Behe vindicated, again!


Behe has been vindicated in stating the obvious that mutations adaptive in one environment, might not be adaptive in another, and so might get lost in that novel environment?

On a familiar note, there’s a strange lack of quotations of the putative critics’s statements that Behe is purported to have been vindicated against. What exactly is it that that others have said that Behe is now being vindicated for?


What is vindicated again is Behe ´s first rule of adaptive evolution that states « Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain ». IOW, Darwin’s mechanism works by a process of devolution, not evolution!

What does Behe pose as an explanation for the presence of life still on the planet after 3 billion years, if adaptation only results from broken genes? It seems this would require the Intelligent Designer to periodically step in and repair entire pan-genomes (or meta pan-genomes) in order to allow organisms to continue to survive. I don’t understand his reasoning in accepting the constant breakdown of coding sequences alongside the acceptance of universal common ancestry.


Yes, exactly. Behe’s belief that religious zealots with neither the ability to understand nor the interest in understanding the science will simply blindly accept whatever he says even when it is directly contradicted by the evidence has, again, been vindicated. You’re living proof, @Giltil.


Until one actually looks at what is happening all around us in the biosphere.

But other than that, it’s all ducky.





But the studies don’t confirm that claim. All they confirm is that mutations beneficial in one environment aren’t necessarily beneficial in another, and when you move a population from a complex natural environment with many simultaneous challenges to a much simpler one dominated by growth-competition for a limited resource, many of the adaptations evolved for the complex natural environment are no longer needed in the simple and synthetic environment.

First of all “devolution” is still evolution. Evolution is merely descent with modification, as in change under natural selection. Whether an adaptation is a biochemical gain or loss of function mutation, it’s still an adaptation, so it’s evolution. You’ve been fed an incorrect view of evolution where you’ve apparently become convinced evolution must mean an ever increasing amount of functions and complexity, but that has never been the claim of evolutionary biology that this should always happen. It’s a complete straw-man of the process.


Shades of “Genetic Entropy”! Creationist convergence!

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Yes. Is Giltil telling us that because the ancestors of modern humans left the ocean and lost the ability to breathe under water by means of gills, that’s another example of “devolution”? Devolution is to bogus biology what de-toxify is to lots of popular quackery.


The argument did look quite familiar… :slight_smile:

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Another issue that Behe does not seem aware of: His “rule of adaptive adaptive evolution” also applies to “intelligent design”.

For instance, in order for a sculptor to produce this:

…one must destroy a nice, regular block of marble like this:

So even on a theoretical level, Behe’s argument fails to make a case of ID.


He seems to think this is just what happens. Take this passage on lemurs from Darwin Devolves, p. 168:

“Thus the groupings may be an artifact of classification or,much more intriguingly, perhaps the result of intrinsic, intelligently provided information carried by the ancestor of lemurs, during a period when many new major categories of mammalian life arose.”

So he’s got his god coming around periodically with a syringe full of new alleles, I guess. It’s comical and horrid, but that’s Behe!

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Behe’s “first rule” is something science has known ever since we’ve been studying genetics, that evolution in each generation works by modifying the genomes of the previous generation. Behe calls it “devolution” to pander to the scientifically illiterate ID-Creationists

I suppose cetaceans “devolved” from terrestrial mammals as the cetaceans acquired all the changes to being fully aquatic. Bats “devolved” from non-flying mammals as the bats acquired flight capability and echo location. Right Gil?

It’s getting harder every day to tell the DI’s nonsense from the output of AIG and ICR. So much sciency science. :slightly_smiling_face:


In the spirit of the moment, I have created @T_aquaticus’s first rule: Planes can only lose altitude, and therefore flight is impossible.

My first rule has been vindicated:


This article is more confirmation to my hypothesis Behe long ago gave up any pretense of doing actual science and is just milking the ID-Creation True Believers for as much money as possible. The DI recently released its latest short Behe propaganda video where Behe claims dogs are just “broken wolves” i.e wolves that had their genomes devolve. :roll_eyes:

I wonder what species “broke” to produce wolves in the first place? Or the even earlier canine species which “broke” to produce the wolf-ancestor ancestors? Of course Behe can explain how the Miacids “broke” and managed to produce canines, felines, ursines, pinnipeds, etc. Or not. :slightly_smiling_face:


Behe’s rule includes the assumption that there is some-one or something actively breaking, as opposed to breakages happening haphazardly and sometimes being beneficial.

Evolution doesn’t do this. Blind cave fish still express some eye-related genes, either because selection against them isn’t strong enough or because not enough gene degradation has yet occurred. Chickens still have genes for teeth, they just aren’t expressed. IIRC some non-flying beetles still produce wings under their fused elytra.

Nor is it necessary that a breakage lead to increased fitness - it is enough that breakages do not reduce fitness immediately or by enough to offset other selection factors. Lack of vitamin C production in fructivorous primates doesn’t appreciably increase fitness, it merely doesn’t reduce it enough to matter. That beneficial loss-of-function mutations are more likely to occur than beneficial gain-of-function mutations is simply because it is simpler to break something that already exists than to develop something that doesn’t. But it’s also less likely that breaking something that exists will be beneficial, so broken genes don’t ultimately dominate.

The evolutionary equivalent to Behe’s rule is “Things that don’t provide benefit will gradually become irrecoverably broken.” It’s been known for far longer than Behe’s rule has been around.

Perhaps Behe’s rule should be renamed Behe’s first rule of intelligent design. It certainly applies when intelligently designing system modifications - first strip our any unnecessary parts that will detract from performance. Think stockcar racing, for instance, or source code optimisation.


Behe should also try to explain how his own intelligence is a devolved trait. We have a clear progression of increased hominid cranium size in the fossil record, and we have also documented the mutations that separate humans from other apes, and thus our common ancestor through ancestral reconstruction. Those mutations that caused our increased brain size and intelligence are surely examples of devolution, are they not?

Fun fact: According to the formulation of CSI given in Dembski’s 2005 paper, the block of marble is more complex than the finished sculpture (because it’s easier to describe).


This is a YEC talking point. Evolution is defined as a net increase in information so they don’t have to call their “post-flood hyper speciation model” evolution.