Part 2 of Behe's response to his Lehigh colleagues

I really don’t understand the main argument of Darwin Devolves.

If, overall, natural processes ‘degrade’ the genome, then all life should now be extinct. But life is not extinct, so something other than natural processes must be operating?

What I’m not getting is: How does Behe eliminate the possibility that overall natural processes do not degrade the genome? Can he really extrapolate from a handful of recent examples to all life over deep time?




Degradation is limited by DNA repair, apoptosis and purifying selection.

Random change will breakdown a sequence until something resists that breakdown.

Hmm… What could that be?
Nope. I’ve got no idea.


Try this experiment.

Every morning make a random change to the phone numbers stored in your cell phone and see what happens.

When you decide that is a bad idea after several contacts are lost the sequence degradation will cease :slight_smile:


Don’t ever change, Bill. I need the constancy in my life.


Behe’s target audience isn’t the scientifically literate or those who can reason. It’s for the same ID-Creationist crowd who bought into John Sanford’s genetic entropy nonsense. Behe’s goal isn’t to convince mainstream science, it’s to tell the True Believers what they want to hear, that science supports their God.


Random change will also produce positive changes. You forgot that part.


Over time it degrades a sequence. There is no getting around this.

That’s not accurate. First, you need to make multiple copies of your phone. Each of those copies will have changes, including duplications of numbers in one phone. If a change is not helpful, throw out that phone. Keep repeating. What will happen? You will have an increase in helpful changes over time, and number duplication will allow you to keep functioning phone numbers while their copies change. Also, you need to allow phones to reproduce with one another, so they can mix their phone numbers.


As you already stated, the degraded sequences are removed from the population through selection. You also have positive changes that are selected for and will accumulate over time.

You will spend all your money on phones :slight_smile:


This is not what the empirical evidence is telling us. Some sequences are highly preserved others are not.

The problem is the empirical data is telling us this is exceedingly rare. Like a mutation to a phone number that finds a new friend.

Actually the empirical data says the chance of having a change be beneficial depends on feedback from the environment, and as the environment changes the probability of getting at least one beneficial mutation approaches certainty.


How is that inconsistent with what I have written?

What empirical data is that? Also, you haven’t shown that rare positive changes are incapable of supporting the amount of positive changes we see in lineages.

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The empirical data that Behe has surfaced where it is likely speciation has occurred.

Where did Behe measure the rate of beneficial mutations?