Antibody Enzymes and Sequence Space



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(Guy Coe) #183

Since I have been dragged into this as if to make some grand point, I must reply.
To the extent that there is honest scientific disagreement here, it is in the service of better mutual understanding and good scientific and social practice not to assume completely equal levels of detailed knowledge between those involved in the interchange, but to assume a willingness of each party to investigate. We all ought to be, in turn, teachers as well as students. @Agauger has raised objections that don’t make sense to some of you (at least, not yet), but it is puerile to assume that that makes a Harvard post-doc wrong. Patient and mutually regarding inquiry are the way forward, not, as one author has said of the communication patterns change just after the fall of Adam and Eve, to “hurl and hide.” My two cents.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #184

@Guy_Coe we are willing to understand her objections. At the moment she just called many of us (including me) dishonest. She took this personally. Then she left.

I hope she comes back. I’m sure she will at some point.

(Guy Coe) #185

Understood. It is an uncharacteristically curt response to what I experienced on her behalf as emotional vandalism in the name of “peaceful scientific dialogue.” Unfortunate from both sides. Let’s hope we all do better at trying to promote mutually edifying conversation. When we focus on promoting a triumphalistic rhetorical approach to “winning arguments,” instead of winning each other over, we have devolved into our own little “Ken Ham’s” in a corner, pounding our bully pulpits. We can easily do better.


Your concerns boil down to personal incredulity. I don’t see why we need to dig any further. In a library of 1E8 to 1E10 randomly assembled gene fragments we see a handful with beta-lactamase activity. That’s the reality. If a model says that it should take a library of 1E44 then that model is wrong because it is contradicted by the facts. Your response thus far is that there is something strange going on. That’s it. It’s kind of hard to dig into such a statement.

(Guy Coe) #187

Now, there’s an honest and helpful reply. It gives @Agauger a way forward in the dialogue, rather than simply rejecting her intuition.

(Arthur Hunt) #188

Speaking just for myself, I sort of like being part of a posse of scientists out for red meat :grinning:. I don’t know if my lab members are going to like my new persona, but that is their problem.

Of course, being a Patriots fan means I am fine with embracing the hate** …

(** I use the term in good fun here - don’t take it seriously.)


@art a plant biologist out for red meat. That’s a good one. :rofl:

(John Mercer) #190

The reason I tagged you is because you insist that both sides are interpreting the same evidence differently. This thread is a graphic demonstration that your assertion is incorrect.

Indeed. Thank you for explicitly conceding that both sides are not dealing with the same evidence.

No one here is simply assuming that she is wrong. We are pointing out that her objections don’t make sense. She’s not explaining them further.

(Ann Gauger) #191

@Guy_Coe My main difficulty is with Swamidass, I have told him repeatedly what the difficulty is, and I can reproduce the conversations if necessary. I have also said it on the forum I no longer trust him. He manipulates things to his own advantage.
I can’t hang out and listen to the constant put down of intelligent design and Discovery Institute. Josh, you don’t get to claim ID just by saying so. You don’t get to say what ever you want about the people I work with while standing beside me and expect it to have no effect. Don’t pretend you don’t know why now folks. Here it is. Own it Josh.
Science is not the reason I am leaving. I could stay and argue but I see it as a useless exercise. It is going nowhere.

The reason is Josh.

(Guy Coe) #192

@Agauger I gotta say, I watched the video last night, and even in light of the backstory, I personally found his behavior not to be so egregious that, as an ongoing supporter of the CSC, and a sometimes contributor to ENV, that his comments were all that damaging, even if a bit hyperbolic. You both stepped on each other’s toes a bit when trying to characterize even your mutual agreements (“Josh; you’re a creationist!”). That may have seemed an obvious thing to you, but one he would not so say without a great deal more nuance. Josh, for his part, is pretty ebullient in dialogue, and can easily, without meaning offense, talk right past people, at times. He knows these things, and owns them… at least (sometimes) after a little coaxing. To say that PS is the only mainstream science organization that even cares about what the DI has to say is an overblown caricature of the truth, at best. It is simply a question-begging assertion. I’m upfront about my disagreements with him on things like this, as I’m sure you both are with other when in private dialogue. I don’t know how much of the current impasse has to do with very different personalities, as much as anything else. I cannot persuade you to trust Josh all over again, of course, but I can vouch for his essential motives and character. As a young father, an active scientist, and a professing one at that, he knows it’s in the best interests of both science and the church --and his own children --to move forward in search of reconciliation, rather than perpetuative demonization. I know the same goals to be true of you too, @Agauger , and look forward to the air clearing a bit after this dustup. I want him to be able to come to Seattle to meet Dr. Meyers and Jay Richards, among others. Josh needs to feel less like a voice crying in the wilderness, and find more jocular comraderie, even with those whom he may disagree. If I had my way, I’d send him to Iowa, to your town, to a cold motel so he’d be grateful for any hospitality you would offer. It would serve him well to have to do some trudging, because right now he’s feeling maybe a little too confident. But hey, I’ve been wrong in my assessments before. Your colleagues will not wither under his criticism, and ID’s fanbase is not as fragile as all that. He has a good hypothesis in GA, that’s getting a little bit lost in the shuffle at the moment. I do hope you’ll reassess, after a rest. All God’s best to you, in the meantime!