Re: Critique of ID & No Free Lunch

From: Josh Bembenek (
Date: Fri Sep 13 2002 - 12:37:17 EDT

  • Next message: Terry M. Gray: "Re: Critique of ID & No Free Lunch"

    Terry, Howard, Tim-

    Thank you for the responses. I appreciate your enthusiasm for these issues
    and I am excited that you have taken the time to engage me with discussions.
       I am especially interested since I just finished the "Three Views of
    Creation" book with Van Till's perspective laid out and now to transition
    into an active discussion is quite fun. I have also read Tim's dialogue
    with Behe posted somewhere on the net, as well as Terry's summary of the
    analysis of hemoglobin evolution, so its great to dialogue personally.
    Since I am actually in graduate school I have limited time and y'all (yes
    I'm from Texas) have filled my email with a deluge of new ideas and fresh
    arguments that I need some time to mull over. I ask your patience in
    response, but I am interested in addressing various issues and continuing
    all the points in the discussion. For now I'd just like to skim some
    various responses and later I'll try to go more detailed:

    (Howard) Appeals to circumstantial evidence or plausibility arguments are
    likely to be denigrated as nothing more than "just so stories."

    In a quest for absolute truth, I don't see anything wrong with this
    situation. I should expect that this admission be made whenever applicable,
    but most proponents of evolution, especially in the Ohio debate or whenever
    it comes to public opinion and policy, present evolution as a truth quite as
    proven and reliable as gravity. Clearly there are degrees of confidence in
    the truth of both, but I don't believe them to be equal in at all in most

    "By setting the standard for refutation so unreasonably high, they can
    always declare their position still logically possible. The ordinary pattern
    of scientific judgment that must be performed in the absence of full
    knowledge regarding every relevant detail is replaced by an unrealistic
    demand for what is effectively omniscience.

    --It seems to me that Behe et al., would say the same thing back. Except
    for ordinary pattern of judgement..... I'll elaborate in the future.

    (Tim) "If one considers humans and jellyfish very, very, very closely
    related, then yes, with that caveat, S.cerevisiae (SC) and S.pombe
    (SP) might be considered distant relations. It is estimated that
    S.cerevisiae (SC) and S.pombe (SP) diverged somewhere in the
    neighborhood of a billion years ago. The genetic distance between
    SC and SP is roughly the same as the distance between humans and
    SC. (FWIW: We are, however, probably more closely related to SC than
    Bacillus subtilis is to E. coli). Yeasts are old. In addition to the
    huge ancestral distance between these yeasts, other researchers have
    considered additional factors, such as the relative amount of time
    each of these yeasts spends in different parts of the cell cycle
    as possibly contributing to the differences in their regulatory
    systems. I do not think I would use S.cerevisiae and S.pombe for
    comparison if I were looking to test a recently emerged IC system."

    --I agree with you on these points (I wasn't thinking clearly on HOW related
    yeast organims are, etc.) However for the specific details of the Mitotic
    Exit Network (MEN) system that I work on, almost all the data is derived
    from these two organisms (plus my and others recent data on human cells,
    drosophila, and just last week on C. elegans.) So, to hypothesize on the
    evolution of the MEN, you have to work with the data available from very
    unrelated organisms. The overall point I was trying to make is that I
    imagine that most molecular systems being studied by scientists in diverse
    fields are largely in a similar state as my own field, i.e. a wealth of data
    on a limited range of model organisms that is still quite incomplete in that
    organism, not to mention closely related organisms. So the theorizing still
    extrapolates far beyond just how confident we can truly be based upon
    empirical evidence. I intend to explore the references you provided, so let
    me get back on this point.

    "There are many reasons why your model systems for studying mitotic exit
    controls are S.cerevisiae & S.pombe, and not African elephants. You can
    thank people like Paul Nurse (Fun fact: Like Francis Collins, Paul is
    another biologist who motorcycles) and Lee Hartwell for providing you
    with a wonderful selection of cdc mutations and many others for
    developing experimentally tractable systems for cloning, expression
    and mapping -- Things that just aren't available yet in the pachyderm
    system. While I see no great problem studying CHK and other protein
    kinases in elephants (as long as we could spend a thousand years or
    so in a post-doc and could convert the entire habitat of the planet
    to maintain an elephant culture collection), I strongly suspect
    there are other model systems out there that give faster, more
    certain results. Interestingly, we could take the knowledge we
    gain studying the better model systems and apply it to learn more
    about the pachyderm system than we could if we had stuck with looking
    at elephants alone."

    --Actually I work on human cells, and if we can study the cell cycle in
    humans we can definitely study the cell cycle in elephants. Side note-
    Organisms used for cell cycle studies: yeast, man, mice, xenopus, insects,
    sea urchins, and more. I don't see any benefit of culturing elephant cells
    over human cells, so that's probably more why elephants aren't studied as
    opposed to the problems you mentioned with elephant culturing. ; ) Yes,
    since I study hCdc14, I thank the nobel laureates greatly for the cdc's (I
    expect the nobel prize was more rewarding than my thanks.) I recently
    attended the Cold Spring Harbor Cell Cycle meeting where Nurse, Hartell, and
    Hunt hung out, gave talks, etc. and I enjoyed it very much.

    Anyways, just wanted to give some brief responses, that took longer than I
    should have spent as it is. I'll get back soon,


    Join the worldís largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Fri Sep 13 2002 - 12:50:09 EDT