Thursday, July 19, 2007

Micheal Behe: Im calling you out.

Yeah, I know he doesnt read this blog. I know ID Creationists (Creationists in general) appear not to know this blog exists, if my troll traffic is any indication.

But I cannot ignore Behes continually baffling assertions about HIV.

Hes doing it again.

WORLD: You write that "HIV has killed millions of people, fended off the human immune system, and become resistant to whatever drug humanity could throw at it. Yet through all that, there have been no significant basic biochemical changes in the virus at all." Why is that significant in the debate over Darwin?

BEHE: Like malaria, HIV is a microbe that occurs in astronomical numbers. What's more, its mutation rate is 10,000 times greater than that of most other organisms. So in just the past few decades HIV has actually undergone more of certain kinds of mutations than all cells have endured since the beginning of the world. Yet all those mutations, while medically important, have changed the functioning virus very little. It still has the same number of genes that work in the same way. There is no new molecular machinery. If we see that Darwin's mechanism can only do so little even when given its best opportunities, we can decisively conclude that random mutation did not build the machinery of life.

Behe, here are my questions:
  • What do you want HIV to do?
  • What would constitute a 'change in functioning'?
  • What would constitute 'new molecular machinery'?
I have offered counter examples to both of the latter, limp-wristed statements.



And though Ive sworn off low hanging fruit-- If a professional respected Creationist like Behe wants to give me an easy target, Ill happily snatch it:
Yet all those mutations, while medically important, have changed the functioning virus very little. It still has the same number of genes that work in the same way.
Lets pretend HIV is 'hasnt changed'-- Behe just said 'If humans evolved from monkeys, why there still be monkeys?' 'If HIV mutates so much, how come it aint evolved into a cat yet?'

Ahh its Creationism, not HIV, that hasnt evolved any new tricks in the past 30 years.

7 comments:

Chris Harrison said...

Duh Abbie, it's still HIV isn't it?

I'll be impressed when it evolves into a penguin.

Seriously, I don't think IDists like Behe understand that ID will never be accepted until they can demonstrate the design process. Evolution would never have gained its present validity if it wasn't for the fact that, well, it just happens. IDists need ID to happen.

quantok said...

The "monkey" theme seems crucial to Cretinists.

I've noticed over and over again that they're phobic about 'hominid' and uncomfortable with 'ape'. Ask what they think a Neanderthal is and you're told "kind of monkey"; Afarensis? Another "monkey".

There's more to this than species ignorance. I think it's a reflex denial mechanism: they can reject a link between ape-like hominids and humans, but it's hard to evade the fact that ape-like creatures walked on two legs, used tools and had burial rituals.

Referring to every hominid fossil as a monkey introduces a comfort zone with slightly comical undertones. It's bad enough watching a documentary about Bonobos followed by an hour of Big Brother - nothing like it for shattering your illusions about humans as the pinnacle of Creation. But wondering just what the Intelligent Designer was doing with all those beta-release hominids is a place they don't want to go.

Of course, I'm not ruling out finding some surprise common ancestors when they sequence the Creationist genome...

Bob O'Hara said...

Thanks Chris. I'm now struggling with an image of a sexually transmitted penguin.

Bob

Chris Noble said...

It struck me recently how similar David Rasnick's (HIV Denialist) arguments about protease inhibitor mutations being impossible are to Behe's arguments about the "limits of evolution".

INHIBITORS OF HIV PROTEASE USELESS AGAINST AIDS

JoeyJoJoJr. said...

I just saw Behe in a debate this past Tuesday. Here is the link to to it: http://science.cranbrook.edu/common/news_detail.asp?L1=7&L2=0&newsid=403942&sb=1
(They said they would be posting the recording of the debate, but I have not seen it on the website yet.)

Although he didn't mention HIV, he did present his sickel cell/malaria argument, complete with a slick Powerpoint presentation and fancy graphics.

Why they had a anthropologist debating him, I'll never know. They weren't even on the same page. (Not to mention that he looked to be in his 80's and seem a bit confused about most of what Behe was discussing). I wish it would have been you instead, it would have made it a much more interesting debate!

kdaddy said...

OK, Behe's argument is that if HIV undergoes all these mutations "yet all those mutations, while medically important, have changed the functioning virus very little ... we can decisively conclude that random mutation did not build the machinery of life." That's like saying I'm a decent golfer and I golf alot, but I've never gotten a hole in one, therefore, no one else can get a hole in one. Viruses are not cells and random chance means just that, what is it about random he doesn't understand.

The Factician said...

Heh.

Sexually transmitted penguin.

Heh.