Rich Lenski takes down Michael Behe and his ID creationism: Part IV


(Edgar Tamarian) #43

@swamidass There is no other definition of IC besides this one. If there is it cannot be used against Micheal Behe’s position since it has nothing to do with his position.
So, the official definition of IC is following.

«By irreducibly complex I mean a single system which is composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional… Even if a system is irreducibly complex (and thus cannot have been produced directly), however, one can not definitively rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route. As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously. And as the number of unexplained, irreducibly complex biological systems increases»-(Darwin’s Black Box, pp 39-40)

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #44

Wow. Very sad. Please stop misrepresenting Behe. That is not kind. He had put forward two distinct definitions.

(Edgar Tamarian) #45

Here is the second one:

«An irreducibly complex evolutionary pathway is one that contains one or more unselected steps (that is, one or more necessary-but-unselected mutations). The degree of irreducible complexity is the number of unselected steps in the pathway» -(A Response to Critics of Darwin’s Black Box, by Michael Behe, PCID, Volume 1.1, January February March, 2002)

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #46

Good job! Did you find the quote where he disavows the first definition?

(Edgar Tamarian) #47

no, there is not such, in article written 2002, he expands definition of IC by focusing on a evolutionary pathway, and on whether each step that would be necessary to build a certain system using that pathway was selected or unselected, but he never said that first deffinition given in 1996 is not valid any more, Contrary he repeats the first definition in Darwin devolves (2019)

A kind of system that strongly challenges Darwin’s mechanism is one that is irreducibly complex (IC). In Darwin’s Black Box I offered a working definition:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #48

Keep looking.


How so?

(30-year veteran) #50

You just said there wasn’t a second one.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #51

Yup. And we are waiting for him to find the place where Behe disavows the first. He skipped ahead to where Behe forgets he agreed the first definition doesn’t work and puts in his last book.


Note that the 2nd definition is not an ‘extension of the first’. It’s actually something completely different.

(Edgar Tamarian) #53

Your interpretation is wrong, in the article 2002 he wrote;

In Darwin’s Black Box I defined the concept of irreducible complexity (IC) in the following way.

By irreducibly complex I mean a single system which is composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. (Behe 1996, 39)

While I think that’s a reasonable definition of IC, and it gets across the idea to a general audience, it has some drawbacks. It focuses on already-completed systems, rather than on the process of trying to build a system, as natural selection would have to do. It emphasizes «parts», but says nothing about the properties of the parts, how complex they are, or how the parts get to be where they are. It speaks of «parts that contribute to the basic function», but that phrase can, and has, been interpreted in ways other than what I had in mind. What’s more, the definition doesn’t allow for «degree» of irreducible complexity; a system either has it or it doesn’t. Yet certainly some IC systems are more complex than others; some seem more forbidding than others.

But this does not mean he disavows the first definition, No, he says «I think that’s a reasonable definition of IC», then goes to say «irreducible complexity could be better formulated in evolutionary terms by․․»․ this does not mean that first definition does not work or he understood that first definition failed, NO, NO, that would be misrepresentation. Contrary to this, he repeats his first definitin in 2004.

“Irreducible Complexity: Obstacle to Darwinian Evolution.” In Debating Design: from Darwin to DNA, Ruse, M. and Dembski, W.A., eds., Cambridge University Press, pp. 352-370.

if he though the first definition is not good definition in 2002, it does not work well, why he reaffirms the first definition in 2004 and even 2019, so the fact that he repeats it 2 years after the article in 2002 and then in 2019, it means he never disavows the first definition, it your interpretation is wrong, not that he forgets.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #54

How much of this history is in Darwin Devolves? In Behe’s appendix where he does a retrospective on IC, and update on what has happened. Where does he discuss the two definitions? Where does he discuss the weakness of the first definition? Which definition does he focus on?

(Edgar Tamarian) #55

if a person writes 3 books, why he obligated to carry all information in the previous two books into the third one?
read 1st book (Darwin’s Black Box) with its reviews, and replies by Behe to understand the first book,
read 2nd book (The edge of evolution) with its reviews, and replies by Behe to understand the 2nd book
read 3rd book (Darwin Devolves) with its reviews, and replies by Behe to understand the 3rd book

if you see a reference in the 2nd book to first, go and read the first book with its reviews, and replies by Behe to understand the meaning of that reference.

if you see a reference in the 3rd book to first and 2nd book, go and read the first and second book with its reviews, and replies by Behe to understand the meaning of that reference.

(Edgar Tamarian) #56

even if you were right that means it is a book editing problem, but you present here as a deliberate, dishonest omission in order to hide the weakness of his position, we all know that is not the case. You could argue that «it would be better if…
you are not doing that, you are saying

«Behe does not fully engage with it. He misrepresents theory and avoids evidence that challenges him»,

this is a disrespectful statement to the accomplished scientist by his colleagues. As we have seen he never avoids critics and evidence. He started a series of replies to Richard Lenski, he already replied to even more disrespectful review of Jerry Coyne, as he has done in the past.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #57

Nope. Not dishonest. We keep repeating it, because we think it is true.

We are happy to explain why where you are ready to learn.

It is not disrespectful. It is accurate. Can you tell me about Behe’s scientific accomplishments? I have not read about any of them. Do you know of some that flew under the radar?

(Edgar Tamarian) #58

ok, not dishonest, but deliberate omission in order to hide the weakness of his position?

or this si also not correct?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #59

No. That phrase is an accurate final assessment of the book that we have justified at length. Of note, even in his response Behe ignored the evidence against him and misrepresented us. Unintentionally, that final assessment of ours is a very good assessment of his life work too.

Still waiting on this…

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #60

for two reasons:

  1. His current book depends on the first two, and have been already refuted.

  2. In the appendix he claims to give readers an update of where IC stands now.

Which is why I ask you the questions you ignored:

(Edgar Tamarian) #61

on the basis of whom judgment two books have been refuted?

is there an experiment done that showed how from Type three secretion system becomes [evolves into] bacterial flaggelum?

but least there is experiment done showing that at lest 2 mutations requered to to confer resistance to the drug chloroquine on malaria parasites: So, Michael Behe Was Right After All; What Will the Critics Say Now? | Evolution News

so 1st book has not been refuted by an experiment
2nd book confirmed by an experiment

where is the refutation? just authoritative statement will not convice that he has been refuted without experimentallly showing how Type three secretion system becomes [evolves] into bacterial flaggelum?, this is not something that you say it just heppend billions of years evolution, who knows how, i cannot turn time back, you cannot say look, we have 10 proteins homlogous here and there, it proves that it evoved, That is ‘‘Just so stories’’ withoout experimental demonstration.

(Edgar Tamarian) #62

for the official response you can find here

for not official response Yes, he has not done anything to get Nobel prize, he even did not find drug against cancer, but he has raised question all scientists around the world trying to find the answer and they are hopeless already 23 and so on experimentally to demonstrate that he has been wrong.