I watched with great interest the recent debate between Dr. Behe and Dr. Swamidass. The format was excellent for exposing the total lack of any real responses to Behe’s irreducible complexity argument.
After watching the entire debate I decided to comment. But after a while searching my brain for topics to comment on, I soon realized that I couldn’t remember a word. Of course Behe’s precise and coherent presentation of irreducible complexity (IC) I remembered, but what puzzled me was that I couldn’t recall a single interesting sentence uttered by Dr. Swamidass. After watching the debate a second time (this time armed with pen and paper) I discovered the problem: There was actually nothing worth remembering.
Around the 25 min. mark the moderator Pat Flynn asked Swamidass to address the argument of irreducible complexity (IC) which Behe just presented. He was specifically asked to come up with empirical evidence refuting IC. Swamidass did not fulfill this simple request, he just babbled away, and managed to derail the conversation several times by moving to theological questions instead of just producing the evidence-based arguments against IC that the moderator, Behe, and the rest of us were waiting for.
In my view, Swamidass excels as an expert in smokescreens; he can talk endlessly without nailing down tangible and memorable points. Although pressured more than once by Behe to deliver at least a single counter argument to IC, he did not come up with anything containing even a whiff of substance. Paradoxically, Swamidass insists that Behe is the one creating confusion by the way he uses words and presents definitions. Again this critique was not accompanied by concrete examples but was broadened out to cover everything and nothing.
While failing to provide real arguments, Dr. Swamidass instead spent a considerable amount of energy boosting his own authority. Several times he appealed, not just to authority, but in a cringeworthy way to his own authority using phrases like I’m a scientist, I’m a biologist, I’m a mathematical biologist, as if fearing the viewers had forgotten his qualifications. In the last part of the debate he even tried to interrupt Behe by impolitely and irrelevantly listing all his own credentials. Now that was indeed a weird moment!
I will grant Dr. Swamidass that he almost delivered one coherent argument against IC, namely exaptations (around 40 minutes in). Swamidass stated in response to Behe’s IC: You have to show that each part couldn’t have evolved individually and then come together later, you haven’t done that with the mousetrap and that’s like a major logical gap! I find that absolutely hilarious because the only real logical gap here is the evolutionary evidence-free “explanation,” that preexisting parts miraculously could find together in a new functional system. Not only did Swamidass fail to deliver any evidence for this fantasy scenario, he also switched the burden of proof to the ID-side insisting that Behe should prove a negative (you have to show that each part couldn’t have evolved individually).
In his book, Why Evolution Is True, Jerry Coyne makes a similar outrageous statement that the onus is not on the evolutionary biologists to sketch out a precise step by step scenario documenting exactly how a complex character evolved. Apparently it is the standard position that evolutionists don’t have to deliver evidence to support their claims, they expect the ID proponents to show that evolution didn’t take place, forcing them to prove a negative, which of course is outrageously unscientific and is exactly what you could call a logical gap.