Continuing the discussion from Is Wikipedia Fair to the Biologic Institute?:
This was originally on another thread, but it made more sense to separate this out into a new topic…
Regarding Doug Axe
Finally, I was not there, and I do not know how accurately Brooks represented the situation. However, I did carefully read the very long article and found it to be damaging for a different reason. Several of the critiques he raised of ID arguments back in 2008 appear valid, and have not been substantively engaged by ID proponents. Remember, this was written in 2008, ten years ago. For example, look at this exchange (which is germaine to Doug Axe’s work, not Ann Gauger):
Gunther Wagner congratulated Dr. Gauger on doing some great experimental work, but noted some logical inconsistencies in inference. The first is a phylogenetic comparative issue; it is necessary to know the ancestral state of the two proteins. If you are dealing with two proteins each derived separately from a common ancestor, then the experiment involves a minimum of two steps, backwards to the ancestral condition and then forwards to the alternative derived condition. It seems unlikely that you would be able to do that experimentally, especially if you have no idea of the environmental conditions under which the evolutionary diversification took place, and no idea if there were any intermediate forms that no longer survive.
This appears to be a valid critique of Axe’s inference based on the papers he has published on this. Rather then engaging this critique with better experimental design, it appears he has just ignored it. I find it concerning. As I had though I might have been the first people to raise this concern directly with him. It turns out that he had know for years that this was critique. That is a legitimate and substantive critique, offered now by several biologists. It needs to be engaged by Axe.
In this case, I know that @Agauger was the presenter, but this has become Axe’s public argument. It seems that Axe is really the one responsible for engaging this criticism. Remember, I made that same point to him directly several years ago. He has heard it now from more than one source for ten years now.
I know there is unfair treatment of ID proponents, but in my world at WUSTL we would not tolerate ignoring legitimate critique from anyone, ID or not. It is not good scientific behavior. Instead of focusing on the bias, I wonder what would happen if Axe would actually engage the legitimate and valid criticism of his work by qualified scientists, and also surprise us by retracting claims he could not defend. That would be great to see happen.