Posts tagged ‘Michael Behe’

March 16th, 2013

Two Leading Experts on Bacterial Flagellar Assembly Take on Michael Behe

by Max Andrews

Reblogged from Jonathan M. at Evolution News and Views…

I’ve been reading the recently published book Microbes and Evolution: The World that Darwin Never Saw, which combines my two primary areas of interest: microbiology and evolution. Chapter 38 of the book is written by Kelly Hughes and David Blair of the University of Utah, two of the world’s leading experts on bacterial flagellar assembly. Having followed the work of Kelly Hughes and his colleagues for a few years, I hold their work in the highest regard. I myself have a deep fascination with the subject of bacterial gene expression. I was intrigued, therefore, when I discovered the title of Hughes and Blair’s chapter: “Irreducible Complexity? Not!”

Following a very basic overview of flagellar structure and function (also described in my own detailed review of the subject), Hughes and Blair ask, “Is the flagellum irreducibly complex, or just complex?” They write,

It is clear that the flagellum is a complex structure and that its assembly and operation depend upon many interdependent components and processes. This complexity has been suggested to pose problems for the theory of evolution; specifically, it has been suggested that the ancestral flagellum could not have provided a significant advantage unless all of the parts were generated simultaneously. Hence, the flagellum has been described as “irreducibly complex,” implying that it is impossible or at least very difficult to envision a much simpler, but still useful, ancestral form that would have been the raw material for evolution.

August 3rd, 2012

The Edge of Evolution

by Max Andrews

Darwinism is a multipart theory.  Some parts may be right, others may be wrong.  It’s important to distinguish what is right and what is wrong.

  • Common descent (interesting, but trivial)
  • Natural selection (interesting, but trivial)
  • Random mutation
  • The critical claim of Darwinism is the sufficiency of random mutation

The problem of rugged evolutionary fitness landscape

October 4th, 2011

An Objection to Intelligent Design I’ve Never Heard

by Max Andrews

I was in a tweebate (tweet debate) with another person [whom shall remain anonymous] over a previous post of mine where I claimed that Ken Miller’s argument against irreducible complexity was a bad argument (I really don’t like Twitter debates/conversations either).  This person went on about how Miller’s argument convinced Judge Jones and my position was that it’s actually quite embarrassing that the argument would convince anyone (see my post for the context).  Then he claimed the type three secretory system is an objection to irreducible complexity in the bacterial flagellum, which prompted me to claim that it may indeed be IC itself and there are arguments that the flagellum may have come first.  Anyways, those aren’t what interests me.  The argument that I had never heard before was:

ID claims are anything but modest.  Incapacity to imagine other explanations of our beginnings is not evidence of ID. Non sequitur.

Let me be clear, I have never claimed anywhere at any time… ever… that one should be a proponent of intelligent design because of an incapacity to imagine other explanations.  So first of all, this argument belongs in a cornfield scaring away the crows.  Secondly, this is an utterly blatant attack on my imagination! I’ve got a great imagination! (Okay, the second point isn’t really a part of my argument.) It’s true, if anyone did make an argument for ID based on a lack of imagination it would be a non sequitur since one’s capacity to imagine something has nothing to do with the truth claim (as long as the claim is sound/rational, I cannot imagine the actualization of a contradiction).  I’m fairly confident anyone familiar with intelligent design and the state of the evolution controversy would never make an argument for intelligent design like this.  In fact, no one should ever make such an argument for ID like this.

I’ve explained before in my post on God and Darwinism, the reasons why I’m not a Darwinist are for two reasons: 1) the origin of information must be mind and 2) there is objective teleology in the world and primarily human beings.  I do believe the argument from irreducible complexity is a good argument for ID but I’m not going to die on that hill.  I think intelligent causation is a legitimate scientific hypothesis and explanation.  However, there are certain philosophical truths that press the argument.  I could care less if man evolved from a common ancestor but this evolution could not have occurred without a mind acting on the origin of the information in DNA and I believe man [evolves] with an end goal in mind.  That’s why I reject Darwinism.

October 1st, 2011

Ken Miller’s Embarrassing Attempt to Disprove Irreducible Complexity

by Max Andrews

This video has been out for a while but I just saw it reposted on a blog I saw through Twitter.  I’m not going to summarize the video here; rather, just give it a quick watch, it’s only two minutes.

Honestly, it’s a bit embarrassing and I feel bad for him.  His attempt to disprove irreducible complexity demonstrates that 1) he doesn’t actually understand it or 2) displaces the information. When he changed the mousetrap to function as a tie clip that tie clip then becomes a new mechanism.  Whether that tie clip was actually irreducibly complex or not doesn’t matter.  His attempt would be correct if he could remove or change a part of the mouse trap while keeping it’s function as a mouse trap.

As for the scholarship of intelligent design and irreducible complexity, he’s simply incorrect there as well.  Darwinists always do this and it’s just annoying and dishonest (or simply wrong).  For a list of peer-reviewed articles that have been published in regards to intelligent design and irreducible complexity (and yes, the words are used in the articles, sorry Ken) please see the Discovery Institute’s list.

February 12th, 2011

The Discovery Institute’s Seminar on Intelligent Design

by Max Andrews

I attended the Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminar on Intelligent Design (Social Science) in 2010.  My thoughts and comments will be general since we were asked not release specifics concerning information being shared (some of it was yet-to-be published and I don’t know if it has been published yet so I’ll remain silent) and I do not want to “out” any other attendees in their academic endeavors.  Once you’re labeled as an ID proponent your academic career is potentially slowed down or halted.  I’ve already outed myself and I’m pretty vocal about my advocacy of design (I’m a philosopher so it’s not as academically persecuted).

I have no negative comments concerning the DI’s seminar.  In fact, I have more respect for the institute and fellows.  There were two concurrent seminars (natural and social sciences) that interacted with each other on a regular basis and combined on many occasions.  I participated in the social science seminar and being philosophy graduate student I’m not as adept in biology, chemistry, and physics as many others are.  I certainly received a welcoming abundance of science in presentations, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Some of the lecturers included Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Doug Axe, Jay Richards, Jonathan Wells, Richard Sternberg, Ann Gauger, Bruce Gordon, Jonathan Witt, John West, and Casey Luskin.

Lecture topics included:

  1. The role and origin of information in DNA
  2. History of intelligent design
  3. The scientific basis of intelligent design
  4. Science and education policy
  5. Science and education law
  6. Evolution and academic freedom
  7. The media and evolution
  8. The Privileged Planet
  9. Neo-Darwinism
  10. Population genetics
  11. Natural theology in cosmology
  12. The multiverse
  13. Obstacles to unguided evolution
  14. Junk DNA
  15. Biological information and development
  16. The Edge of Evolution
  17. The Social Darwinian Evolution
  18. Theistic evolution
  19. ID and the origins of modern science
  20. The role of genius, beauty, and the aesthetics in design
  21. The metaphysical implications of ID

The schedule is demanding since it requires to fit so much material into a time span just over a week-long.  You’ll interact with the scholars on a one-on-one basis and even enjoy meals together.  They’re not distanced like some professors at the university may be like since there’s only about thirty participants.  I still keep in touch with many of the other participants and have made great friendships.  What’s beautiful about the seminar is that not everyone believes the same thing.  Every participant’s credentials were different ranging from philosophy, theology, law, journalism, biology, medicine, biochemistry, and nuclear physics with only a couple of undergraduates, mostly graduates, and a couple Ph.D.’s.  Religious affiliation was irrelevant, views on evolution and origins vary, and friendly/fruitful debate sparked throughout the seminar.  The DI accepted participants from around the world:  Africa, Norway, Scotland, Wales, California, Texas, and the East Coast.

I left Seattle with 59 pages of notes on my computer.  I’ve referred to my notes on several occasions and have gained valuable and beneficial knowledge.  They provided nearly two-dozen books for me to read in preparation and for studying while there (and of course post-seminar studies).  I spent a total of $50 on my ten day endeavor and that was only for a snack in the airport, an over weight suit case, and another snack at a 7-11 down the street from the campus.  I highly recommend the seminar to anyone who is friendly and open to the ID hypothesis.  I’m doing my graduate research on the multiverse as it pertains to the fine-tuning argument and this seminar has certainly been a valuable asset for me.  Thank you Discovery Institute for sharing this knowledge and granting me the opportunity to briefly study under these scholars.