Monday, July 31, 2006

A Matter of Evidence

A post at the blogsite Telic Thoughts provoked a large number of comments. An exchange involving the author, Nick Matzke and Mike Gene is reproduced. A comment follows:

Matzke: The various problems with Behe's irreducible complexity argument are here.

Bradford: None of which addresses the central point of Behe's description. Empirical evidence for the evolution of multi-protein complexes is weak. It contrasts with the strong evidence for unicellular adaptation documented by point mutations and other single step events. The contrast is telling and not mitigated by homologous protein arguments.

Matzke: Funny, the evolutionists have used evolutionary models to make successful research predictions in top journals on one of Behe's favorite IC systems, the immune system. I guess we'll just have to chalk all that up to luck, eh?

And: Why do you think that the evolution of large protein complexes, involving many point mutations, should have been observed within the very few years that scientists have even been aware of these things? You might as well be asking for birds to evolve wings in the lab. It's a silly request. Science requires testable models and passed tests, not impossible requests for video-camera documentation of every event that occurred over billions of years.

Bradford: It was not a request. It simply notes the empirical discrepency in support for unicellular adaptation as opposed to the multi-protein complexes referred to. Your point about the historic nature of the proposed scenario only reinforces my point that evidence by extrapolation is unavoidable if you wish to contend, for example, that the enzymes that are component parts of universal metabolic pathways evolved in Darwinian fashion. Fashioning selection criteria (to) the evolution of metabolic pathway enzymes from precursor proteins and identifying what these precursors might have been would be a most entertaining post. Behe was much too indulgent in his choice of IC systems.

My response occurred prior to this next one by Mike Gene. Gene correctly puts his finger on a double standard in evidence. Note the contrast in Matzke's citation of practical barriers as reasonable explanations for limited empirical documentation and Gene's reference to the demands made of IDers by their critics.

Mike Gene: Now ain’t that interesting? Consider that many ID critics want a video-tape of the designer designing, along with a complete psychological profile of the designer, and independent evidence of his tools.


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