Lenski: Are Polar Bears Damaged?

I mean, we haven’t even really gotten into all the errors that Behe makes with the LTEE yet. I believe that one is next. And then there’s the finches. And soon we’ll be joined by some other reviews that will do their part with this terrible burden. I know of two other reviews coming next week. There’s not going to be much left in the book that isn’t totally picked apart. It’s sad that we have to spend our time this way but the upside is that a lot of people are getting some quality scicomm and education about evolutionary science out of this.


I think I have the title for my next OP. Are Behe Critics Damaged?

I’d say we’re no worse for the wear. I suspect the Behe sycophants are a little exasperated, though. If Darwin’s Black Box made some interesting points that helped sharpen some evolutionary theorizing, this book misses the mark completely. His thesis is just flat out wrong and even his own handpicked examples demonstrate it.


We are having fun. Still work to do, but it has been entertaining to watch the DI theatrics on this. I’m sure they are really pleased by the attention it is drawing to the book.


iirc one or more articles posted at EN asserted that the Science article failed to address the main thesis of his book. So it will be good to see that being addressed.

Yes, that was the smoke they let up in terror as they found out that the hypothesis Behe put forward was undermined by very evidence that he chose to represent it. That evidence demolishes his hypothesis of devolution, by showing he misunderstood the data and ignored the evidence against him. We covered this before:

You are very confused my friend @mung. Just try and see outside the ID bubble. Look beyond the squid ink they are squirting in your eyes.


I know they say that, but it isn’t true at all. EN is hardly a reliable source for anything really. Science, however, has a pretty good reputation.


The squid ink analogy is another gem from @Art. That’s exactly what they do. But they’re just not gonna have enough ink to cover all the shortcomings of this book. But they will try! And yes, @swamidass is right. We are actually enjoying this despite how much time it takes away from our main jobs.


I think squid ink was from @argon, no?

C’est moi.


Bringing up IC and bringing up chloroquine resistance and bringing up 10 year old articles on the web are what I would call squid ink.

If there is a thread here at PS yet actually addressing Behe’s main thesis I would very much appreciate a link to it.

Now I don’t have the book, and I am looking forward greatly to when I can read it for myself, but I can say that the following is almost certainly false:

In the grand scheme of evolution, mutations serve only to break structures and degrade functions, Behe argues.

Nope. They are examples of constructive processes Behe ignores in his book. Moreover we chose older articles to be fair to Behe, so he would have had time to have considered them. This cuts to the heart of his hypothesis. He needs IC and EoE to be correct, as he appeals to them when presented with evidence that falsifies his hypothesis.

Sure thing. Here you go: Darwin Devolves: The End of Evolution?. You have much catching up to do. Have fun @Mung.

Please be sure to let the endorsers of the book know. Apparently DI has been confused about Behe’s point. In fact, it seems that many of them didn’t even read the book before writing their defense of Behe. West, for example, admits to have not even read the book before he called us frauds. Very concerning.

Apparently Leisola is horribly misrepresenting Behe.

Do you have some evidence you’d like to share?

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If his main thesis is that the “first rule of adaptive evolution” contradicts mainstream evolutionary theory (as has been argued at ENV), then the review has indeed addressed his main thesis.

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The irony is very thick…

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This blog post reminded me that Lenski is a remarkably clear and lucid writer. I hope he writes a trade book at some point, I’m sure it would be extremely successful.



If you put it in the frame of a high-school debate as in “demolished their argument,” all they have to do is say, “Nuh-uh!” loudly and often, and their followers have all they need.

What you need to be saying is, “Behe has a testable hypothesis. The evidence HE CHOSE demolishes it.” That would be educational.

It’s not very educational if you frame it as debate.

Please, please, stop framing it this way!


@Mercer you have a good point as always on this one. How about I go back and edit that post, and send you my next blog post to review?

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Now it reads:


1000x improved!