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Michael Behe on the theory of constructive neutral evolution


Re “constructive neutral evolution, ” (see “This year’s wishful thinking?” this morning here) Michael Behe writes to say that he blogged on a different version of the idea last year in “Irremediable Complexity”here:

In brief, the idea is that neutral interactions evolve serendipitously in the cell, spread in a population by drift, get folded into a system, and then can’t be removed because their tentacles are too interconnected. It would be kind of like trying to circumvent the associate director of licensing delays in the Department of Motor Vehicles — can’t be done.

The authors think the evolution of such a complex is well beyond the powers of positive natural selection: “Even Darwin might be reluctant to advance a claim that eukaryotic spliceosomal introns remove themselves more efficiently or accurately from mRNAs than did their self-splicing group II antecedents, or that they achieved this by ‘numerous, successive, slight modifications’ each driven by selection to this end.” (1)

About the authors’ own approach, which he details,

I don’t mean to be unkind, but I think that the idea seems reasonable only to the extent that it is vague and undeveloped; when examined critically it quickly loses plausibility. The first thing to note about the paper is that it contains absolutely no calculations to support the feasibility of the model. This is inexcusable. …



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