Behe vs Swamidass: Why?

According to Joshua Swamidass Michael Behe and him have a lot in common… Swamidass has even publicly defended Behe on his blog by demanding a fair hearing.

Not only that, Swamidass agrees with Behe on many evolutionary/ID issues, such as guided evolution…

So, why would Behe and Swamidass square off at Texas A & M University in 2020?
What are they going to discuss? Not the polar bear evolution/devolution fiasco, right?

What do you think?

137 thoughts on “Behe vs Swamidass: Why?

  1. phoodoo: Who are you claiming believes in tinkering?

    People who believe in guided evolution; that is people who can’t explain change by Darwinian or any other know mechanism…

  2. J-Mac: People who believe in guided evolution; that is people who can’t explain change by Darwinian or any other know mechanism…

    I have already explained why that need not be the case at all. I don’t get your point at all. If someone believes that the properties for life are coded into the organism, why does that mean they believe it is constantly being tinkered?

    It most certainly doesn’t.

  3. phoodoo: I also don’t put much stock in arguments which boil down to, why isn’t everything that happens only good.

    Fair enough but remember the theme of the OP and how both Behe and Swamidass can argue their case for “guided evolution”:

    Swwamidass: “What if God guided it?”

    Behe: “It looks designed to me, so it doesn’t matter who the designer is or how he did it”…

  4. J-Mac: Fair enough but remember the theme of the OP and how both Behe and Swamidass can argue their case for “guided evolution”:

    Swwamidass: “What if God guided it?”

    Behe: “It looks designed to me, so it doesn’t matter who the designer is or how he did it”…

    I think the main issue will be that Michael Behe has argued that biological Design can be detected scientifically, whereas Joshua Swamidass claims this is outside the scope of science.

  5. J-Mac: Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

    No, champ, it’s not. Your smorgasboard postmodern religious syncretism offers people simply more confusion, rather than edification or an attractive home base to accept. Distorted religion by syncretists has caused enough problems in this conversation & we don’t need more of it.

    I have said here since the site began that I endorse simple Abrahamic monotheism. That’s clear enough for the purposes of this site. Behe & Swamidass both know what they’re getting with each other: Roman Catholic IDist & non-mainline evangelical Protestant ‘scientismist’, fake ‘scientific genealogist’. They’re both Abrahamic monotheists.

  6. Corneel,

    “Michael Behe has argued that biological Design can be detected scientifically”

    Behe doesn’t capitalize ‘Design,’ though he should. You are correct to do so because that is what is implied in IDT with its univocal predication of imago Dei theology.

    “Joshua Swamidass claims this is outside the scope of science.”

    Swamidass’ demarcation of ‘science’ leaves much to be desired. As much as I would be willing to trust his biology, medicine or computation, he simply is not trustworthy, articulate in his views, or trained to understand ‘design’ as a ‘scientific’ concept. Swamidass is in a battle with his family & home evangelical church because he wants to have his cake & eat it too with young earth creationists who surround him. It’s not a surprise he has reacted as he has, but I would really recommend against trusting Swamidass’ ‘philosophy of science’ very much at all. He is a low-ranked bench player in that conversation.

  7. phoodoo:
    All by accident.

    Nope, organized by the cellular processes in the maternal cells, which in turn, physical/chemical properties and dynamics, ad nauseam.

    phoodoo:
    Ha!

    It sure is funny that refusing to understand makes you think that physical chemical properties and dynamics are accidents. If they were, then no carbon would behave like another carbon, yet, well, carbon is carbon.

  8. J-Mac:
    Is information material?

    Yes.

    J-Mac:
    For the sake of argument, if embryo development information is quantum information, is quantum information material?

    Yes. Quantum information is material. You do know that quantum mechanics is a field of physics, right?

  9. phoodoo:
    J-Mac,

    Where does it say they are going to be arguing about God “guiding it”?

    Don’t be silly phoodoo!
    We are wondering WHY Behe and Swami should square off not to mention what they are going to be arguing …

  10. J-Mac: We are wondering WHY Behe andSwami should square off not…

    You are both being silly & frantic about this. Swamidass rejects IDism. Behe rejects ‘theistic evolution/evolutionary creation/BioLogos’. That’s enough to start.

    They agree on much as well & Joshua called Behe his ‘hero,’ before taking down that characterization. It won’t be more than 10% ‘debate,’ maybe less. Joshua isn’t the ‘take a position you believe in’ debating kind of guy; he’s loose & slippery with words & relativistic as he is in the language of his (apologetics-informed) liberalized USAmerican evangelicalism.

  11. J-Mac,

    Maybe they won’t be arguing. Maybe they will be chatting about different views in the encounters between religion and science.

  12. Entropy,

    You are suggesting that it is the nature of chemicals that make up a cell, to organize themselves into a code which tells the cell when and how to develop?

    Or maybe you are not even saying that. Maybe there is a code to this sentence garbling:

    organized by the cellular processes in the maternal cells, which in turn, physical/chemical properties and dynamics, ad nauseam.

    I think that is a good representative example of your scientific understanding.

  13. Entropy: Yes. Quantum information is material. You do know that quantum mechanics is a field of physics, right?

    So are time and space or spacetime… Is time material? Is space?
    Is the information about the state of quantum systems material?

  14. Entropy:
    J-Mac,

    Maybe they won’t be arguing. Maybe they will be chatting about different views in the encounters between religion and science.

    Chatting doesn’t sell tickets and if tickets are not sold out, then their book tours are pointless…

    Controversy sells books…

  15. Gregory: You are both being silly & frantic about this.

    You should be writing fairy tails or science fiction…
    What am I talking about? You already are including this blog…lol

  16. Corneel: I think the main issue will be that Michael Behe has argued that biological Design can be detected scientifically, whereas Joshua Swamidass claims this is outside the scope of science.

    I agree. But if that’s the case, Swami’s dream of becoming the new voice in human origins is bound to fail…

    What do you think?

  17. Entropy: Nope, organized by the cellular processes in the maternal cells, which in turn, physical/chemical properties and dynamics, ad nauseam.

    This is a load of crap…
    Typical Darwinian nonsense…
    If take 100 fruit-fly embryos and you take half of them and disrupt quantum information in them, most of them would die or develop with abnormalities…
    The other half, 90% or more, would develop into normal fruit-flies …

  18. Entropy:
    J-Mac,
    Maybe they won’t be arguing. Maybe they will be chatting about different views in the encounters between religion and science.

    Yeah, that kind of encountering, exploratory chat is very difficult for an angry few people to imagine. Some people simply belong comfortably in longer-form conversation format, while others don’t. Behe speaking openly about how his views of theology (rather than only ‘religion’) impact his IDism (e.g. univocal predication of imago Dei theology), along with some long-needed humility regarding his claim that IDT has “implications for all humane studies,” would be a welcome move.

    Swamidass is now investing what is available in him to move this conversation forward, after his rupture from BioLogos. His invitations to dialogue with IDists & YECists are good opportunities to help heal his home country from the radical evangelicalist ‘creation science’ & new atheism backlash, which spawned most of the problems in the first place.

    What role Swamidass will play will become clearer as the aspirations for his ‘PS’ playground & ‘genealogical science’ experiment unfold. Behe has already chosen his ideological path with the DI’s IDism, blindfolding himself to some important human truths that his comrades won’t allow even entertained in the inner circle of IDists.

  19. Gregory,

    Unless I’m misreading your knowledge with your fantasy, you seem to know more than most, or even Swami himself, what PS and him will be doing, how and when…
    It’s fascinating… 😉

  20. J-Mac: If take 100 fruit-fly embryos and you take half of them and disrupt quantum information in them, most of them would die or develop with abnormalities…

    What technique did you use to disrupt the QI without affecting the chemical distribution in the embryos?
    Has this work been published?

  21. DNA_Jock: What technique did you use to disrupt the QI without affecting the chemical distribution in the embryos?

    It’s good and bad question…
    What do you mean by the chemical distribution of embryos? It’s sounds like you have no idea what you are asking about…Let’s see…

  22. No need to be coy, J-Mac,

    Just describe the technique that you used to disrupt the QI in the embryos, and let the audience decide the other effects that might have on the embryos.
    Has this work been published?

  23. J-Mac:
    So are time and space or spacetime… Is time material? Is space?

    Yes. In the sense of being physical J-Mac. You’re missing out. To avoid the confusion between “material” and “matter” philosophical materialism changed its name to physicalism. You win nothing, in terms of magical-beings-in-the-sky, by pretending that space and time are immaterial, as if that was equivalent to the supernatural. It obviously isn’t.

    J-Mac:
    Is the information about the state of quantum systems material?

    Of course it is. How else could anybody approach it? By prayers in some Church of The Quantum?

  24. Entropy:
    Nope, organized by the cellular processes in the maternal cells, which in turn, physical/chemical properties and dynamics, ad nauseam.

    J-Mac:
    This is a load of crap…

    What you’re about to say? yes. It’s a load of nonsensical crap. Let’s see it happening:

    J-Mac:
    Typical Darwinian nonsense…

    Sorry, but the chemical/physical properties and dynamics are not something Darwin wrote about. I think you have your mental cables crossed.

    J-Mac:
    If take 100 fruit-fly embryos and you take half of them and disrupt quantum information in them, most of them would die or develop with abnormalities…

    So you say, let’s take it for the sake of argument. So what? Quantum “information” is part and parcel with the physical/chemical properties and dynamics of everything in the cell. You just changed the scale of the description. You pretend to disagree, and end up making my point. Again, maybe you have your mental cables crossed.

    J-Mac:
    The other half, 90% or more, would develop into normal fruit-flies …

    90% or more is not half. Half is 50%. Those mental cables are seriously misconnected.

  25. DNA_Jock: Just describe the technique that you used to disrupt the QI in the embryos, and let the audience decide the other effects that might have on the embryos.

    The process disrupts quantum correlations in the embryo… You test it first on entangled particles…When they became decoherent, you apply the same process to embryos…

    They were similar experiments published but not with regard to quantum correlation in living systems as far as I know… When I get to the office I will try to find some…

  26. J-Mac:
    Entropy,

    Why don’t find a professional to help deal with your aversion to the man in the sky?

    The “you aren’t really an atheist, you just hate God” argument! I don’t not believe in Christmas, I just hate Santa.

  27. J-Mac:
    Why don’t find a professional to help deal with your aversion to the man in the sky?

    See? I try and keep a straightforward conversation, and then you “miss” the whole thing only to make this nonsensical comment.

    I don’t have an aversion to the magical-being-in-the-sky (it’s imaginary, and it’s not always a “man”). I’m just not convinced that there’s such a thing.

    Anyway, I take this as your tacit admission that you had no idea that quantum mechanics, time and space are all part and parcel with chemical/physical processes and dynamics.

    ETA: Now you know! No need to thank me. I’m happy to help.

  28. phoodoo:
    You are suggesting that it is the nature of chemicals that make up a cell, to organize themselves into a code which tells the cell when and how to develop?

    No phoodoo. I said that the information is in the chemical/physical relative positions, properties and dynamics of everything in the cell, not that the chemicals would organize themselves “into a code.” I also said, as you quoted, that the arrangement is a result of chemical/physical processes of the maternal cell. That the information in those maternal cells is also in the form of chemical/physical entities and processes.

    phoodoo:
    Or maybe you are not even saying that. Maybe there is a code to this sentence garbling:

    Maybe you are not very interested in reading for comprehension.

    phoodoo:
    I think that is a good representative example of your scientific understanding.

    More of a representative of your lack of interest in giving understanding a try.

  29. Entropy: No phoodoo. I said that the information is in the chemical/physical relative positions, properties and dynamics of everything in the cell, not that the chemicals would organize themselves “into a code.” I also said, as you quoted, that the arrangement is a result of chemical/physical processes of the maternal cell. That the information in those maternal cells is also in the form of chemical/physical entities and processes.

    The question is HOW did it get to be that the arrangement is exactly the arrangement which would make this precise code? Don’t you get that? Its either by accident (the Darwinian materialist viewpoint), or it is the nature of those chemicals to arrange in exactly that code (the hedge your bets materialist viewpoint) , or it was designed that way by a designer. Which are you choosing?

  30. phoodoo: or it was designed that way by a designer. Which are you choosing?

    Each option you mention seems to have further avenues to explore execpt the last. The last option, it was designed by a designer seems like a science-stopper.

    What is the point of further exploration when it cannot, by your own definition of the supernatrual, be further investigated?

    Cancer, it would seem from discussions regarding it’s FIASCO content at PS, is designed presumably by the same designer you mention. Would knowing that your cancer was designed stop you from seeking a cure?

    Then why is this any different?

    Given that any question can be answered by “it was designed by a desiger” how do you tell the difference between things that were designed and cannot be further understood and things that were designed and can be further understood?

    Otherwise it’ll be a very easy exam once you get this into schools…..

  31. phoodoo: The question is HOW did it get to be that the arrangement is exactly the arrangement which would make this precise code?

    Have you considered the supernatrual as a cause?

  32. phoodoo: The question is HOW did it get to be that the arrangement is exactly the arrangement which would make this precise code? Don’t you get that? Its either by accident (the Darwinian materialist viewpoint), or it is the nature of those chemicals to arrange in exactly that code (the hedge your bets materialist viewpoint) , or it was designed that way by a designer. Which are you choosing?

    Do I understand correctly that you believe this world to be exactly as laid out in the plans of the Designer? The human genome is exactly as planned, you and me discussing online at TSZ, exactly as planned, the precise configuration of individual sand grains in your back garden, exactly as planned? Surely you concede some stochasticity (random accidents, as you call them) are allowed, even if there is some grand plan?

  33. Corneel,

    I assume all kinds of random things arise all the time. I just don’t buy the random accidents cause sophisticated networks of systems. Of course, the materialists will try to scream, oh that’s just a caricature! But that’s just a canard, of course it isn’t a caricature. An embarrassment for the theory to be exposed so clearly for what it is perhaps, sure.

  34. OMagain,

    No no, cancer was probably caused by natural selection . It has a reproductive advantage. When we were hunter gatherers living in the Savannah, females were attracted to men who had hacking coughs. It scared away lions so females saw it as a sign of great power. And when the females had the cough, the men were attracted to them, because they felt they were more vulnerable, could easily be manipulated by giving them comfort.

    Natural selection does amazing things. Just look at ant colonies. Go figure.

  35. phoodoo: I assume all kinds of random things arise all the time. I just don’t buy the random accidents cause sophisticated networks of systems.

    I get that, but I was struck by your mention of “this precise code”. That made me curious how strictly you imagined our world to be planned, especially since you asked Entropy to choose between “accident”, chemo-physical processes and design, as if there is no way to combine the three of them.

    For example, snow crystals are highly ordered, but their exact shape is caused by random fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Are humans like snow crystals, or are they built exactly as planned, like machines?

  36. Corneel,

    Snow crystals are interesting to look at. I think calling them highly ordered is a stretch. Furthermore, they have zero functionality. There is no right or wrong snow crystals that produces complex develop and that doesn’t. They just look nice.

    As far as the code of the cell, for embryo development, yea I would say that is pretty precise, wouldn’t you? You want to chalk that up to partly accidents?

  37. phoodoo: I think calling them highly ordered is a stretch.

    I am willing to bet that even on your side of the fence many people disagree with that.

    phoodoo: Furthermore, they have zero functionality. There is no right or wrong snow crystals that produces complex develop and that doesn’t. They just look nice.

    True, it’s just an example we could both agree on involved both order and “randomness”.

    phoodoo: As far as the code of the cell, for embryo development, yea I would say that is pretty precise, wouldn’t you? You want to chalk that up to partly accidents?

    Yes, it’s very precise, and yes, I would say that it is partly “accidents”, in the sense that I don’t believe that organisms necessarily needed to appear in their present form. Did the designer plan the exact shape of oak leaves? Or the exact coat pattern of tigers? How about humans? Do we look exactly as planned? If you think not, why do you believe the Designer eschews randomness?

  38. Corneel: Yes, it’s very precise, and yes, I would say that it is partly “accidents”

    The code for cell development in embryos? Lucky accidents?

    Corneel: phoodoo: Furthermore, they have zero functionality. There is no right or wrong snow crystals that produces complex develop and that doesn’t. They just look nice.

    True, it’s just an example we could both agree on involved both order and “randomness”.

    Its an example of randomness creating zero usefulness. How is that helpful? Because they are pretty?

  39. Alan Fox: The “you aren’t really an atheist, you just hate God” argument! I don’t not believe in Christmas, I just hate Santa.

    Hi Alan,
    That’s not my point at all…

    Entropy, and many people like him, Larry Moran for example, have the same boring, rediculeous agenda:
    ” Don’t try to make me believe in your imaginary “man In the sky” because I have made up my mind about him…”

    Because Entropy like people already made up their mind, (the reasons why are often very different between individuals), they are forced to defend the most outrageous ideas by applying confirmation bias… It’s pointless to try to change their mind and I almost never do…

    OOL is a perfect example: nobody has been able to recreate life and yet, if someone does do it, will it mean that random processes were responsible for life’s origins? Of course not but people like Entropy do not even allow a logical inference like that to cross their mind because of confimatiom bias… They are only interested in finding some some kind of explanation no matter how ridiculous it is..

    Religious people, or even ID supporters, often fall into the same trap of confirmation bias… Even Behe seems to try to use confirmation bias to support common descent though he has acknowledged that quantum information could explain some aspects in life systems though not publicly, so don’t quote me…

  40. phoodoo: The code for cell development in embryos? Lucky accidents?

    In my view? A combination of “accidents” (mutations, genetic drift) and “not-accidents” (population-level natural selection). I know you don’t accept that, but I would like to know whether you allow for some “acccidents” as well, or see the unwavering implementation of some fixed blueprint.

    phoodoo: Its an example of randomness creating zero usefulness. How is that helpful? Because they are pretty?

    It’s an analogy. You like those right? 😉
    The point I was trying to convey was that although snow crystals look exquisitely crafted, the precise shape of each snow flake is contingent on random factors. I was curious whether you would accept that as an analogy for the “code” in developmental programs, given your dislike for randomness.

  41. phoodoo: As far as the code of the cell, for embryo development, yea I would say that is pretty precise, wouldn’t you? You want to chalk that up to partly accidents?

    And yet it is an established fact that embryos are still able to develop with many mutations, often deleterious ones…Yes, some embryos do abort with many deleterious mutations but some survive… If the code has to be very precise for embryo development i. e. cell differentiation, how come some deleterious mutations are not lethal?

  42. J-Mac: And yet it is an established fact that embryos are still able to develop with many mutations, often deleterious ones…Yes, some embryos do abort with many deleterious mutations but some survive… If the code has to be very precise for embryo development i. e. cell differentiation, how come some deleterious mutations are not lethal?

    Mutations to the code? Huh?

  43. Corneel: It’s an analogy. You like those right?

    Your analogy is randomness making meaningless shapes, is comparable to randomness making something precise and useful.

    I prefer analogies that are analogous actually.

  44. J-Mac:

    DNA_Jock:
    Just describe the technique that you used to disrupt the QI in the embryos, and let the audience decide the other effects that might have on the embryos.

    The process disrupts quantum correlations in the embryo… You test it first on entangled particles…When they became decoherent, you apply the same process to embryos…

    They were similar experiments published but not with regard to quantum correlation in living systems as far as I know… When I get to the office I will try to find some…

    That’s not really describing the technique, is it? Perhaps J-Mac will provide more details of his experimental set-up, but I’m not hopeful.
    Last time around, J-Mac claimed that “if decoherence happens, the cell division is halted”.
    When asked to support this claim he ran away.
    It has become a pattern.

  45. phoodoo:
    The question is HOW did it get to be that the arrangement is exactly the arrangement which would make this precise code? Don’t you get that?

    Well, this is a very important question. But the one I was answering was J-Mac’s claim that not all the information was in DNA. I agreed and added the other places where there’s information.

    phoodoo:
    Its either by accident (the Darwinian materialist viewpoint),

    That’s not the Darwinian viewpoint. The Darwinian viewpoint is that new species arise from previous species by selection from variability in populations. Extended to the “information” in cells, we could say that the arrangement is kept by the processes that have evolved. They vary, but a lot of it is due to inheritance of already successful arrangements.

    phoodoo:
    or it is the nature of those chemicals to arrange in exactly that code (the hedge your bets materialist viewpoint) ,

    What’s in the nature of those chemicals is that their properties are not random. This is what I was explaining before. Carbon will behave like carbon. etc. Their properties make evolution possible. That doesn’t mean that we can make a soup and they’ll arrange into something alive. After all, in a soup I’d have disrupted a lot of the relative arrangements and dynamics, a lot of the “information,” of the physical/chemical stuff in the cell.

    phoodoo:
    or it was designed that way by a designer.

    Designers could not even exist without the prior existence of those chemical/physical relative positions and dynamics phoodoo. So, this is a no go. Without the prime “materials” no designers could exist, and, no designers could produce designs. A “permissive” nature has to exist first.

    phoodoo:
    Which are you choosing?

    Neither. I’ll go instead for a combination of chemical/physical properties and dynamics under circumstances that allowed for an assortment of arrangements and dynamics to arise.

    Have a good day.

  46. Entropy: I’ll go instead for a combination of chemical/physical properties and dynamics under circumstances that allowed for an assortment of arrangements and dynamics to arise.

    The new theory of evolution!

    Never forget…Organized by the cellular processes in the maternal cells, which in turn, physical/chemical properties and dynamics, ad nauseam.

  47. phoodoo:
    The new theory of evolution!

    It’s not new, and it’s not of evolution, but of origin of life. It’s a very summarized summary, but this is an internet, informal, forum.

    phoodoo:
    Never forget…Organized by the cellular processes in the maternal cells, which in turn, physical/chemical properties and dynamics, ad nauseam.

    And then try and understand it.

    As I said, good day.

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