Bechly and Swamidass: For and Against ID

1 Like

Looking forward to watching this after the teaser in the forum - very curious to see where it will go.


Did you intend this to start 50 minutes into the video?

It is premiering now. So you can rewind if you like!

1 Like

Man, Günther definitely didn’t want to come here to discuss his innumerable misapprehensions.

I think it was a terrible discussion (there wasn’t much real discussion), as it consisted mostly of Günther just providing a stream of assertions one could take the better part of ten hours to comprehensively rebut. A total Gish-gallop.


I thought it was striking how much his paleontology argument depends on the biochemical ID argument.

He calls biochemical ID (Axe and Behe) a convergent line of reasoning, but it looks more like it’s a building block in his argument. how else would he know that 4 million years isn’t “enough time”? It seems that if the biochemical case fall apart (as many are convinced it has) so does his case.

That would mean it isn’t convergent arguments, but interdependent arguments, we are seeing here.

1 Like

Was thinking the exact same thing. He sort of name-dropped the field of population genetics when he started blathering about the Cambrian, or terrestrial-to-aquatic whale transition. Does Günther know how many mutations it takes to turn a terrestrial into an aquatic mammal? Wouldn’t he have to know that to claim there’s some sort of population genetic problem with that transition?

There are so many things wrong with his simplistic argument, but one has to have some practice dealing with the layers of bs and know what to say. To pick an example, he starts talking about required infusion of information to explain the “discontinuities” in the fossil record, which he also tried to sort of connect to his evolution of whales in 4 million years example.
It’s so simple to point out the inanity of this. Why are there any transitional species if there was an “infusion” of information? Why not just a complete sudden jump from a fully terrestrial to a fully aquatic organism? Why not just straight up create a fully aquatic organism in the first place, if God can create life anyway?

Why are terrestrial mammals showing gradual transformation across a range of fossils within a particular relatively narrow geological window of time, with movement of the blowhole across the nose to the top of the skull, increasing tail length, increasingly streamlined body and shortening of front limbs, and gradual and eventual total disappearance of hindlimbs leaving only the reduced vestigial pelvis(which nobody says means nonfunctional)?

Much crap and nonsense is spewed about the inadequacies of natural selection to explain all of evolution, but look at all the traits that exhibit change in the land-to-ocean whale transition. Aren’t those totally obvious traits subject to selection? The position of the blowhole, the shape of the body, the shape and size of dentition, the sizes and positions of limbs are all of fundamental importance to the efficiency of aquatic locomotion.

Natural selection might not make for a complete explanation for (at the molecular level) the existence and excessive complexity and bricolage of the spliceosomal complex, or the number of protein coding genes encoding the transmembrane domains of vacuolar ATP-synthases(cases where constructive neutral evolution is both a good explanation(former), and the true explanation(latter, as shown by ancestral state reconstruction by the Thornton lab)), but it sure as hell makes for a compelling one for the morphology of aquatic mammals. And nothing but a blind assertion about “population genetics” was provided for why 4 million years is not enough for whale evolution.


Oh also, Günter seems to had a curiously well-timed episode of sudden selective dyslexia when he read the paper “Constructive Neutral Evolution 20 Years Later”.

At exactly 39:15 he starts to say:

39:15 Gunter: There’s another paper by Muñoz-Gómez called “Constructive Neutral Evolution 20 Years Later” and here is an interesting admission in this paper, eh, direct quote:

“Nevertheless, most, if not all of these proposed examples [of constructive neutral evolution] remain speculative and await further evidence and detailed evolutionary narratives.”

39:35 GĂĽnter: There is not a single case where there is really a kind of well-documented case this has been built by constructive neutral evolution that qualifies as some kind of complex mechanism that is having a specific function and not some kind of Rube Goldberg-machine.

Notice that bit he quoted: “Nevertheless, most, if not all of these proposed examples remain speculative and await further evidence and detailed evolutionary narratives.”

Here’s the sentence that immediately follows:

Nevertheless, most, if not all of these proposed examples remain speculative and await further evidence and detailed evolutionary narratives. However, a few putative examples of CNE have been the subject of more detailed experiments (Finnigan et al. 2012; Britton et al. 2020; Hochberg et al. 2020).

Finnigan et al 2012 is the ancestor state reconstruction experiment on vacuolar ATP-synthases I spoke about in my previous post.

Another point, Günter’s last qualification on constructive neutral evolution doesn’t make logical sense. He says it must explain “some kind of complex mechanism that is having a specific function and not some kind of rube-Goldberg machine”. But the becoming excessively complex, aka a Rube Goldberg-machine of something that is performing a specific function with a complex mechanism is the very thing CNE explains, and the examples cited really do qualify for that. So he’s just not being truthful with that statement. Or he forgot his glasses when reading the next sentence.


Well he affirms common descent so he doesn’t deny transition species.

Rather he doesn’t think there was enough time for the changes, and he argues that be a very circuitous route that is vulnerable to critique.

That’s is helpful set of quotes. Whether intentional or not, it does look like a quote mine.

@Rumraket edit the post to put in a link the source of that Bechly quote please? I don’t like posts that call people out that don’t have solid sourcing.

1 Like

Yeah it’s a shame you never got to the part where he explained why he accepts common descent.

But there’s a point to be made about how sensible his acceptance of common descent is when combined with his idea there are “discontinuities” in the fossil record(are those the gaps between the transitional forms or what?), and that certain evolutionary transitions couldn’t have happened without information infusions.

@Rumraket edit the post to put in a link the source of that Bechly quote please? I don’t like posts that call people out that don’t have solid sourcing.



Hi Joshua.
Have you similarly highlighted your debates with Behe on this forum?


“Not at Peaceful Science!”…“The moderation would have to be different”

I don’t think Gunter wants to face y’alls questions without an ID moderator! :smiley:


@sam yes I have. Except probably with far more prominence. There is quite a bit here engaging with Behe.

1 Like

I think you might be misunderstanding me. I am certainly not asking if Behe has ever been mentioned. I’m asking if you have started a (do you call it a) thread including a link which encourages others to watch the video and comment on it.
I’d love to see discussions of your debate with Behe hosted by The Veritas Forum at Texas A&M University. Have you linked to that?

Yes we have. Please use the search function of the forum first? That is how I would find it.

Oh dear…poor Justin.

I don’t know why when I watch your interviews I always want to become your communication coach @swamidass :blush: but oh boy…when you dismissed Justin’s first question about what you affirm about evolutionary theory with something like, “well, we can talk about that if you want…” and then go on to take over the interview and ask Gunther questions, you’re not winning a ton of friends in the audience. :worried: Justin kept trying to save it with breaks and was very kind as was Gunther.

It just felt like the forum should have been your podcast or just a phone conversation between you two. It felt like you came with your agenda to get across to Gunther what you wanted, and the audience was just after-the-fact and secondary. We can sense that so I doubt many people watched the entire interview. Meanwhile, it did seem like Gunther had really studied your position.

Mostly it went over the lay person’s head. So that was disappointing. The conversation about the fossil record got interesting but then I think you interrupted it. I thought he had an interesting point about forensic scientists can feel free to decide whether a death is a murder or naturally caused and he gave other examples I didn’t catch. So I would have liked to hear him defend that more. And the discussion at the end about whether design is a philosophical question or can be a scientific one was interesting, but overall I wish there was more substance in the hour. I do think the conversation would have been much more informative if you would refrain from having an agenda and from asking questions and let the moderator do his job. If it went well, then invite him on your podcast and ask him the follow up questions of items you wished has been discussed that the moderator didn’t get to…

Take or leave my opinion on the communication coaching because you didn’t ask for it. :relaxed:

1 Like

Wow. That’s amazing. I thought none of those things and had none of those impressions. :grinning:


Everybody’s different…I looked at the comments as well a and I wasn’t the only one. Also I’m female and YEC so I probably have a unique perspective and perceive communication differently. Oh well.