Intelligent Design

Clash of the Titans, and Coyne is looking like toast…

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There is a Clash of the Titans going on between world renowned evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne and biochemist Michael Behe.

Behe is making toast out of Coyne in the recent exchanges as documented over at Amazon. Here are 4 relevant links. Enjoy:

Response to Critics: Jerry Coyne

Back and Forth with Jerry Coyne, Part 1

Back and Forth with Jerry Coyne, Part 2

Back and Forth with Jerry Coyne, Part 3

PS
Earlier, Bill pointed out the apparent convergence of features between Jerry Coyne and Herman Munster here. I think I have also discovered yet another convergence, one between Jerry Coyne and toast.

20 Replies to “Clash of the Titans, and Coyne is looking like toast…

  1. 1
    Atom says:

    Wow, it was almost like he was simultaneously writing to JAM.

  2. 2
    DaveScot says:

    Atom

    Yeah, you noticed that too.

    I copied Behe’s response on the origin of 1/10^20 chance of CQR resistance to JAM yesterday. JAM didn’t even acknowledge the correction which is one of the reasons he got axed. Another reason was he was trying to critique Behe’s book without having bothered to read it. On top of that he was getting increasingly frustrated, mean spirited, and verbose.

    I was tempted to make an article out of the Behe/Coyne exchange when I read Behe’s blog yesterday. I’m glad Sal did. It’s blogworthy. Behe is indeed making mincemeat out of his critics.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    I especially liked where Behe remarks that he assumes nothing.i.e..The 10^20 he quotes is a fact, a data point of science. His critics are toast because he practices science exactly as it is meant to be practiced.That is, Assume nothing and let the evidence lead you.

  4. 4
    tribune7 says:

    I went over to Talk Reason. You can feel the anger. They are behaving like second graders on a playground being made to look stupid or drunks in a bar on the losing side of an arguement:

    i.e.

    As could be expected, Behe’s “response” to Coyne’s critique is typical of Behe’s supercilious style, wherein he does not shy away from a self-gratifying delusion regarding his fiasco as an expert witness at the Kitzmiller vs Dover Board of Education trial. Professor Coyne, in his brief response, shows the abject failure of Behe both in his new book and in his “response” to critics.

    Talk with “reason” can’t be done with ad hominem.

    And Professor Coyne, why exactly is it denigrating to Judge Jones to refer to him as “the former head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board”?

    I take that back. I just pondered how one advances in state government in Pennsylvania.

    It is denigrating to refer to Jones as “the former head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.”

    Now, why is it wrong to do so?

  5. 5
    SCheesman says:

    Is it just my browser? In all of Behe’s posts I see “one in 1020”, which is certainly much less impressive than “one in 10^20”

  6. 6
    Patrick says:

    Probably the copy and paste didn’t carry the symbol.

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    if that’s the best that staunch, knowledgeable opponents of ID can come up with, even when writing in leading journals for a scientific audience, then I think the protein-protein binding site argument is on solid ground

    Michael Behe

    Yup, if that’s the best the Darwin All-Stars can muster, the ID proponents can expect to make toast of them for as long as they’re around.

  8. 8
    GilDodgen says:

    The 20 in 1020 is meant to be a superscript, which is a font attribute that is lost in ASCII-only environments. In HTML this attribute can be specified with the <sup> tag, as here: 1020

    By the way, I’m lost concerning the JAM references. Dave, can you fill us in?

  9. 9
    GilDodgen says:

    Oops, the <sup> tag worked in the comment preview, but disappeared when posted.

  10. 10
    country6925 says:

    tribune7

    I just pondered how one advances in state government in Pennsylvania.

    Just look at Gov. “Fast Eddie” Rendell. He ran Philadelphia into the ground and then got elected as guv.
    You tell me.

    BTW, the (dis)Honorable Judge Jones is a Federal judge, not state. PA had little to do with it.

  11. 11
    Jehu says:

    I think the Darwinists have discovered a new universal acid and it is Behe’s book. It is eating through everything they hold dear in the world.

  12. 12
    scordova says:

    Mike is now starting a series of responses to Miller. This should be entertaing. I think the next installment will be a blast.

    By the way, I personally like the little swipe at Jones as head of the liquor control board. I hope that meme doesn’t die anytime soon.

  13. 13

    Earlier, Bill pointed out the apparent convergence of features between Jerry Coyne and Herman Munster here.

    I found a Talk Origins person (one “Norman Brooks”) the other day who wasn’t too happy about my take on Coyne’s circular logic in that thread.

    Even when they rebut my lame humor, they’re unable to muster anything other than playground level taunts.

  14. 14
    Patrick says:

    By the way, I’m lost concerning the JAM references. Dave, can you fill us in?

    JAM was the registered UD name for a scientist who argued against Behe’s premise in a thread that got buried.

    It’s quite a long read so I’ll summarize. The argument was mostly a smokescreen. Jam said:

    “I am challenging Behe’s explicit claim that two are required in a “single mutation.” I am challenging any claim that any two have to occur in the same clone, because sexual reproduction recombines them at the same time it preserves wild-type alleles.”

    He supposedly got that by interpreting this statement from Mike in EOE:

    “The likelihood that Homo sapiens achieved any single mutation of the kind required for malaria to become resistant to chloroquine–not the easiest mutation, to be sure, but still only a shift of two amino acids–the likelihood that such a mutation could arise just once in the entire course of the human lineage in the past ten million years, is minuscule–of the same order as, say, the likelihood of you personally winning the Powerball lottery by buying a single ticket.”

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to read EOE but if I ONLY had that quote to work with I suppose you could claim that Mike was perhaps being a little vague (I could interpret the sentence multiple ways) but I still don’t see why JAM spent such a considerable time on an argument that amounted to putting words in another person’s mouth. Especially if you read Mike’s talk with Coyne, which JAM was made aware of, and which I believe clarifies Mike’s position better than that single quote.

    JAM was bouncing around all over the place but I believe his main argument can be restated in one sentence:

    “The evidence related to malaria is a special case and thus can’t be extrapolated to a general limit on evolution.”

    So the whole point of EOE is to look for an indicator for the limits of undirected evolution “in general” which Mike believes is the malaria example. JAM’s main point seemed to be that if you were to remove the “special factors” related to making the malaria example a “special case” you’d derive a probability estimate far lower than 1 in 10^20.

    The problem is that when calculating this number there may be some disagreement on what should be considered “special factors” or whether there really are any “special factors” that makes Mike’s argument from EOE invalid or at least very inaccurate (remember that 10^20 is approximate and there’s multiple ways to arrive at an estimate). We’d probably all agree that if we assume that “special factors” should be taken into account the result would be somewhere between 10^9 (spontaneous mutation rate directly in many systems) and (10^20 or 10^21).

    JAM would probably try to bias the calculations so they wouldn’t be such a danger to Darwinism. But let’s say we ended up calculating around 10^14 to 10^16. For readers of EOE and Mike himself: would that greatly hurt Mike’s argument in EOE?

    But let’s assume worst-case-scenario for the moment and say that we give up on the malaria example and look for others. JAM and other Darwinists would obviously contend that a limit for “in general” evolution could never be derived since they presume that “in general” evolution
    doesn’t have a limit in the first place. Every single example we bring to him and other Darwinists might end up being rejected as a “special case” by which you cannot derive a limit for “in general” evolution.

    Considering how Darwinists typically argue their case, I wouldn’t surprise if they take that tact. After all, if you can’t find any examples they don’t consider a “special case” how can you possibly make a decisive case? On top of that this example doesn’t even come close to Bill’s UPB.

    Anyway, the discussion was quite long and detailed but I found it more interesting than the responses from Dawkins, Coyne, Miller, etc.:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-127556

  15. 15
    tribune7 says:

    country6925 –BTW, the (dis)Honorable Judge Jones is a Federal judge, not state. PA had little to do with it.

    The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is a state agency.

  16. 16
    country6925 says:

    tribune7

    The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is a state agency.

    True. But I was pointing out that he was a federal judge, appointed (unfortunately) by President Bush. I’ve never heard anything much about his life before the PLCB.

    Oh, wait. This might be an interesting read.
    Judge Jones’ bio on Wikipedia

  17. 17
    tribune7 says:

    country6925

    Coyne is accusing Behe of denigrating Jones by pointing out that he had chaired the PLCB.

    I’m just sorta agreeing with Coyne 🙂

  18. 18
    country6925 says:

    I’m just sorta agreeing with Coyne 🙂

    Wait, you’re agreeing with Coyne?? I thought he’s one of those nasty NDEs!

    [Chicken Little] “The sky is falling! And so will science scores!!” [/Chicken Little]

  19. 19
    scordova says:

    I’m just sorta agreeing with Coyne

    Yeah, that was bit pointed of Mike to highlight the fact Coyne was so impoverished of good arguments that Coyne (a world renowned evolutionary biologist) had to invoke the opinions of a former Liquor Board director. Good for Mike!

    Even someone Coyne’s side, like Jason Rosenhouse, said in Coyne Lays an Egg:

    Are you kidding me? In a paragraph meant to impress people with the idea that Behe is snowing nonscientists with a wealth of technical detail, Coyne uses as a counterargument that we managed to convince [snooker is a better word] a Judge that the flagellum evolved? This is embarrassing. How could anyone on the fence read that and not come down on the side of the ID folks?

    ….
    Behe will have a good time lambasting Coyne

    Yup. When PT authors are conceding that Behe will have a good time lambasting Coyne, it affirms my claim that Coyne is toast. 🙂

  20. 20
    tribune7 says:

    Exactly.

    And we must keep in mind that in a sane world the PLCB chairmanship would not really be a resume enhancer in applying for the position of federal judge.

    I mean why else would Coyne call it “denigrating” to truthfully point this out???

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