New ID Book Full of Holes
Ed Brayton printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jun 07, 2007 at 01:56:42 AM EST
Michael Behe's new book The Edge of Evolution is now out and being heavily promoted by the Discovery Institute. I'm sure it will come as no surprise to my readers to hear that lots of us involved in defending evolution against the attacks of creationists, neo- and paleo-, have been having a bit of fun reading it and finding the many errors in both fact and reasoning it contains. Nick Matzke has a post up at the Panda's Thumb that highlights one particular error that is so glaring and obvious that it's almost inconceivable that Behe didn't catch it.
As Nick notes, much of Behe's new book focuses on the (alleged) impossibility of evolving protein-protein binding sites and the primary example he uses is malaria. Indeed, he bluntly says, as Nick quotes, that malaria was intelligently designed for a purpose. He doesn't bother to revisit most of his examples of irreducible complexity (IC) from the earlier Darwin's Black Box, but he does do a follow up on the cilium in which he claims that new research since the mid-90s has shown it to be even more IC than it looked before.

His argument for that is based on research that shows that the production of the cilium in eukaryotes requires the operation of another cellular system known as intraflagellar transport, or IFT. Thus, Behe claims, both the cilium and the IFT are irreducibly complex, which is why he labels that section Irreducible Complexity Squared. He declares:

IFT exponetially increases the difficulty of explaining the irreducibly complex cilium. It is clear from careful experimental work with all ciliated cells that have been examined, from alga to mice, that a functioning cilium requires a working IFT.12 The problem of the origin of the cilium is now intimately connected to the problem of the origin of IFT. Before its discovery we could be forgiven for overlooking the problem of how a cilium was built. Biologists could vaguely wave off the problem, knowing that some proteins fold by themselves and associate in the cell without help. Just as a century ago Haeckel thought it would be easy for life to originate, a few decades ago one could have been excused for thinking it was probably easy to put a cilium together; the piece could probably just glom together on their own. But now that the elegant complexity of IFT has been uncovered, we can ignore the question no longer.

Wow, double the irreducible complexity! You can't build cilia without a functioning IFT, so now you have to explain both the origin of the IFT and the origin of cilia. Except that, as Nick shows, this claim is just plain false. Just as his claim in his earlier book that every single factor in the blood clotting cascade must be present in order to function was easily disproven by pointing to dolphins, which lack Factor XII (Hagemann factor) yet still have blood that clots), this claim is easily disproven by showing that, in the real world, there exist organisms which have cilia but do not have the IFT.

Nick shows a chart and offers a citation showing that there is an existing organism that has a cilium but does not have IFT, an organism in a group called Apicomplexans. Specifically, a parasitic organism in that group. More specifically, a parasite known as Plasmodium falciparum. You might know it by its better known name: malaria. Yes, the very organism that Behe spends much of his book using as evidence of IC actually disproves his claim about the cilia/IFT system being irreducible. Oops.

................tore the book to shreds for the lay audience in a review this month. He ends his piece with the following:

As unpersuasive as Behe's ideas are scientifically, they are even less convincing philosophically. Behe professes agnosticism on whether the designer was a dope, a demon, or a deity, although he seems peculiarly inclined toward the second possibility. His is a strangely impoverished worldview, one that leaves little space for awe, much less for future scientific advance; he never even raises the obvious question of who the designer is and how it works. Contrast this with Darwin's starry-eyed summation in Origin of Species: "There is grandeur in this view of life...from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

(I couldn't help laughing out loud over Powell's speculation about "the second possibility.")

Ken Miller (a cell biologist and the author of Finding Darwin's God and a widely used high school biology textbook, which I believe is titled simply Biology) did a masterful job of blowing holes in Behe's whatever-it-is-but-it-sure-ain't-a-"theory" in a talk he gave at Case Western Reserve University shortly after the Dover trial (where he was an expert witness). Check it out on YouTube. It's almost 2 hours long, but well worth it, and he spends a fair bit of time showing how living systems including bacterial flagella (which, after all, are essentially overgrown cilia) can indeed be built gradually by adding to and modifying existing sets of genes. (While you're there, take a look at Neil DeGrasse Tyson's riff on Stupid Design. It's a hoot, and only about 5 minutes long. I love Tyson, and he's in top form on this one.)

Speaking of Dover, a terrific book just came out about the action behind the scenes surrounding the trial:

Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul by Edward Humes

It's quite a story, and a good read as well. I was particularly amazed at the number of ID supporters who backed away after initially having been raring to go up against the "godless" evolutionists.

Finally, getting back to Discover magazine: This month's cover story is about the state of science in the Islamic world. (Spoiler: In a lot of cases it's right down there with the state of science in Fundamentalist America. The regression in Egypt is particularly sad.) And this from a culture that kept all kinds of learning alive while Europe was in the Dark Ages..................

by anomalous4 on Fri Jun 08, 2007 at 12:21:30 AM EST

I've been told by more than one informed source that the Darwin snippet cited above includes Darwin's only use of the word "evolve[d]" in the entire Origin of Species, at least in the first edition, which is the most readily available in public libraries. (I wasn't counting words when I read it, and it's been a while anyway, so I can't vouch for that personally.) Darwin preferred the term "descent with modification."

by anomalous4 on Fri Jun 08, 2007 at 12:32:35 AM EST

Yes, this is the problem we all do encounter when we read the books of the new authors. They do have writingessayeast but those editors don't pay proper attention to things. I think this is the mistake of the editor not of the writer because the stories are usually better.

by Abbot45558 on Wed Sep 11, 2019 at 09:30:09 AM EST

Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post.    토토사이트

by herrysami on Sun Apr 19, 2020 at 01:20:20 PM EST

Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post.    ข่าวฟุตบอ&# 3621; วันนี้

by herrysami on Thu Apr 23, 2020 at 11:36:57 AM EST

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me.     online chat rooms

by hasnainkhatri on Thu Apr 30, 2020 at 01:04:14 AM EST

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me.     online chat rooms

by hasnainkhatri on Thu Apr 30, 2020 at 01:04:21 AM EST

With this, you can take it easy, realizing that your solicitation is dealt with suitably, ending your interminable quest for dependable online help advantages of online homeworkdoer servises

by LeatherJackets on Fri May 08, 2020 at 12:42:20 PM EST

You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant!    gym clothes

by hasnainkhatri on Wed May 20, 2020 at 12:15:33 PM EST

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.    wave grease

by hasnainkhatri on Thu May 21, 2020 at 08:42:06 AM EST

Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!    cleaning Ottawa

by hasnainkhatri on Fri May 22, 2020 at 01:49:19 PM EST

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.    buy cheap weed online

by hasnainkhatri on Mon May 25, 2020 at 07:38:17 AM EST

Whenever I have some free time, I visit blogs to get some useful info. Today, I found your blog with the help of Google. Believe me; I found it one of the most informative blog.    order ecstasy pills online

by hasnainkhatri on Mon Jul 27, 2020 at 10:27:09 AM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (330 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (178 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (98 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (93 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (105 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (127 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (115 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (79 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (228 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (55 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (153 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (53 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (54 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (210 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (240 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (87 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (171 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (141 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (146 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (144 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (123 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (185 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (83 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (189 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (77 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (107 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (105 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.