I want to remind Behe and DI that this review is just a high level summary. I explained right at the beginning of this:
Please do contact us with your questions. Think of this review like a table of contents. Remember, we only had about 750 words. There is much more coming out that explains and expands on these points. We are not even half way through this yet.
Two ID supports have come asking questions, and we have answered them in depth:
Also, we responded already Behe on the IAD mechanism (Real-Time Evolution of New Genes by Innovation, Amplification, and Divergence | Science).
Our answers here do not appear to be engaged by Behe, and they rebut his response before he makes it. This is unfortunate. We continue to invite Behe into dialogue with us so misfires like this can be avoided in the future.
There are a few points to emphasize…
It is a BOOK Review
This point seems to be missed by Behe. He often refers to information that is not inside his book, as if we do not know about it. We are reviewing his book, which does not mention these things. We have explained this in detail here: Does Summers et al Validate Behe?.
We covered this here: Perplexing: Michael Behe’s Critics Falsely Claim He Ignores Exaptation.
We are happy to see the the DI concedes that Behe never mentioned the word “exaptation,” confirming that we the reviewers were correct.
Much more to come on the polar bear example.
On Realtime Evolution
Regarding this reference, Behe writes:
Let me emphasize: in reviewing a book expressly advocating intelligent design, Lenski et al. can’t seem to distinguish between experiments where investigators keep their hands off and those where investigators actively manipulate a system. Perhaps they can’t see the difference.
This was a system engineered to test a specific evolutionary mechanism. Behe may misunderstand how these experiments work. His objection is very close to the third law:
No Response to Reference 2?
This is the Marten Boudry Review, which was published alongside the paper Behe based his book upon. This article lays out the the heretofore unresolved logical problems with the Irreducible Complexity argument. It is unfortunate, as this reference more clearly lays out the problems with Behe’s argument. In fact that article alone appears to be a solid rebuttal of Behe’s response to our review.
Does anyone from DI know why Behe did not respond to Reference 2? @pnelson @Agauger @bjmiller Note, that was the main reference we gave to refutations of his argument. The rest were supporting references. I want to know why Behe was unable to respond to Boudry. Hopefully he will sometime soon.
Those Polar Bears
It is worth remembering that Behe’s response to the Polar Bear’s Fat created more problems. Behe: Responding to the Polar Bear's Fat. This is his claim about ApoB:
Since few experiments can be done with grumpy polar bears, they analyzed the changes by computer. They determined that the mutations were very likely to be damaging — that is, likely to degrade or destroy the function of the protein that the gene codes for.
Two errors here:
- They determined that the mutations were very likely to be damaging
The authors did not determine the mutations to be damaging. They ran a program that gave some results, and they (for a good reason) came to a different conclusion. On ApoB, one of the "damaged proteins, they write it is likely to be working more effectively. This make sense, because Polar Bears need a really effective ApoB because they eat so much fat.
We suggest that the shift to a diet consisting predominantly of fatty acids in polar bears induced adaptive changes in APOB, which enabled the species to cope with high fatty acid intake by contributing to the effective clearance of cholesterol from the blood .
- damaging — that is, likely to degrade or destroy the function of the protein that the gene codes for.
In this context, the software program just outputs “damaging” if it is likely to be a function changing mutation. As a quirk of this program, it calls both increases and decreases in function “damaging.” It appears that Behe misunderstood how this program works. We expect many beneficial mutations to be called “damaging” by this software, but this does not mean that they are likely to degrade or destroy the function of the protein when applied to data like this.
Why this matters. Behe has advanced the hypothesis that polar bear ApoB has reduced function. We can now test this hypothesis by seeing if ApoB really is reduced or increased function. It possible that this will eventually be tested because of its relevance to human disease.
[NOTE: Real Time Evolution and Exaptation sections added on 2/22/2019]