Darwin Devolves Itself Is Irreducibly Complex

Continuing the discussion from Braterman: Darwin Devolves, So What?:

This is the IC1 definition:

Darwin Devolves is irreducibly complex; requiring Edge of Evolution, Doug’s Axe’s Undeniable, and Darwin’s Black Box for support. This makes all four these books become the subject of conversation right now, and they are a house of cards. If one of them goes, so goes Darwin Devolves. It is a house of cards.

This, to be clear, is why BB, Axe, and EoE are rising again in the conversation @discovery_institute. A better argument from Behe would have disconnected his DD case from BB, Axe, and EoE. This house of cards was of Behe’s design.

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What specifically from Undeniable?
as far as i am following the debate, it is strange claim that Darwin devolves rests on Doug’s Axe’s Undeniable

Have you seen Behe’s response to this? Constructive Neutral Evolution. It relies heavily on Axe’s work, and some “common sense” but bad intuition about the math of combinatorial systems.

Because of Axe, Behe thinks it is nearly impossible for new proteins to arise. This becomes one of the many well understood processes he ignores.

is there experimental results that shows how new protein arises by random mutation.

Yes. We have been discussing it here: Antibody Enzymes and Sequence Space.

We have also been repeatedly asking Behe and Axe to discuss Turf13 with us, which is an example of an irreducibly complex enzyme that arose by neutral constructive evolution, and was not selected for at any step (as far as anyone can tell). Neither of them have been willing to comment publicly on this, though @art put it out about 10 years ago for the first time.

@Mercer and @Art the two key experts to discuss this with, but @Rumraket and @T_aquaticus are very helpful too.

I know you’ve been enjoying the theatre at DI a lot @Edgar_Tamarian, but reality is better. We are perhaps the only place aligned with mainstream science that is giving ID a hearing. Come join the fun.


The abzyme example above is a good one. I have also pointed to the evolution of a new beta-galactosidase as another example:


Another classic example is nylC, an enzyme that metabolizes precursors in nylon production:


These studies are wrong?

why ignore them

Douglas Axe, “The Limits of Complex Adaptation: An Analysis Based on a Simple Model of Structured Bacterial Populations,” BIO-Complexity, 2010 (4): 1-10.

Gauger AK, Axe DD (2011) The evolutionary accessibility of new enzyme functions: a case study from the biotin pathway. BIO-Complexity 2011(1):1-17.

You do realize Bio-Complexity isn’t recognized as a peer-reviewed scientific journal but is the DI’s incestuous in-house vanity publication, right?


We have not ignored them. @Mercer and @art have explained at length why these are studies that have been inaccurately extrapolated by Axe to make a fallacious argument. He does not understand what his data is doing, and his case depends on ignoring whole fields of biology of 10s of thousands of papers.


We would be most interested in someone presenting these papers and showing how they apply to the topics we are discussing.


This one tests something that I have been tempted to call a deliberately constructed strawman of evolution.

Axe and Gauger take two distantly related proteins that share a common ancestor billions of years ago, then they pick some amino acids from extant protein A and replaces the amino acids at corresponding positions in extant protein B, and observe that following this protocol, they are unable to convert A directly into B without losing the function of A before they get to function B.

This is sort of analogous to taking a pig and then seeing if you can directly convert it into a squid by picking mutations from the Nautilus genome and inserting it into the pig genome and then producing a dead organism.

This is of course not actually a test of any evolutionary postulate, as both pigs and squids evolved from a common ancestor, they did not evolve directly from each other, and evolution is not contingent on the reality of some sort of pig-squid hybrid being able to live.

That’s the same trouble with this paper, it ignores the common ancestor and instead tries to do a direct conversion of one into the other.

A proper test would have been to use a phylogenetic algorithm, try to get a lot of diversity of proteins from the same family, and infer the evolutionary phylogeny of these proteins, then reconstruct ancestral nodes and recreate them in the laboratory to test if and how they work, to get an estimate of the history of mutational changes that gave rise to these two proteins from their common ancestor.

For mysterious reasons Gauger and Axe didn’t do this and opted instead for their weird direct conversion scenario that nobody says or believes ever happened.


See @Agauger response to that criticism here:
Ann Gauger's latest salvo against Dennis Venema's arguments against an original pair of human beings - Scientific Evidence - The BioLogos Forum

seems resonable answer

is there special organization that recognizes or rejects a journal as peer-reviewed scientific journal?

I don’t care if it is peer reviewed or not. We’ll give it credit if it is a good and valid idea. See here: Winston Ewert: The Dependency Graph of Life

I’m sorry, maybe I’m stupid but why ‘incestuous’?

I’m trying to hold in my laughter, by the way. Just so you know my mood while reading this.

All of the “peer reviewers” for articles are other DI senior fellows. Kinda like having Philip Morris do review of papers on the dangers of tobacco smoking. :slightly_smiling_face:


so what, ‘peer reviewers’ means your peer reviewes you. by the way, the same applies also evolutionary biology, the ones who look at evolution as settled science review each other

@Timothy_Horton, I think @Djordje is just saying your imagery has run amok and is a tad,inappropriate?

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Yes, usually there is an over-arching organization or society that run the most prestigious scientific journals.