Inviting Behe and Axe into Dialogue

In the end, I disagree with @Agauger on several points she raised. To her credit, she also acknowledged mistakes and even apologized. She asked genuine questions too. Whether or not I am right on the remaining parts, or she is right, that is beside the point in the larger context. She was courageous, and I think in time there will be more agreement as she engages with @Mercer, @Art, and myself. Disagreements aside, this is respectable, even though it is bruising.

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Have you ever thought of asking for a meeting with Ahmanson, the money guy, who, as a good businessman, should know valid concerns when he sees them?

That does not seem to be my place to go to him about this. You are a DI supporter. You can and should raise the issue with them directly.

3 posts were split to a new topic: Does Ahmanson Still Fund DI?

Oops. Not Freudian I hope. Joke. I have had my share of embarrassing, funny typos.


Ahmanson died in 1968, It is a third generation foundation now with $1.2 Billion in assets. The money they give to DI is pocket change. They are a good foundation especially for the Southern California area. Why D. Swamidass would want a grant for Ahmanson is beyond me, unless it is for his research work at WUSTL which I am sure is not short on funding from the medical/pharmaceutical industries.

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Here is the reason they do not engage in the “rough and tumble” debate you are looking for. It’s a no win situation. You are convinced they are wrong. They will not shift you. They know this. You keep saying you respect me, but the reasons you give are not encouraging–I acknowledged mistakes and apologized. And I asked genuine questions. Not that I argued well, or had valid points or made you see things a little differently. I suspect you think the change in agreement will be on my side.

Behe has faced bruising challenges already, and from some big names. To face the kind of abuse and rejection he has already received takes great moral courage and strength. To accuse them of making an end run around the scientific establishment is disingenuous. They have already faced the scientific establishment. The scientific establishment has refused to give them a hearing where the rough and tumble is supposed to take place–the peer reviewed literature.

What precisely is it you are hoping to achieve?


They faced the scientific establishment, their ideas were rejected. Now we’re seeing the end run around the scientific establishment with the publication of popular press books appealing to the lay public.

Are Darwin’s Doubt and Edge of Evolution part of the peer reviewed literature? Is Behe’s new book Darwin Devolves part of the peer reviewed literature?

You are wrong.


On Adam you had valid points that the rest of us missed. Thank you. If not for you, I would still be wrong on important points.

On the rest, I’m still hearing you out. We are in a prolonged exchange on several points. Give it time. I will be fair to you. If you show me something I missed, I will be clear about it and thank you. Maybe you will show me something important that I missed again.

They have no need to engage with me. Other scientists are here too. I want to give them a fair hearing. I have changed my mind in the past. If they are right, I hope I would do the same again.

It is not fair to paint me as close minded. That is not accurate.

I am concerned that he has not engaged the scientific issues raised by others. No one should treat him unkindly.

It is not an accusation. It is exactly what Axe says he is doing in Undeniable when he discusses “common science.”

With Behe, I’m saying this after many years of inviting him into dialogue. Maybe he engaged int the past. Where is he engaging now? I want to give him a fair hearing. I’ve read all of his work. I want to know how he responds to the legitimate problems that have been identified in his work. This is a fair request.

A real exchange. An authentic dialogue. I want to know what I misunderstood. I want to understand them better, and I want to see ID live up to Dembski’s admonitions 25 years ago for ID to become a disciplined science:

Intellectual Standards . Are we holding ourselves to high intellectual standards? Are we in the least self-critical about our work? Are we sober or immodest about our work? Do we demand precision and rigor from our each other? Do we examine each other’s work with intense critical scrutiny and speak our minds freely in assessing it? Or do we try to keep all our interactions civil, gentlemanly, and diplomatic (perhaps so as not to give the appearance of dissension in our ranks)? Does the mood of our movement alternate between the smug and the indignant – smug when we hold the upper hand, indignant when we are criticized? Do we react to adverse criticism like first-time novelists who are dismayed to discover that their masterpiece has been trashed by the critics? Or do we take adverse criticism as an occasion for tightening and improving our work?

To be clear, I do not think Axe and Behe are approaching criticism in the same way. I have been far more directly in my critique of Axe than Behe too. The invitation I continue to issue to both of them is to engage on real scientific questions about their work.

I hope so. I am sure time will tell.

The rough and tumble usually takes place outside the peer review literature, at conferences and offices, and departmental seminars. Of course, Behe has been excluded from these too. I am inviting him in.

You know both of them better than me. I hope you are right, and that I am missing something big here.

@pnelson Sorry to hear that you got the flu. Hope that you had the flu shot to minimize the virus’ impact on you. Flu virus evolution is such that the virus mutates so fast that the flu vaccines developed by evolutionary scientists and the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t sync up. But chicken soup and best rest are still the best remedies. Hope you feel better soon.

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In this case, the rough and tumble takes place on the internet, e.g. Mike’s answer to challenges on the blood clotting cascade.

Which scientific criticisms do you wish Behe would address? Some specificity here would help.


This is 18 years old. Hasn’t the science advanced enormously since then. As a person interested in science advancement, what is the 2018 answers to these questions regardless of what Behe or anyone said in the 1990’s?


What questions precisely? What new questions that have not already been answered?

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The mechanism of blood clotting. What is the 2018 state-of-art understanding of the mechanism of blood clotting? I really don’t care if it is irreducible complex or not, I want to know what have been the advances in science understanding of the mechanism of blood clotting and what treatments and medical procedures exist today to help people with problems related to blood clotting.

Science research is ultimately to help people.

The question is, is there a Darwinian or other evolutionary mechanism that can produce this structure. I don’t think the answer is any better today then it was 18 years ago.

Are you saying that evolutionary science hasn’t advanced in the past two decades in the understanding of the evolutionary mechanism of blood clotting? I find that hard to believe. Does anyone here know where the science and technology stands on this today before I get a blood clot in my brain and die from an irreducibly complex process?

All the available evidence we have says the answer is yes. Not knowing every step with 100% certainty doesn’t mean you can replace science with ID oogity boogity!

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This is a valid request. I’ve mapped this out in several ways in the past, but it deserves collecting them all here. I would point to:

  1. @art’s article from 2007 on T-urf13, that has not been addressed by Behe publicly, except by way of an email to @colewd.

  2. The issues raised here: Which Irreducible Complexity Argument?.

Within this last article, I raise several points:

  1. A shifting definition of IC. Which one is he arguing for now? Which arguments does he feel are false? Why does he emphasize Darwinism when that was falsified by Kimura in 1958?

  2. A well research article, that point’s to the Muller two step as a clear mechanism for demonstrating IC. In fact, he did not invent the concept of IC, and should likely attribute it to Muller going forward.

  3. An example of an IC system evolving by natural process he does not address: This, of course, is a different mechanism than that demonstrated by @art with T-urf13.

  4. Several different definitions of IC, noting his fixation on positive selection driven “Darwinism”, an already falsified view of evolutionary change. Which one is his definition? It appears to be IC2, but this is not relevant to anything in biology. Alternatively, he may be equivocating all these together. I want clarify about which IC definition he is using, and to explain why he disputes the examples we’ve provided of IC1 evolving in the lab and in the wild.

There are similar concerns that arise elsewhere. The message that he sent by way of @colewd was that these would all be addressed in his book. I saw a preprint of his book. This is not true. They are not addressed in his book.

If he would like to keep the thread confined to just me and him, I can enforce this easily on the forum. He need not deal with random posters on the internet. I have nothing but respect for him. I consider him a friend. I however think these are questions too important to let slide. Even if we disagree in the end, clarity on his position here should be valuable for everyone.

[Note to @Agauger and @pnelson: I will fill this out and clarify in the coming weeks. Please direct Behe here to understand my questions.]

[NOTE: Both have selectively engaged at times with scientists in the past. The concern here is in the response to requests to engage and clarify over the last several years]