Michael Behe's version of Intelligent Design, Retracing Denton's course? By Edward T. Babinski

This is not strictly speaking an article about "Debunking Christianity," though since Behe and other I.D.ists assume that they can prove the existence of a Designer it is relevant to the topic of Debunking Christianity, though it must be admitted there are plenty of Christian Evolutionists who do not believe that Behe's attempts at finding "proofs" of the existence of a "Designer" by studying genomes will lead anywhere.

The Evolution of Behe's Views: Francis S. Collins, the head of the Human genome project (who is both a Christian and an evolutionist), critiqued Behe's earlier hypothesis (that Behe has since dropped), namely of a "super cell" in the beginning that's frontloaded with excess DNA to be put into use much later as the world evolves. Collins pointed out such a hypothesis did not make sense because if a super cell was indeed filled with tons of information to be used "much later" that information would have to be supernaturally preserved over long periods of time because unused portions of the genome are known to undergo continual mutations.

Behe once wrote, "If random evolution is true, there must have been a large number of transitional forms between the Mesonychid [a whale ancestor] and the ancient whale. Where are they?" Behe assumed such forms would not or could not be found, but three transitional species were identified by paleontologists within a year of that statement.

In Darwin's Black Box, Behe posited that genes for modern complex biochemical systems, such as blood clotting, might have been "designed billions of years ago and have been passed down to the present … but not 'turned on'." This is known to be genetically impossible because genes that aren't used will degenerate, but there it was in print. And Behe's argument against the evolution of flagella and the immune system have been dismantled in detail and new evidence continues to emerge, yet the same old assertions for design reappear here as if they were uncontested.

Behe now admits in his latest book, The Edge of Evolution, that almost the entire edifice of evolutionary theory is true: evolution, natural selection, common ancestry. His one novel claim is that the genetic variation that fuels natural selection–mutation–is produced not by random changes in DNA, as evolutionists maintain, but by an Intelligent Designer, The Great Mutator.

Behe's current situation reminds me of a similar situation in the past that the true father of the I.D. movement, Michael Denton, got himself into. After he wrote his first anti-evolutionary book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, he was praised by the folks at Access Research Network (editors of the flagstaff I.D. publication, Origins & Design), and became a member of the Discovery Institute. Then Denton admitted in an interview that he had not even known about the fossil evidence of inbetween species, like mammal-like reptiles. He also wrote his book before the various genome identification projects had taken off. Denton's views were altered significantly by the time he wrote his second book, Nature's Destiny, in which he admitted that the genetic distance between species even between humans and chimpanzees was relatively small (as I like to point out, that genetic distance between humans and chimps is smaller than the genetic distance between near identical sibling species of fruit flies), and so Denton now accepts that evolution has taken place. He also had his name removed as a member of the Discovery Institute.

Christian and biologist, Ken Miller, responds to Behe

The continuing dismemberment of Behe (Links to reviews of his new book)

Pushing Behe over the edge

Malaria according to Nat. Geog. (& Behe)

Behe blows it

Silence over Behe's book

We don’t have an intelligent designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE). Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC). In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution.
—Lisa Randall, physicist


Spirula said...

As a zoologist, I find it amusing that these people constantly paint themselves in a corner. That is what happens when your premise is based on metaphysical concepts rather than physical evidence.

If someone, prior to the proto-cetacean fossils discovered in Pakistan etc., had asked "How do get from Mesonychids to modern whales?" we would have answered "We are not sure. We have some ideas about what physical transitions would be expected. We hope that someday we'll eventually find fossils that answer that." Even if these fossils remained hidden for centuries, the response would still remain valid, and the speculative route of evolution would still have merit.

But the ID approach, in this case, argued that since these transitional fossils haven't been found, the lack of evidence points to "design". Unfortunately for them, however, it essentially leaves their entire "science" open to complete discredit if, as it happened in this case, those "gaps" get filled in by transitional fossils.

So the backpedalling ensues.

Anonymous said...

This is just another gap that god was hiding in that acience rooted him out of. Another area that I predict this will happen in is Ethics and Morality. I suspect that as research exposes more of the brain, then christian arguments for ethics and morality will disolve as well.
How does one account for Psychopaths, Sociopaths and people that have gene expressions that predispose them to types of addiction?

zilch said...

How does one account for Psychopaths, Sociopaths and people that have gene expressions that predispose them to types of addiction?

Simple: the Devil.