Darwin Devolves: The End of Evolution?

33 posts were merged into an existing topic: Comments on Darwin Devolves Review

That was a rather straightforward takedown.

Perfectly said.


And Behe responds, with some kind jest :smile:.


@NLENTS and I will let you know how we’ll respond.

Let me first say this — Woo-hoo!! I’m simply ecstatic about the review. Not because it’s favorable — it surely isn’t. But because it is so embarrassingly, cringe-inducingly weak. It’s the equivalent of a reviewer being rendered speechless, but soldiering on because he’s been assigned to write 700 words — gotta say something .

This, however, is silly gamesmanship and spin. I honestly wonder if anyone can take this seriously. It validates our final point:

Ultimately, Darwin Devolves fails to challenge modern evolutionary science because, once again, Behe does not fully engage with it. He misrepresents theory and avoids evidence that challenges him.


I find this fairly entertaining:

It’s the equivalent of a reviewer being rendered speechless, but soldiering on because he’s been assigned to write 700 words — gotta say something .

This is, actually, demonstrably false. Either he knows this and is taunting us (fun!), or just did not do his homework. I’m not sure which one.

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Whoa. I gotta say, that article does not seem like Behe. He’s usually serious and measured, but wow, he’s downright silly here. And why the lashing out? Klinghoffer seems to have rubbed off on him, which is a real shame. Behe is one of the few real scientists in their movement. He was the DI’s only real hope in their quest to be taken seriously. This really doesn’t help the cause.


Puzzling sentence from the review:

“Behe asserts that new functions only arise through ‘purposeful design’ of new genetic information, a claim that cannot be tested.”

Yet the rest of the review summarizes and cites evidence which, the authors claim, tests (and refutes) Behe’s arguments. So design cannot be tested, except when we test it.

Gotta agree with Mike on this one: the review largely ignores his main thesis in Darwin Devolves, but revisits old controversies. I expect his full reply, coming in a few days, will hammer that.


I’m not a fancy philosopher, but it seems to me that refuting an argument in favor of X doesn’t actually test X, just the argument used for X.


Um, the claims of Behe’s that are refuted in the review relate to the notion that adaptive evolution occurs only by “breaking” proteins. Not “that new functions only arise through ‘purposeful design’ of new genetic information”.


Yep. @pnelson missed the mark on that one. I’m not even sure it’s an argument in favor of ID. Does an argument against known evolutionary processes equal evidence for design? I think not.


We did hit on irreducible complexity and edge of evolution a lot. That is because Mike did not accurately present the status of those arguments, and his devolution case depends on both these two arguments being correct.

As for the new argument, he rules out anything but Darwinian processes being useful from the get go. He makes several important omissions. We point out several examples that counter his case, but there are more. The strange thing is that he seems to think Lenskis experiment is a good demonstration of his law, but Lenski’s experiment does not extrapolate to macroevolution. It’s designed to test other things.


There is also a bit of psychological projection going on. Behe seems to be describing himself:

" It’s the equivalent of a reviewer being rendered speechless, but soldiering on because he’s been assigned to write 700 words — gotta say something ."


Then I don’t think you understand either his argument or our rebuttals. My other essays on this book will have more space and maybe help you see our point more clearly.


Yes, exactly. His complete and total misunderstanding of the LTEE is shocking. He expects to see things (innovation, creativity) that the experiment is precisely designed NOT to generate. It’s a nearly perfect recipe for streamlining, efficiency, and rapid growth, and those are the adaptations that emerge.


Hi Nathan,

I look forward to your longer analyses. Science reviews don’t give the space one needs.


There are several articles in the works @pnelson. Nathan has one coming out on his blog, and next week his longer in a magazine comes out. I am planning an article here at PS too. It is possible that Lenski might explain more too.

From my point of view, however, I think Dennis Venema explains it aptly:

If that is the tack Behe wants to go, he is more than welcome to do so. It would be another example of not engaging with legitimate critique.

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I’ve lost count and this may be mentioned elsewhere, but there is yet another response from EN this morning:


To quote:

The review is a hit piece, but it’s so insubstantial that Behe must feel like he’s just been bludgeoned by a stick of cotton candy leavened with fairy dust. (The fairy dust here are the oft-recycled Darwinian fairy tales — e.g., whale evolution.)

I propose a new term to describe this strategy of panic-induced spam - “spamic”.


4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Science Review Offers False Accusations about Chloroquine Resistance

Boy, they are losing it.

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@NLENTS check this out.


Notably, they leave out our responses. Perhaps we should create our own page, to give a more complete picture?

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