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Behe Responds to Judge Jones

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Behe covers several sections in detail but here is the overall summary at the end:

The Court’s reasoning in section E-4 is premised on: a cramped view of science; the conflation of intelligent design with creationism; the incapacity to distinguish the implications of a theory from the theory itself; a failure to differentiate evolution from Darwinism; and strawman arguments against ID. The Court has accepted the most tendentious and shopworn excuses for Darwinism with great charity and impatiently dismissed arguments for design.

All of that is regrettable, but in the end does not impact the realities of biology, which are not amenable to adjudication. On December 21, 2005, as before, the cell is run by amazingly complex, functional machinery that in any other context would immediately be recognized as designed. On December 21, 2005, as before, there are no non-design explanations for the molecular machinery of life, only wishful speculations and Just-So stories.

Incidentally bacteria in an amoeba are in its food vacuole which is not in the cytoplasm of the amoeba any more than the bacteria in our large intestine are inside our cells either. Bacteria inside cells are bad news and often result in death. They sure aren't incipient mitochondria. Bacteria and mitochondria also have entirely different internal structure and enzyme complements. About the only thing they share is cicular DNA. John Davison
All animals require bacteria as symbionts. We sure do. Two thirds of the dry weight of our fecces is coliform bacteria. We would starve to death and die without them. It is just as reasonable to believe that bacteria arose as escaped mitochondria as the reverse. I don't believe anyone has transformed one into the other in either direction. The same can be said for the relationship beteen chloroplasts and prokaryotic algae. Both may have resukted from the reading of the same or very similar preformed "blueprints," which may have been present before either were produced. We have in our bodies cell types representative of the three major protozoan classes, ciliated epithelia of the upper repiratory tract, amoeboid white blood cells and flagellated spermatozoa. Is anybody weak-minded enough to believe that these three protozaon cells got together to form a metazoan? Lynn Margulis may be but I'm not. It is much easier to assume that we were reading the same preformed "blueprints" that the protozoans were reading indivdually. Besides it is in complete accord with my PEH so naturally I am prejudiced in that direction. If a bacterial symbiotic origin of mitochondria were possible it should be demonstrable experimentally and also should be reversible. I don't believe that has been done or even attempted to my knowledge. I don't believe it can be done and I don't believe it ever happened. I could be wrong of course. Heaven forbid! Excuse me but I'm from Wisconsin and I have to be showed! John Davison
Unless I'm mistaken mtDNA is a circular molecule (like bacterial DNA) while nuclear DNA is open ended. It seems the most likely explanation would be that a cell with a nucleus containing open ended DNA incorporated a separate cell with circular DNA. Symbiotic relationships abound. This is just one more example. DaveScot
All mitochondria come from mitochondria Then why are mitochondria found in all eukaryotes so similar to each other, especially in having some of their own DNA? Chloroplasts also show remarkable similarity across the green plant kingdom. There is convincing evidence for symbiogenesis. Does intelligent design rule out the possibility that mitochondria may have once been free-living bacteria? Xavier
Hello, first time poster, long time reader. Although Davison's point is well taken here about the limitations of darwinism, he shouldn't forget that experiments have shown that amoeba can take up and become dependent upon bacterial residents in the same way as mitochondria. Testing all those darwinian pathways would be a waste of time and money. What we should do is concentrate on isolating clues as to how design was inputed into life. When we can identify the tools used during the design process, then the arguments of the opposition will become specious. EJ Klone
For what it is worth there are amoebae that can procuce flagella or not, depending on the conditions. The basal granule of the flagellum is apparently homologous with the centriole of the mitotic apparatus. If that basic structure is missing so will be all its homologues. Boris Ephrussi produced yeast with no mitochondria. Such yeast cells were doomed forever to an anaerobic existence. All mitochondria come from mitochondria just as all bacteria come from bacteria and all cells come from cells. No prokaryote can ever become a eukaryote and probably never did. They were just created that way. John Davison
By testing all possible indirect Darwinian pathways, of course! :P Imagine the "fun" doing that...endless amounts of funding. Patrick
Xavier, That experiment would uphold the validity of the theory of evolution. Say Behe conducts the experiment and after 5 years- nothing. All of his steps/ processes/ procedures are documented. The experiment cost $10 million- that is an experiment which produced NOTHING. Who is going to want to repeat that? Also reality demonstrates that the people wanting something refuted should be the people trying to refute it. Then IF a population of flagella-less bacteria "evolve" into a population of bacteria with flagella, then we could check to see if they "cheated" or not. IOW the IDists hand would be forced to refute the results- or live with them. As Dr. Behe asks: "How could one falsify the claim that a particular biochemical system was produced by a Darwinian process?" Joseph
From Prof. Behe: If I conducted such an experiment and no flagellum were evolved, what Darwinist would believe me? The scientific method relies on repeatability. If Prof. Behe's experiment could be repeated and the result confirmed, belief would not enter into the issue, and the mainstream scientific community would have to address the implications of the result. This seems a very strong argument for any experiment that would demonstrate a valid aspect of ID theory to be set up ASAP. (It would need to focus on a biological system and not rely on analogy.) Xavier
Natural selection is now and always was an important feature in evolution. It has PREVENTED change and that is all that it ever did. That is why there is virtually no morphological variation among the members of any species in the natural state. That is why taxonomic keys will invariably lead one to the correct species every time. Natural selection, the sine qua non of Darwinian mysticism, is an illusion dreamed up out of thin air indepedently by a pair of Victorin naturalists, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, one of whom had the good sense to abandon it entirely later in life, something Darwin would never do. Even when man intervenes using all of his selection powers, he has been unable to transform any species even into a new member of the same genus. It was a staunch Darwinian, Theodosius Dobzhansky, who proved exactly that beyond any reasonable doubt. Many life forms do not even offer any variability upon which to apply a selective process. Those that have like goldfish and dogs have led absolutely nowhere. All the bizarre varieties of goldfish are still asiatic carp (Carassius auratus) after literally centuries of selection. Dogs are still wolves and always will be. In short, contemporary species are immutable, just as Cuvier and Linnaeus always assumed and apparently knew by instinct. Geniuses are like that. Evolution, like ontogeny, has proven to a self-limiting, self regulating and self- terminating process. Just as ontogeny invaiably terminates with death so evolution ends with extinction. I agree with Robert Broom that there is probably not a single living organism that could ever become anything very different from what it is right now. We see the products a long past evolution, not evolution in action as the Darwinian mystics continue to imagine and imagine is the key word. The entire Darwinian paradigm is a giant illusion based on the unsubstantiated assumption that organisms can still evolve. They cannot, of that I remain certain and I am not and have not been alone. The only reason Darwinism prevails is because its proponents are geneticially unable to recognize that a Creator or Creators must have been responsible for everything we see around us. It has already been established with separated identical twins that the way people think has a firm genetic component. That includes firmly held views about the death penalty, politics, abortion and even whether or not a God exists now or ever did. Einstein was acutely aware of this powerful factor determining human behavior: "Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting are nor free but are just as as causally bound as the stars in their motion...Everything is determined...by forces over which we have no control...Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics and it springs from the same source.... They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres." Einstein went to his grave a convinced determinist and so will I. That was our "prescribed" fate and I have no complaints. Others have not always been so lucky. We are all victims. It is summarized in the title of William Wright's book - "Born That Way." So much for that much heralded "Free Will," as nearly as I can determine, like Darwinian evolution, just one more illusion. "Men are most apt to believe what they least understand." Montaigne John Davison
Here Here, Gil! Scott
Whatever science is, it is certainly not this. In fact, “speculation, unsupported by evidence but presented as fact” would make a good definition of pseudoscience.
It would make a good definition of evolution, too!! DonaldM
"The evolution of complex molecular systems can occur in several ways. Natural selection can bring together parts of a system for one function at one time and then, at a later time, recombine those parts with other systems of components to produce a system that has a different function." This statement from the National Academy of Sciences, included in the Jones decision, is stunning. It is stunning because it is pure speculation presented as incontrovertible fact, and it is utterly unsupported by any empirical or other hard evidence. Whatever science is, it is certainly not this. In fact, "speculation, unsupported by evidence but presented as fact" would make a good definition of pseudoscience. Natural selection is death, and the last time I checked, death did not have the power to “bring together parts of a system” for any purpose whatsoever. It is assumed, not demonstrated, that all the components of putatively irreducibly complex biological systems once performed other functions, but even if they did, the assembly instructions and assembly mechanism are left completely unaccounted for. It is just magically assumed that this secondary level of complexity and interdependent organization can be had for the asking. This, according to the National Academy of Sciences, must be “how science works.” GilDodgen
Boesman writes:
Behe should just forget about Dover and move on. He’s only digging himslf in deeper with that response. ID will live to fight another day.
I disagree. Behe is one of the major players in ID and his opinion and analysis carry a lot of weight. Rather than digging himself in deeper, he is clarifying exactly where things stand scientifically post-Dover, which is exactly where they stood pre-Dover, and that is a significant point. Of course none of that stops the anti-ID crowd from crowing about what a tremendous victory for science this decision was. Funny how adjudicating science is a good thing when it goes their way. I'd bet the farm that if Jones's decision went against the anti-ID position, that we'd be witnessing all sorts of weeping, moaning and hand wringing from the anti-ID crowd over how science can't be adjudicated, and its only what happens in the lab that counts, and yadda yadda, blah blah blah... DonaldM
Behe should just forget about Dover and move on. He's only digging himslf in deeper with that response. ID will live to fight another day. Boesman
For more analysis critical of the reasoning in the Dover Trial see the following: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/dover_in_review_part_1_is_judg.html http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/dover_in_review_pt_2_did_judge.html http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/dover_in_review_pt_3_did_judge.html http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/dover_in_review_pt_4_are_the_n_1.html http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/a_visitors_guide_to_the_dover.html http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/judge_jones_follows_aclu_ignor.html http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00002592/ http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/intelligent_design_is_empirica.html#more http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/living/13614652.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp http://www.ydr.com/portlet/article/html/fragments/print_article.jsp?article=3404424 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/another_excellent_response_to.html http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/but_is_id_science.html Red Reader
Much of the Jones decision was nothing more than personal prejudice masquerading as objective adjudication. Judge Jones appears to be suffering from a terminal case of delusions of adequacy. GilDodgen

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