RE: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: John Walley <>
Date: Sun Aug 19 2007 - 15:44:32 EDT

I think the thrust of his latest "Edge of Evolution" is worthy of mention.
It is the first empirical analysis of the power of random mutation to reach
a popular audience that I am aware of. You recall we discussed this briefly
earlier and I quite surprised that no one else has picked up on this.

I think it is a valid contribution that in all the generations of Malaria we
have seen only 2 base pairs mutated and this is the hallmark of evolutionary

I read all the reviews including all the ones on PT and the majority of all
the claims were nit-picking about the details. Some railed about his number
10^20 and one cited evidence of a three position base pair mutation in some
organism but none of these refute his basic premise that their exists a
known limit to random mutation at some point.

Dawkins' review was a hatchet job full of vile and the only substantive
science in it countered Behe's arguments with dogs, but that doesn't make
any sense Behe because freely conceded that random mutation accounts for
different species and possibly classes.

Coyne's review was even more telling simply because he concluded that if
Behe was correct, then God is the "Great Mutator". This is an accomplishment
in my opinion because for once it establishes a scientific position for
faith that is not at odds with science. He even quotes a NCSE publication
that admits that theistic evolution is compatible with science. This goes
further than Collins because Collins just kind of takes a pass on where the
line is drawn between random mutation and God and says he doesn't know. At
least Behe takes a stab at drawing the line and I haven't read any
substantive scientific objections to this major premise.

I think beyond the first round of hit-piece reviews, science is suspiciously
silent on this hoping it will all go away and they won't have to deal with
it anymore. None of the reviews failed to mention both Dover and Irreducible
Complexity as well with a liberal sprinkling of choice adjectives like
"discredited" and "debunked".

Granted, Behe may still be overplaying his cards a little bit by drawing a
distinction between Design and theistic evolution, insisting on this being
evidence of design intervention instead of just leaving the door open to an
embedded algorithm, but nevertheless, I think he deserves credit for putting
the math to this problem and putting the lie to "Darwinist's fanciful
thinking" as he calls it.

And I think that is a valid critique as well. Behe may be guilty of some bad
science but there is plenty of that to go around. From Haeckel's drawings
and the peppered moths and all the "Icons of Evolution" that would still be
taught without any qualification if it wasn't for Wells, it is not fair to
measure it just to Behe and give everyone else a pass.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of PvM
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2007 2:41 PM
To: James Mahaffy
Subject: Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is
the new enemy of

What science has Behe delivered since he joined the ID movement?
Bill's math is 'written in jello' according to a fellow mathematician.
Point us to some good science done by either one and we can discuss.

On 8/18/07, James Mahaffy <> wrote:
> >>> "Michael Roberts" <> 08/17/07 5:08 PM
> [snip]
> I am still waiting for some worthwhile science to emanate form ID or YEC
> circles. I might wait a long time.
> Or you might quit painting EVERYONE with the same brush. Marcus Ross's
work is good,
> Art Chadwick is good. Mike Behe would not have the status he does unless
his science had been
> good. As far as I know Bill D.'s math work is decent. David Dewitt's
publications in neuroscience seem to be standard science articles. These are
just a few that come to mind. I will agree that there is a LOT of poor
science in these circles but PLEASE lets not paint it ALL the same way.
> James
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Received on Sun Aug 19 15:45:12 2007

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