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Author Topic:   Behe's Irreducible Complexity Is Refuted
MrHambre
Member (Idle past 155 days)
Posts: 1494
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 151 of 223 (92098)
03-12-2004 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 146 by DNAunion
03-12-2004 8:47 AM


Raining on the Love Parade
But now I'll go ahead and state my own position: If all life descended from a common ancestor (or a few) by natural undirected processes, then the same sorts of natural undirected processes may have been how that common ancestor community got there. Behe is making the fact that our knowledge of abiogenesis may always be extremely tentative his a priori evidence that intelligent intervention was involved. He offers no example of a biological structure or organism arising solely through intelligent intervention, but he asserts that this is a scientific explanation. In fact it is neither.

Intelligent design creationists cannot tell us why the universal application of natural law is an invalid assumption, but they accuse us of being overly credulous for accepting that assumption in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Why 'IC' or 'specified complexity' or any other attribute should automatically signify the inadequacy of natural laws and processes has never been explained. Why the inadequacy of methodological naturalism doesn't invalidate empirical evidential inquiry as a whole has never been explained. ID creationism is based on stretching metaphors, arguments from analogy, and explanatory filters rigged to arrive at the IDC-ordained conclusion.

The attacks on Behe shine a harsh light on the scientific, philosophical, and logical shortcomings of intelligent design creationism. They have been successful in relegating IDC and God-of-the-gaps methodology to the status of smart-sounding but ultimately irrelevant creationist nonsense.

regards,
Esteban "Dukes" Hambre


This message is a reply to:
 Message 146 by DNAunion, posted 03-12-2004 8:47 AM DNAunion has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 154 by RAZD, posted 03-15-2004 11:29 PM MrHambre has not yet responded

    
Nic Tamzek
Inactive Member


Message 152 of 223 (92147)
03-12-2004 11:46 PM


Behe inconsistent on scale
Well, just before leaving town for the weekend I stumbled on this fascinating thread. So here's my hit-and-run post.

1) I guess I am the infamous 'niiic' who convinced DNAunion that IC could evolve on IIDB. I had a recollection of this but could never rediscover the original thread. It appears that one of the Laws of the Universe is that one can never find a specific old thread on a UBB system, particularly if one really wants to find it. But anyway, I do much appreciate DNAunion crediting whatever influence I may have had on him. Someone changing their mind after an internet argument is an almost vanishingly rare thing on this topic!

2) Once one admits that IC can reasonably evolve by natural processes, it seems to me that definitional hair-splitting about the definition of IC is entirely pointless -- particularly since Behe, Dembski, and many followers have been egregiously inconsistent in their own definition and application of the term. This inconsistency can be found in ID literature on essentially every term that DNAunion expounds upon on the previous page, but I will just focus on scale.

3) Posters were right to point out that Behe is inconsistent in his application of his "molecular only" rule for IC. Exhibit #1 is the mousetrap. DNAunion attempts to defend the mousetrap as macro-but-still-IC because there is additional complexity within the parts of biological systems. But this applies to the mousetrap also -- the base is made out of wood, which took all manner of molecular machinery to build (photosynthesis etc.) and which requires all kinds of complex structure to function (cellulose, cell walls, etc.).

* DNAunion will no doubt reply that one could replace the wooden base with something with simple internal structure, like metal.

* Response: ditto for the middle earbones. Diseased earbones are often replaced by ceramic or metal replacements. Therefore, if the "replaceable by an internally simple part" is a valid move, then the ear ossicles are "in" the IC definition

Further examples of Behe using macro-systems that are IC in Darwin's Black Box:

* Bicycles
* Boats with oars (and motors IIRC -- certainly the rotary motor is now a ubiquitous macro version of IC for the ID movement, what with all the flagellum talk)
* Rube-Goldberg devices (including all kinds of little complex parts, like little animals IIRC)
* Snares in the woods/jungle made of natural parts, vines, sticks etc. (in the book he discusses snares made and sticks & vines explicitly; in his talks, Behe puts up a Far Side cartoon of a guy hanging upside-down, his leg in a vine-noose; this is part of his point about how the purposeful arrangment of parts in IC systems allegedly points to I.D.)

So, macro systems are clearly "in" on Behe's own examples. His attempt to restrict the discussion to molecular systems is basically a legalistic attempt to exclude by fiat a tremendous amount of traditional evidence for evolution (like the middle-earbones example), and restrict the discussion to systems where evidence is particularly poor (molecular systems are (a) small, moderately-well-understood only in phylogenetically isolated model organisms, (b) don't fossilize, and (c) are much, much older than morphological innovations). Unfortunately, too many people take this bait.

Objectively speaking, IC should be a scale-invariant concept. The parts that perform the function operate *at a particular scale*. It doesn't really matter what the internal complexity of those parts is, if we are discussing the origin of the system *at that scale*.

This can be shown by simple thought experiment. Define these two systems as IC or not-IC:

1) Behe's standard mousetrap
2) The exact same mousetrap, functioning exactly the same, but where all the parts (base, hammer, etc.) are made up of many living cells. (There are, BTW, many spring-loaded traps, spring-loaded seed dispersal mechanisms, etc. in biology)

If we take DNAunion/Behe's scale argument seriously, then #1 is IC and #2 is not. This is clearly an absurd result.

nic

PS: I should add that at least two of Behe's supposedly "molecular" example systems are not, actually, molecular. First, the immune system involves numerous cells as crucial parts, even with the subsystems Behe identifies none is truly just molecular in real life. Second, cilia in insects such as Drosophila reach the amazing size of several centimeters long (in the sperm). This is clearly a long ways from molecular, yet they are still cilia. Cilia are really "organelles" -- big enough and complex enough that they are a level or two above the molecular in terms of levels-of-organization. They operate at the microscopic, not molecular level. Since they probably evolved from the mitotic spindle, another very complex, microscopic-not-molecular organelle-like structure, understanding their origin is more like understanding the origin of an organ than it is like understanding, say, the origin of a metabolic pathway or the bacterial flagellum.

All MHO of course.

See ya!
Nic

PS: Just found out I made Carl Zimmer's Blog. More evidence for IC evolution there:
http://www.corante.com/loom/archives/002377.html

[This message has been edited by Nic Tamzek, 03-13-2004]


Replies to this message:
 Message 153 by DNAunion, posted 03-14-2004 10:59 PM Nic Tamzek has not yet responded

  
DNAunion
Inactive Member


Message 153 of 223 (92504)
03-14-2004 10:59 PM
Reply to: Message 152 by Nic Tamzek
03-12-2004 11:46 PM


Re: Behe inconsistent on scale
quote:
1) I guess I am the infamous 'niiic' who convinced DNAunion that IC could evolve on IIDB.

Yep

quote:
I had a recollection of this but could never rediscover the original thread. It appears that one of the Laws of the Universe is that one can never find a specific old thread on a UBB system, particularly if one really wants to find it.

Yeah, I just tried several searches in the Evolution/Creation and the Science/Skepticism sections and couldn't find it either. I tried "Venus" and "venus fly trap" because I seem to remember you claiming that it's prey-capture system was IC in that thread. No luck. I also tried "ossicles" with no success.

quote:
But anyway, I do much appreciate DNAunion crediting whatever influence I may have had on him. Someone changing their mind after an internet argument is an almost vanishingly rare thing on this topic!

I've credited you at several sites for other things related to helping me change my overall views.

That said, however, I still don't agree with your take on Behe's excluding macroscopic biological systems. But, right now I am having to spend a lot of time studying up on things completely unrelated to biology (ASP.NET, IIS, XML Web services, securing web servers, etc.) so have basically no time to post. Maybe I'll come back to this thread when I get sufficient free time again.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 152 by Nic Tamzek, posted 03-12-2004 11:46 PM Nic Tamzek has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19729
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 154 of 223 (92648)
03-15-2004 11:29 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by MrHambre
03-12-2004 4:04 PM


Re: Raining on the Love Parade
While "our knowledge of abiogenesis may always be extremely tentative" the gaps are closing and possibilities become more likely in the process.

I have compiled some relevant information at this webpage:
http://mywebpage.netscape.com/AbbyLeever/Building-Blocks.htm

I leave you with this conclusion from the essay:

"From these building blocks it should be clear to a rational mind that the building blocks needed for the creation of life were plentiful, not just on Earth but in space in general and from the earliest of times. Probably they have been around since long before even the Earth formed from the cosmic debris left behind by the life and death cycle of previous stars and planets, back to the beginning of time. These "seeds of life" no doubt extend through the far reaches of the universe as well as the depths of time (cue Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young ... "We are star dust ...").

It also should be clear to a rational mind that the natural processes for forming more complex structures from those basic building blocks were prevalent on the earth at least 3.5 billion years ago in a variety of forms and locations. We are left with a scenario that has a random combination of plentiful and multitudinous organic molecules forming amino acids all over the earth, with a second scenario that has random combination of plentiful and multitudinous amino acids into peptides and proteins, and a third scenario that has random combinations of plentiful and multitudinous peptides and proteins into the first "replicators" (the predecessors to RNA and DNA), a simple 3 step process where the probability of a successful combination is almost inevitable: it is no longer a matter of "if" but of "when" it will occur under these conditions ... and once self replication occurs the frequency of replication will necessarily outpace the random action, replicators that are faster and stronger will outpace their competition ... life is inevitable when given the conditions for life.

Enjoy
This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by MrHambre, posted 03-12-2004 4:04 PM MrHambre has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 156 by Brad McFall, posted 03-16-2004 3:31 PM RAZD has responded

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3074 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 155 of 223 (92787)
03-16-2004 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by DNAunion
03-12-2004 1:39 PM


Re: Analogies Designed to perceive
YEP, the concept of a "prior" is at stake here. There seems to be the idea out there that indeed one can think of organisms changing as if the discrete probablistic change in a string or grammer suffices to explain the entire REDUCTIONIST side of biological life. The problem is that the sophitication to deal with probablility models tends to REPLACE the physical intuition of say an Einstein AND it is not that there is not phyiscist "precedence" for such research but this would not break the 1900 time barrier which IS NEEDED if one wants to obtain a slightly sophisticated enough notion of "species" worth discussing interms of sequence differences.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by DNAunion, posted 03-12-2004 1:39 PM DNAunion has not yet responded

    
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3074 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 156 of 223 (92792)
03-16-2004 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 154 by RAZD
03-15-2004 11:29 PM


Re: Raining on the Love Parade
They may not be "blocks" but rods in the guise of clockwork AND/OR Newton-black bodies. Swoop, swopping and swap are not the same words, but not necessarily countable as the former would nevertheless be. To not count with my thumb as on the Weather Channel-- that is my goal!!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 154 by RAZD, posted 03-15-2004 11:29 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19729
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 157 of 223 (93070)
03-18-2004 1:42 AM
Reply to: Message 156 by Brad McFall
03-16-2004 3:31 PM


Re: Raining on the Love Parade
I have looked at these words several times to see if I can glean meanings from them. Are you always this obscure?

Your "rods in the guise of clockwork" is a curious attempt at metaphor, as I have taken several clocks apart without finding any rods that were part of the driving mechanism (other than support structure) - they have all been geared - and as such it carries no message value other than "sounding" mystical.

By "Newton-black bodies" you presumably mean a Newton black box - the hypothetical mechanism that does a task without knowing what the mechanism is (being hidden inside the box). This would get us a little closer to something to discuss if you went somewhere with it. The cell can be considered a black box for producing other cells.

The rest is gibberish. imho.

Enjoy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by Brad McFall, posted 03-16-2004 3:31 PM Brad McFall has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 158 by wj, posted 03-18-2004 2:05 AM RAZD has not yet responded
 Message 162 by Brad McFall, posted 03-18-2004 2:58 PM RAZD has not yet responded

  
wj
Inactive Member


Message 158 of 223 (93076)
03-18-2004 2:05 AM
Reply to: Message 157 by RAZD
03-18-2004 1:42 AM


Re: Raining on the Love Parade
Addy

Brad is a frequenter of many boards. There is active debate on whether most of his messages are computer generated, the result of a psycological condition or a troll. Whatever the reality behind Brad, it is futile to try and engage him in a discussion or expect to understand his posts.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 157 by RAZD, posted 03-18-2004 1:42 AM RAZD has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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mark24
Member (Idle past 3237 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 159 of 223 (93088)
03-18-2004 4:07 AM
Reply to: Message 158 by wj
03-18-2004 2:05 AM


Re: Raining on the Love Parade
I second that motion.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 158 by wj, posted 03-18-2004 2:05 AM wj has not yet responded

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19729
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 160 of 223 (93123)
03-18-2004 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 159 by mark24
03-18-2004 4:07 AM


Re: Raining on the Love Parade
ah

thank you. being new here, I am not familiar with the "characters" of this board yet. trolls I am aware of and ignore on policy, but this was a new style for me ... I guess with moderators you have to at least appear to be discussing the topic even if what you say is total nonsense.

Is there an "Ignore Author" (IA) function here?


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Replies to this message:
 Message 161 by Brad McFall, posted 03-18-2004 2:52 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 165 by MrHambre, posted 03-18-2004 4:34 PM RAZD has responded

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3074 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 161 of 223 (93165)
03-18-2004 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by RAZD
03-18-2004 9:59 AM


Re: Staining on the Love Parade
Not only is it NEW it is eminently correct. You have compeletly missed trying. The fact remains that the place to learn what I can teach will be on boards like this. YOU WILL NOT LEARN correctly if you only take what is being taugt at elite instutions. I will talk about Cornell and the ISREAL-JORDAN project of information hiding later. You should apply the same respect for moderators to other posters as well. THIS I DO. One does not ever need to self depricate. The assertions about me are near slander but this is the internet not the personal world. I not only appear to be discussing what I am talking about but really I am doing it. That's why there is materially something behind what you or someone else doesnt understand. There would be NOTHING here if there wasnt something to what I have been CONTINUALLY SAYING. I could not continually be discussing c/e if there wasnt some reality and not just an axe to grind. Learn to life and then LIVE to learn.

If Behe's IC was refuted then IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BE suggesting mechanical possibilites that is not just an egg falling in the wind. Why not rather than agree with other posters you dont ask me a question instead?

Now as for the design of the SPACE intelligently why dont one try to imagine how GAP alignments and Vicariant Biogeography can be scaled algorhthimically??? If you read NETWON's OPTICKS VERY CLOSELY you or anyone with my level of English ability can understand that Newton's very idea of light depends on the existence of discrete bodies that may be black. I read this in 1986 while spending 4 months in Africa. I have not even got the chance to explain my position on Behe in Behe's own words as it would require for me to see if not indeed Plank's BLACKBODY radiation were not applicable by design to melanin distributions. I have had that thought as well as everything else I have rit to this board--

I'll make you a deal- I will read Behe's BOOK word for word and respond to that book or anything by that author if you agree to stop listening to the naysayers about me and deal directly with me? Deal??


This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by RAZD, posted 03-18-2004 9:59 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 164 by RAZD, posted 03-18-2004 4:02 PM Brad McFall has responded

    
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3074 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 162 of 223 (93166)
03-18-2004 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by RAZD
03-18-2004 1:42 AM


Re: Raining on the Love Parade
It depends on if the "vector" is needed absolutely in evolutionary theory. It may be possible to concieve of the relation of lukewarmtemperature differences and MinkowskiTIME without by some idea of Wolframs' but I doubt THAT! I will be less opaque if you have already agreed to stop listening to the peanut gallery and talk straight forward with and to me, Thanks, Brad.

Do you think that the notion of a "molecular clock" makes any sense??? Sure molecules come and go but why something with a "rate". Why cant one simply THEN think of Newton's idea of fermentation and digestion as a gentle heat in the center of the Earth then? Read Newton if you cant or dont want to read me. Newton did not think that there was room to discuss "conspiring motions" but we may be indeed be on this threshold especially should carbon life be found in MArs bar none.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 157 by RAZD, posted 03-18-2004 1:42 AM RAZD has not yet responded

    
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3074 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 163 of 223 (93172)
03-18-2004 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Loudmouth
02-10-2004 12:55 PM


If one can not "root" a clade in EUCLIDEAN space one can not presume that simple common morphological sense will validate the REJECTION of posterior probabilites in Bayesian models of alignments no matter the space scale such are carried out on.

One may have simply assumed otherwise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Loudmouth, posted 02-10-2004 12:55 PM Loudmouth has not yet responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19729
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 164 of 223 (93181)
03-18-2004 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 161 by Brad McFall
03-18-2004 2:52 PM


Re: The Parade without Behe
Brad quote:
"If Behe's IC was refuted then IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BE"
A patently false application of logic. Behe could be wrong and god could still have exhaled the universe while saying "surprise me ... " and left it all on it's own to develop from that first cloud over 13.7 billion years ago to the formation of earth 4.55 billion years ago, to the process that assembled the available building blocks into the format of life that we know (and love), including the late appearance of hominids, and ultimately the people we bump into on the elevators of life. A process of life formation totally undirected by any supernatural interest, yet set in motion by the breath of being. Or you could just be a monkey's uncle.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
This message is a reply to:
 Message 161 by Brad McFall, posted 03-18-2004 2:52 PM Brad McFall has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 167 by Brad McFall, posted 03-19-2004 10:39 AM RAZD has responded

  
MrHambre
Member (Idle past 155 days)
Posts: 1494
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 165 of 223 (93190)
03-18-2004 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by RAZD
03-18-2004 9:59 AM


Our Brad
Abby,

I take a more charitable view of Brad's contributions. Furthermore, mark24's willingness to trade love letters with Syamsu should tell you all you need to know about his level of respect for the mentally ill.The Brad issue has been discussed, and it's the general consensus that he's sincere but troubled. I marvel at some of the strange turns of phrase that Brad comes up with: "Goddidit after taxes" would make a terrific title for a Mark Leyner novel. As I put it elsewhere,

quote:
In the past, I've made light of Brad's thread-killing abilities as well as his habit of name-dropping. His desperate logorrhea makes for reading that's either comical or poignant, depending on your degree of empathy. Brad may be incoherent, but his participation here is tolerated even if rarely understood.

regards,
Esteban "Cuckoo's Nest" Hambre


This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by RAZD, posted 03-18-2004 9:59 AM RAZD has responded

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