Part 2 of Behe's response to his Lehigh colleagues

Who says they did?

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Water to land is a very specific adaption that requires a very complex sequence to build lungs that can turn air into energy. Your claim that this occurred by a random search through a sequence is not credible.

Again, your resorting to asking me to prove a negative.

Not when you are trying to establish the mechanistic change which starts with genetic change.

Why isn’t it credible? Also, selection is non-random.

You are resorting to arguing a negative.

Why not?

Where are the selectable steps?

You’re way off the mark on what you think we think happened.


Sigh. Evolution still isn’t a random search no matter how many times you regurgitate the same canard Bill. It does seem to be one of your favorite falsehoods since you repeat it half a dozen times a day.

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Why isn’t it credible?

Just a hint. You may want to check out the lungfish that has a lung and gills.


I don’t know what happened and either do you. Where is the genetic pathway in the paper you cited?

Bill you’re still dodging the question about your claim.

What is IDC’s proposed mechanism for producing complex sequences?

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So what? That shows this surfaced from a random search guided by a selectable path through an enormous sequence. This dog just does not hunt :slight_smile:

The nested hierarchy does evidence this conclusion.

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  1. Read it.
  2. Whooooosh. That’s the sound of you missing the point of my comment

Many branches of science infer historical behavior from currently observed processes. No one has ever seen a galaxy form from gas, yet astronomers are highly confident that they understand how our galaxy and trillions of others formed. The reason they are confident is that they have built models that infer from today’s physics and astronomical observations of “how things are known to work” to yesterday’s unobserved history.

The astronomers don’t know everything about how our galaxy formed. They can’t tell you the exact pathway of every hydrogen atom or helium molecule, or even every star. They can’t tell you the exact size or date of the supernova(e) whose explosion(s) scattered the minerals that are gathered in the earth’s core. They certainly can’t tell you much about the 95% of our galaxy that consists of dark matter and dark energy. Astronomers’ ability to explain the historical details is very much constrained.

Here’s a question for you, Bill: Do these gaps in astronomers’ knowledge mean that we should infer that galaxy formation cannot be explained in scientific terms, and we must instead infer to intelligent design of galaxies?

Meteorologists face the same conundrum as astronomers. They cannot tell you the latitude and longitude of oceanic origin for each moisture droplet in a hurricane. Here’s another question for you, Bill: Does this limited knowledge mean that meteorologists’ models of hurricane history are bogus, and we ought to infer an intelligent design and designer of each hurricane?

Astronomers and meteorologists build models that explain what was not observed in the past based on what is observed in the present. If you accept the astronomers’ and meteorologists’ historical models as legitimate in spite of their imperfections and limitations, why can you not accept the biologists’?

Your approach seems to be completely binary, Bill: Either biologists must explain everything about the history, or their historical models are illegitimate. I think that binary view is unfruitful. I would suggest to you, Bill, that just because science cannot tell you everything does not mean that science cannot tell you anything.

He does. It’s called comparative genomics.

As others have pointed out, gills did not change into lungs. Evolution from swim bladders is a better explanation. Moreover, such an explanation follows the exaptation pathway. This means that the gills did degrade over time in land animals while the swim bladder gradually took on new responsibilities.

A random search paired with a selection mechanism that tends to eliminate destructive changes and preserve positive changes.

The antifreeze gene paper cited a 7-step genetic pathway to the creation of a complex de novo gene and protein. That is the kind of present-day observation that gives biologists confidence that their inference to past changes is well supported.

Yes and no. In computer science, an evolutionary algorithm can produce novel, useful sequences of great length.

Just as biologists often cannot infer all the steps in deep history leading to today’s nucleotide sequence, computer scientists often cannot tell you the exact steps in early generations of the algorithm that led to the final output. (Unless they cheat by mining the logs–a strategem not available to biologists!)

If you view only the bits and bytes and silicon at work in an evolutionary algorithm, you cannot detect a designer. You must stand outside the process to detect the designer.

Astronomers, meteorologists, and biologists cannot acquire an omniscient perspective outside the processes they study. They are like Maxwell’s demon sitting on the silicon wafer while the evolutionary algorithm runs, observing the bits fly by without having any tool to look outside the computer to see the programmer.

By faith, Bill, we do have a tool to see the programmer who designed the evolutionary algorithm at work in the biosphere. Science does not provide the tools; faith is what provides the toolkit.

My $0.02,


This is very well put. I like that analogy.

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Does that mean that faith cannot be partially built on scientific reasoning?

Bill, he does. You really need to retract that false claim.


He does not have sequence data for the ancient transitions he is using for evidence of evolution. Thanks for your comment I should have made that clearer.

Bill what do you mean by “sequence data for ancient transitions”?

What would it look like if he did, can you give a hypothetical example of what you mean?

Here is an example.

As one example, consider Tiktaalik or some relative thereof, in any case a transitional kind of fish whose descendants colonized land and eventually gave rise to all of the terrestrial vertebrates—amphibian, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

What would “sequence data” for Tiktaalik look like? What do you mean by that?

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