Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Behe and the Literature – Who is bluffing?

These series of Posts (here, here and here) started as a result of reading Behe’s response to the Dover legal opinion of Judge Jones.

As a result of the discussion one commenter pointed me in the direction of Matt Inlay’s essay responding to Behe’s immunology chapter in DBB.

In the paper he looks at three systems which Behe suggests exhibit IC (irreducible complexity) and provides suggestions as to how they could come about as a result of gradual step by step change (RMNS)

I had argued from the context of the much quoted claim “The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system”

That Behe intended to be understood to be asking the following three questions:
1. Do any of these papers present quantitative calculations showing a reasonable pathway for the origin of the immune system by non-intelligent means?
2. Do they acknowledge that gene duplication is different from new protein production?
3. Do they provide mechanisms for the origin of necessary control mechanisms to regulate the immune system pathways?

With regard to Matt Inlays essay we must conclude that there is no attempt to address question 1. (Anti-IDers I think respond by stating that this is asking for unreasonable detail…or even impossible detail.)
Question 2 is satisfied I am sure.
With regard to question 3 there is an attempt at least partially to address this issue.

Matt Inlay divides his essay into three sections with each section dealing with one of the claims for IC in the immune system.

1. The production of a clonal selection system
2. A rearranging antigen receptor.
3. The origin of the complement system.
I would like to go through these three sections seperately in following posts.

Matt Inlay I assume did not write his essay for research immunologists. It was focused at people with a reasonable background in biology who were interested in the response of immunologists to Behe’s arguments…. In other words for people like me who are ceratinly not immunologists!

Forgive me therefore if I demonstrate publically that I am not an immunologist!

4 Comments:

Anonymous Hrafn said...

BEHE IS BLUFFING! THAT WAS ESTABLISHED SEVERAL THREADS AGO!

Rather than face this fact, you keep creating new threads asking the same old, answered and/or discredited, questions.

"I had argued from the context of the much quoted claim “The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system”

That Behe intended to be understood to be asking the following three questions:
1. Do any of these papers present quantitative calculations showing a reasonable pathway for the origin of the immune system by non-intelligent means?2. Do they acknowledge that gene duplication is different from new protein production?3. Do they provide mechanisms for the origin of necessary control mechanisms to regulate the immune system pathways?"

No Andrew, you merely ASSERTED this ludicrous interpretation. You have presented NO ARGUMENTS WHATSOEVER to substantiate it.

Moreover, Behe's questions have been throughly debunked by Ian Musgrave back in this thread. Yet you keep repeating them over and over again.

Finally Andrew, you have COMPLETELY FAILED TO SHOW THAT BEHE'S QUESTIONS ARE WORTH ANSWERING AT ALL!

Behe has no qualifications in immunology, nor have you established any value for these questions, independent of an implied argument from (Behe's) false authority.

To put it bluntly, why should we care if Behe has questions about the evolution of the immune system, when he has little knowledge of either Immunology or Evolutionary Biology?

10:14 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

To put it another way Andrew, for Behe's claims not to be a bluff, you have to prove (not merely assert) that Behe is sufficiently knowledgable about scientific advances in the evolution of the immune system, for his questions to be well-informed and his conclusion to be substantiated.

The evidence to date would appear to indicate that his knowledge of this area is, at best, superficial and cursory. This means thst he is asking questions, and drawing conclusions, from a position of relative ignorance, which in turn completely supports the assertion that Behe is bluffing.

10:30 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"With regard to Matt Inlays essay we must conclude that there is no attempt to address question 1. (Anti-IDers I think respond by stating that this is asking for unreasonable detail…or even impossible detail.)"

No Andrew, we must conclude that this question has been "addressed" by being exposed as having no rational scientific basis.

But while we're on the question of details, perhaps you would like to give some details of the design hypothesis?

What are the limits of the capabilities of the hypothesised designer?

What features of what life forms were designed?

When did these designs take place?

How were these designs introduced into the target life forms?

What was the purpose of these modifications?

Intelligent Design advocates like Behe demand INFINITE detail of evolution, but provide NOT A SINGLE SHRED OF DETAIL THEMSELVES!

This is just simply blatant dishonesty! This is not simply a case of not "expecting one level of evidence accross all areas" - it is a case of demanding INFINITY from the opposition while claiming that it is acceptable to provide ZERO yourselves!

2:55 pm  
Anonymous Matt Inlay said...

"1. Do any of these papers present quantitative calculations showing a reasonable pathway for the origin of the immune system by non-intelligent means?"

No, I seriously doubt any of the 58 articles presented at the Dover trial, or any of the references I cited in my article on TalkDesign.org presented quantitative calculations. However, they collectively present a plausible pathway for the origin of the immune system by evolution, which is both "detailed" and "testable" by the common definitions of those words.

"2. Do they acknowledge that gene duplication is different from new protein production?"

Yes. No one misunderstands this point. However, gene duplication is a phenomenon that happens all the time, and provides the raw material for the generation of new genes/proteins by random mutation/natural selection.

"3. Do they provide mechanisms for the origin of necessary control mechanisms to regulate the immune system pathways?"

Many of them do, but not all of them. The model that has developed over the last few decades does take this into account. However, it's important to note that any method that diversifies the immune response will undoubtedly provide a huge selective advantage. Even if there are inefficiencies in the process (e.g. 1 in 3 rearrangements is out of frame), the benefit of an enhanced immune system may compensate for this.

Matt

p.s. I look forward to reading your analysis of my web article. Don't hesistate to email me if you have any questions

8:45 pm  

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