Irreducible Complexity News

Beginning to sound a lot like Behe …

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MichaelJBehe Everywhere I go …

Rats! This should have happened approx December 8, 2015, not January 8, 2016:

A friend writes to say that an open access paper at eLIFE includes the words,

Tissue organization, spindle orientation, and the GKPID complex itself are all examples of complexity, defined as the integrated functioning of a system made up of differentiated, interacting parts.

More.

Friend asks: Contrast this with what Michael Behe said years ago defining irreducible complexity: “A single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that
contribute to the basic function of the system ”

Note: The Brainyquote version adds, “wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

Hmmmm. Readers?

See also: Is it safer to be an unDarwinian now?

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Here’s the abstract:

Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals

To form and maintain organized tissues, multicellular organisms orient their mitotic spindles relative to neighboring cells. A molecular complex scaffolded by the GK protein-interaction domain (GKPID) mediates spindle orientation in diverse animal taxa by linking microtubule motor proteins to a marker protein on the cell cortex localized by external cues. Here we illuminate how this complex evolved and commandeered control of spindle orientation from a more ancient mechanism. The complex was assembled through a series of molecular exploitation events, one of which – the evolution of GKPID’s capacity to bind the cortical marker protein – can be recapitulated by reintroducing a single historical substitution into the reconstructed ancestral GKPID. This change revealed and repurposed an ancient molecular surface that previously had a radically different function. We show how the physical simplicity of this binding interface enabled the evolution of a new protein function now essential to the biological complexity of many animals.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.10147.001 Open access – Douglas P Anderson, Dustin S Whitney, Victor Hanson-Smith, Arielle Woznica, William Campodonico-Burnett, Brian F Volkman, Nicole King, Kenneth E PrehodaCorresponding Author, Joseph W ThorntonCorresponding Author

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG

23 Replies to “Beginning to sound a lot like Behe …

  1. 1
    hrun0815 says:

    Finally those egghead biologist have figured out that there is complicated stuff in nature made up of multiple interacting things. ID is now truly accepted in mainstream biology. Most certainly Behe will be inducted into the National Academy of Science for figuring this out way ahead of everyone else. And biologists everywhere will clamor to work with folks at the DI to finally do some worthwhile research.

  2. 2
    News says:

    hrun0815 at 1: Lots of people would settle for just being able to conduct research in peace, without worrying whether it suits Darwin’s mob. And then what happens, happens. If some people end up sounding like Behe, them’s the breaks, and they shouldn’t be hassled about it.

  3. 3
    hrun0815 says:

    News at 2: I couldn’t agree more. If only poor biologists wouldn’t get hassled or their research not funded just because they say that in bio there is some complicated stuff that is might up of smaller things that work together.

    That’ll be the day though. I’m sure the Darwinbots and Leftists everywhere will make sure that anybody who dares uttering such a thing will be figuratively tarred and feathered and railroaded out of their university.

  4. 4
    RexTugwell says:

    “in bio there is some complicated stuff that is [made] up of smaller things that work together.”

    What a surprise! Another Darwin troll who doesn’t grasp IR.

  5. 5

    One of the functions “that is lost” as a consequence of irreducible complexity is the physical capacity to translate information into functional effects – i.e. the physical capacity to organize the cell, Darwinian evolution itself.

    Perhaps mockery isn’t the most effective answer to material facts.

  6. 6
    hrun0815 says:

    What a surprise! Another Darwin troll who doesn’t grasp IR.

    Really, it is the Darwin troll who doesn’t grasp IR? Or is it News who doesn’t understand that the resistance to IR is not the fact that there are systems of interacting components where every part contribute to the basic function of the system. It is rather the argument that such systems are not reachable by evolution.

    Perhaps mockery isn’t the most effective answer to material facts.

    Nope. The mockery is because News apparently doesn’t understand that this basic fact is well understood and well entrenched in countless of basic text books.

    (And it looks like News isn’t even alone in her confusion, which is probably another good reason for mockery.)

  7. 7
    News says:

    When they are beginning to sound a lot like Behe, they don’t appear to be trying hard not to.

  8. 8
    Dionisio says:

    Many key steps remain to be reconstructed, including how and when the interaction between GKPID and KHC-73 evolved, the mechanisms by which Pins’ acquired its linker and GoLoco sequences, and the relationship of these components to other molecular complexes and pathways involved in animal spindle orientation.

    Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals
    Douglas P Anderson, Dustin S Whitney, Victor Hanson-Smith, Arielle Woznica, William Campodonico-Burnett, Brian F Volkman, Nicole King, Kenneth E Prehoda, Joseph W Thornton
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.10147
    eLife 2016;5:e10147
    http://elifesciences.org/content/5/e10147#F1

    Complex complexity
    Work in progress… stay tuned

  9. 9
    RexTugwell says:

    Must have been my stint at the pub last night but I meant to say IC not IR. I have no idea, hrun0815, what you meant by IR in your reply but I suspect that you’re not familiar enough with irreducible complexity to have caught the typo.

    Aside from a vivid imagination, some cartoon drawings and the T3SS, we’re all ears if you have evidence of the evolution of the vision cascade or the cilium.

  10. 10

    It is rather the argument that such systems are not reachable by evolution.

    Darwinian evolution is the product of a specific organization. That organization is both well understood and well documented in the literature. It cannot be the source of the organization that it requires to exist. (If A requires B for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B).

    This is a material reality, and it cannot be resolved by mockery.

  11. 11
    Jonas Crump says:

    I am just a poorly educated layman, but it is my understanding that the evolutionary position does not argue against the existence of irreducible complex structures or processes in biology. They disagree with the claim that these structures could not evolve by natural processes.

  12. 12

    #11

    The question becomes ‘what is required for evolution?’

    The requirement for evolution is irreducibly complex. You can’t translate information into physical effects without one arrangement of matter to serve as a representation, and a second arrangement of matter to establish what is being represented. Nucleic acids don’t specify amino acids. They require aaRS to establish them as representations.

    No genome. No information. No heredity. No evolution.

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    RexTugwell @ 9

    Aside from a vivid imagination, some cartoon drawings and the T3SS, we’re all ears if you have evidence of the evolution of the vision cascade or the cilium.

    Particle physics, although it is capable of some wondrously accurate predictions, cannot tell you which nuclei in a radioactive isotope – and in which order – will lose energy by emitting a particle over the next 24 hours, for example. Does that mean atomic theory is a bust?

  14. 14
    Seversky says:

    Upright BiPed @ 10

    Darwinian evolution is the product of a specific organization.

    Is the course of a river “specified” by the topography of the landscape over which it flows, by your understanding?

  15. 15
    RexTugwell says:

    I don’t know, Seversky. Are the nuclei of radioactive isotopes irreducibly complex?
    We’re talking IC and biology not particle physics … but nice try.

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    Upright BiPed @ 12

    The question becomes ‘what is required for evolution?’

    The requirement for evolution is irreducibly complex. You can’t translate information into physical effects without one arrangement of matter to serve as a representation, and a second arrangement of matter to establish what is being represented.

    Suppose that information is a property of the model not the thing being modeled? Rather like the red of a tomato being the way our minds represent internally the narrow band of EM wavelengths being reflected by the tomato skin. The red is in our mind not on the tomato.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    Is the course of a river “specified” by the topography of the landscape over which it flows, by your understanding?

    I bet you’re another one of those “critics” that doesn’t know what it means to specify middle C.

    I’m reading a book on cell history. The author has no problem using the terms specifying or specificity without having to ask whether rivers are specified. I wonder why that is.

    Not really.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    It’s amazing how people can believe in the origin of species, but not know what it means to specify something.

    Not really.

  19. 19
    gpuccio says:

    Jonas Crump:

    “it is my understanding that the evolutionary position does not argue against the existence of irreducible complex structures or processes in biology. They disagree with the claim that these structures could not evolve by natural processes”

    First of all, design is a natural process which involves natural conscious agents, as far as we can say (unless you consider humans “not natural”). I am simply objecting to the use of “natural”, which is always an ambiguous concept.

    That said, I would like to say that the concept of IR can be expressed, IMO, more or less as follows:

    a) Let’s say that we have 5 structure, say proteins A, B, C, D and E.

    b) Let’s say that each of them is functionally complex (say 500 AAs, high functional specificity). According to the general argument of ID about complex functional information, we could simply infer design for each of them, because none of them can be explaine by a non design process.

    c) However, let’s say that for a moment we accept that neo darwinists are doing a good job in trying to explain each of them according to some realistic neo darwinian path, based on RV + NS for the function of each protein.

    d) OK, but the point is: is the function of each protein naturally selectable? To do that, each f those function should be able to give a definite reproductive advantage. If that is not true, there is really no hope at all of even starting to try to explain them.

    e) Here comes the role of IC. If the functions of A, B, C, D and E make sense only in the context of a meta-structure, and only the whole meta-structure can give some reproductive advantage, then only the whole meta-structure can be naturally selected. IOWs, the whole meta-structure has to appear by RV, before NS comes in action. That makes any neo darwinian explanation even more unrealistic: indeed, a complete folly.

    f) Now, what do neo darwinists say to elude Behe’s argument? They recur to logical tricks, like cooption. After all, A, B, C, D, and E could have evolved independently for other independent functions, and then, once they were there, they could have magically started to work together in the new meta-structure.

    g) That is obviously wishful thinking at its highest level. Because:

    h) First of all, such an event is completely unbelievable even in a single case. And:

    i) It should have happened in thousands, or maybe millions, of cases. Why?

    l) Because most biological systems are irreducibly complex. They are made of many different proteins, each of them functionally complex, which interact in meta-structures, usually in meta-meta-structures. Forget for a moment the powerful but simple examples given by Behe many years ago: the flagellum, blood coagulation. Just think of the scenarios in epigenetics, especially cell differentiation processes, so crucial for multicellular life. Think of the control of cell cycle and mitosis. Think of signaling pathways. Think of transcription regulation by transcription factors, which often act in molecular complexes of tens of proteins, which mediate different effects in each different cellular context, in a highly combinatorial regulation network. That’s Irreducible Complexity at its best!

    m) However, the simple fact remains true that even a single functionally complex protein cannot be explained by neo darwinian pathways. But it is equally true that Behe’s concept of Irreducible Complexity adds a true mise en abyme of complexity layers to the question.

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    I think Behe’s next book should be called Beyond Irreducibly Complex.

  21. 21
    RexTugwell says:

    Good one Mung. How about “The Critics Still Haven’t Refuted My First Two Books” as a subtitle.

  22. 22

    UB: The requirement for evolution is irreducibly complex. You can’t translate information into physical effects without one arrangement of matter to serve as a representation, and a second arrangement of matter to establish what is being represented. Nucleic acids don’t specify amino acids. They require aaRS to establish them as representations.

    No genome. No information. No heredity. No evolution.
    – – – – – –

    Seversky Is the course of a river “specified” by the topography of the landscape over which it flows, by your understanding?

    You are suggesting that the path a river takes to the sea is analogous to the translation of an informational medium into a particular effect. One would have to assume that the river in your scenario is analogous to the input of the medium, then the structure of the landscape would translate the properties of water into a particular path to the sea. It’s a significant strain to hold this analogy together long enough to offer an answer, so I will respond with just a single issue (there are many others):

    The outcome of translation is established by a contingent organization, and a defining feature of that organization is that the physical properties of the input do not determine the output. This is accomplished inside the cell by establishing the effects of translation in isolation from the actual translation of the medium itself.

    In contrast to this, the solvent and erosive properties of water have everything to do with the path a river takes to the sea? In short, your scenario is a complete mis-analogy.

    You may object to say “What difference does it make?”, but it makes all the difference in the world. The organization of the system creates a discontinuity in the production of effects. It is this local independence that allows nucleic representations to specify amino acid effects, making the organization of the living cell possible.

    Otherwise, it would not occur.

  23. 23

    Suppose that information is a property of the model not the thing being modeled? Rather like the red of a tomato being the way our minds represent internally the narrow band of EM wavelengths being reflected by the tomato skin.

    It appears that you’d like to merely insinuate that the material observations are wrong, instead of having to fulfill any obligation to show them wrong. If that is the standard, then there is no need for me to respond further.

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