this boils down to “just so” explanations without supporting evidence but so many people are being mislead. One wonders what will it take to settle this once and for all, so the truth is revealed?

  4. cbburn1:

    The “refutation” of IC in the flagellum is one of the most ridiculous and shameful arguments of darwinists. After Behe had the courage of stating what should have been obvious to any rightly thinking man (that complex machines are made of independent parts which do different things, and that those parts must all be present and working together for the complex function to be available), and of applying that concept to biology, darwinists have gone frenzy.

    They have resorted to the most absurd arguments to counter what is evidently true. They have invented cooption and given it miraculous powers, they have searched desperately for homologies and inverted chronological orders, they have thrown in scaffolds and whatever.

    But the point made by Behe remains simply and wonderfully true: irreducibly complex machines are designed.

  5. cbburn1:

    One thing that emerged during Q&A was that many seemed to think the argument of IC with the bacterial flagellum as refuted.

    You know, if contemporary civilization has taught us anything, it’s that propaganda works, especially when done by those who have all the power.

  6. gpuccio:

    You know, if contemporary civilization has taught us anything, it’s that propaganda works, especially when done by those who have all the power.

    Yes, that is an uncomfortable truth that has emerged the more I get into Intelligent Design and the IC debate. So much is owed to Dr. Behe.

  7. This is a very encouraging article. It renews my respect for certain elements of British Christianity and reminds me how much I owe to the sober Christianity I’ve seen coming from Great Britian as exampled by writers like C.S. Lewis, not to mention the cogent and informative argument of gracious scientists like Michael Behe. (Really love Dr. Behe’s “dry” humor.)

    Speaking of grace under fire, I’ve seen Dr. Behe speak to a less than supportive audience and have rarely seen anyone respond as respectfully, intelligently, and on point, to hostile inquirey as he did. Certainly, he’s been an example to both sides of the debate.

  8. gpuccio: I don’t know if you are aware, but the bacterial flagella retains its excretory abilities, even while being used for movement. This gives extensive evidence that the flagellum was co-opted from the TypeIII excretory system.

    Here’s a link to the paper that shows this if you’re interested: http://www.pnas.orgcgidoi10.1073pnas.0700266104

    What’s really fascinating is that in most types of flagella, the ‘motor’ will function perfectly well with half of the proteins that make it missing.

    Furthermore, flagellum-specific ATPase FliI and the
    b(beta)-subunit of ATP synthase (which rotate when ADP is converted to ATP) are statistically similar proteins.

    Finally, I would like to ask, which flagellal system is Dr. Behe (and you guys) talking about? The paper I cited above contains 41 unique flagella systems. Some of which are missing proteins that other require to function. The article I cited describes one bacterial species with two totally different flagella. There are also non-bacterial flagella that are nothing like bacterial flagella.

    Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving
    Ogre

  9. Happy Thanksgiving all:

    Natalie Merchant-Kind And Generous
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdG618TMc5E

  10. any chance that the talk will be available on the web?

  11. also does anyone know how to get that link behe responds to lenski to work?

  12. The completely ridiculous use of this propaganda against IC is just getting worse and worse. A level biology students in Britain are now being sent home to look up the evolutionary chain which the bacterial flagellum has supposedly taken as ‘proof’ that it cannot be irreducibly complex… What next? Billboards?

  13. kylefoley76 per Behe response to Lenski link:

    New work by Richard Lenski
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....rd-lenski/

    entire Behe blog:

    http://behe.uncommondescent.com/

  14. Its great to see him give such fine addresses . In reality any thinker about the natural world shouldn’t have to be eloquent in words and manners. Yet in these exciting and interesting days this is the story.
    I only know Mr Behe by the written word but it sounds like his talks should seeked out by those who want a piece of the action of important contentions about the natural world. He seems to deserve the importance and fame he has.
    Surely he is gaining for the I.D species of creationism.
    If evolution and company are wrong in all, most, or a lot of their ideas then there is much plunder for truth to make here.
    Remember though you guys we YEC types were here first. If in ten years the media starts lauding victorious creationism(s).

  15. Robert Byers,

    Here are a few of Dr. Behe’s talks:

    I think Michael Behe does an excellent job, in this following debate, of pointing out that materialistic evolutionists themselves, by their own admission in many cases, are promoting there very own religious viewpoint, Atheism, in public schools, and are thus in fact violating the establishment clause of the constitution:

    Should Intelligent Design Be Taught as Science? Michael Behe debates Stephen Barr – 2010 – video
    http://www.isi.org/lectures/fl.....4/lectures
    Main page – with audio of debate
    http://www.isi.org/lectures/le.....40402af8e3

    An Atheist Interviews Michael Behe About “The Edge Of Evolution” – video
    http://www.in.com/videos/watch.....34623.html

    The Edge Of Evolution – Michael Behe – Video Lecture
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/199326-1

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – 2010 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5066181

    Michael Behe – No Scientific Literature For Evolution of Any Irreducibly Complex Molecular Machines
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5302950/

    This following debate between William Lane Craig and Francisco J. Ayala is very telling, for Craig, the philosopher, relies on science to make his case while Ayala, the scientist, relies on philosophy to make his case:

    Is Intelligent Design Viable part 1 of 12
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxK_Xs10Ung

    excerpted clip:

    The Sheer Lack Of Evidence For Macro Evolution – William Lane Craig
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4023134/

  16. Grendel:

    Firts of all, thank you for the link to a very interesting paper, rich in useful information.

    I really don’t understand why people seem to think, however, that this kind og information in some way explains the IC in the flagellum or falsifies Behe’s concept. It doesn’t.

    I will try to briefly sum up the more relevant points in the paper you cite.

    The authors made a very large research throughout known genomes and proteomes of flagellate bacteria.

    They find a core of 24 (24!) genes (and proteins) common to all the species considered. That core is the object of their analysis.

    I really don’t understand the relevance of all the common discourses about Type III SS.

    First of all, I believe that there have been discussion among darwinists about which of the two is more ancient. I have no personal idea about that, so I will not comment on that point, but it can certainly be relevant.

    Second, of the 24 core genes only 7 are connected with the export apparatus in flagella. There are therefore 17 core genes which have nothing to do with the exporting function.

    Finally, there is no wonder that TTSS and the export apparatus in the flagellum mau share some similarity: they do indeed the same thing.

    So, what’s all the fuss about TTSS? I believe there is great confusion about the concept of cooption. If something which has one function acquires another function, that would be cooption of the pre-existing structure for another function. But if the structure does the same thing, but becomes part of a more complex structure which as a whole has a new function, that is simply modular engineering, not cooption.

    Either TTSS and the 7 core proteins of the export apparatus in the flagellum are the same thing, or just functionally similar things, the simple fact is that they have the same function: exporting proteins through the membrane.

    But the concept of IC is not in any way ruled out by that. The function in the flagellum is controlled movement, and that function is achieved by an irreducibly complex core of proteins, be them the 24 of the authors, or more, or less, and that core includes an exporting apparatus. That an exporting apparati may have, in more or less different forms, other uses does not change that fact.

    Even if each of the 24 core proteins were found in other simpler machines (which is not the case), the fact would remain that the assemblage and interaction of all of them for a completely new function would remain in itself IC.

    Finally, some considerations on the use of homology as an “explanatory mechanism”. Darwinists seem to believe, with something which is a mix of blind credulity and stubborn religious faith, that any homology between two proteins beyond a common chance threshold is proof that the two proteins derived from some common ancestor via a darwinian mechanism.

    That is completely gratuitous. First of all, two proteins can share a non random homology (and in the paper they used a very unspecific threshold, 10^-4), for functional reasons, and not necessarily for common descent.

    But even if we accept at least part of the homologies as evidence of CD (which I would accept, but only with very strong homologies), that does not mean in any way that the two proteins derived by a darwinian mechanism.

    To understand better, we have to consider many things:

    a) If the strucutre and function are the same, or if a new function or structure has emerged

    b) In the second case, how functionally complex is the transitions

    c) If there are known functionally selectable intermediaries (usual answer: no).

    IOWs, the current core of flagellar proteins could well have originated form one or more ancestors, but I am sure that there is no credible evidence that that may have happened though a darwinian mechanism, least of all for components of a complex structure whose function is IC.

  17. Grendal/ OgreMkV:

    Finally, I would like to ask, which flagellal system is Dr. Behe (and you guys) talking about? The paper I cited above contains 41 unique flagella systems. Some of which are missing proteins that other require to function. The article I cited describes one bacterial species with two totally different flagella. There are also non-bacterial flagella that are nothing like bacterial flagella.

    Pick one, any one, and then demonstrate how it came to be via blind, undirected chemical processes, ie an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    IOW stop worrying about ID and actually ante up and support your position.

  18. First, Sorry for the confusion about my nick. My normal nick is OgreMkV, but that was taken so I used another one.

    First of all, Joseph, what do you think my position is? I’m curious because I never stated it.

    gpuccio, thank you for the detailed reply. I’ll try to cover what I’m aware of.

    First, let me point out that of those 24 ‘core proteins’ even some of those can be removed and the flagella still function. For example, MotB can be knocked out and MotA and additional proteins can take over and still provide both movement and export.

    You said:

    First of all, two proteins can share a non random homology (and in the paper they used a very unspecific threshold, 10^-4), for functional reasons, and not necessarily for common descent

    But the value measured, the e-value, is the measure of the statistical significance of the BLAST result. For example, a hit with an E-value of 1.0 implies that one hit with a score equal to or better than the hit being scored would be expected at random from a sequence library search.

    The e-value used in this study was 0.0001. Which means that only 1 in 10,000 hits would be random. Other hits (as shown in the study) would be statistically significant and therefore related.

    Which brings us to the Type III secretory system.

    As shown by both the BLAST study and the knockout study. Even if some of the core proteins of the flagella are removed, such that the flagella stops moving, it can still function as a secretory system (which it does even if it moving).

    The implication of this is that the flagella is secondarily related to movement, not primarily.

    Finally, let me ask a question. You said

    IOWs, the current core of flagellar proteins could well have originated form one or more ancestors, but I am sure that there is no credible evidence that that may have happened though a darwinian mechanism

    So, you accept that common descent is statistically likely in this case (just to be clear, we’re talking about the Type III secretory system and the bacterial flagellum). What other mechanism would produce those results? Intellgent Design holds that these systems are unique and not subject to evolution, therefore cannot be descended from a common ancestor.

    So, from what has been said and Dr. Behe has said: My understanding is that the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex. There are some core proteins of the flagellum that could be considered IC, but only in those flagella that use those proteins. And base on what gpuccio says, the proteins that are core to the flagellum can be descended from a common ancestor.

    This, of course, only applies to flagellates in Domain Eubacteria. flagellates in Kingdom Animalia and Domain Archebacteria use completly different structures, proteins and systems.

    Finally, this’ll be my second and last post here. Real science is just much cooler than arguing with you guys. There’s only a limited amount of time in the day and I doubt wasting it on you is worth it.

  19. Bornagain 77.
    Thank you for these links. I watched the first one and first time to see Behe in live.
    His opponent tries to say science class is for science. yewt in reality its about conclusions made by “science’. Its not methodology class. In fact its about conclusions, thinkers, and trying to suggest professions for kids.
    Its about the truth of origins.
    Therefore creationisms are being banned because its official that they are not true.
    No way around it.
    Then science is claimed to be a higher standard of investigation and yet creationism insists it has the same standard in origin conclusions.
    In fact many YEC say there is no science going on in origin subjects like others.
    I say there is no such thing as science but only subjects using ordinary investigation process.

    Either way it comes down to is what is being taught in public schools about origins right or wrong.?!
    is it evident that nature is created by a thinking being or so non evident no need to breach the subject?!
    Is evolution true or unfounded?
    Is the process to drawing conclusions different between creationists and those now in charge?
    No hiding behind slogans like SCIENCE .
    Gotta do better then that.

  20. Grendel:

    I was going to answer your points, even if late (I have been distracted by other “duties”). But then I read your last paragraph:

    “Finally, this’ll be my second and last post here. Real science is just much cooler than arguing with you guys. There’s only a limited amount of time in the day and I doubt wasting it on you is worth it.”

    Good point. I will avoid wasting my time too.

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