The Three Musketeers vs D’Artagnan

Every few years the world of the supporters of Intelligent Design becomes ecstatic when the founding father of their thought liberating movement – Dr. Michael Behe – publishes a new book against Darwinism…Due to that, apparently some churches’ records show an increased mass attendance, confessions, donations…etc. It is almost as if one the apostles of Jesus Christ wrote another book of the Bible even though Behe clams his publications are not religious but rather scientific…

But not everyone is celebrating… Does this mean the end of evolution?

The Intelligent Design movement has many powerful enemies who not only represent the opposite to ID, or atheistic (materialism), views of life origins. Some even claim to support intelligent design…of sort, as long as that design also includes evolution…Confused? Wait until the debate gets heated… 😉

So, what’s this book kerfuffle all about, one might ask?

Well, in short: some of most profound world views are colliding…again… as Behe and many of his comrades at the Discovery Institute also had published many books and papers in the past.

The Three Musketeers of neo-Darwinism, or some sort of theistic evolutionary theory, involved in the upcoming debate are represented by:

Dr. Richard Lenski – an experimental scientist who claims to have achieved an equivalency of millions of years of human evolution by growing bacteria in the lab for the last 25 years…

Dr. Nathan Lents – Professor of Biology, John Jay College; Admin, The Human Evolution Blog; Blogger, Psychology Today; Author of “Not So Different” and “Human Errors.”

Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass, MD PhD, a professor at Washington University in Saint Louis, the confessing scientists and a Christian, who some believe became “the devil’s advocate” in order to defeat the enemy of true science (in this case represented by neo-Darwinism or evolution) the intelligent design movement and its founding father Michael Behe…

Today, February 7th at 2 pm, of unknown time zone, “the circus” (as Swamidass described it) of the differing worldviews will have begun; the three musketeers against the lone ranger, Dr. Michael Behe, PhD- Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

What’s at stake? Some might agree that everything…

The subject of the first stage of “the circus” and the major speck in the eyes of the three musketeers representing evolution is the book by Michal Behe:

Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution

This article criticizing Behe’s book and the discussion blog will appear at Science Magazine:
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6427/590

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/books/2019/02/07/darwin-devolves/

It should be entertaining 😉 I hope to be a small part of it… Some of my colleagues promised to join in as well…

Let the hunger games of Evolution vs ID begin!!! 😉

453 thoughts on “The Three Musketeers vs D’Artagnan

  1. DNA_Jock: Yikes, J-Mac, “those 9 fixed mutations” do NOT EXIST in the brown bear.
    THAT is the curious behaviour of the bear in the night: no fixed changes in the APOB gene.
    I think that you don’t understand the meaning of the word “fixed”.

    From my previous comment
    How was the effect of those 9 fixed mutations in brown bear measured or determined, Dr. Watson?

    ETA: I will answer it for you:

    “This domain encodes the surface region and contains the majority of functional domains for lipid transport. We suggest that the shift to a diet consisting predominantly of fatty acids in polar bears induced adaptive changes in APOB, which enabled the species to cope with high fatty acid intake by contributing to the effective clearance of cholesterol from the blood.“

    Because mutations were predprominently in the lipid transport was ASSUMED that adaptive changes in ApoB must be positive to clear the killer cholesterol out of blood…
    Assumed because there is no direct evidence that’s what happened…
    So

  2. Yeah J-Mac,
    I knew that’s where you were heading. You could have saved yourself some time just saying that in the first place.
    Now we can move on to the “science” bit:
    Do you have a better explanation? Please provide it.
    But be careful: you are going to have to explain the curious behaviour of the brown bear too.
    Like I have been telling you all along. But I still don’t think you understand the problem you face.

  3. Mung: Where does Behe claim that polar bears are “devolved”?

    Where he tries to show that the majority of adaptive mutations in polar bears are “damaging”.

    Here is Behe in his own words: “It seems, then, that the magnificent Ursus maritimus has adjusted to its harsh environment mainly by degrading genes that its ancestors already possessed. Despite its impressive abilities, rather than e-volving, it has adapted predominantly by de-volving. What that portends for our conception of evolution is the principal topic of this book.”

    And Behe gives this list of mutations to substantiate this claim: https://i.imgur.com/OYwXHQu.png

  4. Rumraket: Where he tries to show that the majority of adaptive mutations in polar bears are “damaging”.

    So you think that by adapted he means devolved. Odd that. So if maladapted they would be evolved, in your thinking? Just trying to understand the logic here. If there is any.

    He admits polar bears are adapted. That the changes that took place were adaptive. And this adaptation is polar bears devolving and not evolving?

    Turns Darwinian evolutionary theory on its head for sure!

  5. It’s HIS words Mung. Behe is saying they “de-volved”. I litterally quote him directory. He really writes that in his book.

    HERE IS THE DIRECT QUOTE AGAIN:
    “It seems, then, that the magnificent Ursus maritimus has adjusted to its harsh environment mainly by degrading genes that its ancestors already possessed. Despite its impressive abilities, rather than e-volving, it has adapted predominantly by de-volving. What that portends for our conception of evolution is the principal topic of this book.” – Michael Behe

  6. He didn’t say polar bears devolved. He said they adapted. I can understand why people would want to confuse the two.

  7. Mung:

    He didn’t say polar bears devolved. He said they adapted.

    Come on, Mung. It’s right there in the quote. He said they adapted mostly by devolving:

    Despite its impressive abilities, rather than e-volving, it has adapted predominantly by de-volving.

  8. Mung:
    He didn’t say polar bears devolved. He said they adapted. I can understand why people would want to confuse the two.

    Let me try to interpret that and your other posts for my own amusement, if not the other posters:

    I say you are implying a difference between “adapting by devolving” and “de-adapting by devolving”.

    “Adapting by devolving” means that a mutation which, if expressed phenotypically, would decrease fitness in the fitness landscape in which it occurred was in fact adaptive in the fitness landscape that polar bears (or at least their genes) found [sic] themselves.

    “De-adapting by devolving” would be run of the mill decreases in fitness based on harmful mutation with respect to a given fitness landscape. I think are are defending Behe against having claimed that.

    All that may be some mighty-fine pedantry on both our parts. But what is the scientific content in your phrase “turning Darwin evolutionary theory on its head”? Are you saying Behe is making Darwin spin in his grave? Or are you making a criticism of modern biology? If the latter, what is it?

  9. Mung: He didn’t say polar bears devolved.

    Somebody better let EN&V know: https://evolutionnews.org/2018/11/for-giving-tuesday-help-michael-behe-demonstrate-that-darwin-devolves/

    In the first chapter, Behe the Darwin skeptic throws a curve ball. The neo-Darwinian mechanism did create the polar bear from the brown bear, he announces. But, as he explains, it did so by damaging or breaking existing genes. It did it through devolution.

    Behe’s own words:

    With surpassing irony it turns out that, as with the polar bear, Darwinian evolution proceeds mainly by damaging or breaking genes, which, counter-intuitively, sometimes helps survival. In other words, the mechanism is powerfully de-volutionary.

    In any case, the title of the book is Darwin Devolves. And you claim with a straight face he did not say polar bears devolved?

    No wonder your side is so bad at science!

  10. (Neo-)Darwin must be attempting to kick himself in the matrix for not realising that adaptation (not even a thing, according to some critics) universally takes place by gene disablement …

  11. OMagain: In any case, the title of the book is Darwin Devolves. And you claim with a straight face he did not say polar bears devolved?

    It’s astonishing. What is the name for that sort of cognitive bias? It looks like some extreme form of classic conformation bias.

    Behe says it over and over again, he even named is book after the word. Mung says he doesn’t say it, and focus exclusively on the fact that Behe also uses the word “adapted”. As if using the word adapted somehow magically means the word “devolved” or “devolution” aren’t used even though they are.

    Simply. Astonishing.

  12. Rumraket: It looks like some extreme form of classic conformation bias.

    I think it’s the Sunk Cost Fallacy at play. So much invested already….

  13. Mung:
    He didn’t say polar bears devolved. He said they adapted. I can understand why people would want to confuse the two.

    If the polar bear did adapt, what was the FAST EVOLUTION since its separation from the ancestor 400.000 years ago?
    Is it still a bear or is it on its way to a whale since its been swimming more than the ancestor?

  14. Anybody here familiar with the inuit paradox? The high fat, high cholesterol diet paradox?😉

  15. J-Mac: If the polar bear did adapt, what was the FAST EVOLUTION since its separation from the ancestor 400.000 years ago?

    It was FAST EVOLUTION.

    J-Mac: Anybody here familiar with the inuit paradox? The high fat, high cholesterol diet paradox?

    Why don’t you create an OP about it where you can mangle what the science actually says and then ignore better informed commenters if they bother to respond on your Nth nonsensical OP in a row.

  16. Allan Miller: (Neo-)Darwin must be attempting to kick himself in the matrix for not realising that adaptation (not even a thing, according to some critics) universally takes place by gene disablement …

    I look at it this way. Some of our early ancestors were algae. If they didn’t devolve, we would still all be algae.

  17. keiths: It’s right there in the quote.

    This quote?

    OMagain: But, as he explains, it did so by damaging or breaking existing genes. It did it through devolution.

    Genes are not polar bears and polar bears are not genes. It’s the genes that “devolved,” not the polar bears. The polar bears evolved.

  18. Mung: Genes are not polar bears and polar bears are not genes. It’s the genes that “devolved,” not the polar bears. The polar bears evolved.

    I’ve never seen anything like this.

    They should have sent a poet.

  19. Mung:

    Genes are not polar bears and polar bears are not genes. It’s the genes that “devolved,” not the polar bears. The polar bears evolved.

    OK, but how does the rock group “Devo” fit into your lexicographic theories?

    “The name Devo comes from the concept of ‘de-evolution’—the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.” –Wiki

    ETA: Explicit serious point: The term “evolution” in the context of this discussion names a collection of mechanisms in population genetics.

    “De-evolution” is not used in any biological science as far as I know, I welcome correction from biologists on that. But the term is used in alliterative book titles and internet forums.

  20. Neil Rickert: I look at it this way.Some of our early ancestors were algae.If they didn’t devolve, we would still all be algae.

    Technical point: probably not algae! It does raise a point, though, why can’t we photosynthesise? Just to tide us over, like.

  21. Allan Miller: Technical point: probably not algae! It does raise a point, though, why can’t we photosynthesise? Just to tide us over, like.

    IMO it’s a question of how organisms use their resources. Plants are all about using energy to build up physical substance. And because animals don’t need to do this they can allocate resources to developing consciousness. Plants put energy into physical substances and animals can then use this stored energy to build the nervous systems that are required for consciousness. Just think of the amount of energy we expend on our central nervous systems.

    You could also have asked, “why don’t plants develop nervous systems and organs of perception?” Because they’re too busy with the process of growing physical substance which animals can make good use of.

  22. CharlieM,

    You’re obsessed with consciousness. It would be useful to be able to photosynthesise, not least because we are acutely aware of starvation when food is scarce.

    Tell someone in a famine they don’t need to, Dr Pangloss.

  23. Mung:

    Genes are not polar bears and polar bears are not genes. It’s the genes that “devolved,” not the polar bears. The polar bears evolved.

    Behe thinks otherwise:

    It seems, then, that the magnificent Ursus maritimus has adjusted to its harsh environment mainly by degrading genes that its ancestors already possessed. Despite its impressive abilities, rather than e-volving, it has adapted predominantly by de-volving. What that portends for our conception of evolution is the principal topic of this book.

    Read this again:

    …rather than e-volving, it has adapted predominantly by de-volving.

    The word “it” refers to Ursus maritimus. Behe is saying that the polar bear devolved.

    Your claim…

    He didn’t say polar bears devolved.

    …is wrong.

  24. Rumraket:

    It’s astonishing. What is the name for that sort of cognitive bias?

    It’s called “denial”, and it’s more of a psychological defense mechanism than it is a cognitive bias.

    Reminds me of when colewd flipped out over the fact that Behe accepts common descent.

  25. keiths ,

    [image of devo style]

    I could not remember their name, only that it involved devolution somehow. But I remembered their look; for the search phrase “Rock group that wore flower pots on their heads” mr. DDG had Devo, top of list.

    (There is also a heavy metal band called devolution, but heavy metal is too grim for my tries at Mungian humor.)

  26. keiths: Reminds me of when colewd flipped out over the fact that Behe accepts common descent.

    He does…
    Do you happen to know that mechanism of “evolutiion” he accepts?

    BTW: I guess you could find peace outside of TSZ so you swolled your pride and accepted that Alan Fox is in charge? I was watching you gradually getting into the flow… It is addictive, isn’t it? 😉

  27. Rumraket: I’ve never seen anything like this.

    They should have sent a poet.

    I love Contact movie the picture came from… It proves one of ID theories and it is a great movie…
    Have you seen it, Rum?

  28. Allan Miller:
    (Neo-)Darwin must be attempting to kick himself in the matrix for not realising that adaptation (not even a thing, according to some critics) universally takes place by gene disablement …

    How do you like that, Mike? 😉
    Another Darwinian prediction failed…

  29. It looks like the bear, brown or polar, is going to become the new logo of ID and Behe himself…😉
    Behe’s book hasn’t even been officially published, and yet, it has created controversy beyond the publisher’s expectations…
    You! You good you, Mike!😁

  30. J-Mac: I love Contact movie the picture came from… It proves one of ID theories and it is a great movie…

    When you see the VLA in the New Mexican desert in the middle of nowhere it is very cool.

  31. Somebody here apparently demanded a separate, detailed, OP on the polar bear evolution…
    Yes, I will do it… after Behe’s book is officially published… 😉

  32. J-Mac:

    I guess you could find peace outside of TSZ…

    Yes, I could find peace outside of TSZ. It isn’t difficult.

    …so you swolled your pride and accepted that Alan Fox is in charge?

    I didn’t have to “swoll” my pride, and Alan is not in charge. In case you didn’t notice, Mung overrode Alan and the other Rubber Stamp Triplets, Neil and Jock, by taking me out of pre-moderation.

  33. BruceS: “De-evolution” is not used in any biological science as far as I know, I welcome correction from biologists on that. But the term is used in alliterative book titles and internet forums.

    In a dark age a long time ago devolution actually was a thing: Reversal of orthogenesis (purposeful progress in evolution). That term is not used anymore in modern biological science, but it may actually make some sense in ID, where organisms are believed to acquire increasing complexity by the intervention of some purposeful agent. Behe doesn’t explain the “progress” part though.

  34. J-Mac: How do you like that, Mike?
    Another Darwinian prediction failed…

    Whoosh! Straight over your head.

    Hint: Knowledge of genetic mechanisms, of what a ‘broken gene’ might even mean, was 100 years in the future when Darwin died.

  35. Allan Miller:
    CharlieM,

    You’re obsessed with consciousness.

    No, I just realise that the evolution of consciousness within early life is a major contributor in shaping the future of the planet.

    It would be useful to be able to photosynthesise, not least because we are acutely aware of starvation when food is scarce.

    Tell someone in a famine they don’t need to, Dr Pangloss.

    And do you think that if all life on earth carried out photosynthesis there would be any humans around starving or not. You know the effects of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

    We begin life as a zygote, a single celled organism. This cell bifurcates and multiplies and individual cells become specialised, some more so than others. We see a similar process happening with the evolution of life as a whole. Populations divide and specialise, some more so than others. Both evolution and individual development are processes where we see an expansion of multiplicity within the whole.

    Obviously animals and plants are more specialised than an imaginary organism that had the attributes of both, but this is the way things are, it is what we observe. You may wish that things were different but they are not.

    If we think of bears in these terms then polar bears are more specialised than brown bears. As they are thought to be more derivative then it could be said that they have evolved further than brown bears. But how was this achieved and at what cost? Regarding their fur I think that Behe is arguing that this specialisation is due to genes being altered so that they no longer produce substances which brown bears continue to produce.

    We can argue about evolution, devolution and de-evolution but none of this changes the facts that certain genes are no longer functional. And it is these facts that Behe is trying to get across.

    I look forward to what J-Mac has to say once he has read the book.

  36. J-Mac: Thanks Rum! My kids thought it was a Very Large Ass..

    Your kids don’t have to go to New Mexico to see that, ( 😀 could not resist)

    I have always wondered why so much money was spent on the search for ET…

    It was a movie, it was not built to search for ET.

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