Re: [asa] ID question?

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Fri Oct 16 2009 - 23:24:12 EDT

Heya John,

Personally, I'm coming to Behe's defense because the claim that Behe is
'anti-evolution' is simply unfounded. It seems like some people are
sensitive on this topic to the point where any criticism of evolution - even
if it's specified as Darwinian evolution, even if it's based on
interpretations of data and research, even if it's admitted these are
(strong) inferences rather than logical proofs - must be balanced out, in
the next breath, by a public declaration of faith in at least some kind of
evolution. Otherwise, suspicions start to mount. That, I think, is an
exaggerated response.

In other words, I just don't share your impression. I also don't share what
I take to be this feeling that it's very, very important for Behe to balance
out his criticisms of darwinian evolution by praising evolution in the broad
sense. Then again, I think that this obsession with evolution (by many,
spanning various views and faiths) needs to come to an end anyway.

On Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 8:45 PM, John Walley <> wrote:

> This is exactly right. Behe does make claims against Darwinian evolution. I
> asked the same question before, is there another form of evolution that Behe
> is more comfortable with? If so, he didn't mention it in the video that I
> recall.
> I know he has spoken and written other things in other places about
> evolution but in this video he does come across as being against evolution.
> Its not like it was heavily edited either and made to look a certain way nor
> was he responding to a strict set of questions. He could have said anything
> he wanted and made any point he wanted and left any impression he wanted
> but this is what he chose. Why is everyone then apologizing for Behe and
> saying this is a mischaracterization of him?
> John
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: "Dehler, Bernie" <>
> To: asa <>
> Sent: Fri, October 16, 2009 10:06:11 AM
> Subject: RE: [asa] ID question?
> Hi Cameron-
> " Please find me one statement, anywhere in Behe's work, where he says that
> he is "against evolution", or else do the honourable thing and publically
> withdraw your comments."
> If you watch the video- he said repeatedly that "Darwinian evolution"
> couldn't do such and such. What other kind of evolution is there? Is he
> saying there's another kind of evolution that he accepts? If so, what does
> he call it?
> ...Bernie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow
> Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 10:08 AM
> To: asa
> Subject: Re: [asa] ID question?
> Bernie:
> Your remarks about Behe are incorrect. They are not only unsupported by
> any
> references to his works; they show an almost complete misunderstanding of
> his position. It is not Behe who is in a "muddle".
> Such a high degree of misunderstanding suggests a lack of familiarity with
> Behe's writing. And this reminds me that you still have not answered my
> earlier question: which books and essays of Behe have you read entirely
> through?
> Please find me one statement, anywhere in Behe's work, where he says that
> he
> is "against evolution", or else do the honourable thing and publically
> withdraw your comments.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dehler, Bernie" <>
> To: "asa" <>
> Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 11:39 AM
> Subject: RE: [asa] ID question?
> > Hi Bill- you apparently see the ID debate as "guided vs. unguided
> > evolution" but I see it as "evolution vs. special creation." ('Special
> > creation' being creation by fiat.)
> >
> > This is what I think I'm starting to see in the current origin's debate
> > culture: Because evolution has been proven by pseudogenes, people want
> to
> > shift the argument from "did evolution happen" to now "is evolution
> > guided." I think this is the current crisis for OEC's. But I think
> OEC's
> > reject evolution, so if they want to now accept it, even as 'God-guided,'
> > they still have to leave the camp and come over to TE. The OEC camp will
> > always be there, and it is only for those who reject evolution, guided or
> > not.
> >
> > I think some OEC's are attempting to make a switch from "evolution is
> > false" to "evolution is maybe God-guided" and appeal to Intelligent
> Design
> > to save face (like a ploy to straddle the fence of accepting both modern
> > science and simultaneously rejecting/accepting evolution).
> >
> > Behe is a perfect example of this muddle, by apparently rejecting
> > evolution (in some aspects) and accepting it for human common descent.
> > Therefore, Behe is neither for or against evolution. Creationists
> > generally like to separate evolution into micro and macro. When Behe
> says
> > he accepts common descent for humans, that is macro evolution. So here
> we
> > have Behe accepting micro/macro evolution yet still against evolution for
> > other things. I guess he needs to define another category of evolution,
> > so he can accept micro and macro, but reject this third thing/part of
> > evolution.
> >
> > ...Bernie
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Bill Powers []
> > Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 4:14 PM
> > To: Dehler, Bernie
> > Cc: asa
> > Subject: Re: [asa] ID question?
> >
> > OK. I've got to say something about this.
> >
> > Bernie, you apparently believe something like:
> >
> > Intentional/Design theories fail because they have not been able to
> > demonstrate that unguided evolution could not have done it.
> >
> > This is a rather strange way to do science, and only the kind of game
> that
> > a bully would employ. Is there any kind of evidence that it could be
> said
> > "unguided evolution" could not do that?
> >
> > What a more civilized approach would be is that evolutionary mechanisms
> > were clearly defined so that what is likely and what is not might be
> > become clear. This would entail, for example, temporal stochastic
> > equations. Is the abrupt arisal of species a problem for unguided
> > (whatever one means by that) evolution or not? It doesn't seem to me
> that
> > evolutionary biology is prepared to even address the question
> > intelligently.
> >
> > How can there be honest theory comparison when the theory is so vague?
> >
> > ID can also be required to be more explicit. It needs to describe in
> > detail a story, which is nothing more than evolution offers. The story
> > would describe, for example, what are the minimal capabilities and steps
> > required for a Guide to act.
> >
> > Comparing an explicit evolutionary mechanism and a guided one could be
> > fruitful. For one, the guided story is one that could be possibly
> > employed by human agents. The process of putting it together permits
> > dialog between the two. One supporting a guided mechanism might argue
> > that such and such step was entirely unlikely given available resources.
> > In ths same the unguided advocate might argue that such and such a step
> > might be accomplished without guidance, and here's how.
> >
> > In developing explicit guided mechanisms and paths, perhaps new
> > definitions and understanding of what is guided and what is not will
> > arise. For now it is vague.
> >
> > As far as I can tell there is no good evidence available to distinguish
> > guided from unguided evolution. I don't see why "pseudogenes" are any
> > better off in this regard. They appear to adopt a position that you
> > oppose: an argument form ingnorance. Just because we know of no "reason"
> > that a "pseudogene" would exist does not imply that some "reason" might
> be
> > later found. So all that can be said is that no "reason" is known YET.
> > Sound familiar? What is more, unless you know God or all putative
> > designers better than I do, I don't see how you (or anyone) can say that
> > "pseudogenes" were not intentional.
> >
> > The argument begins to look like Antony Flew's Invisible Gardener. One
> > might ask what is the difference between and invisible Gardener and no
> > Gardener at all, or what is the difference between an invisible designer
> > (guided evolution) and no designer at all (unguided evolution). But I
> > take from Flew's argument something different from what he intended. All
> > his argument suggests to me is that given the evidence provided I have no
> > reason to prefer a Gardener or none at all.
> >
> > Frankly, I think, if one must proceed along these lines, that the
> evidence
> > better supports a guided universe. The only argument offered in Flew's
> > case to prefer no Gardener at all is Occam's Razor. But I take this to
> be
> > an epistemological criterion, and see no reason for it to bind ontology.
> > Indeed, if it did, it would argue for a Gardener.
> >
> > bill
> >
> > On Wed, 14 Oct 2009, Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> >
> >> William Paley used the 'watchmaker analogy' to demonstrate the idea of
> >> intelligent design. We can just tell, by looking at nature, that things
> >> are obviously designed by God by fiat, such as man, because of their
> >> complexity.
> >>
> >> Darwin creates a stir with an alternate hypothesis of man's creation via
> >> biological evolution instead. It is a competing hypothesis. Evolution
> >> has now won, for explaining the biological creation of man, because of
> >> DNA evidence like pseudogenes.
> >>
> >> So my question: Isn't Behe's 'moustrap' irreducible complexity the same
> >> EXACT situation? It is basically saying since we don't know how it could
> >> have evolved, therefore it was intelligently designed (by God or
> aliens).
> >> The only difference is that Behe goes into great detail trying to
> explain
> >> how it can't be done by known "Darwinistic evolutionist" mechanisms, but
> >> Paley could have (and maybe did?) done the same thing (explaining
> why/how
> >> known science of his day could not explain evolution for humans).
> >>
> >> I would like to know what is so different about Behe, compared to Paley.
> >> Paley has a 'complexity' argument with the watch, and Behe introduces
> >> irreducible complexity, but both are proposing ID because known science
> >> can't explain it... yet.
> >>
> >> It is interesting to me that Paley's argument for the biological
> creation
> >> of man is not discarded because it is wrong with the idea of complexity,
> >> but because the evolutionary process has evidence "beyond a reasonable
> >> doubt." So complexity may still be a valid way to detect ID, yet in
> this
> >> case, it turned out wrong as science accumulated more facts. It could
> be
> >> the same with irreducible complexity. A valid way to detect ID, yet
> >> disproven in the future when more facts become available.
> >>
> >> But what is the evidence to prove irreducible complexity? It seems like
> >> the only evidence is "evolution can't do it or explain it... yet."
> >>
> >> ...Bernie
> >>
> >
> >
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Received on Fri Oct 16 23:24:30 2009

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