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How ID theorist Michael Behe forced Darwin’s faithful to start talking nonsense

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Behe visible cover.jpg Obviously, for all to see.

A sentence appears in a paywalled article in a peer-reviewed publication (Journal of Molecular Evolution):

Since the subject of cellular emergence of life is unusually complicated (we avoid the term ‘complex’ because of its association with ‘biocomplexity’ or ‘irreducible complexity’), it is unlikely that any overall theory of life’s nature, emergence, and evolution can be fully formulated, quantified, and experimentally investigated.

But that is not a justified change in terminology and certainly not an improvement.

“Complicated” is usually a pejorative term, that is, a term that means something negative.

Compare: “The new system is more complicated” [= messy, time-wasting, not ergonomic, typical product of a committee, etc.… ]

vs.

“The new system is more complex” [= has more features than the previous one. Is more internally organized. But it may also do more. We must see. ]

If a researcher must conceal the complexity of nature under implicit accusations of mere complicated-ness, what does that say about the likely strength of his argument?

Irreducible complexity. Ah yes. Behe did not invent the term; he just insisted on saying the obvious, in a world of tenured mediocrities who hope they can still muscle anyone who reflects on evidence and asks questions.

Of course, there may yet be time to remove or edit the sentence in this world of prepress… Anyway, here’s the Abstract:

Abstract: We review physicochemical factors and processes that describe how cellular life can emerge from prebiotic chemical matter; they are: (1) prebiotic Earth is a multicomponent and multiphase reservoir of chemical compounds, to which (2) Earth–Moon rotations deliver two kinds of regular cycling energies: diurnal electromagnetic radiation and seawater tides. (3) Emerging colloidal phases cyclically nucleate and agglomerate in seawater and consolidate as geochemical sediments in tidal zones, creating a matrix of microspaces. (4) Some microspaces persist and retain memory from past cycles, and others re-dissolve and re-disperse back into the Earth’s chemical reservoir. (5) Proto-metabolites and proto-biopolymers coevolve with and within persisting microspaces, where (6) Macromolecular crowding and other non-covalent molecular forces govern the evolution of hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and charged molecular surfaces. (7) The matrices of microspaces evolve into proto-biofilms of progenotes with rudimentary but evolving replication, transcription, and translation, enclosed in unstable cell envelopes. (8) Stabilization of cell envelopes ‘crystallizes’ bacteria-like genetics and metabolism with low horizontal gene transfer—life ‘as we know it.’ These factors and processes constitute the ‘working pieces’ of the jigsaw puzzle of life’s emergence. They extend the concept of progenotes as the first proto-cellular life, connected backward in time to the cycling chemistries of the Earth–Moon planetary system, and forward to the ancient cell cycle of first bacteria-like organisms. Supra-macromolecular models of ‘compartments first’ are preferred: they facilitate macromolecular crowding—a key abiotic/biotic transition toward living states. Evolutionary models of metabolism or genetics ‘first’ could not have evolved in unconfined and uncrowded environments because of the diffusional drift to disorder mandated by the second law of thermodynamics.: – Jan Spitzer, “Emergence of Life on Earth: A Physicochemical Jigsaw Puzzle,” Journal of Molecular Evolution, in press, DOI 10.1007/s00239-016-9775-3 More.

See also: Eric Metaxas on Michael Behe, Revolutionary

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13 Replies to “How ID theorist Michael Behe forced Darwin’s faithful to start talking nonsense

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    It would appear that an admission is on the way that the best we can hope for is storytelling. A Genesis story for our own age. The modern creation myth.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    The irresolvable dilemma for atheists is that words convey meaning and purpose and thus necessarily presuppose the existence of a meaningful, purposeful, world that can be conveyed by words. Indeed, the creation of language itself presupposes meaning and purpose for the world as such. And yet atheists claim that the world is without any real meaning or purpose. Thus, words themselves, by the very nature of their construct, and use, betray atheists in their attempts to portray a world without any real meaning or purpose.

    They would be better off not using any words whatsoever to try to prove their nihilistic point. I, for one, would fully support them in their effort of not using any words to try prove their ‘meaningless’ point. 🙂

    Verse:

    Matthew 12:36-37
    But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

    At the 17:45 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience documentary, the Life Review portion of the Near Death Experience is highlighted, with several testimonies relating how every word, thought, deed, and action, of a person’s life is gone over in the presence of God:

    Near Death Experience Documentary – commonalities of the experience – video
    https://youtu.be/e2958DDp4WM?t=1063

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related: Our use of Words reveal the existence of intentionality in the universe. i.e. Words cannot exist unless intentionality really exists. In fact, ‘intention’ is an irreducible aspect of our minds that refuses to be reduced to materialistic explanation. ,,, Atheism denies the reality of intentionality for the universe and for us. i.e. Atheism holds that the universe and everything in it was, and is, ‘unintended’. Again, the atheist’s use of words betrays his own metaphysical belief since he demonstrates the reality of intentionally every time he speaks or writes.

    IMHO, the most inspirational song of the inauguration celebrations last night spoke of ‘intentional’

    Chrisette Michele and Travis Greene perform “Intentional” live Donald Trump’s Inaugural Ball 2017
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU61Jdp80Z8

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    How ID theorist Michael Behe forced Darwin’s faithful to start talking nonsense

    Was there a time when they didn’t talk nonsense?

    When was that?

    🙂

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Since the subject of cellular emergence of life is unusually complicated (we avoid the term ‘complex’ because of its association with ‘biocomplexity’ or ‘irreducible complexity’), it is unlikely that any overall theory of life’s nature, emergence, and evolution can be fully formulated, quantified, and experimentally investigated.

    What a great find. Magnificent.

    They’re frightened by the word complex. Because life is not really complex? “Yes, it’s not ‘complex’, it’s actually just ‘complicated'” LOL. Yes, give Michael Behe credit here.

    They also should revise the title of the article that uses the term “Jigsaw Puzzle”. That could be a problem! 🙂

    But that sentence also predicts that “it is unlikely that any overall theory of life’s nature, emergence, and evolution can be fully formulated, quantified, and experimentally investigated.”

    What? No overall theory of life’s evolution can be formulated?

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    What we see in the biological systems today is not ‘complex’, it’s actually just ‘fascinating awesome mindboggling complex complexity of the WOW! WOW! WOW! category (on steroids)’. That’s all. OK?

    🙂

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    I’ve never thought of “complicated” as being a pejorative term, merely descriptive. The author may be a little over-sensitive to the connotations of “complexity” but that’s all. I see the appeal of simplicity, though. “Goddidit” is a much simpler explanation for everything.

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Very true, Dionisio. The simple term complex does not do it justice.

  9. 9
    J-Mac says:

    I’ve never thought of “complicated” as being a pejorative term, merely descriptive. The author may be a little over-sensitive to the connotations of “complexity” but that’s all. I see the appeal of simplicity, though. “Goddidit” is a much simpler explanation for everything.

    I like you! This means I respect your criticism…

    However, please tell me how God didn’t do the circular life systems? I don’t want nonsense; the fairy tale you have been indoctrinated to follow. I want the facts. Are you ready for it? I hope you are.
    My problem is very simple but not for you…

    1. Enzymes are needed to produce ATP but energy from ATP is needed to produce enzymes.
    2. DNA is essential to make enzymes, but enzymes are essential to make DNA.

    Proteins can be made only by a cell (that has a cell membrane) but Darwinist have figure it out.

  10. 10
    J-Mac says:

    Thank you for not letting my emotions get carried away? I love this blog!

  11. 11
    tjguy says:

    it is unlikely that any overall theory of life’s nature, emergence, and evolution can be fully formulated, quantified, and experimentally investigated.

    Creationists have been saying that for ages! It’s a totally different kind of science. The renowned scientific method is of little use here as they admit – (probably cannot be EXPERIMENTALLY investigated)

    Historical science differs from Experimental science in this way and it is a big difference.

    Now, if only they would allow statements like that in textbooks so that students could get the real picture!

  12. 12
    Origenes says:

    Seversky: “Goddidit” is a much simpler explanation for everything.

    “Leonardo da Vinci did it” is also a much simpler explanation for the Mona Lisa.

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    Origenes @12:

    “Leonardo da Vinci did it” is also a much simpler explanation for the Mona Lisa.

    Excellent! Thank you!

    However -on a second thought- perhaps that famous painting in the Louvre museum came to be through billions of years of biochemical processes that formed the canvas and the different paints and put them randomly together, through “obichnye i obiknovennie” series of “oops!” and “yeah!” moments that eventually led to a “eureka!” that got selected as the “Wow!” prize winner, thus setting the stage for the next jump up in the “magic” tree (Oh, what a tree!). 🙂

    Here’s a link to La Gioconda:

    http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre.....l-giocondo

    BTW, Leonardo was “un italiano vero” 🙂

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