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Michael Behe - The Edge of Evolution (Nov-9-07)
Posted: 19 November 2007 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Greetings, thanks for the response.  To begin with I said nothing to imply that natural selection does not work or is “random”.  I apologize if I gave that impression.  I was specifically discussing the flagellum motor and the completely unsatisfying answer or lack thereof that Darwinian Evolution gives for this structure.

“It is guided by differential reproductive success (via natural selection), the necessity of building new things out of existing things rather than creating them intact from scratch, and other such factors.”

None of which are satisfying explanations for the flagellum.

“The precise mechanism for how this system evolved haven’t been elucidated, but that’s not evidence natural selection can’t explain it.”

This sounds surprisingly similar to what Creationists say to me…“we’ll, we don’t know how this came about but I’m sure God must have done it somehow.”  Both sides seem pretty dependent on faith.

“The only basis for claiming that natural selection cannot make such things is your own difficulty imaging how”

Or perhaps anyone’s inability to explain it through said natualistic processes.

“building new things out of existing things rather than creating them intact from scratch”

And in the case of the flagellum that existing structure(s) would be?

“claim the theory as a whole is a failure”

Uh…gee, I never did this.

“why almost any anatomic or biochemical feature of one organism can be shown to be a modified form of a similar feature in a related organism”

Could you please point out what these are for the flagellum motor?

“the things previous thought to be inexplicable by natural selection and modification with descent (like the vertebrate eye) which have since been clearly demonstrated to, in fact, be possible to develop in steps as the theory suggests despite their complexity.”

Would you cite references for this please.

“all the things Darwinian theory does explain successfully”

If a theory successfully explains certain situations it is a logical misstep to assume that that theory can be applied universally because of that fact alone.

“And it begs the questions of why things are imperfectly designed”

And yet with all that “imperfection” do we know of any more complex and well-working machine in the cosmos (man-made or otherwise) than the human body?

I am arguing from a “god-neutral” worldview and letting the evidence lead where it may.  If you are arguing from a worldview that gives no possibility of a “god” or the possibility of any metaphysical existence then the issue has been “pre-ruled-out” and of course there will be no “alternative explanation”.  I am also seeking an “alternative explanation” for what was there BEFORE the Big Bang and having a great deal of difficulty getting any answer besides “we don’t know”.  And if we don’t know is it fair to rule out any explanation that has credible evidence?

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Posted: 19 November 2007 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Oh brother (on my end)...I didn’t invoke any “god”.  I merely pointed out that you misquoted Behe (which you did) and that you or anyone would recognize the intelligence in the building of Mt. Rushmore and not attribute it to “natural” causes…I certainly meant no insult.  And considering the rather acerbic responses I’ve received to my initial posts I’m not sure I want to introduce myself…

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Posted: 19 November 2007 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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OK you called me out specifically twice on two different threads, what I want to know is what board or forum that we met?  There are a few of them, but it would be nice to know which one, so I know who I’m addressing- obviously you are going by a different handle.  Thus, why I say it would be nice if you introduced yourself in the intro section of the board. Please do, so that we can get a better idea of who you are.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 19 November 2007 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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I apologize.  It’s not intentional, I just read your posts and found them interesting.  I apologize if it seems I’m calling you out.  I don’t believe we have met on another forum as rarely post to forums because they end up being a cheerleading squad for whichever side is hosting them and seldom actually attempt to gleen any truth or conclusions.  I am a 39 year old white male Mensa member with interests that range from music and science to history and archaeology.  I am what I call a “Radical Centrist” politically and an open-minded skeptic on most other issues.

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Posted: 19 November 2007 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Oh ok.  Mensa, huh?  Very interesting.  You found my posts interesting?  Not sure what for.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 19 November 2007 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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They caught my eye as I perused the site…nothing more.

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Posted: 19 November 2007 07:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Surely there are far more challenging people here.  I mean, for someone who is mensa material, I’m not much to debate.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 19 November 2007 08:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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On the contary, I really enjoyed “speaking” with you.  I think it’s the “more challenging” types who are often the first to pounce and the least open-minded.  I’m probably guilty of “pouncing” myself on occasion because I’m usually debating the “more challenging” types and you tend to build up a defensive wall…unfortunate.  Anyway, enjoyed “debating” with you!

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Posted: 19 November 2007 08:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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You’re actions were curious.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 19 November 2007 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Let’s hope wezx is not a synonym for T-R-O-L-L

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Posted: 19 November 2007 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I’m laughing cynically to myself because it never fails that when you try to present some ideas for discussion, maybe even play devil’s advocate, to perhaps get some answers or at least different points of view from people immediately your motives are questioned and you’re insulted (thanks fotobits).  Whatever happened to discussing the issue at hand instead of acting like I’ve disrupted your delicate forum.  I’m willing to examine my own beliefs even at the point of discomfort…are you?  I’m not sure what a T-R-O-L-L is supposed to be, but it sure as hell doesn’t sound complimentary.  This is exactly why I don’t try posting to forums.  The people on the “religious” forums do the same thing.  The hypocrisy is stifling in both camps.  You folks can have your forum back…have a nice life.

[ Edited: 19 November 2007 08:53 PM by wezx ]
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Posted: 19 November 2007 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Wikipedia will give you a good idea about what trolls are all about. Being a MENSA member, you probably knew that already!! nes pa?

[ Edited: 19 November 2007 09:04 PM by OhioDoc ]
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Posted: 19 November 2007 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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wezx,

As far as the flagellum, I’ve already said that the precise steps leading to its development aren’t yet understood. However, this is not the same thing as saying that Darwinian evolution is unable to explain it, only that it hasn’t yet. This is clearly different from the religious explanation which says “god did it, no further explanation is necessary.” Because Darwinian selection has so successfully explained so many other things, it is reasonable to suppose that it may also be able to explain the flagellum. If it cannot when the detailed study of the problem is made, then you may have a point, but right now you are simply arguing that because every detail of this (or any other complex structure) has not yet been traced to its evolutionary antecedents, Darwinian theory cannot possibly explain the phenomenon, and that is fallacious reasoning.

The evolution of the vertebrate eye is a similar case, in which all the parts must function together to make the organ useful, so the anti-selection argument has been made that it could not have evolved by successive steps. See HERE for the wikipedia summary of current evidence on how this evolution worked, or read Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins or Vision Optics and Evolution in Bioscience, 39, 1989, 298-307. It is clear that the parts of the eye or their antecedents each had functions and evolutionary advantages for their possessors, and that the process of natural selection allowed the complex organ to develop over long periods of time from modifications to the antecedent organs. There is no evidence I’m aware of, though you are free to present some, that suggests the same logic is fundamentally not appplicable to the bacterial flagellum, though the details are not yet clear. The idea that our lack of complete understanding in this case example is somehow evidence that it could not have developed by natural selection is just you assumption based on incredulity, not in fact evidence. Science is based on always having questions to answer and problems to solve, so the fact that such exist in evolutionary biology is not evidence that the field has somehow failed to justify its claims. If a theory explains many things, it may not be true that it can explain everything, but it is also a logical mistep to say that whatever it hasn’t yet explained it can’t ever.

The human body is a wonderfully complex thing, but so are lots of other organisms, so are lots of non-living things (the atom, for example). None of this implies design. Darwininan theory provides a very satisfying and reasonable explanation for how the human body came to be, without positing the existence of a designer. You are adding something unecessary to the story. And my point was that if there was a designer, especially an omniscient, omnipotent, and loving one, why would the body be designed suboptimally? Evolution explains why (the necessity of working with pre-existing structures, the random nature of genetic mutations, etc), whereas design theory doesn’t.


I don’t rule out the possibility of god (see my sig quote), but I don’t consider the complexity of the human body or the bacterial flagellum evidence for one, and I don’t consider the incompleteness of scientific knowledge evidence for one. There have been many things we couldn’t explain which were attributed to the supernatural and which we now can explain without such an attribution. I am comfortable with not knowing everything. The main difference between us seems to be that you want to believe there is more than nature, there is some “metaphysical existence” and you seize on any gap or flaw in scientific materialist explanation as evidence for this. I would love it if there were such a thing (especially if it meant I would get to live forever), but I don’t see any sign of it. Ultimately, a designer could, as Behe put it, sign his name to the flagellum and be done with it if he wanted to, and there wouldn’t be many agnostics or atheists. Maybe he didn’t want to, but theorizing why the designer of the universe chooses to obscure his existence seems less logical and parsimonious than theorizing that it’s hard to find convincing evidence of his existence because he’s not there.

[ Edited: 19 November 2007 09:20 PM by mckenzievmd ]
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Posted: 20 November 2007 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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wezx - 19 November 2007 05:13 PM

When Behe investigates the bacterial flagellum motor for instance, with it’s multiple tuned parts & symmetry, random mutations and natural selection cannot logically or scientifically account for this complexity.  The “bio-pump” often touted as a “stepping stone” to the motor only accounts for 10 of the some 40 parts of the flagellum motor.  Where did the other parts come from since they all to be present at the same time for the structure to function?  Natural Selection is blind to a non-functioning system that is missing parts.  Darwinian Evolution cannot be the sole cause for this system…perhaps some aliens came and….

Check out the animation of the b.f. contained here : http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/programs/ht/wm/3416_08_056.html , and the discussion which follows.

Note that by your own admission, the flagellum motor is “reducibly complex” since you’ve acknowledged yourself one clearly isolatable stepping stone found within it.

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Posted: 20 November 2007 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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There is plenty of online info about possible routes of evolution for the bacterial flagellum. For example, HERE and HERE. But in general, appeal to cases like the flagellum are perfect instances of the God-of-the-gaps fallacy, or what Neil Tyson would call “the perimeter of our ignorance”. No matter where we are in the great advance of science, there will always be some features and facts that remain unexplained.

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