Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

How Technological Innovations in Information Transfer Have Made Literature Bluffing Obsolete


In the Old West, in the days of the Pony Express, information could not be transferred more rapidly than a horse could gallop. Then came the telegraph. Bank robbers could no longer escape to nearby towns without the residents having been informed in advance, at the speed of light in Morse Code.

Then came wireless communication. It was no longer necessary to lay out telegraph or telephone lines. Information could be transferred at the speed of light to Neil Armstrong on the moon.

Then came the blogosphere. At the speed of a URL click, one can check up on references. Literature bluffing is no longer a viable tactic in a debate. Bluffers can no longer escape to a nearby town without being intercepted before they get there.

Michael Behe was instrumental in making the Darwinian literature-bluffing tactic public.

Behe was assured by those in his field that the biochemical evolutionary literature was replete with detailed explanations of how his proposed irreducibly complex biochemical systems could be accounted for in Darwinian terms. But when he checked the literature he discovered that not only were there no detailed explanations, there were not even any speculations. The question had essentially never been addressed by the scientific community in his discipline. The Darwinian thesis had been assumed from the outset, never questioned, and never rigorously investigated. In fact, it had not been investigated at all.

Judge Jones fell prey to literature bluffing. (Actually, he fell prey to indirect hearsay literature bluffing.) Jones apparently believes that Behe’s irreducible-complexity challenge to Darwinian mechanisms has been refuted by the “scientific” community, when in fact those “refutations” amount to nothing more than storytelling based on nonexistent evidence and demonstrably faulty reasoning. Check out my UD essay on that subject here.

Interesting paper on PNAS submitted as evidence by Andrea. Long post, but felt it required appropriate highlighting and commentary. "In the extreme extension of this scenario, the prototypes of Rag1 and Rag2 encoded the transposase component of a mobile DNA element that jumped into the genome of a common ancestor of the modern jawed vertebrates." Our evolution story continues... "Then, as an intact transposon or through a nonautonomous element under its control, the proto-Rag genes reversibly disrupted a primordial antigen receptor gene locus (4, 7)." Well, not to fast, maybe it did not happen that way... "Other variants of this hypothesis suggest that the Rag1 core region was derived from a transposable element early in animal evolution and that the Rag1/2 cluster may have been assembled much later in a jawed vertebrate ancestor (6)." Which leads to... "The evolutionary shift that presumably accompanied this event correlates with the phylogenetically inferred rapid appearance of the entire complex of Ig/TCR/MHC-mediated adaptive immunity (3, 8, 9). The suggested sudden emergence of this system has been referred to as an immunological "big bang" (10). Tada! just love that astronomy comparison. Warning: satirical ending... In the distant past our hero Prototype was "presumably accompanied" by an "evolutionary shift" that compares in size to an astronomical "big bang", but this is immunological and therefore "evolutionarily" unquestionable. Some more highlighting to think upon.... "This hypothesis is supported in the form of negative evidence by the inability to identify direct homologs of Rag1 and Rag2, and by the lack of functionally similar homologs of genes encoding TCR, Ig, and MHC Class I/II molecules from animals outside of the jawed vertebrates, including two completely sequenced urochordate genomes (11)." Alternatively, the apparent phylogenetic discontinuity in adaptive immunity genes could be a consequence of gene loss and undersampling, and a longer and more gradual evolutionary process may underlie the emergence of the key elements of the vertebrate adaptive immune system (12)." Maybe it was not a big bang afterall, and different opinions are allowable - but only within the context of "evolutionary scenarios". It has nothing to do at all with other possible correlations that may be discovered in the future for overall design considerations. "Sea urchins are echinoderms, a sister group of the chordates. The Rag1/2 gene cluster is predicted to be missing in this phylum by evolutionary scenarios in which the locus was assembled as a consequence of horizontal gene transfer close to the time of the emergence of jawed vertebrate adaptive immunity. This study now reveals the unexpected presence of a Rag1/2-like cluster in the purple sea urchin with similarities on the levels of genomic structure and organization, regulation of expression, and properties of the encoded proteins." So which is it? Predicted to be missing and unexpected, or predicted to be found? And why is it limited to "similarities". Any story of evolution speculation by RM and genomic structure similarities does not prove evolution anymore than a theory of design might use similar structures. This still falls in line with classification. Deeper yes, but not truly understanding the underlying mechanisms. Otherwise there would not be "unexpected" surprises. It is scientist with use of comparative analysis that can make predictions and it is engineers based molecular scientist in the future who will unravel many mysteries of design. The real mystery is why Tunicate subphylum members of the Animal Kingdom produce cellulose(the only members to do so) and are not a member of the Plant Kingdom like the carnivorous Venus Flytrap. But then "restraint" of evolution has an answer for everything as the Venus Flytrap evolved to trap flies in its nutritionally deficient soil: "The nutritional poverty of the soil is the reason that the plant has evolved to have such elaborate traps: insect prey provide the nitrogen for protein formation that the soil cannot. The venus flytrap is not a tropical plant and can tolerate mild winters." (as quoted from wiki). My hand is slowly evolving a sticky substance onto which all cash sticks.... Michaels7
jerry: I cannot obviously summarize 58 papers here (or do it better than what Nick Matzke has done in the annotated bibliography linked to above). However, to address only the specific issue of Behe's claim that the immunoglobulin recombination systems "dooms all Darwinian explanations to frustration", I discussed how the evidence in fact ended up supporting the explanations Behe initially rejected here: http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/05/the_revenge_of.html and discussed the implications of Behe's reply (where he reiterated the demand for infinite detail) here: http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/06/behes_meaningle.html I should add that since I wrote those essays, one more piece of the puzzle has fallen into place: scientists have identified the predicted homologue of the RAG2 component in non-vertebrates: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/10/3728 . joseph: scientists do NOT want to hold ID to a higher standard than all other ideas, they want it to be held to the same standards as the rest of science. That's why it is ID advocates who have asked to change the standards of science, to allow it accomodate ID, and not vice-versa. Andrea
Strange: Behe made a claim that there was no evidence for the evolution of the immune system. That is false. The issue isn't "evolution" but the MECHANISM! To Andrea, Perhaps the anti-IDists and ID critics should take their own advice and STOP holding ID to a higher standard than all other ideas. However I doubt they will let that happen- they cannot for obvious reasons. Joseph
Andrea, Why don't you summarize for us just how the 58 documents/book sections showed how the immune system evolved through a neo Darwinism mechanism. There is obviously no need to quote them all but just the findings in those that are most crucial. That may help us evaluate which documents to read first if you could point out the most relevant studies. Then we can then ask questions so we can learn more about the process. Thank you in advance. jerry
"Excellent link. I think it underscores Behe’s point nicely. Evolutionists seem to not understand what Behe’s challenge was, and that is why they think that this literature supports their case against him. But as I said earlier, Behe was looking for an actual, step-by-step biochemical evolutionary pathway..." Actually, Behe's original argument was that IC was a "formidable challenge to evolutionary theory" (or something like that) because it was intrinsically qualitatively different from the conventional hurdles evolutionary mechanisms encounter. Indeed, Behe candidly and honestly agreed - and as far as I know, he still does - that the evolution of most non-IC (or "lesser" IC) biochemical structures, including fairly complex ones like tetrameric hemoglobin, is entirely plausible, even in the absence of infinitely detailed step-by-step mutation/selection/etc accounts. Behe is of course free to adopt any standards of evidence he chooses, and to change them at any time (if he thinks he needs a movie of the evolution of the immune system to accept it happened, so be it). But he has to apply his standards consistently, which means recognizing that by such standards we have no satisfying evidence of pretty much anything ever having evolved or possibly evolving (including trivial evolutionary processes like onset of some forms of pesticide or antibiotic resistance), which would of course make IC entirely unremarkable, a "hurdle" for evolution just like any other. It also has the drawback of being a more extreme antievolutionary position than that of Answers in Genesis, CRI etc. The big problem is, of course, that these new standards cannot be applied to anything in science: we just don’t require infinitely detailed and complete explanations not only for evolutionary biology, but for any other fields of inquiry. We still don’t know what gravity really is, but sure no one would argue that this invalidates or raises doubts about gravitational theory. We also don't need proof that everything around us is made of atoms to accept atomic theory, we just need to confirm critical predictions of the theory and observe that it is consistent with everything else we observe. That is precisely what Judge Jones remarked - Behe may personally dismiss the papers supporting the evolution of the immune system without even reading them, because he thinks they patently don’t fulfill his own standards, but by doing so he is just rejecting the standards everyone else in science uses. From that position, unfortunately, it's hard to argue one is still doing science. Andrea
I recall my take on the pile of papers issue at the time was something like: if any of these books really proved anything like you're claiming they do, they would be so fantastically famous that they'd be referenced in every evolution book, and referred to by Eugenia Scott and company daily. Just look how much mileage they try to make of the Stanley Miller experiments, that prove virtually nothing. es58
Willm, I thought something along those lines when I first read the transcript. I wished that Behe had said "these prove the evolution by RM and NS of the immune section? Well, let's read them together and find those proofs and assess them" or "please read to me the relevant demonstrations from these papers that I might render an opinion". Failing that, I thought his responses were excellent as they were. Comment #23
" Well, the nice thing about science is that oftentimes when you read the latest articles, or a sampling of the latest articles, they certainly include earlier results. So you get up to speed pretty quickly. You don’t have to go back and read every article on a particular topic for the last 50 years or so.
This he said in another context, but had also discussed it in the trial (I just don't want to go back and find it right now):
“If an eminent scientist and expert on blood clotting such as Russell Doolittle does not know how blood clotting arose, nobody knows.”
Given the obvious theatrics of the stacks of papers, the fact that Behe managed the questions very well, the fact that he had yet to be questioned under re-direct, and the points Barry Allen makes in his "Denfense of the defendants..." thread, I can fully understand why Behe and his lawyers thought this was a non-issue. Quite the surprise Jones laid on them in his findings, I'd bet. Charlie
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but it seems to me that if a concise summary were requested of the main evidence/arguments that the 58 pieces of literature were supposed to have provided against the IC of the immune system, then an intelligent rebuttal could have been made by Behe. Would this have been too much to ask in a judicial case like this? willm
Andrea -- Excellent link. I think it underscores Behe's point nicely. Evolutionists seem to not understand what Behe's challenge was, and that is why they think that this literature supports their case against him. But as I said earlier, Behe was looking for an actual, step-by-step biochemical evolutionary pathway, while the papers all are just exercises in comparative anatomy and bedtime stories. Jon johnnyb
I don't know about the particular papers that Behe was shown, but most of the recent papers I've read about the evolution of the immune system DO NOT even attempt to answer Behe's questions. They are more of a study of comparative biochemical anatomy than a stepwise explanation of the system's development. They usually have titles like V(D)J Recombination and the Evolution of the Adaptive Immune System. They are usually not very far from biochemical fairy tales:
From the discovery of the RAG genes on, investigators have suspected that V(D)J recombination may be the result of the landing of a transposable genetic element (a “jumping gene” or transposon) into the vertebrate genome. The clues were many. Firstly, the compact organization of the RAG locus resembles a transposable element (Schatz et al. 1989). Secondly, RAGs cut the DNA after binding RSSs throughout the BCR and TCR loci (Gellert 2002). RSSs resemble the ends of other transposable elements. Biochemically, the reaction shares characteristics with enzymes found in other transposable elements (Gellert 2002). Finally, these genes appear abruptly in evolution: they are present in the jawed vertebrates (like the shark), but not in more ancient organisms (Schluter et al. 1999). A current model is that an ancient transposon containing the RAG genes flanked by RSS ends “jumped” into an area of the vertebrate lineage containing a primordial antigen receptor gene, separating it into pieces. When the transposon lifted off, it left the RSSs behind. Multiple rounds of transposition and duplication eventually gave rise to our TCR and BCR loci.
It's just comparative anatomy plus a nice bedtime story to help prop up the materialist mythology. johnnyb
Thank you for visiting Andrea. (I presume you're the Andrea from Pandas Thumb) Behe may not have known the stack in front of him was the same as the bibliography. Salvador scordova
It seems that some here are unaware that the entire immunology bibliography presented to Behe during the Kitzmiller trial (actually, he may first have seen it, or parts of it, during his deposition a few months before), annotated, with an introduction and commentary, and with links to the freely accessible papers, is publicly available here (and has been for a while): http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibits/immune/immune_evo_annotated_bib.html Andrea
An Inherit The Wind legend is somehow starting to build up around the Behe testimony at Dover... It seems to me that Inherit the Wind represents some of the background mythology that philosophic naturalists believe to this day. So it's worth pointing out that there is evidence that what drew religious people into the debate was the proto-Nazi nature of the eugenics movement and the politics of social Darwinism, not the desire to "impose" a theocracy from on high or to establish a church and so on. I.e.,
The trial of John T. Scopes is an important milestone in the history of American legal thought. Known in the vernacular as the "Scopes Monkey Trial," the case took place in Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925. [...] At the time, the trial was the most public confrontation between religious fundamentalism and modern science. By 1955, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee had written a play about the trial called Inherit the Wind, and film treatments of that play followed. These fictionalized accounts helped to create a mythic view of the case in popular culture. Today, the case is usually seen as a fable [Although it seems to be seen by most as historical fact.] that cautions against the dangers of religious establishment. This interpretation of the case, however, omits key facts. Most importantly, the motivations of the Christian fundamentalists in seeking to ban the teaching of evolution must be questioned beyond the commonplace myth because, prior to the turn of the twentieth century, fundamentalists voiced no opposition to Darwin's evolutionary theory. It was after the First World War and after the legal environment for the poor and labor had been transformed through the rising tide of legal formalism that the fundamentalists began to reject theories of evolution. Without such crucial historical facts, the case appears to convey a simple and clear polemical message: fundamentalism ignores reason, and evolutionary theory is scientific, rational, and progressive. When one considers the complaints that the fundamentalists had against evolutionary theory, the popular account of the case seems at best incomplete. This Article argues that a more thoroughgoing analysis of the history of the case, and especially the role of William Jennings Bryan, who was a leader of the fundamentalists' anti-evolution efforts, is needed to correct the distorted view of the popular understanding. As some historians have noted, the case took place in a period when the theory of social evolution that is associated with Herbert Spencer deeply influenced social thought. Spencer's philosophy of social evolution would later come to be called Social Darwinism...
(Capital University Law Review (2004) Inherit the Myth: How William Jennings Bryan's Struggle With Social Darwinism and Legal Formalism Demythologize the Scopes Monkey Trial by Kevin P. Lee) The myths that came to surround the trial thanks to H.L. Mencken (unsurprisingly anti-semitic) and the Old Press were part of a general trend of American progressives cutting away the religious foundation for their values and the rise of the "religious right." A few more thoughts on that. mynym
bFast: "Unless the list of the papers presented by the attourney can be presented, russ’s assertion that the comparison is between the word of a scientist who has published his work and the work of an attourney with a stated adjenda." Here you go: http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibits/immune/index.html Strangelove
What's siginificant is that technology is preventing the game of bluffing which was so effective in the past. In the game of poker, nothing is so satisfying as holding a strong hand, and it's apparent the oppoenent is obviously raising the stakes and merely bluffing. When he's finally called, it's a lot of fun. This issue was forseen: Darwinism Myth of Victory Past
Darwinism’s Myth of Victory Past — from the introduction to Uncommon Dissent. A scene in the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup illustrates this myth. Groucho Marx, president of Freedonia, presides over a meeting of the cabinet. The following exchange ensues between Groucho and one of Freedonia’s ministers: Groucho: “And now, members of the Cabinet, we’ll take up old business.” Minister: “I wish to discuss the Tariff!” Groucho: “Sit down, that’s new business! No old business? Very well — then we’ll take up new business” Minister: “Now about that Tariff…” Groucho: “Too late — that’s old business already!” This exchange epitomizes Darwinism’s handling of criticism. When a valid criticism of Darwinism is first proposed, it is dismissed without an adequate response, either on some technicality or with some irrelevancy or by simply being ignored. As time passes, people forget that Darwinists never adequately met the criticism. But Darwinism is still ruling the roost. Since the criticism failed to dislodge Darwinism, the criticism itself must have been discredited or refuted somewhere. Thereafter the criticism becomes known as “that discredited criticism that was refuted a long time ago.” And, after that, even to raise the criticism betrays an outdated conception of evolutionary theory. In this way, the criticism, though entirely valid, simply vanishes into oblivion. (At least that’s how things have been in the past. That’s now changing with the Internet and an emerging intellectual community that refuses to be cowed by Darwinist bullying.)
Just to clarify, bFast, I hope I haven't misled you on the number of articles. Rothschild presented Behe with 8 that discussed transposons, then a stack of 58, which included some of those. With the overlap, he referred to it as "a minimum of 50 new articles". When Behe mentioned that he was looking at one from 1991 Rothschild corrected himself that they were not 'new' (one from 1971), but 'in addition to the first 8. Charlie
To the point of this thread, this whole "the attourney had 50 papers" line is a grand literature bluff. If those 50 papers were presented here with 50 links to the associated pdfs, then GilDodgen's point with this thread would be completed. bFast
There are two possible scenarios here. Either the attorney showed phone books instead of papers to Behe, or he showed peer review literature. If he showed phone books, this is easy to check. Do you mind doing that for me? Or we can assume that those peer reviewed papers were in fact peer reviewed. In that case. I am taking the word of hundreds of scientists, all up to date with the literature of their particular field. I’m taking the word of dozens of editors, who’s professional reputations are on the line. An appeal to authority?
Strangelove, you are loosing this argument really fast. While the attourney may have been smart enough to present peer reviewed papers. However, I bet that there are 50 peer reviewed papers on the nutritional value of peanut butter (I'm eating a peanut butter sandwich as I type.) Unless the list of the papers presented by the attourney can be presented, russ's assertion that the comparison is between the word of a scientist who has published his work and the work of an attourney with a stated adjenda. If we are to criticize the quality of the practice of law by the attourneys (I actually agree that the ID attourneys didn't do excellently) then we would suggest that rather than bring 50 papers into the courtroom, the atturney should have brought the 50 scientists who published the papers. bFast
An Inherit The Wind legend is somehow starting to build up around the Behe testimony at Dover and it is quite unwarranted. As an example of Behe's performance, Rothschild tried many ways to get him to say "it's not good enough" and he never bit. (Although Jones seems to think he had).
Rothschild:"Now these arguments rebut your assertion that scientific literature has no answers on the origin of the vertebrate immune system? Behe: No, they certainly do not. ... Rothschild: So these are not good enough? Behe: They're wonderful articles. They're very interesting. They simply don't address the question I pose.
On the additional 50 articles, Rothschild repeated:
Is that your position today, that these articles aren't good enough ... ? Behe: "These articles are excellent articles, I assume. However, they do not address the question that I am posing."
Bluff. Rothschild, after reading a long list of titles of books and their chapters to Behe:
A lot of writing, huh? Behe: Well, those books do seem to have the titles that you said, and I'm sure they have then chapters in them that you mention as well, but again I am quite skeptical, although I haven't read them, that in fact they present detailed rigorous models for the evolution of the immune system by RM and NS. Rothschild: You haven't read those chapters? Behe: No, I haven't. Rothschild: You haven't read the books I gave you? Behe: No I haven't. I read those papers that I presented though, on the immune system. Rothschild: And the 58 articles, some yes, some no?
And the clincher:
Behe: Well, the nice thing about science is that oftentimes when you read the latest articles, or a sampling of the latest articles, they certainly include earlier results. So you get up to speed pretty quickly. You don't have to go back and read every article on a particular topic for the last 50 years or so.
As Behe said in his answer to his critics http://www.arn.org/docs/behe/mb_indefenseofbloodclottingcascade.htm,
Professor Doolittle argued that new laboratory work showed two components of the blood clotting cascade could be eliminated ("knocked-out") from mice and the mice got along fine without them. However, Doolittle misread the laboratory work: the double knock-out mice have severe problems and have no functioning blood clotting system. They are not models of evolutionary intermediates. Although anyone can misread a paper, in my opinion the fact that an expert cited a recent and contradictory journal article, instead of a publication directly addressing the evolution of blood clotting, shows that there are indeed no detailed explanations for the evolution of blood clotting in the literature and that, despite Darwinian protestations, the irreducible complexity of the system is a significant problem for Darwinism.
As he said elsewhere, "If an eminent scientist and expert on blood clotting such as Russell Doolittle does not know how blood clotting arose, nobody knows." - Rothschild's 1971 article notwithstanding. Charlie
russ: "I haven’t read the stack of books myself, but aren’t YOU taking the word of ONE MAN, an ATTORNEY,..." There are two possible scenarios here. Either the attorney showed phone books instead of papers to Behe, or he showed peer review literature. If he showed phone books, this is easy to check. Do you mind doing that for me? Or we can assume that those peer reviewed papers were in fact peer reviewed. In that case. I am taking the word of hundreds of scientists, all up to date with the literature of their particular field. I'm taking the word of dozens of editors, who's professional reputations are on the line. An appeal to authority? Yes. But, that is what has to happen in a court of law, as the judges and juries cannot be expected to be experts in everything. But, do you see why I'd rather appeal to the authority of hundreds of experts rather than one? Behe made a claim that there was no evidence for the evolution of the immune system. Yet, he didn't read papers and books with titles like: "Evolution of the Immune System." Does that seem odd to you? Not a fine example of scholarship. Strangelove
Tom, Thank you for correcting my earlier statements. Salvador scordova
"My point is that you are choosing to take the word of one man, Behe, that the evolution of the immune system is not adequately presented in the literature." Strangelove: I haven't read the stack of books myself, but aren't YOU taking the word of ONE MAN, an ATTORNEY, whose sole obligation is to win for his client (not get to the truth, as many Americans erroneously assume)? There are plenty of attorneys who would plop a stack of telephone directories in front of a witness and declare them incontrovertable evidence if they were confident the judge wouldn't dig any deeper (which in this case seems to have occured). russ
Salvador, You say that "the ACLU makes a leading question (like 'have you stopped beating you mother')." This is not a "leading" question, but a complex question. See http://onegoodmove.org/fallacy/cq.htm The only complex question I have caught in the transcript of Behe's cross-examination is "Q. Is it the case that the AIDS virus is irreducibly complex? A. I think that's something that would have to be argued on the basis of the evidence." In other words, the question calls for the witness to give a single yes-no answer to the questions "Does the AIDS virus exist?" and "Is the AIDS virus irreducibly complex?" Defendants' counsel did not object. Professor Behe clearly declines to answer the latter question. His answer to the former question is ambiguous. Incidentally, the ACLU did not cross-examine Behe. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys from the Pepper Hamilton law firm, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the ACLU. Behe was cross-examined by the plaintiffs' lead counsel, Eric Rothschild of Pepper Hamilton. Tom English
"I think there is a great research project opportunity for a postgrad:" Yes, and it would no doubt be their last given the political climate! ;) russ
It is interesting to note that most aspects of the convergence between the legal establishment and the scientific establishment have the same roots. For instance, professional identity and running with the Herd become the most important issue at hand:
I believe that there is a clear change afoot in legal scholarship that is making the study of law more science-like. To be brief, whereas twenty or so years ago legal scholars directed their writing principally toward the practicing bar and judges, today legal scholars often direct their writings principally at other legal scholars who are working in their area. This change brings legal scholarship into alignment with other scholars in the academy. [...] Twenty years ago, prestige and academic acclaim accrued to those legal scholars whose work had a discernible impact on the bench and bar. This was true even if the effect was indirect, as through the authoring of widely used casebooks and treatises. Within the past twenty years or so, however, the sources of academic prestige in the legal academy have changed. The prestige that used to accrue from prominence among practitioners is no longer so valuable and, as a result, is no longer so widely sought. Rather, the ascendant source of prestige among legal scholars today is the high esteem of fellow academics.
(University of Illinois Law Review (2002) Empirical and Experimental Methods of Law by Thomas S. Ulen)(Emphasis added) As the Judiciary shifts away from any notion of "truth" or scientia/knowledge for its own sake it becomes marked by the same epistemic degeneracy typical to Darwinists because it is unwilling to be limited by any form of spiritual or textual foundation, even for itself. So the way that modern judges can pull something out of their own penumbra in ways that cannot be defined or limited by textual information is little different than the way that biologists argue: "If I can imagine a little story about this...well, then that's evidence about how it came to be." Literature-bluffing and surrounding things with the mists of mysticism are also common to both, for biologists this comes out in their attitudes towards large numbers and for jurists in their attitudes towards large amounts of information or science. The Judiciary's way of working out its own cultural shift is with bromides such as "separation of church and State," which is little different than the way that the current scientific culture has set the supernatural up as being contradictory or irrelevant to the natural. And so on. I hope that ID types don't expect the courts to agree with their philosophy of science because the cultures are generally the same and follow the same shift away from any form of transcendence as well as its representation in texts with defined meaning. After all, the case mentioned here takes place in a context in which the texts of both the Constitution and the Declaration are judged to be unconstitutional through nothing more than willful acts of judicial fiat and so now tin-pot judges set themselves up to police people's hearts in search of what they perceive to be "religious motivation." We've come a long way from the philosophy of the Founders, to the point that judges would make the Founder's religious rationales and "religious motivation" for the separation of church and state illegal. I'd like to know exactly what is being said to be "unconstitutional" with respect to ID because unless the Declaration is unconstitutional it is clear that the governing documents of the nation allow for self-evident truths that may be evident in the symbols and signs typical to the Self, that perhaps the Self may be designed to find, etc. mynym
According to the article in MIT Technology Review posted here by PaV just recently, the author states you cannot see all the steps of evolution to the end point even in the "evolutionary programs" today(I disagreed with this from the point of view of an intelligent creator). Or, he's stating they would not give insight. Again, I disagree. It just takes more research. from the article... "For example, when the computer scientist Danny Hillis evolved a simple sort algorithm, the process produced inscrutable and mysterious code that did a good job at sorting numbers. But had he taken the time to reverse-engineer his system, the effort would not have provided much generalized insight into evolved artifacts." ahmm, well... To take it forward, then how can anyone prove the evolutionary steps of an immune system? Who is correct? The scientist who say they have proven evolutions steps or computer scientist and mathematicians who say you cannot prove them? It seems there is much confusion in this area. Michaels7
For a good example of Internet exposure of literature bluffing, check out the following links concerning a challenge by Alan Gishlick, Nicholas Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry (GME) to Stephen C. Meyer\'s infamous peer-reviewed article, \"The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,\" published in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. In Part I, “One Long Bluff” http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2228 The following comment is made about literature bluffing: \"Literature bluffing is the indiscriminate citation of scientific papers and articles whose titles or abstracts may seem germane to the problem at hand, but which on careful reading prove not to settle the issue, or even not to have any relevance to it. \" In Part II, Section II (obsolete or irrelevant citations) http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2248 it is shown that, “The literature that GME do cite to show that this problem has been solved is obsolete or irrelevant, or it actually supports Meyer’s case.” GilDodgen
But I’m more curious about the legal issues here, which maybe the attorneys among us can answer. In this case, were the papers and books in question introduced into evidence with sufficient time for their thoughtful review, or were they sprung on the witness (and the court) spontaneously? In either case, its hard to avoid the conclusion that Behe’s lawyers dropped the ball—to the point of gross negligence. Either they were aware of this material and didn’t bother to inform their star witness of its existence, or when it was introduced on a lark, they presumably did nothing. My non-expert understanding is that all defendants have the right to competent counsel. Could this be grounds for appeal? SteveB
Strangelove’s comment is classic: point to some subset of the extant literature and claim (or imply) that your opponent is ignorant if he hasn’t read it. While it’s true that I haven’t read all 58 of the proposed papers, I doubt that he has either. And yet, somehow, he has presumably managed “to make an eductated decision” about the issues at hand. But how can that be if he hasn’t read the papers? SteveB
bFast, I understand, you can't read everything. I certainly can't. And I haven't read those papers, either. That's not my point. My point is that you are choosing to take the word of one man, Behe, that the evolution of the immune system is not adequately presented in the literature. And Behe hasn't read those papers and books himself. Scientist DO make a case in front of Behe and the world when they publish. What else are the scientists supposed to do for Behe? Sit him on their laps and read the papers aloud to him? The challenge has been met, many times over, and it has been casually dismissed by Behe. In the months since Kitzmiller, he's had adequate time to read a portion of the papers presented. Perhaps he now can explain why they aren't up to his standards. Strangelove

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