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!!! 😉

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453 thoughts on “The Three Musketeers vs D’Artagnan

  1. CharlieM: 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.

    Hey Charlie,
    There is no doubt in my mind that this claim by Behe is without controversy…
    Furthermore, Grizzly–polar bear hybrids would be interesting to look at:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly–polar_bear_hybrid

    Picture of hybrid below:

    Another interesting thing would be to closely monitor brown bears in Alaska…Could they adapt faster than evolution would predict? Their diet is much higher in fat and the “killer” cholesterol than brown bears living elsewhere…😉

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  2. keiths,

    You’d better behave, or you know… 3 vs 1
    Keep your pride away from TSZ… and your rich, satisfying personal life…😉

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

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

    You have nothing else to say???
    Don’t waste my time anymore!

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  4. CharlieM: 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.

    Well, I disagree with Behe on more than one issue…
    Common descent is one of them…
    Without getting into details, Behe thinks that common descent could be explained by some kind of guided evolution, but not by Darwinian processes… I disagree…
    In short, there are too many dead ends in common descent beginning with prokaryotes to eukaryotes evolution…
    Another one is the law of conservation of quantum information … this law could explain adaptive changes and descent with modifications within species or “kinds”, which would make the case for some of Behe’s claims, the law prohibits the evolution of new body plans…

    Another one is Mutations : The Law of Recurrent Variation
    Wolf-ekkehard Lönnig

    https://www.researchgate.net/signup.SignUp.html?ev=su_requestFulltext

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  5. J-Mac: Did you watch the movie?

    Yes, adaptation of a Carl Sagan book. Classic Matthew McConaughey, James Wood, Jodie. And correct, it is set at the VLA. It is a great movie location. But the VLA was not built to detect ET,

    “The VLA is an interferometer; this means that it operates by multiplying the data from each pair of telescopes together to form interference patterns. The structure of those interference patterns, and how they change with time as the earth rotates, reflect the structure of radio sources on the sky: we can take these patterns and use a mathematical technique called the Fourier transform to make maps.”

    Time on the VLA is allocated by a competitive process of proposals. I doubt that using the time ,on the off chance, that ET decides to call is a regular occurrence in the usage of the tool.

    NASA has had no budget for ET since 1993

    However ,there is an array in California built by private interests, Microsoft money. For that purpose

    VLA also part of the “very long baseline array “ which is also a very cool concept.

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  6. newton: VLA also part of the “very long baseline array “ which is also a very cool concept.

    Thanks!
    What cool concept?
    BTW: How was the signal from space in Contact determined to be is intelligent?

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  7. 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.

    Don’t expect me to defend “devolution.” I’ve already spoken to that here. I’m merely pointing out that Behe doesn’t apply to term to polar bears themselves.

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  8. Mung:

    Don’t expect me to defend “devolution.” I’ve already spoken to that here. I’m merely pointing out that Behe doesn’t apply to term to polar bears themselves.

    True enough. The term he applies to polar bears in that quote is “de-volving”, not “devolution”.

    Woot.

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  9. CharlieM: Sorry, meant oxygen.

    It’s only a stop-gap. Anything we output during photosynthesis would be more than compensated when we started chomping again. See, I’m much better at design than Nature!

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  10. keiths: True enough. The term he applies to polar bears in that quote is “de-volving”, not “devolution”.

    Yeah, but to be honest they’ve not had many victories. I’m happy to let the word-lawyer Mung claim this one.

    I’m quite sure Behe will use the phrase at some point however.

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  11. J-Mac: Thanks!
    What cool concept?

    The very long baseline array VLBA takes 10 radio telelescope from West Texas, New Mexico ,Hawaii, Washington, New Hampshire, and more ,and using computers link all the instruments together to create a virtual radio telescope with very long baselines for better resolution. The effort to set that up must have been amazing

    BTW: How was the signal from space in Contact determined to be is intelligent?

    Primes, till the blind guy could hear another signal interwoven which which was video with Hilter opening the 1932 Olympic Games and schematics for the machine.Vega was the source, and a mysterious billionaire, and her dead dad.

    She had some kind of hot car too, maybe a muscle car she drove out in the desert, I think.

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  12. Mung: Don’t expect me to defend “devolution.” I’ve already spoken to that here. I’m merely pointing out that Behe doesn’t apply to term to polar bears themselves.

    Even if that’s true by “devolving” or “devolution” Behe want to get the message across that Darwinian evolution works by degradation or deterioration and loss of function of genes… Sometimes that can help with adaptations sometimes not…
    He could have entitled the book: Darwin Degenerates but Darwin Devolves is more appropriate and catchy…I think…

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  13. J-Mac:
    newton,

    Interesting. Thanks!
    So, the signal from space contained coded information and that’s why it was recognized as intelligent…

    Not sure if four pulses are code for 4 or just 4.

    One of my favorite parts of the movie:
    https://youtu.be/sRPUO6gGSh8

    A little too many faces by Jodie but sweet. A girl and her dad.

    No answer as to ET’s origins…

    Not the point of the movie, it is her journey to the realization that science is not the only source of understanding and knowledge and a good movie. Sometimes you have to have hot boyfriend, too.

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  14. Corneel: …but it may actually make some sense in ID, where organisms are believed to acquire increasing complexity by the intervention of some purposeful agent.

    Or created perfect to begin with.

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  15. J-Mac: Hey Charlie,
    There is no doubt in my mind that this claim by Behe is without controversy…
    Furthermore, Grizzly–polar bear hybrids would be interesting to look at:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly–polar_bear_hybrid

    Picture of hybrid below:

    Another interesting thing would be to closely monitor brown bears in Alaska…Could they adapt faster than evolution would predict? Their diet is much higher in fat and the “killer” cholesterol than brown bears living elsewhere…

    As I understand it what we witness here with the variation between brown and polar bears and everything in between is due to the habits of the animals and the environment they occupy. These are what determines the visible differences and the differences in genes are a consequence of this. Within populations it is a case of use it or lose it. To simplify things, lets go along with an outdated view and say there is a gene for dark fur. Dark fur helps a bear to be less conspicuous and so has a survival advantage. This would no longer be the case for a population of bears that moved to an Arctic environment. Any bears in which the gene for dark fur was disrupted would have a light coloured and so would gain an advantage.

    So polar bears have an advantage because of the lack of expression a certain gene. And any mutations that appear in that gene are allowed to build up in polar bears. On the other hand, in brown bears it is advantageous for that gene to remain functional so mutations do not persist. So the lifestyle of the population determines gene expression, the genes are being controlled.

    I’d be grateful if anyone pointed out flaws in what I have said.

    Here is a short piece in which Behe discusses the polar bear topic. I’d like to read everything he says about it in the book but I’m not sure I’d like to enough to but the book, not as soon as it comes out anyway.

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  16. CharlieM: I’d be grateful if anyone pointed out flaws in what I have said.

    Just delete that last sentence about genes being controlled and it’s fine.

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  17. J-Mac: Well, I disagree with Behe on more than one issue…
    Common descent is one of them…
    Without getting into details, Behe thinks that common descent could be explained by some kind of guided evolution, but not by Darwinian processes… I disagree…
    In short, there are too many dead ends in common descent beginning with prokaryotes to eukaryotes evolution…
    Another one is the law of conservation of quantum information … this law could explain adaptive changes and descent with modifications within species or “kinds”, which would make the case for some of Behe’s claims, the law prohibits the evolution of new body plans…

    Another one is Mutations : The Law of Recurrent Variation
    Wolf-ekkehard Lönnig

    https://www.researchgate.net/signup.SignUp.html?ev=su_requestFulltext

    I think we both agree that common descent is an observable fact. And neither of us just accept as a fact that common descent can be traced back to a universal common ancestor of all life or even to the LUCA of the higher classifications The question of how deep common descent goes has not been answered definitively.

    With the help of Brady as quoted below, I’m beginning to get a better understanding of what Goethe had to say about the relationships between evolutionary forms over time.

    Ronald H. Brady

    As Goethe admitted, the type was an idea (by which the successive was grasped as simultaneous), and its manifestations in time were quite “designed,” each preparing for the next and leading over into it. But as I have been arguing, the designing idea is not separable, and living form cannot therefore be modelled on the machine or any other result of an external planner. Nor can any particular goal of development be determined. Aristotle supposed that the adult state could be conceived as goal, since it was the most revealing stage of development, but Goethe did not make any stage of development primary in this manner. (He accounted for Aritotle’s distinction in another way with the notion of Steigerung, by which he indicated a progression toward great intelligibility. The sophistication of this concept is beyond the scope of the present discussion however, and it does not constitute a stage for which prior stages are simply means.) Indeed, he could not do so. Each stage of development was equally required by the whole, not as a means to an end, but as a mode of being-in-the-world. Development in time does not proceed towards this whole, but rather expresses it. As I have already noted, the representative of a time-form must continually become other in order to remain representative. Any additional reasons are redundant.

    In this view one form might be prepared in the previous form but it does not develop out of this form. They are both expressions of the whole in their own right.

    I’m not sure if I can, or if I want to log in to researchgate from your link, but I’ll definitely Google the subject.

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  18. Allan Miller: It’s only a stop-gap. Anything we output during photosynthesis would be more than compensated when we started chomping again. See, I’m much better at design than Nature!

    There are many examples, such as introduced species, which demonstrate that people who thought they could do better than nature, couldn’t!

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  19. CharlieM: There are many examples, such as introduced species, which demonstrate that people who thought they could do better than nature, couldn’t!

    Is that because nature was designed that way? Nature trumps design?

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  20. newton:

    CharlieM: There are many examples, such as introduced species, which demonstrate that people who thought they could do better than nature, couldn’t!

    Is that because nature was designed that way? Nature trumps design?

    I would call it inherent wisdom 🙂

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  21. CharlieM: There are many examples, such as introduced species, which demonstrate that people who thought they could do better than nature, couldn’t!

    Yeah, but I’m different.

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  22. CharlieM: Is that because nature was designed that way? Nature trumps design?

    I would call it inherent wisdom

    Or maybe a lazy designer.

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  23. Would a perfectly designed thing devolve?

    CharlieM: There are many examples, such as introduced species, which demonstrate that people who thought they could do better than nature, couldn’t!

    Sure, but sometimes they can:

    Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis; however, most crops on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic glitch, and to deal with it, evolved an energy-expensive process called photorespiration that drastically suppresses their yield potential. Researchers from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service report in the journal Science that crops engineered with a photorespiratory shortcut are 40 percent more productive in real-world agronomic conditions.

    Photosynthesis uses the enzyme Rubisco — the planet’s most abundant protein — and sunlight energy to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugars that fuel plant growth and yield. Over millennia, Rubisco has become a victim of its own success, creating an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Unable to reliably distinguish between the two molecules, Rubisco grabs oxygen instead of carbon dioxide about 20 percent of the time, resulting in a plant-toxic compound that must be recycled through the process of photorespiration.

    “Photorespiration is anti-photosynthesis,” said lead author Paul South, a research molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service, who works on the RIPE project at Illinois. “It costs the plant precious energy and resources that it could have invested in photosynthesis to produce more growth and yield.”

    Photorespiration normally takes a complicated route through three compartments in the plant cell. Scientists engineered alternate pathways to reroute the process, drastically shortening the trip and saving enough resources to boost plant growth by 40 percent. This is the first time that an engineered photorespiration fix has been tested in real-world agronomic conditions.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190103142306.htm

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  24. CharlieM: As I understand it what we witness here with the variation between brown and polar bears and everything in between is due to the habits of the animals and the environment they occupy. These are what determines the visible differences and the differences in genes are a consequence of this. Within populations it is a case of use it or lose it. To simplify things, lets go along with an outdated view and say there is a gene for dark fur. Dark fur helps a bear to be less conspicuous and so has a survival advantage. This would no longer be the case for a population of bears that moved to an Arctic environment. Any bears in which the gene for dark fur was disrupted would have a light coloured and so would gain an advantage.

    So polar bears have an advantage because of the lack of expression a certain gene. And any mutations that appear in that gene are allowed to build up in polar bears. On the other hand, in brown bears it is advantageous for that gene to remain functional so mutations do not persist. So the lifestyle of the population determines gene expression, the genes are being controlled.

    I’d be grateful if anyone pointed out flaws in what I have said.

    Here is a short piece in which Behe discusses the polar bear topic. I’d like to read everything he says about it in the book but I’m not sure I’d like to enough to but the book, not as soon as it comes out anyway.

    Charlie,
    You are missing the big picture, I’m afraid…

    Without getting into details, Cell published an article on the polar bear evolution. They did some testing and assumed polar bear separated from its brown ancestor 400. 000 years ago. They found some differences between the two: fur color and diet, among others…
    They did some further analysis and found some mutations that polar bears have that brown bears don’t.
    Some of those mutations are in the cells of the hair follicles that are responsible for the production of pigment…
    Other mutations were found in the so-called “killer cholesterol processing system”…
    Authors made some further assumptions and calculations and came to the conclusion that those mutations were adaptive mutations and called the polar bear’s evolution FAST…

    Behe looked at the details of this paper and said: Adaptive evolution?! Oh yeah! But at what cost? At the cost of gene function degradation or devolution…

    Behe doesn’t care whether those changes were adaptive or accidental…The paper calls the changes fast evolutionary adaptations but Behe exposes those changes as devolutionary or degradations…
    In other words, Behe shoots at Darwinists with the ammunition they themselves provide him…

    On the other hand, I’m almost positive that some of those “evolutionary changes” in bear evolution could be accomplished much, much faster, possibly just within a few generations… I have already provided some hints what I mean exactly on this OP…

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  25. CharlieM: I think we both agree that common descent is an observable fact. And neither of us just accept as a fact that common descent can be traced back to a universal common ancestor of all life or even to the LUCA of the higher classifications The question of how deep common descent goes has not been answered definitively

    My son descended from me and I descended from my father, who descended from his father and my grandfather and so on…Nobody doubts this common descent…
    Is this the common descent that Darwin was talking about?

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  26. J-Mac:
    On the other hand, I’m almost positive that some of those “evolutionary changes” in bear evolution could be accomplished much, much faster, possibly just within a few generations… I have already provided some hints what I mean exactlyon this OP…

    Could you provide citations of the research on which you base the “almost positive” statement?

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  27. Mung: Young Earth Creationists.

    Ah, you are right. YECs maintain that adaptation and speciation are accomplished by information loss and degradation. That resonates quite nicely with Behe’s latest book.

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  28. CharlieM: Here is a short piece in which Behe discusses the polar bear topic. I’d like to read everything he says about it in the book but I’m not sure I’d like to enough to but the book, not as soon as it comes out anyway.

    Hum. So, Behe’s “point” on that s that he was not an absolutist about damaging mutations. Oh well, then why the hell should anybody bother? Since in evolution both, damaging and benign mutations can be fixed, there’s nothing that nobody already knew, and nothing that makes evolution ineffective, let alone “Darwin devolve.”

    It’s also a bit curious that Behe posted only the predicted-to-be-potentially damaging mutations from Table S7, and from one column only. There’s two estimates in the table, one had less predicted-to-be-potentially “damaging” mutations than the other.

    A quick look, 23 mutations are predicted to be benign by the first score, 25 predicted to be damaging (with two levels of confidence in how damaging they might be). The second score predicts that 32 are benign, and 16 might be damaging.

    I’ll post the table once I figure how to do it.

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  29. J-Mac: Behe doesn’t care whether those changes were adaptive or accidental…The paper calls the changes fast evolutionary adaptations but Behe exposes those changes as devolutionary or degradations…
    In other words, Behe shoots at Darwinists with the ammunition they themselves provide him…

    If a polar bear is a “degraded” version of the brown bear, why haven’t the brown bears replaced the polar bears in the Arctic with the upgraded version of bear?

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  30. J-Mac: Behe doesn’t care whether those changes were adaptive or accidental…The paper calls the changes fast evolutionary adaptations but Behe exposes those changes as devolutionary or degradations…
    In other words, Behe shoots at Darwinists with the ammunition they themselves provide him…

    Let’s see if I understand this correctly.

    Mount Rushmore started with a rock face. But then people chipped away and damaged that rock surface. So those figures carved into Mt Rushmore result from damage and degradation. It’s kind of like devolution.

    Oh, let’s remember that Mt Rushmore is often mentioned as a paradigm example of intelligent design. So ID is a program of damage and degradation.

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  31. CharlieM,

    To simplify things, lets go along with an outdated view and say there is a gene for dark fur.

    Funny thing is, Darwin’s 160 year old view of the cause of variation is much closer to your own than the genetic one, at which you indulgently chuckle.

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  32. newton: …why haven’t the brown bears replaced the polar bears in the Arctic with the upgraded version of bear?

    They have. They are mixed in with the polar bears and gradually replacing them. Evolution takes time you know.

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  33. Mung: They have. They are mixed in with the polar bears and gradually replacing them. Evolution takes time you know.

    You seem to be unaware of Poe’s law. So to the casual eye it’s you competing with J-Mac for the bottom of the barrel.

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  34. The embarrassments of the two musketeers continue at PS…
    It appears another musketeer joined the club–Arthur Hunt–who appears to be the self proclaimed “bad cholesterol” expert…lol

    This time the musketeers have taken on the Chloroquine Resistance…
    Mung has exposed the “human errors”… 🙂
    I’m surprised Mung hasn’t been banned yet… It’s probably coming to him…

    https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/comments-in-env-s-response-to-swamidass-and-hunt/4684/7

    https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/env-response-to-hunt-swamidass-on-on-chloroquine-resistance/4679/16

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  35. J-Mac: It appears another musketeer joined the club–Arthur Hunt–who appears to be the self proclaimed “bad cholesterol” expert…lol

    This is Art Hunt, J-Mac. From personal experience, I can confirm he is a real gent.

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