Presbyterian Church refuses to endorse Evolution Weekend

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Michael Zimmerman reports today in the Huffington Post that the Presbyterian Church (USA) has declined to endorse the Clergy Letter Project and declare the second Sunday in February to be Evolution Sunday. Specifically, Reverend John Shuck, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and his congregation are longtime supporters of the Clergy Letter, and Reverend Shuck proposed that the General Assembly of the church vote to support Evolution Sunday. A subcommittee voted the proposal down by the astonishing margin of 47-2. Why am I not surprised?

I am not surprised because, a dozen or so years ago, a colleague of mine invited me to speak at a Presbyterian church in Golden, Colorado. I do not remember exactly what the title was, but the content was probably something like this. Before I was allowed to speak, I had to be vetted by several of the elders of the church, so I met my colleague and three others for breakfast one morning before class. I had a pleasant time chatting with them, and they apparently decided that I was OK, because we selected a date and time, and the talk was announced.

Almost immediately, a certain unpleasant, aromatic material hit the fan. The church, as my colleague put it, was torn apart; it immediately divided into two factions, those for and those against my talk. They estimated (if I remember correctly) that roughly half the congregation had threatened to quit if the invitation was not rescinded. My colleague was mortified: How could it possibly be that his church could not even discuss modern science? When would they enter the modern era? How could half his church be completely unwilling to listen, to turn a blind eye to a discussion of what should have been an important issue in the church? So my talk, which had been carefully vetted, was canceled in the blink of that blind eye.

And sure enough, now, a dozen years, later Professor Zimmerman quotes an unidentified person saying, “I have people in my family who believe in evolution and those who don’t. Why add fuel to the fire?” Professor Zimmerman responds to that sentiment,

When people believe that being religious means that some scientific concepts can’t be discussed or accepted, damage is done to both religion and science. Under such circumstances, the teaching of science can be inappropriately influenced by misguided religious belief. At the same time, many thoughtful individuals will stay away from congregations that pit science against religion.

And I will let that be the last word.

262 Comments

Whew, they just barely dodged the threat of learning something not already twisted into a caricature of science.

But one must always be vigilant against such threats, hence the fictive prattle at UD.

Glen Davidson

This is surprising – the Presbyterian Church is one of the most-mainstream of mainstream Protestant churches. They can hardly be called “fundamentalist” or even “evangelical”. I would have expected instead bland acceptance of evolution.

The Dishonesty Institute gives their spiel at local and national Presbyterian Churches with no apparent problems. I even sat in on a multi-day John West diatribe where he tried to connect Hitler with Darwin. It was very sad.

Joe Felsenstein said:

This is surprising – the Presbyterian Church is one of the most-mainstream of mainstream Protestant churches. They can hardly be called “fundamentalist” or even “evangelical”. I would have expected instead bland acceptance of evolution.

You might think so. But I’ve found more variation within various denominations than between them. You would think that the Luthern Church (for example) would also be pretty “mainline”. Yet, there is the Evangelical Luthern Church in America, which is pretty hard core fundamentalist, depending on the specific church that you go to.

This is surprising – the Presbyterian Church is one of the most-mainstream of mainstream Protestant churches. They can hardly be called “fundamentalist” or even “evangelical”. I would have expected instead bland acceptance of evolution.

They may be a mainline church, but the Pew Research Center said in 2009,

In 1969, the Presbyterian Church’s governing body amended its previous position on evolution, which was originally drafted in the 19th century, to affirm that evolution and the Bible do not contradict each other. Still, the church has stated that it “should carefully refrain from either affirming or denying the theory of evolution,” and church doctrine continues to hold that man is a unique creation of God, “made in His own image.”

The first of the 2 links in that article adopts a similar wait-and-see tone.

Pew says that the ELCA position is that “God created the universe and all that is therein, only not necessarily in six 24-hour days, and that God actually may have used evolution in the process of creation.” The Missouri Synod, again according to Pew, flatly rejects evolution.

I have to admit, I’m very surprised at this news. Really unexpected.

And that one Presbyterian church? I honestly would have thought that they’d not only let Matt Young preach some good skepticism on his given topic, but also donate a cool 5K or 10K “love offering” on top of it, plus give him a free lifetime ordination on the spot.

Oh well. Hot Drama in the church-house again. Always a killer.

(Welcome to the mainline church gig, Dr. Young!)

FL

Many denominations have members with diverse views, differing even from the leaders of their church. Catholics often refuse to accept much of anything about evolution, even though the pope had said it was ok (with certain limits). I suppose it is not surprising that members of a Presbyterian church are a bit evangelical in their views.

FL said:

I have to admit, I’m very surprised at this news. Really unexpected.

And that one Presbyterian church? I honestly would have thought that they’d not only let Matt Young preach some good skepticism on his given topic, but also donate a cool 5K or 10K “love offering” on top of it, plus give him a free lifetime ordination on the spot.

Oh well. Hot Drama in the church-house again. Always a killer.

(Welcome to the mainline church gig, Dr. Young!)

FL

What’s the deal, FL, you expect all Christians to run screaming from the truth in the same way that you do?

Or should we expect intellectual honesty from some of those who espouse the virtue of truthfulness?

Rhetorical questions, of course, since one can’t expect an intellectually honest response from one who so clearly opposes intellectual honesty.

Glen Davidson

This is disappointing.

I wonder if the issue may have been more charged as usual since it comes on the heels of the decision to perform same-sex marriages in the states where it’s legally recognized.

Or maybe it’s just a “why bother?” We don’t have Heliocentric Weekend, or Germ Theory Weekend, or Relativity Weekend. Evolution is in the same class as those foundations of modernity. What’s the big deal?

ksplawn said:

This is disappointing.

I wonder if the issue may have been more charged as usual since it comes on the heels of the decision to perform same-sex marriages in the states where it’s legally recognized.

Or, the marriage decision allowing pastors at their discretion to perform the marriages may be viewed as the church allowing individual action through a form of casuistry but The Clergy Letter Project may be viewed as the church itself promoting the issue, which is something completely different.

After a bit of reflection, I’m not surprised, except perhaps by how wide the margin was on the committee vote. For those of you who might care, I’ll offer a couple of thoughts about the rejection of the resolution.

This was a two-part resolution. The first part is an endorsement of the Clergy Letter project at the denominational level. The current PC(USA) position (from the last statement the Presbyterian Church (from the PCUS, one of the predecessor denominations of the PC(USA)) made about this issue, back in 1969):

Our responsibility as Christians is to deal seriously with the theories and findings of all scientific endeavors, evolution included, and to enter into open dialogue with responsible persons involved in scientific tasks about the achievement, failures and limits of their activities and of ours. The truth or falsity of the theory of evolution is not the question at issue and certainly not a question which lies within the competence of the Permanent Theological Committee. The real and only issue is whether there exists clear incompatibility between evolution and the Biblical doctrine of Creation. Unless it is clearly necessary to uphold a basic Biblical doctrine, the Church is not called upon and should carefully refrain from either affirming or denying the theory of evolution. We conclude that the true relation between the evolutionary theory and the Bible is that of non-contradiction and that the position stated by the General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, 1889 and 1924 was in error and no longer represents the mind of our Church.

Endorsing the Clergy Letter would be a shift away from the current position that the denomination neither affirms nor denies the theory of evolution because the theory of evolution is not a theological issue.

The second part of the resolution was to formalize recognition of Evolution Sunday at the denominational level. I just pulled out my Presbyterian Planning calendar (I just finished six years as the elder responsible for the worship and music programs for my congregation) to review the Sundays that are designated to provide special recognition to some issue. Many of them deal with social ministry issues and the like. None of them deal with scientific theories. Memorial Day, Independence Day, Earth Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day, and similar civil holidays are also not part of the denominational calendar because they are not religious holidays. Individual congregations have the freedom to commemorate or recognize these civil holidays and incorporate them in their worship as they see fit.

Nothing in the General Assembly action would prevent a teaching elder from signing the clergy letter, a congregation from participating in Evolution Sunday, or a congregation from having a Sunday School class on evolution. (My own congregation has had a couple of adult Sunday School series on evolution. I presented the science side, and another member of my congregation – a signatory of the “Dissent from Darwinism” – took the other side.)

Related to this is the approach we have taken toward more complete inclusion of our LGBT siblings. A few years ago, we reworked our Form of Government to move much of the decision-making about ordination of LGBT members to lower councils of the church, and in the last General Assembly moved decision-making about same-sex marriages to the congregational level. Mandating a position on a scientific issue is against the trend toward more local control.

Third, if I’m reading reports correctly, this was not debated on the GA floor. Rather, the resolution was included in an consent to accept a number of committee recommendations.

From my perspective, I think the Theological Issues and Institutions and CE Committee and the General Assembly probably made the right call on this one.

Matt, you would have had an entirely different response to your proposed talk had it been my congregation. Even those who disagree with you would hear you out respectfully and thank you for visiting. I think you’d even get a couple of good questions.

Then again, I also know Presbyterian congregations where there would never have been an invitation in the first place.

What cam you expect from an organization that has a subcommittee with forty nine people? Anyway, we don’t allow them to preach in our schools, so why should they want to learn anything about science in their churches? Why not just remain in blissful ignorance? After all, it was good enough for Jesus when he went around speaking English. He never mentioned evolution once. There was no sermon on the mount about natural selection, there was no parable about cladistics, so who needs it?

I wonder if any of the forty seven ignoramuses watched the Cosmos series? Or was their faith too weak for that as well?

Scott F said: You would think that the Luthern Church (for example) would also be pretty “mainline”. Yet, there is the Evangelical Luthern Church in America, which is pretty hard core fundamentalist, depending on the specific church that you go to.

Matt already noted this, but I think you are mixing up ELCA and Missouri Synod. The former is pretty liberal (though I’m sure you can find exceptions); the latter is very conservative, both politically and theologically. They will refuse to even take communion in non-Missouri Synod Lutheran churches, they reject evolution, etc…

***

Re: the primary subject. Doesn’t bother me overmuch. Secularism’s goal is to get religious favoritism out of government, out of our schools. As long as the Presbyterians support that, I’m okay with them not wanting evolution presentations to their church groups. In terms of public policy, my goal is (and by implication, you can read this as ‘our goal should be’) consensus that government and public education should be free of sectarian biases. My goal is not “everyone theologically agree with eric.” At best, that is a side hobby, to be discussed on my free time over a beer or in chat rooms. :)

We should also note that Federal Judge John Jones III is a communicant in the ELCA who received an attaboy from his pastor the first Sunday after his decision was published.

eric said:

Scott F said: You would think that the Luthern Church (for example) would also be pretty “mainline”. Yet, there is the Evangelical Luthern Church in America, which is pretty hard core fundamentalist, depending on the specific church that you go to.

Matt already noted this, but I think you are mixing up ELCA and Missouri Synod. The former is pretty liberal (though I’m sure you can find exceptions); the latter is very conservative, both politically and theologically. They will refuse to even take communion in non-Missouri Synod Lutheran churches, they reject evolution, etc…

***

Re: the primary subject. Doesn’t bother me overmuch. Secularism’s goal is to get religious favoritism out of government, out of our schools. As long as the Presbyterians support that, I’m okay with them not wanting evolution presentations to their church groups. In terms of public policy, my goal is (and by implication, you can read this as ‘our goal should be’) consensus that government and public education should be free of sectarian biases. My goal is not “everyone theologically agree with eric.” At best, that is a side hobby, to be discussed on my free time over a beer or in chat rooms. :)

The Lutheran Missouri Synod rejected heliocentrism as recently as 1925. It is my information that the Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Synod is even more conservative then the Missouri Synod. Way back in 2001 when the then mayor of New York, Rudi Giuliani ordered a multi-denominational religious service for the victims of the 9/11 attack, a Missouri Synod pastor was one of the participants. He was chastised by the ruling board of the church and threatened with defrocking for the “crime” of syncretism because, in their view, participating in a multi-denominational service is tantamount to recognition of other faiths.

eric said:

Scott F said: You would think that the Luthern Church (for example) would also be pretty “mainline”. Yet, there is the Evangelical Luthern Church in America, which is pretty hard core fundamentalist, depending on the specific church that you go to.

Matt already noted this, but I think you are mixing up ELCA and Missouri Synod. The former is pretty liberal (though I’m sure you can find exceptions); the latter is very conservative, both politically and theologically. They will refuse to even take communion in non-Missouri Synod Lutheran churches, they reject evolution, etc…

***

Re: the primary subject. Doesn’t bother me overmuch. Secularism’s goal is to get religious favoritism out of government, out of our schools. As long as the Presbyterians support that, I’m okay with them not wanting evolution presentations to their church groups. In terms of public policy, my goal is (and by implication, you can read this as ‘our goal should be’) consensus that government and public education should be free of sectarian biases. My goal is not “everyone theologically agree with eric.” At best, that is a side hobby, to be discussed on my free time over a beer or in chat rooms. :)

SLC said:

The Lutheran Missouri Synod rejected heliocentrism as recently as 1925.

I would be interested in any information about that.

Hey, as long as we’re all talking church business on this science website, I might as well mention what my favorite denomination (the Church of God in Christ) has been doing this summer on the evolution front.

Nothing quite as dramatic as the Presbyterian gig, of course, and no shockers such as Dr. Young’s story.

Still, at this summer’s AIM Conference in Kansas City, the topics of Evolution, Creation, Design, Philosophy of Science, Worldviews etc, were covered by at least two top presenters.

(I wasn’t able to attend but was able to look at the convention schedule at least).

I can’t find the other person’s name, but Dr. Paul Ruffin was one of the presenters who taught classes throughout the convention week. A most interesting physicist and a most interesting pastor:

http://www.theredstonerocket.com/pe[…]tml?mode=jqm

****

Of course, we are talking about COGIC here, so we’re not into any “Evolution Sunday” mess. Stated simply, we ain’t havin’ it.

Now people do have differing opinions concerning evolution and creation and worldviews (I know that from personal experience when I was doing classes at the church I attend). That’s understood.

Nevertheless, this is what we collectively believe:

We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and contains one harmonious and sufficiently complete system of doctrine. We believe in the full inspiration of the Word of God.

We hold the Word of God to be the only authority in all matters and assert that no doctrine can be true or essential, if it does not find a place in this Word.

http://www.cogic.org/our-foundation[…]-we-believe/

That’s us. So it’s safe to say, for example, that the major claim of the theory of evolution, the “apelike common ancestor” human-origins claim, is no-good, messed-up, and not going to be affirmed as actual Earth history within our churches and Sunday Schools.

We believe that man was created holy by God, composed of body and soul. We believe that man, by nature, is sinful and unholy. Being born in sin, he needs to be born again, sanctified and cleansed from all sins by the blood of Jesus.

FL

So you’re collectively stupid, eh Flawd?

Revel in your ignorance. It makes you special, you know, in that very special way.

Glen Davidson

FL said:

So it’s safe to say, for example, that the major claim of the theory of evolution, the “apelike common ancestor” human-origins claim, is no-good, messed-up, and not going to be affirmed as actual Earth history within our churches and Sunday Schools.

Right, because unlike the Presbyterian church, your church is explicitly opposed to science.

FL said:

…the major claim of the theory of evolution, the “apelike common ancestor” human-origins claim…

It should be added, by the by, that this is not “THE major claim of the theory of evolution.” ALL of life has evolved. This includes human beings, to be sure, but human evolution is not the “major” component of the theory.

It’s just the part that you, and your whole anti-intellectual church, can’t stand even more than you can’t stand all the other parts. Because somehow, being materially connected to the rest of nature – to a nature that is the creative product of divine intentions, according to your own theology – is seen as demeaning. Pathetic.

FL said:

Nevertheless, this is what we collectively believe:

We believe in the full inspiration of the Word of God.

We hold the Word of God to be the only authority in all matters

http://www.cogic.org/our-foundation[…]-we-believe/

That’s us.

And that’s also many a fundamentalist Muslim. They just think the inspired and authoritative Word of God is the Koran.

Claims of “divine inspiration” are the worst sort of subjectivism: a subjectivism that doesn’t even own itself and puts on hypocritical and empty airs of objectivity. And when mixed with claims of “authority,” claims of divine inspiration all too easily become theocratic disasters.

FL said: That’s us. So it’s safe to say, for example, that the major claim of the theory of evolution, the “apelike common ancestor” human-origins claim, is no-good, messed-up, and not going to be affirmed as actual Earth history within our churches and Sunday Schools.

NONE of your faith statements (at least the ones you’ve described) prevent you from being secularists. You could, if you chose, believe all of those statements, and still believe that the government should not be promoting your sectarian beliefs or anyone else’s sectarian beliefs, but instead should be teaching in science classes what science says about the world.

So, why don’t you? What makes you take that extra (and completely unnecessary) theological step from “I believe X” - which I am okay with - to “I insist X be taught in public high schools as science?” Tell me your logic here, FL. For it is one thing to have a religious belief, and it is quite another to insist that it be taught to other kids in public schools. Many, many sects - both christian and nonchristian - have done the first without the second. So why do you do the second?

Well Floyd, if you had watched the Cosmos series, (which you didn’t because your faith is too weak), you would know that, according to the five principles of science, no one cares what you believe. If you actually watch the series and find out what the five principles are, maybe we could discuss them on the bathroom wall. If you are to ascared to do that, then just piss off.

And where the frick do you get off trying to claim that you know what the “major claim of the theory of evolution” is? You don’t know the first thing about science or evolution, that’s why you botched it so badly. You really should know better than to come here to display your ignorance.

It should be added, by the by, that this is not “THE major claim of the theory of evolution.” ALL of life has evolved. This includes human beings, to be sure, but human evolution is not the “major” component of the theory.

Let me disagree with you there. Pope John Paul II “accepted” the theory of evolution in all areas except one: human origins.

That’s the only spot where he threw some red flags. Flags that are incompatible with evolutionary theory, I might add.

So yes, human origins are the major claim, the biggest claim, and by far the most controversial claim, of evolution. Even now, roughly half of Americans say they have doubts about Darwinism in that one area.

FL

FL said:

It should be added, by the by, that this is not “THE major claim of the theory of evolution.” ALL of life has evolved. This includes human beings, to be sure, but human evolution is not the “major” component of the theory.

Let me disagree with you there. Pope John Paul II “accepted” the theory of evolution in all areas except one: human origins.

That’s the only spot where he threw some red flags. Flags that are incompatible with evolutionary theory, I might add.

So yes, human origins are the major claim, the biggest claim, and by far the most controversial claim, of evolution. Even now, roughly half of Americans say they have doubts about Darwinism in that one area.

FL

So the religious determine which is the major claim of evolution, based on their own misgivings?

Sorry, no. There is no evidence that suggests that human evolution is special, and your amazing ignorance shows no sign of diminishing whatsoever.

Glen Davidson

Scott F said:

Joe Felsenstein said:

This is surprising – the Presbyterian Church is one of the most-mainstream of mainstream Protestant churches. They can hardly be called “fundamentalist” or even “evangelical”. I would have expected instead bland acceptance of evolution.

You might think so. But I’ve found more variation within various denominations than between them. You would think that the Luthern Church (for example) would also be pretty “mainline”. Yet, there is the Evangelical Luthern Church in America, which is pretty hard core fundamentalist, depending on the specific church that you go to.

I frequently use the library at their main seminary. They subscribe to numerous creationist journals and frequently have creationists speak on campus (I really ought to go see one, but I fear having a stroke); never a scientist that I’m aware of, although they’re a ten minute walk from a major research university.

Helena Constantine said:

Scott F said:

Joe Felsenstein said:

This is surprising – the Presbyterian Church is one of the most-mainstream of mainstream Protestant churches. They can hardly be called “fundamentalist” or even “evangelical”. I would have expected instead bland acceptance of evolution.

You might think so. But I’ve found more variation within various denominations than between them. You would think that the Luthern Church (for example) would also be pretty “mainline”. Yet, there is the Evangelical Luthern Church in America, which is pretty hard core fundamentalist, depending on the specific church that you go to.

I frequently use the library at their main seminary. They subscribe to numerous creationist journals and frequently have creationists speak on campus (I really ought to go see one, but I fear having a stroke); never a scientist that I’m aware of, although they’re a ten minute walk from a major research university.

I guess it wasn’t clear I’m talking about the Missouri Synod.

FL said:

David M writes,

Yeah, I have a policy of not clicking any links provided by FL.

That’s okay. You asked for the Big Five, and Mattdance has provided it for you. I would have provided it for you at this time, if he hadn’t.

However, it does not make sense for you to request another poster to provide something for you, and then when the other poster accepts your request, to refuse to click on the respondent’s link which specifically contains the requested provision. Sheesh.

For the sake of rationality, perhaps you’ll consider a policy revision?

FL

Mattdance pointed me to the same link you had provided. Like I said, I’m not interested in reading treatises you’ve written elsewhere. If you want to make an argument, make it here or at the BW. Copy and paste if you must, but at least try to present your argument in one piece.

FL said:

On top of it, Dr. Behe wrote a peer-review science-journal article (yes, a mainstream science journal, The Quarterly Review of Biology), which lends scientific support to Behe’s specific EOE quotation.

And FL still can’t escape the appeal to authority! “See, he’s totally a legit authority; he wrote a legit paper once!”

mattdance18 said:

You should really learn how to make an argument that doesn’t reduce to “x says y, therefore y.”

This.

So, lots of interesting comments, lots of interesting opposition. Par for the Panda course.

However, the one fact remains the same, even if you don’t support the LSEA (which is not going away anyway, whether one supports or opposes it):

There is much evidence from these studies (P. falciparum, HIV, E.Coli, chloroquine resistance, etc) that, in their incoherent flailing for short-term advantage, Darwinian processes can easily break molecular machinery.

There is no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind os machinery that fills the cell.

– biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pp 162-163.

That was 2007. Then, in 2008, Behe said again (concerning Lenski’s citrate business):

I think the results fit a lot more easily into the viewpoint of The Edge of Evolution.

One of the major points of the book was that if only one mutation is needed to confer some ability, then Darwinian evolution has little problem finding it.

But if more than one is needed, the probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse.

– Michael Behe (blog), from 2008, re-printed by Anika Smith at ENV.

So Behe’s position on Lenski’s research (both pre-citrate and post-citrate) is clear. It’s the same position. It’s the same fact. It’s what you are reading in EITHER quotation.

****

Notice that Behe does NOT use the word “impossible” or the phrase “completely impossible.” That’s not his claim.

But he does make the specific statements “no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind of machinery that fills the cell” and “probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse.”

And the evidence for those statements? Lenski’s E.Coli research. Mattdance said,

The ability to metabolize citrate required TWO, count ‘em TWO mutations.

But that’s precisely the problem, Mattdance. “TWO, count ‘em, TWO mutations. after all that massive effort and work. Just two.

Not enough to finish the dance, dude.

Evolution can only dance a two-step, but a lotta more steps are needed to “build new molecular machinery, the kind of machinery that fills the cell.”

And that is still scientific fact, at this time.

***

But…there was a complaint made that Behe’s 2010 peer-review science-journal article didn’t fit the EOE quotation that was given.

(Eric)

That article lends no support at all to the “impossible” claim. You obviously didn’t read it, or you’d know that.

(Mattdance) Given that his own peer-reviewed work acknowledges exactly what his books on intelligent design deny, in those books, Michael Behe is simply LYING to his readers.

Such complaints, of course, are simply false. Worthless, really.

But let’s let Behe explain it in his own words.

Still, the important question to ask is, what exactly has this venerable project (Lenski’s) shown us about evolution? The study has addressed some narrow points of peculiar interest to evolutionary population geneticists, but for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions (Behe 2010).

There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell.

– Michael Behe, “Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiment”

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/1[…]s079401.html

So, do you see any familiar words from Behe’s last paragraph there? Hmm? Yes? Maybe?

Also, within that snippet, do you see any words or number (in parentheses) that might maybe possibly refer to some peer-review journal article or something like it maybe? Hmm? Si? Oui?

Anyway, you get the picture. Or I hope you do. The given peer-review article DIRECTLY agrees with, ties in with, and supports the given EOE quotation. See it?

I don’t expect any of you to agree with either Behe’s journal article or the EOE quotation, by the way. That’s never going to happen. You say that Behe is “spinning” or “lying”, and of course those accusations themselves sound like spinning or lying to me. Not going to come to an agreement, most likely not ever.

But your specific complaint, is now refuted. Done.

****

Lenski’s work shows the limits, not the potentials, of how far evolution can go. Evolution is a flop, as far as your cells are concerned. Period.

FL

Why are you incapable of making any arguments on your own, FL? Why are you incapable of doing anything other than quoting “authorities”?

Meanwhile, David M. says:

And FL still can’t escape the appeal to authority! “See, he’s totally a legit authority; he wrote a legit paper once!”

Well, let’s see now. A guy sincerely complains that he needs to see a supporting peer-review science-journal article, or he won’t accept that a tiny snip about the limits of evolution, (written by a current biochemisty professor), is suitable for high school biology class.

Oh gee willikers, what will be my next move under those specific circumstances? Wait wait, I know:

**I’ll just go ahead and supply the complainant’s request for a supporting peer-review science-journal article that ties in and supports the previous tiny snip.**

Makes rational sense to me, folks! How ‘bout you?

FL

FL said:

However, the one fact remains the same, even if you don’t support the LSEA (which is not going away anyway, whether one supports or opposes it):

There is much evidence from these studies (P. falciparum, HIV, E.Coli, chloroquine resistance, etc) that, in their incoherent flailing for short-term advantage, Darwinian processes can easily break molecular machinery.

There is no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind os machinery that fills the cell.

– biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pp 162-163.

That was 2007. Then, in 2008, Behe said again (concerning Lenski’s citrate business):

I think the results fit a lot more easily into the viewpoint of The Edge of Evolution.

One of the major points of the book was that if only one mutation is needed to confer some ability, then Darwinian evolution has little problem finding it.

But if more than one is needed, the probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse.

– Michael Behe (blog), from 2008, re-printed by Anika Smith at ENV.

So Behe’s position on Lenski’s research (both pre-citrate and post-citrate) is clear. It’s the same position. It’s the same fact. It’s what you are reading in EITHER quotation.

And Behe - and YOU, stupid - is still WRONG.

Notice that Behe does NOT use the word “impossible” or the phrase “completely impossible.” That’s not his claim.

But he does make the specific statements “no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind of machinery that fills the cell” and “probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse.”

And the evidence for those statements? Lenski’s E.Coli research. Mattdance said,

The ability to metabolize citrate required TWO, count ‘em TWO mutations.

But that’s precisely the problem, Mattdance. “TWO, count ‘em, TWO mutations. after all that massive effort and work. Just two.

Not enough to finish the dance, dude.

But two ARE enough to demonstrate that Behe’s claim is false.

FL said:

Meanwhile, David M. says:

And FL still can’t escape the appeal to authority! “See, he’s totally a legit authority; he wrote a legit paper once!”

Well, let’s see now. A guy sincerely complains that he needs to see a supporting peer-review science-journal article, or he won’t accept that a tiny snip about the limits of evolution, (written by a current biochemisty professor), is suitable for high school biology class.

Oh gee willikers, what will be my next move under those specific circumstances? Wait wait, I know:

**I’ll just go ahead and supply the complainant’s request for a supporting peer-review science-journal article that ties in and supports the previous tiny snip.**

Only, you didn’t, because it doesn’t.

Pointing out that many beneficial mutations come from changes to existing genes rather than wholly new sequences doesn’t invalidate evolution, FL; it defends it.

FL said:

Meanwhile, David M. says:

And FL still can’t escape the appeal to authority! “See, he’s totally a legit authority; he wrote a legit paper once!”

Well, let’s see now. A guy sincerely complains that he needs to see a supporting peer-review science-journal article, or he won’t accept that a tiny snip about the limits of evolution, (written by a current biochemisty professor), is suitable for high school biology class.

It’s not suitable because it’s false, Flawd.

phhht said:

FL said:

Meanwhile, David M. says:

And FL still can’t escape the appeal to authority! “See, he’s totally a legit authority; he wrote a legit paper once!”

Well, let’s see now. A guy sincerely complains that he needs to see a supporting peer-review science-journal article, or he won’t accept that a tiny snip about the limits of evolution, (written by a current biochemisty professor), is suitable for high school biology class.

It’s not suitable because it’s false, Flawd.

Don’t you get tired of defending that clown Behe, Flawd? He’s been a laughingstock ever since Dover, and he still is. His whole department publishes a public disclaimer of Behe and his work to warn off loonies like you. Do you know what a fool you have to be to merit that kind of insult, Flawd?

Well, come to think of it, maybe you do know.

Told you he wouldn’t admit he was wrong. How predictable.

FL said:

Meanwhile, Eric says (I apologize this is just one part of Eric’s larger post),

I’m into science. That’s why I think Behe should actually do some, and publish the results in peer reviewed journals, and have his ID ideas confirmed by mainstream scientists, BEFORE his ideas go before High Schoolers.

But in this one case, I didn’t say anything about any science teacher presenting Behe’s words about Intelligent Design or even anything about Behe’s words about Irreducible Complexity. None of that ID or IC stuff. This brief snippet is ONLY about evolution–nothing else.

There is much evidence from these studies (P. falciparum, HIV, E.Coli, chloroquine resistance, etc) that, in their incoherent flailing for short-term advantage, Darwinian processes can easily break molecular machinery.

There is no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind os machinery that fills the cell.

– biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pp 162-163.

AND, on top of it, Dr. Behe wrote a peer-review science-journal article (yes, a mainstream science journal, The Quarterly Review of Biology), which lends scientific support to Behe’s specific EOE quotation.

http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/B[…]RB_paper.pdf

****

Again, Behe’s quotation totally leaves out any mention or suggestion of ID or IC.

And your specific demand that Behe get published in the peer-review science-journals first, HAS ACTUALLY BEEN MET for this one specific Behe Edge of Evolution example.

(Which is another reason why I chose this one to be my LSEA example to ask you about.)

So therefore…

If you are into science as you say you are, if you are into science education as long as there’s no science-teacher endorsing of “religious beliefs” (nor creationism or ID or IC or YEC or OEC or TE or any religious texts)…

…are you able, as an evolutionist, to allow or tolerate this one brief tiny science-journal-supported Behe quotation from his EOE book, being presented within a high school biology class under the LSEA requirements?

Are you now able to permit it?

FL

I am not very science literate so let me use an analogy from the study of history to illustrate the problem. Earlier evolution denial was compared to Holocaust denial and I think that is a useful comparison. I will assume for the moment that Behe’s comments have some merit (although this seems unlikely).

One of the “facts” that holocaust deniers like to use is that there is no direct order signed by Hitler to carry out the final solution. This is used as part of a strategy to downplay the events of the holocaust and also to deny Hitler’s active involvement. It is true that this document does not exist AFAIK and historians will admit that. Does this lead historians to begin to doubt the holocaust or Hitler’s involvement? No, because they are professional historians an the evidence is very convincing een without such a document. Will high school students understand that? Most will not.

What would be the point of “innocently” including this “fact” and pointing it out to young students other than to actively make them doubt a historical event with loads of evidence to back it up? This would be dishonest in my opinion. If there was time to analyze the overwhelming evidence that convinces historians then this might be a good lesson in critical thinking and analyzing evidence. However, there is nowhere near enough time in a foundations level class to cover all of this. That is why these types of things should not be elevated to textbook status alongside the consensus. This is not censorship… it is academic integrity.

FL said: But he does make the specific statements “no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind of machinery that fills the cell” and “probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse.”

The first statement is refuted by Behe’s own article, Behe’s own words. Go read it. Here’s just one example:

Crill et al. (2000) studied the adaptation of X174 to Eschericia and Salmonella hosts. Over 11 days of selection on a host, up to 28 substitutions, as well as a 2-base insertion and 27-base deletion, were observed in all genes except one. The authors determined that nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions at 5 sites in the major capsid protein gene F affected host preference.

The second claim (about exponential probabilities) is not a refutation of evolution.

Back to FL:

Evolution can only dance a two-step,

See quote above. In what way is “substitutions at 5 sites” only dancing a two-step?

[FL quoting Behe] for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions (Behe 2010).

There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell.

IANAB but I believe the first sentence is true, and is probably of value to teach to students: evolution mostly proceeds through changes to pre-existing sequences, not the “air-dropping” of new sequences into a genome.* The latter is something like horizontal gene transfer, and while it occurs AIUI biologists don’t think its what’s driving speciation or evolution in multicellular organisms like us.

The second sentence is disproved by Behe’s own words from his own article, the paragraph I quoted above. Though with the weasel word “elegant” in there, I suppose you and Behe can always claim that none of the new functional capability that he’s admitted has evolved through mutation and natural selection meets his criteria for being elegant.

*Behe seems to think there is a difference between ‘evolution of new functions’ and ‘minor tweaking of pre-existing genes,’ but AIUI there isn’t. His statement is analogous to someone saying, ‘that’s not an earthquake, it’s just a 5.8 richter scale seismic event.’

I don’t expect any of you to agree with either Behe’s journal article or the EOE quotation, by the way.

This is now the second message in which I’ve supported specific statements from Behe’s article. But I doubt that reality will stop you from playing the poor put-upon martyr facing the heathens who refuse to see.

Behe’s blubberings about ‘exponentially worse probabilities’ would only be valid if anyone were slow-witted enough to ‘think’ that ALL NEEDED MUTATIONS HAD TO OCCUR AT THE SAME TIME.

ie, the standard creationut ‘model’ of everything falling together all at once purely by chance.

If 5 mutations are required, and the odds of one mutation is 1 in 10^9, then getting all five AT THE SAME TIME would indeed be p^5 (in this case, 1 in 10^45).

But if each mutation is useful (or even neutral) on its own, one can fix before the next one arises. Meaning the odds do not go exponential.

And whether a mutation is beneficial, neutral, or deleterious is context dependent. And the presence of one mutation can alter whether a later mutation is beneficial, neutral or deleterious (Mutation A alone may be neutral, mutation B alone elsewhere may be slightly deleterious, but A and B together may be beneficial).

Behe’s ‘model’ of evolution is ‘complex systems MUST fall together all at once, or they are useless !!!1!!1!1!!1!!’; the REALITY is that complex systems can have parts added, subtracted or modified over time. And even the system’s function can change.

They have histories - something IDiots must ignore in order to generate those ridiculously inflated numbers they attempt to ‘disprove’ evolution with.

Given the fact that ‘irreducibly complex’ systems can evolve, finding one would not invalidate evolution. Muller figured that out - in 1923 ! (he called it ‘interlocking complexity’)

Given that it is far, far, FAR easier to modify a sequence that is already present than to generate one from nothing, sane and rational people that understand evolution and biology EXPECT most of evolution to be from modification of already present sequences. Claiming that ‘modifications don’t count !1!!!!’ is a pathetic dodge.

But it is one of the few that the creatorists have to protect their willful ignorance with …

PA Poland said:

Behe’s blubberings about ‘exponentially worse probabilities’ would only be valid if anyone were slow-witted enough to ‘think’ that ALL NEEDED MUTATIONS HAD TO OCCUR AT THE SAME TIME.

ie, the standard creationut ‘model’ of everything falling together all at once purely by chance.

If 5 mutations are required, and the odds of one mutation is 1 in 10^9, then getting all five AT THE SAME TIME would indeed be p^5 (in this case, 1 in 10^45).

But if each mutation is useful (or even neutral) on its own, one can fix before the next one arises. Meaning the odds do not go exponential.

Even more critically, as I pointed out in my post on population evolution, is that mutations need not be structured linearly. Multiple mutations arise at various different places in the population and all recombine in different ways constantly.

If the odds of a given mutation are 1/109 and you need five mutations, and the population is 100 billion, you’re going to get each of those five mutations twenty times in the first population. Assuming all of the mutations are selectively neutral, there is a 50% chance of each instantiation getting passed on in each generation. You will also get 20 new instantiations of each mutation in each generation.

In only a few generations, collisions between mutations will be happening constantly. The correct five mutations will pile up somewhere in the population in no time at all, just waiting to be selected for.

FL said:

So, lots of interesting comments, lots of interesting opposition. Par for the Panda course.

Right back atcha, except for the “interesting” part. I find your perpetual mode of argument by appeal to authority, even when asked for an argument on the merits, tiresome. To wit, just more Behe-quoting:

However, the one fact remains the same, even if you don’t support the LSEA (which is not going away anyway, whether one supports or opposes it):

There is much evidence from these studies (P. falciparum, HIV, E.Coli, chloroquine resistance, etc) that, in their incoherent flailing for short-term advantage, Darwinian processes can easily break molecular machinery.

There is no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind os machinery that fills the cell.

– biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pp 162-163.

That was 2007. Then, in 2008, Behe said again (concerning Lenski’s citrate business):

I think the results fit a lot more easily into the viewpoint of The Edge of Evolution.

One of the major points of the book was that if only one mutation is needed to confer some ability, then Darwinian evolution has little problem finding it.

But if more than one is needed, the probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse.

– Michael Behe (blog), from 2008, re-printed by Anika Smith at ENV.

So Behe’s position on Lenski’s research (both pre-citrate and post-citrate) is clear. It’s the same position. It’s the same fact. It’s what you are reading in EITHER quotation.

Floyd, I’m going to spell this out for you straightforwardly, numbering and boldfacing a dozen or so points that I would like you to address rather than dodge in any response you might offer. It will break up the paragraph structure, but it will also make very clear what are the underlying issues. So here goes.

Behe’s position is indeed clear. But it is also incorrect.

1. When you quote from Behe, all you’re doing is showing that Behe’s statements are broadly consistent with one another. You are not showing that any of those statements is true.

2. In order to show that Behe’s statements are indeed true, you need to check them against something other than Behe’s own statements themselves. Doing this would constitute an argument on the merits, in terms of evidence and reasoning. And this you have not done.

You seem deeply confused over how to make even basic arguments. I am sorry if that is just a “par for the Panda course” rude statement. But it is amply borne out by the evidence: you always appeal to authority, you never argue on the merits even when asked. This leads me to infer that you cannot see the difference.

If I am wrong, you can prove me so by arguing why Behe’s statements are true, instead of just quoting more Behe. Please be advised that simply quoting more Behe will only corroborate my prior inference.

Notice that Behe does NOT use the word “impossible” or the phrase “completely impossible.” That’s not his claim.

But he does make the specific statements “no evidence that Darwinian processes can take the multiple, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind of machinery that fills the cell” and “probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse.”

I see. So no evidence that Darwinian evolution can do something is not supposed to mean that, as far as Behe can see, evolution cannot do it? Come on, Floyd. If he admits that it is possible for evolution to build the molecular machinery of the cell, then his entire argument in favor of intelligent design – evolution can’t do it, only intelligent design can – is undermined.

I will return to the “no evidence” issue in a moment. But speaking of evidence, let’s note this:

And the evidence for those statements? Lenski’s E.Coli research.

Sorry, Floyd, but this is simply a false statement. Behe published EoE in 2007, and Lenski’s citrate-metabolsim results were not even announced until 2008.

3.a. Timing alone makes it impossible for Lenski’s citrate results to be evidence supporting what Behe said in EoE, given that the book was published the year before the results were even announced.

Moreover, the analysis of the genetic basis for the mutations took years of further research, and was not published until 2012. Ergo, Behe’s blog statement in 2008, as well as his own peer-reviewed paper of 2010, discuss Lenski’s results without any available basis for considering the genetic issues. (Note the bibliography for the peer-reviewed paper: Blount 2008, the initial report, not the analysis.) So:

3.b. Again, timing alone makes it impossible for Lenski’s citrate analysis to be evidence supporting what Behe said in either the blog or the peer-reviewed paper. All he had to go on was the announcement that aerobic citrate metabolism had been found.

3.c. In short, the timing of the various works involved makes it literally impossible for Lenski’s own discussions of citrate metabolism to have served as the “evidence” for Behe’s claims. Your claim that Lenski’s citrate world served as such evidence is, unequivocally and undeniably, false. Man up and own it.

Moreover, since you’re into quoting Behe, allow me to play along. Here’s how his discussion of the Lenski citrate metabolism issue ended: “If the phenotype is due to one or more mutations that result in, for example, the addition of a novel genetic regulatory element… then it will be a noteworthy gain-of-FCT mutation.”

4. A novel genetic regulatory element is exactly what the 2012 paper showed. By the lights of Behe’s peer-reviewed paper, this is noteworthy.

Which leads one to wonder:

5. Why did Behe criticize this, explaining it away as just tinkering with pre-existing stuff, only on the blog post of 2013? Where is his peer-reviewed, published criticism that what he said would be noteworthy in 2010 isn’t actually noteworthy after all?

I have a hunch.

Mattdance said,

The ability to metabolize citrate required TWO, count ‘em TWO mutations.

But that’s precisely the problem, Mattdance. “TWO, count ‘em, TWO mutations. after all that massive effort and work. Just two.

Not enough to finish the dance, dude.

Evolution can only dance a two-step, but a lotta more steps are needed to “build new molecular machinery, the kind of machinery that fills the cell.”

And that is still scientific fact, at this time.

Now who’s talking about what’s impossible, Floyd? You are contending that evolution “can only” do the two-step, and evolution requires more steps to evolve the complex machinery of the cell. I grant you that two is not very many – but you’re missing the point. Behe claimed in EoE, as you are so keen to remind us, that “There is NO evidence that Darwinian processes can take the MULTIPLE, coherent steps needed to build new molecular machinery, the kind os machinery that fills the cell.” NO evidence. NONE. For MULTIPLE coherent steps.

6. The Lenski experiment’s citrate metabolism lineage is evidence of two mutational steps producing a new genetic regulatory element that by Behe’s own peer-reviewed lights should be seen as significant. “Two” steps being the minimum for “multiple,” this by itself means that Behe’s EoE statement is falsified.

7. Lenski’s evidence is far from the only evidence. The evidence for the evolution of blood-clotting, by many, many steps, just flat out HUMILIATED Behe in Dover. Moroever, even Behe’s own peer-reviewed article – the one that you keep referencing – acknowledges a five-mutation gain-of-FCT mutation. Your claim that evolution can’t account for the “lotta more” steps is – let’s be blunt – false. It is not a fact, at any time.

But…there was a complaint made that Behe’s 2010 peer-review science-journal article didn’t fit the EOE quotation that was given.

(Eric)

That article lends no support at all to the “impossible” claim. You obviously didn’t read it, or you’d know that.

(Mattdance) Given that his own peer-reviewed work acknowledges exactly what his books on intelligent design deny, in those books, Michael Behe is simply LYING to his readers.

Such complaints, of course, are simply false. Worthless, really.

And yet, it remains the case that the paper and the book are out of sync.

8.a. The non-peer-reviewed book claims there is no evidence, while the peer-reviewed article explicitly acknowledges at least two cases of what the book said there is no evidence for.

8.b. Additionally, nowhere in the paper does Behe say that Darwinian processes can break molecular machines but not build them.

8.c. Why do you keep pretending that Behe’s paper says things that it doesn’t (b), and that it doesn’t say what it does (a)?

8.d. Particularly in virtue of (a), why do you think that Behe’s peer-reviewed work is even consistent with his non-peer-reviewed work?

But let’s let Behe explain it in his own words.

Because you can’t do anything but appeal to authority, again.…

Still, the important question to ask is, what exactly has this venerable project (Lenski’s) shown us about evolution? The study has addressed some narrow points of peculiar interest to evolutionary population geneticists, but for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions (Behe 2010).

There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell.

– Michael Behe, “Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiment”

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/1[…]s079401.html

So, do you see any familiar words from Behe’s last paragraph there? Hmm? Yes? Maybe?

Oh, I see them. They look the repetition of the very falsehood at hand.

9. How does this point amount to anything more than an inability to predict the future? What is Behe looking for? What would count as something “on its way” to being a new molecular machine?

I call bullshit.

Also, within that snippet, do you see any words or number (in parentheses) that might maybe possibly refer to some peer-review journal article or something like it maybe? Hmm? Si? Oui?

Ja! I see Behe citing his own article. What does that mean, exactly?

10. (Cf. (1) above.) How does yet another blog post from Behe show anything other than that Behe’s non-peer-reviewed work is consistent? How does it show that the claims he is making are true?

The given peer-review article DIRECTLY agrees with, ties in with, and supports the given EOE quotation. See it?

Nope.

11. (Cf. (2) above.) The peer-reviewed article explicitly discusses two cases – “multiple” cases, in other words, but I digress – of the evidence for exactly what the non-peer-reviewed book denies there is any evidence for. And the peer-reviewed article never makes the claim that the book makes, namely that such evidence does not indeed exist, presumably because it would look rather stupid to discuss non-existent evidence. The peer-reviewed work and the non-peer-reviewed work are utterly inconsistent on exactly this crucial point.

I don’t expect any of you to agree with either Behe’s journal article or the EOE quotation, by the way. That’s never going to happen.

Actually, I do agree with most of what’s in the journal article. I think Behe’s classificatory scheme for mutations is probably a way of trying to say that certain mutations and adaptations won’t count as novel, so that he won’t have to give credit to “Darwinian processes.” But leaving aside that concern, the article says things that are true, and does not say things that are false. It is therefore easy to understand why it was published. And it’s easy to understand why I agree with it.

The book, however, is another matter. It says things that are false all the time, including things that are not even consistent with the peer-reviewed article. Which is why…

You say that Behe is “spinning” or “lying”, and of course those accusations themselves sound like spinning or lying to me.

12. (Cf. (8) above.) Given that Behe wrote both the peer-reviewed article acknowledging the evidence for multi-step gain-of-function mutations and the non-peer-reviewed book (and blog posts) denying that there is any such evidence, why do you think Behe is honest?

I mean, come on, Floyd, I presume that he remembered what he wrote in EoE back in 2007 when he wrote the article in 2010, and I presume that he remembered what he wrote in the article in 2010 when he made the comments in 2013. He is deliberately saying something in his non-peer-reviewed work that he has never said, and in fact that contradicts what he does say, in his peer-reviewed work. Non-peer-reviewed: there is no evidence. Peer-reviewed: here are a couple examples of the evidence, which examples I will now discuss.

So what would you call it? Honesty? Please.

It is true that the peer-reviewed work is directly inconsistent with the non-peer-reviewed work. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that Behe knows what he said in each case. It is ergo neither dishonest nor spinning to accuse Behe of dishonesty or spin.

Maybe you just don’t want to come to grips with the fact that Behe has made you a stooge. Ad hominem? Perhaps, though in my defense, it’s a conclusion and not a premise.

But your specific complaint, is now refuted. Done.

Lenski’s work shows the limits, not the potentials, of how far evolution can go. Evolution is a flop, as far as your cells are concerned. Period.

You haven’t refuted anything at all. You’ve only demonstrated, yet again, that you have no capacity to make arguments on their merits. All you do is cite authority, and when the veracity of that authority is challenged, you just cite more of it.

Talk about a flop.

I look forward to your specific discussions of each of the dozen points I’ve raised.

Regards.

Well that’s all you can expect from Floyd. Quote mining, misquoting and lying about quotes from supposed authorities. He doesn’t have any evidence, never did, never will. He wouldn’t know evidence if it smacked him in the face, which it has done repeatedly, despite his best efforts to remain ignorant. Don’t expect him to answer your questions and don’t expect him to ever admit he is wrong. He is incapable of discussing scientific issues because he doesn’t understand them.

mattdance18 said:

Talk about a flop.

I look forward to your specific discussions of each of the dozen points I’ve raised.

Regards.

It’s not going to happen; he doesn’t get it.

For him it’s all about the wrestling in the feces-laden mud. In his own mind he is playing to a sectarian audience and winning.

DS said:

Well that’s all you can expect from Floyd. … Don’t expect him to answer your questions and don’t expect him to ever admit he is wrong.

Mike Elzinga said:

It’s not going to happen.…

I’m not optimistic. Despite the numbering, I bet he skips more than half of them.

And I can pretty much guarantee that he will never acknowledge the flagrant inconsistency between Behe’s peer-reviewed work (which includes discussion of cases of multi-step gain-of-function mutation) and his non-peer-reviewed work (which repeatedly states that there is no such evidence). He’s far too invested in Behe’s authority to admit that his hero has been playing him for a fool.

Still, I’m trying.

And the best – apparently the only – authority the turd can come up with is one Michael Behe, who thinks, and has stated publicly, that biblical-literalist six-day young-Earth creationism is utterly childish and silly (or words to that effect).

mattdance18 said: I’m not optimistic. Despite the numbering, I bet he skips more than half of them.

I made a couple of the same points a few days ago, and he skipped those. His current M.O. seems to be to answer specific points brought up in Behe’s journal article by pulling out general counter-quotes from EoE. To us bystanders, this just makes it apparent that Behe is inconsistent. But to FL, I think he believes that if Behe said something in EoE that FL agrees with, then that means his journal article (which FL probably didn’t read or understand) must agree with those EoE quotes. IOW, (I think) FL’s trying to make the argument (1) Behe says X in EoE, therefore (2) You must be interpreting him wrong if you claim he says not-X in his journal article, and (3) I’m not going to bother to check whether you’re right, because I cherry pick my evidence.

PA Poland said:

Behe’s blubberings about ‘exponentially worse probabilities’ would only be valid if anyone were slow-witted enough to ‘think’ that ALL NEEDED MUTATIONS HAD TO OCCUR AT THE SAME TIME.

ie, the standard creationut ‘model’ of everything falling together all at once purely by chance.

If 5 mutations are required, and the odds of one mutation is 1 in 10^9, then getting all five AT THE SAME TIME would indeed be p^5 (in this case, 1 in 10^45).

But if each mutation is useful (or even neutral) on its own, one can fix before the next one arises. Meaning the odds do not go exponential.

And whether a mutation is beneficial, neutral, or deleterious is context dependent. And the presence of one mutation can alter whether a later mutation is beneficial, neutral or deleterious (Mutation A alone may be neutral, mutation B alone elsewhere may be slightly deleterious, but A and B together may be beneficial).

Behe’s ‘model’ of evolution is ‘complex systems MUST fall together all at once, or they are useless !!!1!!1!1!!1!!’; the REALITY is that complex systems can have parts added, subtracted or modified over time. And even the system’s function can change.

They have histories - something IDiots must ignore in order to generate those ridiculously inflated numbers they attempt to ‘disprove’ evolution with.

Given the fact that ‘irreducibly complex’ systems can evolve, finding one would not invalidate evolution. Muller figured that out - in 1923 ! (he called it ‘interlocking complexity’)

Given that it is far, far, FAR easier to modify a sequence that is already present than to generate one from nothing, sane and rational people that understand evolution and biology EXPECT most of evolution to be from modification of already present sequences. Claiming that ‘modifications don’t count !1!!!!’ is a pathetic dodge.

But it is one of the few that the creatorists have to protect their willful ignorance with …

Behe’s basic claim is that irreducibly complex machines cannot evolve in a step by step fashion. This is because he still has this erroneous view that evolution proceeds in a simple linear fashion, hence for a IC structure to evolve, the parts must be available at once. The possibility that biological machines can evolve initially as non-IC and then subsequently become IC is not a possibility behe considers.

Hey, Floyd!

mattdance18 said:

Floyd, I’m going to spell this out for you straightforwardly, numbering and boldfacing a dozen or so points that I would like you to address rather than dodge in any response you might offer. It will break up the paragraph structure, but it will also make very clear what are the underlying issues. So here goes.

I look forward to your specific discussions of each of the dozen points I’ve raised.

0 for 12 so far. Not even an attempt over the last five days. Cat got your tongue? Or are you too busy reading up on the Bible’s ambiguity with regards to slavery?

mattdance18 said:

Hey, Floyd!

mattdance18 said:

Floyd, I’m going to spell this out for you straightforwardly, numbering and boldfacing a dozen or so points that I would like you to address rather than dodge in any response you might offer. It will break up the paragraph structure, but it will also make very clear what are the underlying issues. So here goes.

I look forward to your specific discussions of each of the dozen points I’ve raised.

0 for 12 so far. Not even an attempt over the last five days. Cat got your tongue? Or are you too busy reading up on the Bible’s ambiguity with regards to slavery?

Told you.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on July 7, 2014 3:17 PM.

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