ID made ridiculously simple

Let’s take two imaginary DNA sequences:

CGTCGAGGACCC ACCAAGTAGGGCAGC

Then take each thru a series of mutations, whether substitutions, deletions, insertions, inversions, etc, until both sequences are identical. e.g.

CGTCGAGGAGCC ACCAAGTAGGGCC

CGTCGAGGAGGCC CCCAAGTAGGGCC

CCGTCGAGGAGGCC CCCAAGTGAGGCC

CCCTCGAGGAGGCC CCCTAGTGAGGCC

CCCTCAGTGAGGCC CCCTCAGTGAGGCC

This is, of course, the reverse of the process by which new species arise thru descent from a common ancestor. And even with two sequence as short as the one above, the number of possible paths back to a common ancestor (ie. both sequences identical) is very large.

If we were to take the genomes of any organism alive today, the number of possible pathways thru which one could arrive at a common ancestor, even if we have a set target for that common ancestor’s genome, would be a staggeringly large number.

So here is what ID proponents need to do to support their case: Show that for two particular organisms there is no mutational pathway back to a common ancestor that does not require going thru a permutation that would result in a non-viable organism or that would require an unrealistic number of mutations occur in at least one generation. (The time at which the common ancestor likely existed would be part of the calculation.)

That’s it. That’s what all their other claims about irreducible complexity or the scarcity of functional sequences etc. amount to: The life forms that exist today could not have arisen from common ancestors by evolutionary mechanisms because there are no pathways by which this could have occurred.

Now, I really don’t see how they can perform this test. The number of hypothetical genomes to go thru is too large, and I don’t know they would determine whether the genomes are viable.

But if they’ve chosen to defend a hypothesis that cannot be tested that’s really no one’s problem but their own, is it?

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Well, to be more accurate, Behe expects others to test his hypothesis:

Q. And you also propose tests such as the one we saw in “Reply to My Critics” about how those Darwinians can test your proposition?

A. Yes.

Q. But you don’t do those tests?

A. Well, I think someone who thought an idea was incorrect such as intelligent design would be motivated to try to falsify that, and certainly there have been several people who have tried to do exactly that, and I myself would prefer to spend time in what I would consider to be more fruitful endeavors.

Q. Professor Behe, isn’t it the case that scientists often propose hypotheses, and then set out to test them themselves rather than trusting the people who don’t agree with their hypothesis?

A. That’s true, but hypothesis of design is tested in a way that is different from a Darwinian hypotheses. The test has to be specific to the hypothesis itself, and as I have argued, an inductive hypothesis is argued or is supported by induction, by example after example of things we see that fit this induction.

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Well, to be fair, he was answering those questions under duress, having to hold up the many volumes of books containing research he said never existed. :wink:

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Nevertheless it has gotten them a lot of attention, which is their real goal.

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Indeed. And rating them by their ability to generate scientific hypotheses would be like rating a pigeon-drop scammer on his ability to find actual lost wallets. Any attempt to examine the doings of the DI which assumes that they are honest and genuinely interested in scientific inquiry will fail.

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