Behe and Co. in Canada

This past Friday, I bumped into Dr. Michael Behe, and again on Saturday, along with Drs. Brian Miller (DI), Research Coordinator CSC, and Robert Larmer (UNB), currently President of the Canadian Society of (Evangelical) Christian Philosophers. Venue: local apologetics conference (https://www.diganddelve.ca/). The topic of the event “Science vs. Atheism: Is Modern Science Making Atheism Improbable?” makes it relevant here at TSZ, where there are more atheists & agnostics among ‘skeptics’ than average.

On the positive side, I would encourage folks who visit this site to go to such events for learning/teaching purposes. Whether for the ID speakers or not; good conversations are available among people honestly wrestling with and questioning the relationship between science, philosophy and theology/worldview, including on issues related to evolution, creation, and intelligence in the universe or on Earth. Don’t go to such events expecting miracles for your personal worldview in conversation with others, credibility in scientific publications or in the classroom, if you are using ‘science’ as a worldview weapon against ‘religion’ or ‘theology’. That argument just won’t fly anymore and the Discovery Institute, to their credit, has played a role, of whatever size may still be difficult to tell, in making this shift happen.

A question arises: what would be the first question you would ask or thing you would say to Michael Behe if you bumped into him on the street?

As for me, there was no difficulty, no awkwardness, and of course no hostilities; I shook Behe’s hand and welcomed him to the city, after somehow finding the featured speaker momentarily with no one around him & directly in front of me as I walked with a friend on the way out of the auditorium to the exit. So I got to follow-up briefly on my audience question that was submitted by text & anonymously read to him on stage. He had spun himself into a web, even in only partially answering it. It got no better in direct Q&A with him; he either doesn’t want to answer, contractually with the DI cannot say more, or is rather quite boring and not that helpful outside of biochemistry, nota bene: on the rather broad topic of ‘design’. He didn’t want to go ‘there’ involving science, philosophy & theology/worldview collaboratively. The conversation ended politely (more later) and I departed.

The next day after the event concluded, now along with Miller, I showed Behe the specific words of William Dembski on the topic, in a book that Behe himself wrote the Foreword for, which were the polar opposite of what he had said on stage, and repeated to me the night before that he sees no need to distinguish design from Design and intelligence from Intelligence. He appeared baffled, and said he did not understand this, though the (not specified complex?) language he used itself goes against his misunderstanding. In the recent ID challenge that Behe led, the organizers capitalized Then the conversation turned back to Miller, who was already under mild clarification requests from one of the organizers, which was a rather pleasant surprise, as the conference was otherwise a one-sided ID-apologetics showcase.

At the end in conversation, Behe rather astonishingly, in the company of others, said that he simply still didn’t understand what difference it makes to distinguish ‘Divine (Intelligent) Design’ (DID) from ‘human (intelligent) design’ (hid or HID), and repeated the exact same phrase that he was just “a simple biochemist”. When I told him it sounded like he & his 2 colleagues were intentionally or unintentionally trying to promote a universalized design notion, he responded as if stumped: “I don’t know anyone who does that.” Yet less than 5 minutes previously, his Canadian philosopher colleague Larmer, the evangelical ‘philosophers’ President (who actually [or is it just some kind of Maritime humour?] directly degraded his own discipline of philosophy on stage!), who I had approached first among them at the end of the 2nd day, had replied exactly with that answer to the specific question I asked about the limits of IDT. He takes the approach of design universalism, period. This basically equates to evangelical Intelligent Design apologetics, a view incidentally which often quite quickly collapses into and reveals itself as occasionalism, the unspoken ideology of most IDists (cf. First Things on IDT). At least Behe’s and most IDists’ views cannot be easily disguised as ‘strictly scientific’ in the way that his respected non-IDist Christian colleagues mean by ‘doing science’.

Thankfully, a young local organizer at the event kept Behe & the other DI representative on track in our small group chat, and wouldn’t let them wander away from more clearly defining the meaning of ‘design’ in IDT, and saying how the process by which ‘design’ is instantiated should be studied & understood. The young man and several others wanted something clearer, more specific and properly ‘bounded’, as well as ‘positive’ (Behe mostly spoke about degradation in his talk) and simply more coherent regarding ‘design/Design’ than what Behe, Miller & Larmer were offering. Larmer had disengaged by this time, and was sitting in a front-row seat in the corner behind the small group, out of the conversation. One local biologist was listening in on the conversation and I spoke with him on the way out; he saw the need to respond to the DI people as I had done, though at first he did not recognize this line of challenge to their ideology, rather than just acknowledging their claims to a ‘scientific design revolution’. It was encouraging that in just a few minutes hearing a different viewpoint from the IDM’s, he had already turned to come around, thus moving ahead with answers to some of the problematic questions he had arrived at himself about IDT while listening to their talks & public answers.

Must an evangelical become an IDist or else stop claiming to be an ‘evangelical’ (Christian, Muslim or Jew)? Is this the main message the DI is sending through its current roster of emissaries like Miller & Larmer? If so, then in my view, this is a terrible attitude to take, as it forces religious believers to takes sides regarding a so-called ‘strictly scientific’ hypothesis (as we saw here recently with EricMH). Meanwhile, IDT clearly and unequivocally discriminates against atheists, by definition, because a person simply cannot accept Intelligent Design and remain an atheist at the same time. So Judge Jones, a religious Republican, got it right, and the DI’s past, present & future is most likely finished in terms of court cases promoting IDism, an ideology, not ‘good science’. This result was satisfactory both for agnostics & atheists against veiled religious apologetics in public school science classrooms, as well as for people of different and many religious faiths who simply do not want IDist ideology taught in public schools. Many religious believers reject IDT, without agreeing to atheistic or agnostic views of human life and death, origins and processes of change, etc. A huge problem is that some people simply see things in black and white and can’t find any middle ground with others from where they are currently standing. And so they remain stuck (e.g. in designolatry, as much as ‘Darwinism’) while the conversation passes them by.

I made it clear in advising Miller & Behe (two times because they asked me to repeat it) to please at least distinguish ‘Divine (Intelligent) Design’ (DID) from ‘human (intelligent) design’ (hid or HID) as distinct categories, just as W.L. Craig, Owen Gingerich, Stephen Barr, and many other top-level theistic philosophers and scientists have already requested. Is it really too much to ask? Would any ID leader respond to this? It did not seem within the grasp of either of them – and this floored me – to even consider this a legitimate option (though Miller made an effort to say ‘we should talk more’ & urged me to contact him at the DI, on the way out the door) that needed to be made as a gesture of good faith. Am I simply naive to ask: why not?

After his second presentation, in which he took considerable time to respond to the Nature review of Darwin Devolves that ‘challenges evolution’, by Lents, Swamidass & Lenski, Behe responded to a common question, innocently saying, “I don’t know of any good arguments against ID[T]”. Right, that drew a chuckle! Well, in any case, that’s one thing to which a person here might respond if they bumped into him on the street. = ) More could be said about how Behe positioned critics negatively for the audience in response to his work – this was only mildly surprising – but I’ll leave that out for now. I certainly agree with him, as a biology-outsider, that “We are living through a revolutionary phase in biology … due to new technology”, though it’s of course far from just the academic/intellectual/scientific/research field of biology that is being impacted by new technologies.

After having exchanged a couple of emails with him >15 years ago, Behe is the last of the main figures in the IDM that I’ve met or been in close proximity with: Thaxton, Dembski (ex-retired), Meyer, Nelson, Wells, Axe, Gauger, Luskin (retired), Richards, Chapman, & West. At some point, enough was enough. Perhaps only John Mark Reynolds holds remaining interest with regard to their over-exposed collapsing ideology, which now they mainly only export abroad as ‘strictly scientific’ to places not equipped to deal with their public relations campaigns and ideological onslaught, usually among Protestant evangelicals-first. As a ‘strictly apologetic’ tool; that sounds like a more accurate description of IDT’s “implications”, yet without the scientific pretense.

One thing I discovered in the brief one-on-one on Friday is that Behe admitted he knows nothing about design theory, design thinking or design studies (or anything related to the meanings and uses of ‘design’ other than according to IDT) and that he has not read anything about them. I named key names, he knew none of them & openly acknowledged this. Rather convenient, so it would seem, for his past tense ‘designed’ theistic science IDT approach to slough aside frontal challenges to the DI’s ideas, and requests for clarification by fellow Abrahamic theists who reject the claims of scientificity and questionable theologies held by the IDM’s founders. Interestingly, Miller & Larmer, who may be new to some people here, have both already ‘had a go’ at Denis Lamoureux, a Canadian evangelical, first chair of ‘science and religion’ in Canada. Lamoureux steadfastly rejects the DI’s IDT, and instead calls ‘Interventionist Intelligent Design’ (IID) what the DI is promoting. The discord between IDists & those among the vastly larger majority of Abrahamic theists who hold TE/EC views of origins was visible up front, especially in Miller’s scrappy comments against religious theists who reject IDT.

The event was an evangelical apologetics conference, after all. The talks mostly drew applause for ID as theism-friendly science & quasi-science, even while drenched in ideology, the latter which may not have been visible to those not aware to watch for it. From a small survey, I’d say half were positively curious, and the others at least half-skeptical about IDT. All were religious theists with whom I spoke, older, middle-aged and younger. One man had a skeptical teenage son with many questions about history, science, and theological/worldview ‘origin stories’ (as do most of us still, except for those who try to block ‘religion’ entirely out of their lifeworld & worldview!).

My observations about the IDM, IDT & IDists were welcomed among those I spoke, except for a negative reaction by one of the organizers who didn’t think any positive alternative to ‘methodological naturalism’ (MN) need be named by IDists, in order to go beyond just making a strong critique of MN. Again a pattern seemed to arise that for some educational backgrounds (engineering, computer science, mathematics), plus a certain naive (or even dismissive) approach to philosophy (of science), combined with experiences of ‘designing’ & ‘creating’ (among other creative verbs), seems to make IDT quite attractive in its simplicity as a tool for defending (apologetics) generic ‘theism’ against ‘naturalism’. Other theists don’t miss the forest for the trees.

On the flip side, a trend has also grown among IDists in basically idolizing ‘natural-physical science’ such as to ‘mimic’ it beyond the boundaries of science itself, apparently framed as a new and easy way for academically-oriented people to become gods (intelligent designers, univocally), or go further into self-deification. Such aspirations are not uncommon in this day and age. This is something the IDM appears to have bought into as a collective, even while individuals in the movement might be attempting to fight against that sad and unnecessary deception.

So, again the community feedback-provoking question for this TSZ thread: what would be the first question you would ask or thing you would say to Michael Behe if you bumped into him on the street? I asked him about DID vs. HID. What would you ask?

p.s. RIP Phillip Johnson (founding leader of the Intelligent Design movement, 1940-2019)

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85 thoughts on “Behe and Co. in Canada

  1. Behe’s Edge, and Wagner’s Library of Babylon cannot both be correct.

    Either there are detours around the Edge, or not. If there are detours (and this is an experimental question that can be resolved by science), then Behe’s life work is useless.

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  2. Gregory is surprised that not everyone cares how wall rugs are made. Who could have guessed?

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  3. I asked him about DID vs. HID. What would you ask?

    I have known Mike for several years at this point and would say that he would call that an interesting question but outside his prevue of interest. I do think it is an interesting question and something that can be empirically explored.

    As an example we have a common cellar protein alpha actin which is almost perfectly preserved over 200 million years of evolution. The reason appears to be that it performs dozens of critical cellular functions. The level of knowledge to form this sequence is mind boggling. Is it possible some time in the distant future humans will be capable of this?

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  4. The question I would have for Behe has been one I have asked of ID supporters in general.

    Can you make a scientific argument for ID using positive evidence and without mentioning evolution?

    I can do that for evolution. I don’t need to mention ID at all in order to test hypotheses based on evolution.

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  5. colewd:
    As an example we have a common cellar protein alpha actin which is almost perfectly preserved over 200 million years of evolution. The reason appears to be that it performs dozens of critical cellular functions.The level of knowledge to form this sequence is mind boggling.Is it possible some time in the distant future humans will be capable of this?

    Sharpshooter fallacy. You might as well argue that it took a lot of guidance to perfectly shape a hole in the ground so that it fits the shape of the water in it. The cell evolves new functions to fit what is already there, not the other way around.

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  6. T_aquaticus,

    Sharpshooter fallacy. You might as well argue that it took a lot of guidance to perfectly shape a hole in the ground so that it fits the shape of the water in it. The cell evolves new functions to fit what is already there, not the other way around.

    Circular reasoning ignoring evidence. Demonstrate your claims.

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  7. T_aquaticus,

    Sharpshooter fallacy. You might as well argue that it took a lot of guidance to perfectly shape a hole in the ground so that it fits the shape of the water in it. The cell evolves new functions to fit what is already there, not the other way around.

    This what I observe. A scientist using political argument techniques to label away troubling data. This is turning evolutionary biology in pseudoscience.

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  8. colewd: Circular reasoning ignoring evidence. Demonstrate your claims.

    Usual Creationist hand-waving and sea-lioning. Typical Bill Cole.

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  9. colewd: This what I observe. A scientist using political argument techniques to label away troubling data. This is turning evolutionary biology in pseudoscience.

    How would you know? You brutal ignorance of all aspects of evolutionary biology disqualifies your religiously motivated opinion.

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  10. I would hesitate to use the alpha actins as an example of mind-boggling levels of Puccio-Cole information content, given the way that they have duplicated and diverged to produce smooth muscle, skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle variants.
    Perhaps you meant to refer to the beta or gamma actins…
    You might want to avoid accusing others of “labeling away troubling data”.

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  11. DNA_Jock,

    I would hesitate to use the alpha actins as an example of mind-boggling levels of Puccio-Cole information content, given the way that they have duplicated and diverged to produce smooth muscle, skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle variants.

    And your support of this assertion is? That alpha is in older organisms. That doesn’t really cover you. Its your cognitive bias filtering the data.

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  12. colewd: And your support of this assertion is? That alpha is in older organisms. That doesn’t really cover you. Its your cognitive bias filtering the data.

    Damn Bill you sound more like Robert Byers every day.

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  13. colewd: This what I observe.

    Yeah but that’s because you’ve got your fundamentalist-Christian goggles surgically installed on to your retina.

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  14. colewd,

    Err, the Puccio-Cole information content calculation assumes common ancestry. Most slime molds and yeast have a single actin. Mammals have, as I noted, skeletal, smooth muscle, and cardiac alpha actins.
    Which one are you going to choose for your Puccio-Cole calculation? Or will you concede that they all function as actins, despite their sequence differences. Either way, your G-C calculation is sensitive to your ignorance about alpha actins.
    That’s an embarrassment you could have avoided if you had opted for beta actin.

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  15. Rumraket: Yeah but that’s because you’ve got your fundamentalist-Christian goggles surgically installed on to your retina.

    You misspelled “rectum”.

    BTW Bill is back at PS making the exact same stupid claims and asking the exact same already answered questions about the same chart. It’s like Groundhog Day except without Andie MacDowell. 🙁

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  16. colewd:

    This what I observe.A scientist using political argument techniques to label away troubling data.This is turning evolutionary biology in pseudoscience.

    Huh? Where did I mention anything political?

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  17. I note without surprise that it took this conference title three words (Science vs. Atheism) to haul in religion, making it clear that this was a purely religious conference, and any “science” is misdirection window dressing. Following which is a treatise much too long to struggle through, but a quick scan shows that religion is indeed what this was all about, with a flavoring of “scientizing” added in the hopes of somehow associating science with something totally irrelevant to science.

    As T_aquaticus astutely points out, ID desperately needs to fabricate some kind of religious veneer to avoid being marginalized beyond recognition. Science, the actual focus of thousands of conferences on thousands of aspects of one scientific field or another, need never mention anything religious at all (and would either reject or ignore any attempt to do so).

    We can all be thankful that scientific advances are determined by reality, and not by the Republican Party.

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  18. T_aquaticus,

    Huh? Where did I mention anything political?

    -Crooked Hillary
    -Texas sharp shooter fallacy

    It’s called labeling. Do you really want to push a subject who’s lack of supportable claims force you to defend it with logical fallacies?

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  19. colewd: Do you really want to push a subject who’s lack of supportable claims force you to defend it with logical fallacies?

    You mean like you’ve been doing with ID-Creation pseudoscience for the last few years.

    Sorry Bill, we have all the positive evidence. You have POOF! MAGIC!

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  20. colewd:
    T_aquaticus,

    -Crooked Hillary
    -Texas sharp shooter fallacy

    It’s called labeling.Do you really want to push a subject who’s lack of supportable claims force you to defend it with logical fallacies?

    I never said anything about Hillary Clinton.

    Pointing out logical fallacies is not labeling. It’s pointing out logical fallacies. You seem to be upset that you can’t use logical fallacies without people pointing them out.

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  21. T_aquaticus,

    Pointing out logical fallacies is not labeling. It’s pointing out logical fallacies. You seem to be upset that you can’t use logical fallacies without people pointing them out.

    Interesting. You think using logical fallacies in your argument points them out. There is no such thing as a Texas sharp shooter fallacy in biology. Don’t you realize that was DNA jock creating a labeling logical fallacy? Tell me you are not this gullible.

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  22. colewd:
    There is no such thing as a Texas sharp shooter fallacy in biology

    But there’s tons of them in ID-creationism.

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  23. colewd: -Texas sharp shooter fallacy

    It’s called labeling.

    No, pointing out fallacious reasoning isn’t “labeling”. If pointing out errors in reasoning is “labeling”, then the charge of “labeling” is of no value or consequence. We have to be able to point out errors in reasoning, or it has become meaningless for us to hold conversation or discussion. The whole idea is to try to figure out what is true, and correctly employing logical thought is the whole foundation upon which that endeavor has to rest.

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  24. Rumraket,

    No, pointing out fallacious reasoning isn’t “labeling”. If pointing out errors in reasoning is “labeling”,

    Just point out the errors in the reasoning or you are showing weakness in your position by invoking a logical fallacy. If your position is solid this should not be necessary. I have to give you credit you try and argue straight up. The data is not supporting the theory. At what point do you give in?

    The WNT chart is very problematic along with Sal’s flower as gene loss does not look like the answer. I know your aware of this as you showed gene gain in your analysis. I do appreciate your attempt to explain it but looks like 30% chance that specific WNT embryo development pathways will be lost in invertebrates. Whole pathways are disappearing and reappearing as we move through the tree. Saying this was the result of reproduction is a bit of a stretch. Are you familiar with the frizzled receptor?

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  25. Come on Bill. We agreed that you’d pay attention to explanations, and instead you ignored very good explanations and question in the other thread.

    colewd:
    Just point out the errors in the reasoning or you are showing weakness in your position by invoking a logical fallacy.

    No Bill, invoking a logical fallacy saves time explaining the problems once again. The fallacy is obvious. You see some particular outcome and label it (you had something against labelling, didn’t you? Then why do you do that?) as the one and only possible target. You draw a target around that, but you don’t know if there’s plenty of other solutions. You just pretend there’s no other.

    colewd:
    If your position is solid this should not be necessary. I have to give you credit you try and argue straight up.

    Again, it saves time. And please, stop with the condescending tone. Your poor level of understanding doesn’t justify it.

    colewd:
    The data is not supporting the theory. At what point do you give in?

    Your ignorance and cognitive bias won’t allow you to notice that you’re not qualified to make such a claim.

    colewd:
    The WNT chart is very problematic along with Sal’s flower as gene loss does not look like the answer.

    Again, Salvador is too ignorant to be taken seriously. Instead of just “labeling” things (“Sal’s flower”) you should be able to “argue your point straight up.”

    colewd:
    I know your aware of this as you showed gene gain in your analysis.I do appreciate your attempt to explain it but looks like 30% chance that specific WNT embryo development pathways will be lost in invertebrates.Whole pathways are disappearing and reappearing as we move through the tree.

    1. Gene losses do happen.
    2. If those invertebrates would lose embryo development they would still have those genes. Since they don’t have those genes, then they aren’t losing embryo development.
    3. If whole pathways were lost then those invertebrates would not exist, yet there they are.
    4. One protein does not make a whole pathway.
    5. Invertebrates are not humans. What’s crucial in humans is not necessarily crucial in invertebrates.
    6. Really, Bill, have you looked at the problems with your “solution”?

    There’s more, but that should suffice to get you thinking. Hopefully.

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  26. Gregory lives in Toronto?! I live there! I would of asked BEHE what it is like to have become a famous accomplished innovator in a scientific subject that in the future may make him very very esteemed or a important note in the story of science.!!
    Its not everybody. he is part of a important, feared, movement that is the origin for this blog. Would he recommend such a result if he knew what he knows now?
    I hope so but while complimented he would also be hated or dismissed.

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  27. Robert Byers:
    I live there!I would of asked BEHE what it is like to have become a famous accomplished innovator in a scientific subject that in the future may make him very very esteemed or a important note in the story of science.!!

    And along these lines, I might ask YOU what it’s like to pitch in the World Series. I imagine you have as much experience winning big Series games as Behe has becoming famous in science. But in the real world, you’re no more a baseball hero than the rest of us, and Behe has been reduced to giving scientistical-sounding sermons to religious wingdings. He’s been rightly disowned by his own academic department, ignored by all of legitimate biology, and at best a medium sized fish in a small puddle.
    However, I will concede he has one serious claim to fame – the complaint in court that the stack of scientific study and evidence in a field he claimed doesn’t exist was too heavy for him to hold! I wonder how many of us remember that despite that 3-foot stack of papers and books, he STILL claimed it didn’t exist! This “none of this exists but it’s too heavy” perfectly reflects and encapsulates the essential nature of ID. The total triumph of ideology over evidence.

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  28. colewd: Interesting. You think using logical fallacies in your argument points them out. There is no such thing as a Texas sharp shooter fallacy in biology. Don’t you realize that was DNA jock creating a labeling logical fallacy? Tell me you are not this gullible.

    Weird. If I understand you correctly, the sin of “labeling” consists of dismissing the validity of an argument by “labeling” it as false, rather than explaining how it is fallacious.
    Given that I have explained at length, with examples, how Gpuccio is guilty of the TSS fallacy, your use of the epithet “labeling” constitutes, yes — you guessed it — “labeling”.
    Also, if you want to argue that the WNT data is somehow evidence against common descent, you will need to be much, much more specific, including precise stats and your underlying assumptions. Writing

    I do appreciate your attempt to explain it but looks like 30% chance that specific WNT embryo development pathways will be lost in invertebrates. Whole pathways are disappearing and reappearing as we move through the tree. Saying this was the result of reproduction is a bit of a stretch. Are you familiar with the frizzled receptor?

    is word salad.

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  29. colewd: Just point out the errors in the reasoning or you are showing weakness in your position by invoking a logical fallacy.

    No, you’re not. You have to do that so we can get to what is true. We don’t get to what is true by employing reasoning errors.

    If your position is solid this should not be necessary. I have to give you credit you try and argue straight up. The data is not supporting the theory. At what point do you give in?

    The data only supports the theory and nothing else. Those things you think don’t suppor the theory, actually supports the theory, and it has been explained to you multiple times how.

    The WNT chart is very problematic

    No, it is not. Read the post I linked again.

    along with Sal’s flower as gene loss does not look like the answer.

    The venn diagram in that graph is explained both by gene loss and gene gain. Most of those gains are duplications btw. Particularly in Zebrafish who belong to the teleost clade, which underwent the teleost whole genome duplication subsequent to splitting off from the common ancestor with there three other species shown on the graph. But we’ve been over this now fifty times and it’s honestly rather unsettling that you keep insisting that you can’t see or understand this. I have to suspect that there’s something else wrong in your life or in your mind when you not only continue to fail to understand this rather simple thing, but allow yourself to declare something diametrically opposite to the truth.

    Bill, I emplore you to understand, in the most sincere way I can, that you are afflicted by Morton’s Demon. Something is preventing you from seeing straightfoward sense and evidence. Given how often we’ve explained these things to you I don’t know what else to do but seek inside yourself for a person who wants to know what is really true, instead of just “sticking with your team” or “staying with what you already believe”.

    I know your aware of this as you showed gene gain in your analysis. I do appreciate your attempt to explain it but looks like 30% chance that specific WNT embryo development pathways will be lost in invertebrates.

    There were no gene-gains invoked in the Wnt family of genes anywhere. I have attached the graph to this post so you can see it again. There are no gene-gains anywhere. Genes lost in ancestors do not re-appear anywhere.

    Genes lost on the tree in common ancestors of multiple depicted species are colored red, gene losses not inherited from common ancestors I’ve colored orange.

    As you can see the majority of the pattern (all the red blocks I’ve marked with rectangles) makes sense on a tree as single losses having occurred at varying times, in different common ancestors. And remember, it is entirely possible that numerous of these losses are actually still present in some degraded pseudogene form in many of the species listed on the tree, as the authors themselves state they counted pseudogenes as “lost”, even though technically a highly similar but nonfunctional Wnt DNA sequence might still be present in the species genomes.

    Whole pathways are disappearing and reappearing as we move through the tree.

    No, they aren’t. There are mostly just some Wnt family duplicates being lost in common ancestors(the red ones). And then some independent losses (in orange). Most of the losses are colored red, and their losses can be directly traced to particular places on the tree.

    Think William, think!

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  30. Of course, with much denser taxon sampling, it would be likely that most of the orange colored Wnt family members in that graph are actually also losses, having occurred in common ancestors and inherited and shared through multiple subsequent speciations.

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  31. DNA_Jock,

    Weird. If I understand you correctly, the sin of “labeling” consists of dismissing the validity of an argument by “labeling” it as false, rather than explaining how it is fallacious.

    Yes. You did attempt to explain it was fallacious but that explanation alone apparently was not enough in your mind so you labeled his technique. I understand that because he was simply comparing gene preservation of historical sequences and estimating functional information from that preservation.

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  32. Rumraket,

    No, they aren’t. There are mostly just some Wnt family duplicates being lost in common ancestors(the red ones). And then some independent losses (in orange). Most of the losses are colored red, and their losses can be directly traced to particular places on the tree.

    You have told a very implausible story here with no outside support. 30% Gene loss and gene gain in inrvetbebrates and then none in vertebrates. Mutations are getting fixed in the populations at hyper rates and then they are not.

    Rum you can arbitrarily assign a cause to anything but then you need to demonstrate it is a valid hypothesis. We have no independent verification that this level of stochastic gene loss and gain can get fixed in populations.

    Design or mind easily can explain a pattern like the WNT pattern in invertebrates.

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  33. colewd: Yes. You did attempt to explain it was fallacious but that explanation alone apparently was not enough in your mind so you labeled his technique.

    You’re not making sense. First you complain that he’s only labeling not explaining what’s wrong, now you’re complaining that he’s explaining what’s wrong and using the correct labeling for the specific fallacy that is being committed. Your complaints as usual are without merit.

    I understand that because he was simply comparing gene preservation of historical sequences and estimating functional information from that preservation.

    No, that’s not the reason you “understand that”. Because you don’t actually understand it, and because [that] would not be explained by Gpuccio’s nonsensical mangling of the concept of FI.

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  34. colewd: You have told a very implausible story here with no outside support.

    Your opinion is noted, but without merit.

    30% Gene loss and gene gain in inrvetbebrates

    What gain? Point out what gene you think is being gained and where on that figure. Draw a nice fat circle around the particular square you think is being gained.

    and then none in vertebrates. Mutations are getting fixed in the populations at hyper rates and then they are not.

    What’s a “hyper rate”? How much is that? Point out where they’re being fixed at at “hyper rates”.

    Rum you can arbitrarily assign a cause to anything

    That’s literally what you’re doing when you say “mind” is the cause and explanation for biological data.

    but then you need to demonstrate it is a valid hypothesis.

    I don’t know what you mean by “demonstrate it is a valid hypothesis”. Valid in what sense? Are you blathering again Bill? A hypothesis is simply a proposed model, an explanation, for a set of observations. In this case, the observations are the absence of particular genes in particular species. The explanation, the hypothesis, is that those genes have been lost in ancestral populations in the patterns depicted on the tree by the circles. And then some additional independent losses here and there.

    That’s a valid hypothesis. It explains the data we see. You may think it is a bad explanation because you think (for some misguided and obscure reason) that it is “implausible”. But it is still “valid”, it still logically explains the pattern.

    We have no independent verification that this level of stochastic gene loss and gain can get fixed in populations.

    It’s very simple. If you want to “test” the hypothesis that these genes were lost to mutations on a genealogical process of descent with branching and modification, you just look at the individual sequences to see if they exhibit mostly congruent nesting hierarchical structures. You can for example look for pseudogenized versions of the lost genes, and see if they share particular inactivating mutations.

    Design or mind easily can explain a pattern like the WNT pattern in invertebrates.

    Hmm, I just remembered something. What was it? Oh yeah, somebody just said to me that “Rum you can arbitrarily assign a cause to anything”.

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  35. colewd: Rum you can arbitrarily assign a cause to anything but then you need to demonstrate it is a valid hypothesis

    Bill’s on a mission to destroy every Irony-meter on the planet. 😀

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  36. You’re not making sense. First you complain that he’s only labeling not explaining what’s wrong, now you’re complaining that he’s explaining what’s wrong and using the correct labeling for the specific fallacy that is being committed. Your complaints as usual are without merit.

    He is invoking a logical fallacy as his argument was not strong enough to stand on its own. This is what I see evolutionists do all the time as they do not have a strong position against the design arguments.

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  37. It’s very simple. If you want to “test” the hypothesis that these genes were lost to mutations on a genealogical process of descent with branching and modification, you just look at the individual sequences to see if they exhibit mostly congruent nesting hierarchical structures. You can for example look for pseudogenized versions of the lost genes, and see if they share particular inactivating mutations.

    You don’t need to test it Rum the gene loss hypothesis itself is falsified by population genetics. 8 Lost genes (that are reproductive genes) fixed in the population since the split from a common ancestor. 70% of a an organisms reproductive cell types vanishes into thin air.

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  38. colewd: You don’t need to test it Rum the gene loss hypothesis itself is falsified by population genetics.

    You’re blathering again Bill. This time you’re introducing the field of population genetics out of nowhere, and yet what you go on to state has no relation to population genetics. So it’s just mindless technobabble you’re spewing as usual when you have nothing to say but want to keep up the pretense.

    8 Lost genes (that are reproductive genes)

    That sure sounds important. Nevertheless, that organism without those 8 genes still lives. I guess it isn’t actually important for that organism to have them, otherwise how could it live without them?

    fixed in the population since the split from a common ancestor. 70% of a an organisms reproductive cell types

    Another bunch of meaningless technobabble.

    So in the same post you’ve introduced three blanked claims out of nowhere.
    1) That “population genetics” falsifies gene loss. A claim for which you reference no evidence, or argument. Nothing you’ve said relates to population genetics.
    2) That they’re “reproductive genes”, which is a category you just made up because it sounds clever and important.
    3) That these Wnt-family gene losses has translated into the loss of “70% of reproductive cell types”. Another two completly made up ideas. The idea that 70% of a particular category of cells were lost is made up, and that the category is “reproductive cell types”.

    You just make up nonsense technobabble when you have nothing else to say. It’s pathetic.

    William, why do you allow yourself to just make this nonsense up as you go along? Is it not clear to you that you’re not being honest or rational?

    vanishes into thin air.

    Nothing has “vanished into thin air”. Genes are being inactivated and degraded by mutations, so they first become pseudogenes, and are then incrementally being erased by deletion mutations. Many of the “lost” genes in the graph are actually still present in the organisms genomes as nonfunctional pseudogenes. Junk DNA.

    2+
  39. Rumraket: William, why do you allow yourself to just make this nonsense up as you go along? Is it not clear to you that you’re not being honest or rational?

    What’s really telling is how Bill will see a solid refutation on one discussion board then go to another board and repeat his same stupid claims.

    The inescapable conclusion is Bill has chosen to be just another Liar For Jesus. Protecting his Fundy views is much more important to him than honesty.

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  40. Adapa: The inescapable conclusion is Bill has chosen to be just another Liar For Jesus. Protecting his Fundy views is much more important to him than honesty.

    Sadly that interpretation is becoming increasingly plausible with Bill’s continued behavior.

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  41. Rumraket,

    Nothing has “vanished into thin air”. Genes are being inactivated and degraded by mutations, so they first become pseudogenes, and are then incrementally being erased by deletion mutations. Many of the “lost” genes in the graph are actually still present in the organisms genomes as nonfunctional pseudogenes. Junk DNA.

    I have asked you about frizzled. Do you understand that this is what WNT binds to in order to up regulate transcription and ultimately cell division. The gene loss here is not a trivial issue as you seem to think. You are dealing with loss of cells if WNT X is not able to bind frizzled X then the cells cannot grow during embryo development.

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  42. That sure sounds important. Nevertheless, that organism without those 8 genes still lives. I guess it isn’t actually important for that organism to have them, otherwise how could it live without them?

    Were not discussing if the organism is a reasonable hypothesis were discussing its origin.

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  43. colewd: I have asked you about frizzled. Do you understand that this is what WNT binds to in order to up regulate transcription and ultimately cell division.

    Your red herrings here are irrelevant.

    The gene loss here is not a trivial issue as you seem to think.

    Perhaps they were in those species.

    You are dealing with loss of cells if WNT X is not able to bind frizzled X then the cells cannot grow during embryo development.

    And so those cells differentiate in another way, and the organism develops differently. Perhaps that is why the organism is different from organisms that have different ensemble of Wnt-family genes.

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  44. colewd: Were not discussing if the organism is a reasonable hypothesis were discussing its origin.

    The two are intricately related. It would not make sense to say that the ancestor organism could not have survived the loss of the gene if the descendant organism today lives without it.

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  45. Rumraket,

    their functional selectivity in a cellular system. Using purified WNT proteins, we show that different FZD cysteine rich domains (CRD) prefer to bind to distinct WNTs with fast on- rates and slow off-rates. In a 32D cell-based system engineered to overexpress FZD2, -4 or -5, we find that WNT-3A but not -4, -5A or -9B activates the WNT/-catenin pathway through FZD2, 4, 5 as measured by phosphorylation of low-density-lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) and β-catenin stabilization. Surprisingly, different WNT-FZD pairs show differential effects on phosphorylation of disheveled 2/3 (DVL2/3), revealing a previously unappreciated DVL isoform selectivity by different WNT-FZD pairs in 32D cells. In summary,

    Not an argument. Just posting evidence that frizzled matches with types of WNT’s.

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  46. Rumraket,

    And so those cells differentiate in another way, and the organism develops differently. Perhaps that is why the organism is different from organisms that have different ensemble of Wnt-family genes.

    The WNT pathway is critical for certain tissue development. When it is knocked out thought frizzled you get deformities. If we could find a knock out experiment with the animals sharing an ancestor and different gene sets we could settle this.

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  47. colewd: The WNT pathway is critical for certain tissue development.

    In some species, who have those Wnt genes and where they perform those functions, they are critical for those functions.

    And for those species who don’t have them, they are not critical for those functions, in part because they don’t need or use those functions.

    When it is knocked out thought frizzled you get deformities.

    In those species where those Wnt family genes control those functions.

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  48. colewd: Not an argument. Just posting evidence that frizzled matches with types of WNT’s.

    It’s hilarious how every week Bill becomes fixated on a new buzzword he doesn’t understand and waves it around like a magic talisman to ward off the Evolution evil spirits. 🙂

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  49. Rumraket,

    In those species where those Wnt family genes control those functions.

    Do you agree if we could not knock out any of those genes from an invertebrate that shares and ancestor with with an invertebrate missing those genes we would falsify unguided universal common descent among invertebrates?

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