Darwinism

But remember, there ISN’T a debate over Darwinism …

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There are some great new posts at Michael Behe’s Amazon blog for Edge of Evolution, and quite recently the fourth in the series Waiting for Two Mutations, went up:

An interesting paper appeared several months ago in an issue of the journal Genetics, “Waiting for Two Mutations: With Applications to Regulatory Sequence Evolution and the Limits of Darwinian Evolution” (Durrett, R & Schmidt, D. 2008. Genetics 180: 1501-1509). This is the fourth of five posts that discusses it. Cited references will appear in the last post.

Now I’d like to turn to a couple of other points in Durrett and Schmidt’s reply which aren’t mistakes with their model, but which do reflect conceptual errors. As I quote in a previous post, they state in their reply, “This conclusion is simply wrong since it assumes that there is only one individual in the population with the first mutation.” I have shown previously that, despite their assertion, my conclusion is right. But where do they get the idea that “it assumes that there is only one individual in the population with the first mutation”? I wrote no such thing in my letter about “one individual”. Furthermore, I “assumed” nothing. I merely cited empirical results from the literature. The figure of 1 in 10^20 is a citation from the literature on chloroquine resistance of malaria. Unlike their model, it is not a calculation on my part.

Right after this, in their reply Durrett and Schmidt say that the “mistake” I made is a common one, and they go on to illustrate “my” mistake with an example about a lottery winner. Yet their own example shows they are seriously confused about what is going on.

The basic problem, as I noted here, referencing this controversy (oh, wait, there isn’t a controversy, right?):

Well, the real problem is quite simple, actually: To a Darwinist, there are no limits to what Darwinian evolution can do. Darwin’s God – to borrow a phrase from Catholic Darwinist Ken Miller – is Darwinism. By nature, it is omnipotent. Thus, Behe blasphemed by offering, in Edge of Evolution, doubt based on evidence. Here is my review of the book.

Catching up here: No end to the evil, I guess; Also from the evil Discos – Debate over Behe’s Edge of Evolution; Podcasts in the intelligent design controversy; Intellectual freedom in Canada: Fire. Them. All. News Roundup – Hey, spring hasn’t been cancelled after all!
Gotta hand it to the ol’ boy; Science has a future after all – but it isn’t Darwinism; Gene, gene, the meadow is green – and where are you when I need to blame you for something?; Intelligent design and popular culture: Biomimicry So you acknowledge that Darwinism is in fact a cult?; Poll: In Darwin’s birthday year, people want to hear alternatives; From my mouth to God’s ear: Ben Stein gets a bore-free evening at home!; The Dino-Birds land … again?; Attempt a zillion to one to exonerate Darwin of racism; Intellectual freedom in Canada: Stephen Harper: Maybe
not just a dish rag?; Honour killings – why we don’t accept it here

11 Replies to “But remember, there ISN’T a debate over Darwinism …

  1. 1
    SCheesman says:

    Denyse: You need to adjust the offset paragraphs of quoted text; the two paragraphs following the indented block are also by Michael Behe.

  2. 2
    FrankH says:

    Actually, there are many things evolution can’t do. The problems some may have is that it may not be in line with how they want to believe things are.

    As to the lament that “Darwinists need a god and that is Darwinism” is patently wrong.

    Just as the model of evolution has changed over the years doesn’t point to any weakness in the basic premise. Just as Einstein’s Relativity replaced Newton’s Classical Dynamics, new understandings of biology has led to corrections and new theories of how evolution works. Compare that with Classical Mechanics/Quantum Mechanics/Relativity and the way science works, replaces older and more limited theories with more powerful and more detailed ones goes on.

  3. 3
    Borne says:

    FrankH :

    The problems some may have is that it may not be in line with how they want to believe things are.

    This is the problem most Darwinists have with ID. It has nothing to do with evidence.

    …the model of evolution has changed over the years doesn’t point to any weakness in the basic premise.

    The basic premise – macro evolution through gradual change – is exactly what is wrong with it.
    There is zero evidence empirical for macro evolution. Just-so stories and speculations don’t count. There’s “mountains” of empirical evidence against it.

    Gradualism has failed. That’s why Gould’s Punk Eek was posited in the first place.

    Stubbornly hanging on to the tattered and tired remnants of a past idea that has proven untrue is foolish. Yet that is the way of it these days with them.

  4. 4
    iconofid says:

    Denise O’Leary:

    Well, the real problem is quite simple, actually: To a Darwinist, there are no limits to what Darwinian evolution can do. Darwin’s God – to borrow a phrase from Catholic Darwinist Ken Miller – is Darwinism. By nature, it is omnipotent.

    It’s astonishing that someone should spend so much time and effort commenting on evolutionary theory without apparently knowing anything about it.

    To “Darwinists” there are many obvious limits to what evolution can do.

  5. 5
    iconofid says:

    Borne:

    “The basic premise – macro evolution through gradual change – is exactly what is wrong with it.
    There is zero evidence empirical for macro evolution.”

    Observed speciation? Transitional forms at the macro-macro level of class? Nested hierarchies? The common damage that we share in our genomes with the other apes that could only have happened in a common ancestor?

    Tell me, does it fit your observations of the world that lots of small change never adds up to large change over time? Do yearly micro changes in the history of a country or a city not add up to macro changes over centuries? Didn’t the micro changes you’ve undergone each month since birth add up to macro change over decades?
    Can you think of any exception to the rule that lots of small change adds up to large change?

    If not, why do you make an exception for biology? Is it rational to do so?

    “Just-so stories and speculations don’t count. There’s “mountains” of empirical evidence against it.”

    Please don’t be shy about informing the world of these mountains.

    “Gradualism has failed. That’s why Gould’s Punk Eek was posited in the first place.”

    Punk Eek is gradualist, but not uniform. Darwin thought that evolution was gradual, but not uniform.

    Charles Darwin wrote in the 5th edition of The Origin of Species:

    “the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured in years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form.”

    Borne:

    Stubbornly hanging on to the tattered and tired remnants of a past idea that has proven untrue is foolish.

    So true. When will William Paley’s misconcieved ideas finally die?

  6. 6
    ellijacket says:

    iconofid,

    “Can you think of any exception to the rule that lots of small change adds up to large change?”

    Yes. I’ve never seen information created in this manner. Ever….without some intelligence behind it.

    Can you provide any exception to the rule that information cannot be created without intelligence? Please cite the appropriate, repeatable experiments.

  7. 7
    iconofid says:

    ellijacket quotes iconofid saying:

    “Can you think of any exception to the rule that lots of small change adds up to large change?”

    [ellijacket replies]: Yes. I’ve never seen information created in this manner. Ever….without some intelligence behind it.

    Can you provide any exception to the rule that information cannot be created without intelligence? Please cite the appropriate, repeatable experiments.

    An appropriate answer to my question might have been that lots of small changes in information don’t add up to large changes in information. They do, so it’s not an exception.

    However, I’ll answer your (topically different) question with a question then an answer.

    You say that you have never seen information created without intelligence. Have you ever seen intelligence created without information?

    An example of new information being created without intelligence would be when two animals mate and create offspring. The offspring have unique genomes that have never existed before. So, you probably have seen the creation of new information without intelligent design in life.

    Outside life. It rains during the night, you go out in the morning, see the wet ground, and receive the information that it has rained in the night. That information was created without intelligence, and you were claiming that you’ve never seen such a thing happen.

    It’s worth pointing out that information arguments don’t work for intelligent design, because intelligent designers are full of functional specific complex information by definition, and FSCI cannot be regarded as a prerequisite for its own existence.

  8. 8
    ellijacket says:

    An example of new information being created without intelligence would be when two animals mate and create offspring. The offspring have unique genomes that have never existed before. So, you probably have seen the creation of new information without intelligent design in life.

    That’s not creating information. That’s passing it along. That information did have to come from somwhere to begin with.

    Outside life. It rains during the night, you go out in the morning, see the wet ground, and receive the information that it has rained in the night. That information was created without intelligence, and you were claiming that you’ve never seen such a thing happen.

    Your equating this to DNA? That’s incredibly weak by any standard.

    It’s worth pointing out that information arguments don’t work for intelligent design, because intelligent designers are full of functional specific complex information by definition, and FSCI cannot be regarded as a prerequisite for its own existence.

    They do work against materialistic Darwinism, however.

  9. 9
    iconofid says:

    ellijacket:

    That’s not creating information. That’s passing it along. That information did have to come from somwhere to begin with.

    It’s both. The new genotype is unique, as is the phenotype. Are you arguing that it’s a clone of one of the parents? And of course the information, new and old, came from “somewhere”. Everything does.

    Your equating this to DNA? That’s incredibly weak by any standard.

    No, I wasn’t comparing it to DNA. Just to new information that had no intelligent cause.

    You asked me to provide an exception to your proposed rule that information cannot be created without intelligence.

    What makes you think that a new, unique organism could come into existence without new information?

    They [information arguments] do work against materialistic Darwinism, however.

    How? Is chemical change immaterial?

  10. 10
    ellijacket says:

    I’m talking about specified information such as DNA. The ground being wet is very weak compared to the complexity of the genome.

    I take it that since you know that there is no known way to produce specified information such as DNA, and the corresponding meta-information that is in the genome, that you are choosing to wiggle out of this issue.

    If you are not trying to wiggle out of it then please provide some idea of how DNA could have come into existence. Please leave out ‘just-so stories’.

  11. 11
    iconofid says:

    “I’m talking about specified information such as DNA. The ground being wet is very weak compared to the complexity of the genome.”

    And you replied to my request for an example of when lots of small changes don’t add up into large changes by talking about DNA.

    “I take it that since you know that there is no known way to produce specified information such as DNA, and the corresponding meta-information that is in the genome, that you are choosing to wiggle out of this issue.”

    I didn’t know that there was no known way to produce specified information such as DNA. What issue am I wiggling out of? If you’re arguing that “specified” information requires specified information in order to be produced, then I think you should think long and hard about the nature of your argument, and whether it has any built in contradictions.

    Again, can you think of an example of lots of small changes not adding up to large change? Telling me about things that you haven’t observed doesn’t present examples of this.

    If you are not trying to wiggle out of it then please provide some idea of how DNA could have come into existence. Please leave out ‘just-so stories’.

    Chemical reactions. An observed phenomenon. Would you like to give me an alternative based on an observed catalyst?

    If you give me examples of intelligent designers designing things, please make sure that the intelligent designers involved are not dependent on chemical reactions.

    Thanks.

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