Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Behe’s Darwin Devolves: Kindle ships…


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If you’ve been following the pre-pub “Peaceful Science” hit review that Science published, people who are holding forth against it had better have read it first.

Update 7:39 EST: The Kindle version has shipped.

Misrepresenters will no longer have a simple advantage (others can’t know or defend what they haven’t read). 

Expect many dirty tricks. It’s not like very many people want an honest discussion of what natural selection can/can’t do. 

The problem here isn’t that Behe is necessarily right in each case. He’s more like a whistleblower. He might be wrong in some cases – but not by enough that it matters! That’s what makes a person expungible

But anyway- I am into chapter 1 and it appears that Dr. Behe is unaware that polar bears actually have clear, hollow fur, with the small guard hairs being clear but not hollow. This seems to be common amongst cold-weathered mammals- alpacas have hollow hair. The llama have a hollow core fiber. And Rudolph's kin (reindeer) also have (soft) hollow hair. The point being is the changes most likely did not just occur to the LYST (pigmentation) gene. The skin of a polar bear is black, which is similar in color to the skin of a grizzly. Also just because changes to a gene (APOB) has adverse effects in other mammals doesn't say anything about polar bears. We know that genes are not isolated actors. But chapter one does make the great point that today people add "evolution" to just about anything and the addition does not add one bit of information. It is just hype and window dressing designed to keep the populace indoctrinated. ET
Hi NonLin- From Dr. Behe:
Scott refers to me as an intelligent design “creationist,” even though I clearly write in my book Darwin’s Black Box (which Scott cites) that I am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent. In fact, my own views fit quite comfortably with the 40% of scientists that Scott acknowledges think “evolution occurred, but was guided by God.” Where I and others run afoul of Scott and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is simply in arguing that intelligent design in biology is not invisible, it is empirically detectable. The biological literature is replete with statements like David DeRosier’s in the journal Cell: “More so than other motors, the flagellum resembles a machine designed by a human” (1). Exactly why is it a thought-crime to make the case that such observations may be on to something objectively correct?
It looks like he agrees with 1-5. I do not. Common Descent is still an untestable concept. And offspring would be a modified version of both parents. We are not clones. Look, I am NOT Ok with saying ID is anti-evolution just because you have issues with the word "evolution". Saying that ID is anti-evolution makes it appear that ID is for the fixity of species. And THAT has been the whole problem all along. We have allowed them to hijack the word. We need to make the world aware of that fact and not cower from the word. Evolution by means of intelligent design is still evolution. Organisms that are intelligently designed to evolve and evolve by means of intelligent design are still evolving. It is up to you, when having a discussion on "evolution" to be up front with the definitions and clarify what you mean and what your opponent means. When a reporter hounded a GoP Presidential candidate about believing in "evolution" he shot right back with "that depends on what you mean by the word..." and went into the explanation. ET
ET @13 I urge you to read again and reply to my actual comment @12. As for yours, which ones from that list do you accept? Which one does Behe? Darwinist X? Darwinist Y? Asauber is very much right that the whole "evolution" thing is poetry and NOT at all science. If "evolution" is "changes" and even "change in allele frequency", the bar is too low and then EVERYTHING is "evolution" which is absurd. On the other hand, "descent with modification" is a downright silly concept when you think about it - we're a MIX of our parents and as NOT AT ALL a "modified" version of either one. Even Darwin should have known that much. And what do you know? Lamarckism was "evolution" before Darwinism: https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/05/08/evolution-etymology/ Nonlin.org
Thanks, ET. In summary, the quote you provided presents 'evolution' as a range of types of changes. I don't know if that's the most scientific way to present it. From what I understand, there are significant differences in the kinds of changes that occur in biology and they should not be smeared together under one umbrella word like they are all the same thing. Andrew asauber
from Douglas J. Futuyma (2013) Evolution 3rd edition, Sinauer Associates Inc. Sunderland MA p.2, we have:
The word “evolution” comes from the Latin evolvere,”to unfold or unroll”- to reveal or manifest hidden potentialities. Today “evolution” has come to mean, simply, “change”. The word is sometimes used to describe changes in individual objects such as stars. Biological (or organic) evolution, however, is change in the properties of groups of organisms over the course of generations. The development, or ONTOGENY, of an individual organism is not considered evolution: individual organisms do not evolve. Groups of organisms, which we may call populations, do evolve: they undergo descent with modification. Populations may become subdivided, so that several populations are derived from a common ancestral population. If different changes transpire in the several populations, the populations DIVERGE- that is, they become different from each other. As these processes have continued over vast periods of time, they have resulted in the emergence of millions of different forms of life, all having descended, with modification, from the “universal common ancestor” of all known living things. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are passed via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Over the course of many generations, many such changes may accumulate. Thus, biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population to the alterations that led from the earliest organisms to corals, grasshoppers, tomatoes and humans.
Bold added ET
"If you are unclear as to what people mean then all you have to do is ask" ET, Sounds easy enough. But it's been my experience that I'll be directed more often than not to go look it up myself. Even if I ask for links and a quote, there's no guarantee I'll get clarity. How do I know what I obtain is what the person intends? I don't have time for guessing games. Andrew asauber
If you are unclear as to what people mean then all you have to do is ask ET
"Do you realize how tedious every conversation would be if we had to do it your way?" I'm not talking about every conversation. I'm talking about attempting to have a scientific discussion. Throwing a word like 'evolution' around without some clarity as to what you think you mean, means you aren't serious. Andrew asauber
If someone could not tell which definition the scientist is referring to by the context of the discussion, then that person should not be in a lab or talking to a scientist. It is a wonder that people can communicate at all. Or do you define all of the words you are going to use before you start a conversation? Do you realize how tedious every conversation would be if we had to do it your way? ET
"Again, it all depends on the CONTEXT." We'll just have to agree to disagree. It depends on the definition provided. If you can't provide a clear definition, then no serious discussion can take place. There would be and is a lot of wheel spinning and going nowhere because of the lack of clarity. Andrew asauber
That is also false. Again, it all depends on the CONTEXT. Scientists do not define the words they are using before they use them. I am being a realist. "OK, I am talking about a coiled wire and not the season- had me the spring" Really? ET
“Spring” can mean the season or it can mean a coiled wire- in science." I disagree. In science, you would make clear the definition of the word you are using. Which is my point. If you don't, you aren't being scientific, you are being poetic. Andrew asauber
That is false, Andrew. And "evolution" is just one example. It all depends on the context. "Spring" can mean the season or it can mean a coiled wire- in science. Again, I do not understand your objection. ET
ET, Words having different meanings is poetry, not science. Andrew asauber
Asauber- most words have several different meanings. So I don't understand your objection. ET
See? No one can agree on what evolution is supposed to be. Thus, there's no way to get scientific about it. While I expect the official definition to come in the mail fairly soon (I'm on the waiting list), meanwhile, I'll be planning my garden for this year. Meteorological Spring is almost here! :) Andrew asauber
Nonlin- Evolution is not just about humans evolving from non-humans. Are we supposed to deny that changes occur? Are we supposed to deny that there is a change in allele frequency over time within a population? Are we supposed to deny that there is descent with modification as exemplified by the fact that offspring are not exact copies of their parents? That is ALL evolution The meanings of evolution, from Darwinism, Design and Public Education: 1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature 2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population 3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor. 4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random variations or mutations. 5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor. 6. “Blind watchmaker” thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms. Look, just because some people cannot separate he blind watchmaker rom evolution doesn't mean anything to the rest of us who can. We understand that words have SEVERAL meanings and that not all of them apply in every context. ET
An ESSENTIAL part of winning a war is rejecting the opponent's language. Would you be cool with a new National-Socialist party led by a Fuhrer with some sort of Windmill Symbol (+ cult of superman, salute, marching, garb, etc) and seeking to improve Lebensraum (living space) for it's Select Members? None of that is illegal, and yet... EricMH, can we use the more accurate 'redesign' instead of 'evolution' when talking about "wheel to car"? Can we use 'transformation' and - why not - 'metamorphosis' when talking about Ovid? Also, can you prove that "the child contains innovations"? ET, News, Bornagain77, Is it true that indeed God "evolved" (redesigned) monkeys into humans? I don't gather that from the Bible, the fossil record, or any other source, but would gladly accept it if you can provide the proof. Nonlin.org
@Belfast, it seems 'evolution' means one thing changing into another. Even going from nothing to something could be a form of evolution. For example, Ovid's book Metamorphoses is 'evolution the poem' where everything is constantly changing. The question is, where does this change come from? Is the agent of change entirely implicit within matter, which we know is just driven by chance and necessity, or must some other cause be invoked? EricMH
Leave nonlin alone, his posts always show a liking for precision in language. Dr. Behe I greatly respect, I have all his books, and I hope that he carefully distinguishes what he means by ‘evolution” when his book arrives as per my order a month or so ago. I don’t know how many iterations of “evolution” I have read, Dr Behe has one to his own taste, it is fair to ask just what is meant by the two terms. Belfast
Nonlin, would you say that going from wheel to car is an evolution, or something else? We can trace a lineage from one to the other, but even though there is a dependency from parent to child, the child contains innovations that cannot have come from the parent + random variation + natural selection. For example, natural history could be a history of genetic invention by an intelligent being, or multiple intelligent beings. The latter would explain why some organisms seem like they could not have been created by an omnibenevolent being. Intelligent design does not necessarily entail benevolent design. EricMH
NonLin, FYI- In response to the theological arguments (put forth by Dawkins and Coyne) against Creation vis-à-vis biogeographical distribution (Why would the Creator create all of the different variations found on islands and other isolated ecosystems?), Dr. Lee Spetner, in “the Evolution Revolution”, wrote on p 108:
He [the Creator] indeed seems to have “carefully crafted” information in His species giving them the ability to respond to environmental stimuli to alter their own genome to adapt to new environments. He then evidently let them wander where they will with the ability to adapt.
Organisms were intelligently designed with the ability to evolve and adapt. ET
I think Nonlin.org sorta? has a point at #2. There's no reason to defend what turns out to be a non-scientific idea- 'Evolution'. If you are going by your own definition of what it's supposed to be, then it ain't science. So scientifically, what is Evolution supposed to be? Under what conditions does it happen? These basic questions have not been answered. If someone can show me to be in error, please do so. Andrew asauber
Earth to Nonlin- Evolution by means of intelligent design is still evolution. ET
nonlin.org at 2: You write "What the heck is “evolution” (his quotation marks) without Darwinism? How is that supposed to work in Behe’s ID mind?" If you have been here all this time and do not understand the distinction between the claims for Darwinism and the multiple possible pathways for evolution in the river of life, you have wasted an awful lot of time. I hope no one else has wasted as much time. Unless, of course, your only object is to obfuscate a serious discussion. You will have lots of help and sympathy, that's for sure. News
I get the distinct feeling that Joshua Swamidass didn't actually read the book before "reviewing" it. It's available on Kindle today. Mung
Nonlin.Org, Dr. Behe's beef has never been with the claims of common descent. He has focused exclusively on the inability of Natural Selection and Random Mutations to produce the integrated functional complexity we find in life. And finds the Darwinian mechanism grossly inadequate to explain even trivial levels of the integrated complexity found ubiquitously throughout biological life. And although many Darwinists, and even a few ID advocates, have latched onto Dr. Behe's tacit acceptance of common descent as a full throated endorsement of common descent, the fact of the matter is that Dr. Behe is not nearly as committed to common descent as many people tend to believe. The following video gives a good example of just how tacit, even tentative, Dr. Behe's acceptance of common descent actually is.
Common Ancestry and Creation - Michael J. Behe, PhD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HIzn8DYL_U
Because of such a 'fragile' tentative acceptance on his part, I am very interested to see exactly where Dr. Behe position on common descent currently now is in his new book. From this review, it is easy to see that Behe's main thesis of his new book, 'Darwin Devolves", does not support the overall claims of common descent
DARWIN DEVOLVES: THE NEW SCIENCE ABOUT DNA THAT CHALLENGES EVOLUTION, by Michael J. Behe Published on February 18, 2019 He reminds us that the theory pretends to knowledge that we do not have: namely, that its mechanism (random mutation and natural selection) is adequate to be able to generate the complexity, functionality and diversity that we see in present-day living things, all starting from one or a few initial life forms. Behe concedes that this Darwinian mechanism is capable of generating low levels of diversity, such as characterize the bottom levels of the biological classification scheme—the diversity found within genera and species. But since we are now able to unpack and study the DNA of living organisms, we can finally tell something of what is happening when mutation and natural selection do their work, thus testing the Darwinian mechanism. For instance, the polar bear, closely related to the large brown bear, differs in ways that make it especially viable in the Arctic—its white coat, its greater resistance to cold weather, and its ability to handle the sorts of fatty foods available in such regions. But it now appears that the genetic changes that produced these variations seem to be “damaging … likely to degrade or destroy the functions of the protein that the gene codes for” (15-17). This will be a major theme of the book.,,, https://www.booksataglance.com/book-reviews/darwin-devolves-the-new-science-about-dna-that-challenges-evolution-by-michael-j-behe/
I'm sure I'm not the only one who is interested to see how Dr. Behe handles the overarching common descent issue in his new book "Darwin Devolves".,,, IMHO, If he follows his overarching thesis, i.e. "de"volution, where it leads, it should lead him to reject, or at least become even more tentative in, his acceptance of common descent. We will see. I should get my copy of his book fairly shortly and am looking forward to reading it. bornagain77
What the heck is this supposed to mean:
Again, as I made abundantly clear at trial, it isn’t “evolution” but Darwinism
?!? What the heck is "evolution" (his quotation marks) without Darwinism? How is that supposed to work in Behe's ID mind? Behe is shooting himself in the foot to put it mildly... And the ID crowd is happy? Nonlin.org
The title's subtext is a little confusing, especially in light of what Dr. Behe has already said:
Again, as I made abundantly clear at trial, it isn’t “evolution” but Darwinism — random mutation and natural selection — that ID challenges. Darwinism makes the large, crucial claim that random processes and natural selection can account for the functional complexity of life. Thus the “burden of proof” for Darwinism necessarily is to support its special claim — not simply to show that common descent looks to be true. How can a demand for Darwinism to convincingly support its express claim be “unreasonable”? The 19th century ether theory of the propagation of light could not be tested simply by showing that light was a wave; it had to test directly for the ether. Darwinism is not tested by studies showing simply that organisms are related; it has to show evidence for the sufficiency of random mutation and natural selection to make complex, functional systems.
Does this "new science" challenge blind watchmaker evolution (Darwinism) or all concepts of evolution, including evolution by design? My copy is scheduled to arrive tomorrow... ET

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