Thursday, March 17, 2011

More on "Michael Behe Hasn't Been Refuted on the Flagellum"

In cases where I make multiple comments in short succession and don't have access to my key or VPN, I'll just sign multiple comments at once.

As I have promised...

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Stuart Rayner said: "So no one remembers how in the dover trial Behe admitted under
oath that intelligent design wasn't science..."

No one remembers because that's not what he said. You must be referring to the claim that
for ID to be science astrology would be included as well so therefore ID isn't science. Actually,
 there's more to the picture. His definition of science really doesn't differ much from the NAS.
 Casey Luskin did a post several years ago (and you thought Dover would be the nail in the
coffin of ID - boy did that turn out to be wrong) pointing out that the NAS definition leads to
the same conclusions as the one Behe presented:

The problem with astrology isn't that it's not science, it's just plain wrong. Period. It's been
tested and found wanting.

<i>"...and that he had read none of the material that showed his hypothesis to be, at the
very least, flawed?"</i>

Once again you fail to recall an accurate account of what actually happen in that local district
 case. You must be referring to the claim that Behe was presented with literature that
(supposedly) gave detailed evolutionary origins of the immune system. This has been
covered on ENV before:

Behe didn't read the material because (like many counter arguments made against him) it
 wasn't addressed at the anything he said.

<i>"When building a house, you don't make it rely on hundreds of parts that need to be
exactly right, so why would it be any different for a simple propulsion system?"</i>

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe a house <i>does</i> require certain constraints to be
met in it's construction. The same goes for the flagellum. Below in a comment Luskin
highlighted the fact that showing the origin of parts alone doesn't mean we know for sure an
evolutionary origin to the bacterial flagellum is confirmed. Questions go from availability,
synchronization, localization, interfering proteins, interfacing, assembly order, to general


"I have also read that certain long term tests with bacteria have shown that anything
requiring more than two mutations is hard to come by."

Not just any mutations per se, but in cases where there is nothing that is selectable enough
 to replace the wildtype unless two complementary changes occur. Here you have the
problem of evolution being limited by the fact that selection is pretty much incapable of
improving upon anything.

Ralph Seelke has done some pretty cool stuff in this area as well as Doug Axe (ID the Future
 recently did some interviews with him regarding his latest paper on this subject). Not to
mention Behe's latest paper on this very subject.

But nonetheless you're pretty much right, you would be very hard pressed to find anything
 requiring multiple amino acid changes before selective benefit is present to easily be within
 the reach of evolutionary processes.

All in all the limit to evolutionary processes stem not so much from selection by itself being
 ineffective but rather because it frequently has nothing significant to "select" in the first place.

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