Thursday, August 02, 2007

Michael Behe, please allow me to introduce myself...

Note: WHOO! Up on Pandas Thumb! Thanks, guys!

Im ERV. This is my dog, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And this is my friend, Vpu . I presume you and Vpu haven't met, as you recently repeated in an interview with World magazine the same sentiment you gurgled ad nauseum in 'Edge of Evolution':

"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."

I find it rather difficult to believe that you two haven't crossed paths, as Vpu turns up in a simple Google search. And as a matter of fact, Vpu is sitting right there in the totally unnecessary and worthless diagram in 'Edge of Evolution'. See? Right there:

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If you had taken the time to label this pointless diagram, you might have noticed your error, and we wouldn't need to have this conversation. Alas, Vpu is a tiny molecule, and he's easy to overlook if you don't want to see him.

Vpu, is in fact, a new gene1. Of the five major phylogenetic groups of SIV, Vpu is only found in one group-- Chimpanzee SIV (SIVcpz) and its descendants—including HIV-1. It is absent in all of the other major lineages (Sooty Mangabey, African Green Monkey, Sykes Monkey, and L'Hoest Monkey). This means that Vpu is in HIV-1 but not HIV-2. 2

Ah, Michael Behe, you might try to talk your way around Vpu now (though you were evidently unaware of its existence moments ago) by insisting that it is not *new* new. "Sure it's new in chimpanzees, but its not *new* in HIV-1!" Sorry, you'll find no escape with that limp-wristed, ad hoc parry. SIVcpz Vpu and HIV-1 Vpu act in different ways, biochemically , which is predictable enough when you do something as simple as comparing amino acid sequences. For instance, if you compare a laboratory strain gag to SIVcpz gag, you get a similarity of ~75%3. Not too shabby. On the other hand, if you compare the subunit portion of env (the gene I use to create phylogenetic trees because it's the most variable between viruses) you get an AA similarity of only ~59.5%.

The amino acid similarity between HIV-1 Subtype B Vpu and SIVcpz Vpu is ~37%. Ah but that study was published in 1990. Perhaps things are different now? I found the AA sequence of NL4-3 (lab standard Subtype B) and several recently entered SIV cpz sequences at the Los Alamos National Laboratory HIV Sequence Database4-- I got the same numbers. Highest was ~39% AA sequence similarity.

Turns out a LOT of evolution has been going on in HIV-1 since it was transferred to humans 50-60 years ago. What are the biochemical implications of these differences?

In humans, there are two functions of Vpu5-- One is inducing the degradation of CD4 molecules. CD4 is the host cell receptor HIV needs for infection. Removing CD4 from the cell surface prevents superinfection (more than one virus infecting the same cell) and helps prevent newly released viruses from turning around and infecting the same cell (also prevented by an HIV maturation step involving protease). To put this the simplest way possible, Vpu involves the evolution of at least two protein-protein interaction sites—one to interact with CD4, one to interact with the pathway that degrades the CD4.

The second function is to act as an ion channel in the host cell plasma membrane6. Five Vpu proteins come together to form a Na+K+ viroporin 7. This has been shown to assist in particle release, making the cell charge more conducive to the release of new particles. This involves the evolution of more protein-protein interactions—the individual Vpu proteins must interact to form the pentamer, plus an action site that can be used to block ion flow 8.

Viroporin capabilities have not been found with SIVcpz Vpu. Knowing what we know about Vpu, this is not surprising. If you scramble the transmembrane region of HIV-1 Vpu (the portion responsible for the ion channel formation), viral release is crippled9. And when you compare AA homology between SIVcpz and HIV-1 Vpu in the transmembrane region is unremarkable (roughly two)—that's as good as a 'scramble'. So theoretically, ion channel formation evolved in HIV-1 when it infected humans to overcome a species specific and cell specific host factor 10. Though the list of viroporins discovered is continually growing, the evolution of a viroporin de novo is not menial task.

This seems like a pretty significant biochemical change in HIV-1, to me.

But the 'pathetic' evolution doesn't stop there. The feature both Vpus have in common, CD4 degradation, is carried out in completely different ways. HIV-1 Vpu requires two casein kinase II sites. You could almost call it irreducibly complex-- If you dont have both CKII sites, CD4 isn't degraded. Yet some SIVcpz Vpus have only one CKII site, and instead utilize a simple string of negatively charged amino acids in place of the second site 11. Different ways of performing similar tricks with totally different amino acids. I think that's biochemically significant as well.

Ah, Michael Behe, you might try to talk your way around Vpu NOW by saying, "Vpu might be *new* new in HIV-1, but its not *NEW* *new* new. It hasnt changed in HIV-1 since humans acquired it!"

Alas, 'same number of genes that work in the same way' goes beyond the differences between HIV-1 Vpu and SIVcpz Vpu. HIV-1 is divided into three groups, M, N, O. Group M is the one making a mess of the world right now, and is further divided into Subtype A, B, C, etc, and circulating recombinant forms of the subtypes (Subtype AG, for instance). Two relatively well characterized subtypes are Subtype B and C. Subtype C HIV can be defined by its Vpu, as it is so different from the other subtypes12

For instance, Subtype C Vpus are characteristically longer than the others, have key phosphorylation sites shifted, have an extra CKII site, and its tertiary structure is totally different (Subtype B Vpus have an Mr of 43,000 in an SDS-PAGE gel, while Subtype C is 34,000). But what does this mean, biochemically?

It turns out that one of the biochemical differences is that Subtype B Vps have a Golgi retention signal in the second alpha-helix of the cytoplasmic domain 13. This means that Subtypes B Vpu prefers (if you will excuse me personifying a virus) to be in the Golgi, helping degrade CD4, while Subtype C Vpu prefers to be in the plasma membrane, assisting with the release of new viruses. Michael Behe, if you don't understand the epidemiological and clinical significance of this 'pathetic' evolution, well, that might explain why you aren't doing HIV research.

So heres a quick time-line for the evolution of impossible genes and impossible protein-protein interactions, courtesy of Ian Musgrave (one of those dreadful PhDs/Professors that has something to teach this pre-grad student):

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Michael Behe, as a courtesy to you, this essay isn't even going to touch Vpx, a gene specific to the HIV-2 and SIV sm lineage. Vpx is one of those pesky gene duplications you say don't exist in HIV (Vpr x2). I also won't point out how silly it is of you to claim HIV has not evolved biochemically, when the HIV research community has barely scratched the surface of HIV's biochemical evolution (for the love of Pete, we don't even know what HIV-1 Subtype Cs gp120-gp41 look like!).

Look, the fact of the matter is, all of this information on Vpu is publicly available. No one was hiding this information. This wasn't a 'trick.' Vpu was not discovered yesterday—it was discovered in 1988. There is no excuse for you to write an entire book on the premise of HIV not being able to do something, when it is clear that these impossible feats did happen. This is just one of a billion plus examples of lazy Creationists taking advantage of the ignorance of their followers. I'm just a friggen pre-grad student who knew what the HIV-1 genome looked like and had a few minutes to do a PubMed search. I haven't even taken a course in biochemistry.

*sigh* So lets hear it, Behe, what's your excuse for missing this? Go ahead—run off to PubMed and find a paper to pubjack. I'm not going anywhere.

Reference:
1. A novel gene of HIV-1, vpu, and its 16-kilodalton product
2. Diversity and Evolution of Primate Lentiviruses
3. Genetic organization of a chimpanzee lentivirus related to HIV-1
4. LANL HIV Sequence Database
5. The HIV-1 Vpu protein: a multifunctional enhancer of viral particle release
6. The human immunodeficiency virus type 1-specific protein vpu is required for efficient virus maturation and release
7. The Vpu protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 forms cation-selective ion channels
8. Drug-protein interaction with Vpu from HIV-1: proposing binding sites for amiloride and one of its derivatives
9. Identification of an ion channel activity of the Vpu transmembrane domain and its involvement in the regulation of virus release from HIV-1-infected cells
10. HIV-1 Vpu Promotes Release and Prevents Endocytosis of Nascent Retrovirus Particles from the Plasma Membrane
11. Vpu-mediated CD4 down-regulation and degradation is conserved among highly divergent SIV(cpz) strains
12. Molecular characterization of the HIV type 1 subtype C accessory genes vif, vpr, and vpu
13. Identification of a region within the cytoplasmic domain of the subtype B Vpu protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) that is responsible for retention in the golgi complex and its absence in the Vpu protein from a subtype C HIV-1

53 comments:

Nick said...

OMG that's hilarious and fantastic at the same time. If Tara is not around tell me and I will post it to PT.

Kristjan Wager said...

Great post Abbie. If you keep this up, there won't be any deniers for the rest of us to demolish.

VWXYNot? said...

What a fantastic post! I'd love to see how he would respond :-)

Nick said...

Post is up at PT:
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/08/erv_hiv_versus.html

burredbrain said...

Your wit and your writing are as sharp as a scalpel! I enjoy these takedowns immensely.

Ian said...

Congrats on your first post on PT! (and the ringing endorsement from Nick). Great post.

Ian Musgrave said...

Great work Abbie (and I say this not just because I drew a diagram for you).

This post is of great significance, because it not only shows that protein-protein interactions evolve when Behe claims they haven't, but also hits at some other important claims by Behe.

Firstly, The formation of the Vpu ion channel and the Golgi targeting sequence results in a protein complex, the sort of thing that Behe say is vanishingly difficult for evolution. Secondly, this happened in historic times, not back in the Dreamtime, when the Rainbow Serpent ^W^W designer could have popped some gene sequences into HIV without us noticing.

Thirdly, Behe claims zero new protein-protein binding sites in a population of 10^20 viruses over 60 years (EoE figure 7.4 page 144 and page 143). In fact, in less than 10 years, HIV evolved two protein-protein binding sites that lead to the formation of a functional protein-complex in a virus population of much less than 10^20, as this happened in the early stages of the disease, when the viral population was somewhere near 10^12 to 10^14, this strikes against Behe's population size requirements (the effective population size was probably even smaller).

So Behe is defeated by his own example.

philos said...

Quite apart from the evolution of HIV, which according to you, changes, but so what?

Nobel prize winner and inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, states HIV is an ordinary retrovirus, 1 of thousands upon thousands out there, and therefore a waste of time in respect to the disease known collectively as AIDS.

I suggest you talk to Dr. Mullis and learn some humility towards science.

ERV said...

hehe I hope you all forgive me for not posting for a week now :P Thanks for the link, Nick!

Ian M-- Its amazing. I dont know how he missed this. Im desperately hoping that he says "Wow, I screwed up" and doesnt try to claw his way out of this... *sigh*

philo-- Unless youre being sarcastic, youre reading the wrong challenge post. This one is yours.

Ian Musgrave said...

Erv wrote:It's amazing. I dont know how he missed this.

My hypothesis is that he can't use PubMed boolean searches. even a simple search such as
HIV AND "protein-protein interaction" AND evolution turns up this paper on evolution of CXCR4 binding sites during the duration of an infection.

h3nry said...

wow... this is awesome. Basically as a layman I have no idea what you are talking about, but hey, that's my problem...

Actually on a second thought, this post is probably worth translating into layman's language... huge task, I know, but it will educate the IDers and creationists at large.

VWXYNot? said...

Philos, Mullis is a loon. Read his Wikipedia entry - LSD, astrology and alien encounters...

Locke said...

Great post ERV. I'll be checking in more often.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

I hope you all forgive me for not posting for a week

No problem, just wondering if you or Mr Schwarzenegger caught a virus. Instead it turns out you caught some (academic) research. Well done ERV and Ian, and congrats to the PT publication.

Btw, don't miss Nick's article. Granted, biochemistry should be Behe's speciality, but the flagellum is one of his sound bites too.

this post is probably worth translating into layman's language

Tentative layman version:

"Mr Behe, you have done research in biochemistry. Yet you mess upp HIV biochem when you want to find support for your critique of evolution. U r pwned!"

Bob O'Hara said...

That was worth the wait - hilarious!

How well has the pattern of evolution of Vpu been characterised? I can see Behe could retreat to his position from Dover, where he said we have to provide everything (including selection gradients and N_e for the whole period of evolution) before he would be convinced.

"U r pwned!"

lolHIV! Anyone care to put that on a picture of HIV?

Bob

John said...

philos - creationist AND HIV denier. Somehow that doesn't surprise me.

matthew said...

sweet, sweet awesomeness

Blader said...

Great job with the smackdown. Even more impressive given you are a tech...no offense, the best techs tend to be the best scientists, but still....you are going to make some grad department very proud.

As for the great mystery: Behe apparently doesn't know about HIV evolution because he's an ass, one operating off of a retarded sense of intuition, which is criminally complicated by his inability to NOT commit academic malpractice.

And also the fact that what you've summarized hasn't been deposited in wikipedia, so it was sort of easy to overlook given the book deadline pressures and whatnot.

Did you see him on Colbert? At one point, he even said "nanosomethingorother"---"nano"--while describing his lovely cellular machines.

He's like a fucking chimp who can be taught some cool sounding buzzwords, but otherwise can't seem to suppress his natural instincts to try to further impress his audience by flinging poop all over the walls of his cage.

And wtf is up with the Darwin beard!!??! It's satire that writes itself.

Anonymous said...

Philos,

Mullis was given credit for inventing PCR. That doesn't necessarily mean he did all the brainwork.

Jeb, FCD

The Factician said...

Philos,

Heh, you're taking Mullis seriously.

Heh. He's a nutball. Not only is it disputed whether or not he really invented PCR (google Khorana some time), but he believes in astrology, alien abduction and is a frequent user of acid.

I wouldn't use him as my reference source or role model, if I were you...

Drew said...

"Nobel prize winner and inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, states"

Given all the other looney things Mullis believes in, his mere name and nobel prize hardly makes him a universal expert on everything. Inventing PCR is not the same thing as being an expert virologist or an expert on AIDS.

Jimmy Carter won a Nobel too... AND he was a scientist at one time... that doesn't mean that his mere opinion is good enough that its all we need to establish how cancer works. People like Mullis, however, think that they can just declare the truth via fiat, and then not seriously respond to any of the critiques thrown at their position.

Anonymous said...

From one of your titles on a prior post:

"You are 85% Rational, 28% Extroverted, 0% Brutal, and 100% Arrogant."

The 0% brutal part just doesn't reflect your jugular approach with Behe.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Philos, Mullis is a loon.

Guys, turns out philos is a loon too.

Crime: "Being a demented fuckwit and world-class asshole"

Comments: "In an unbelievable act of crass, vile smugness, this petty twerp rushed to my site after the fatal 35W bridge collapse to sneer at atheists. "Contemptible" isn't a strong enough word for vermin like this, who use tragedy to push their lies on the bereaved. His kind are what make me despise religion."

Glenn said...

PZ on Philos: "In an unbelievable act of crass, vile smugness, this petty twerp rushed to my site after the fatal 35W bridge collapse to sneer at atheists."

Ironic, given his moniker.

Regarding Behe, I was marvelling that he keeps coming up with nonsense, keeps getting humiliated over it...then he carelessly comes up with some more nonsense. Can he really be that stupid?

Then I realized the best explanation is that he's more dishonest than stupid. He knows his "facts" are wrong. He knows his blithe analogies fail utterly. But he also knows that explaining how wrong he is takes many times more effort for both the author and the reader, that we'll never--not even with Colbert in the hunt--stanch the flow of this guy's crap. He's in it for God, so all's fair.

To most people who hear Behe, his drivel will sound fairly sensible, while rigorous, well-reasoned, thoroughly-explained rebuttals like ERV's will sound to them like Charlie Brown's teacher.

All the same, many thanks and heartiest kudos, ERV. Your piece is fascinating, and it's exciting to see this science presented so passionately, clearly and convincingly. Keep up the good fight.

ERV said...

hehehe I think its funny only the Deniers have gotten up the balls to comment. **waves to philos** I cant help but notice you havent posted on the Denier Challenge post? Weird!

Anon #2-- Im as gentle as a lamb! I want you all to know that you can ask ANY questions you want on my posts, and Ill try to help you understand! I will never, EVER be 'brutal' to someone who just wants to learn.

It would be brutal, to you all, not to... correct Behe. **grin**

Again, I am very very glad that you all like this post :) Thanks for commenting- It makes me happy :)

John Wilkins said...

Am I the only one who noticed that Behe called HIV a microbe?

Oldcola said...

Great!
Now, sit back, enjoy comments and wait for Behe to try to respond, that will be Big Fun :-)

Tyler DiPietro said...

Wow, am I late to the party or what?

I'm sorry for not congratulating you earlier, ERV. I haven't had as much time to browse as usually do given that I've been wrapped up in a bunch of shitty work up here in shitty Maine. But nonetheless, fantastic post. I can't wait to see Behe's response.

philos said...

To those berating Mullis:

I guess the Nobel Committee just didn't know what they were doing and awarded the 'wrong' guy ; all
you grad/pre-grad students must be right.

True, Mullis has some eccentrities. It has no bearing on his science, however.

Plus, I'd trust Mullis' opinion rather than a 24 year old in Oklahoma with dog pictures on her blog.

ERV: I'm not questioning that HIV evolves; I question the significance of HIV towards a specific disease in question. Your lab results and cherished proteins, specifically Vpu and Vpx, do not impress me; with correct mathematics, HIV is calculated to be just an interesting sidenote if it's well thought through. I guess Duesberg is wrong, too, eh?

And is she wrong, too?:

http://sandiego.indymedia.org/en/2006/07/116534.shtml


And that chubby slob from Minnesota - well, he just doesn't understand clear examples of argument reversal and he accuses the Christians of intolerance?

And, I'm not even a Christian.

philos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
philos said...

Above link should end as

.shtml


Please excuse the inconvenience.

ERV said...

John-- LOL I know, that made me twitch a bit, but technically Im getting a PhD in microbiology studying viruses...


oldcola-- Yeah... we're all wanting to see what he says, but Im honestly expecting them to ignore it. Like Isaid on PT, Im expecting a response about the time I get my PhD...

Tyler-- No worries! Ive been on vacation and not posting this past week, youre forgiven for not neurotically checking my page for updates. But only this once :P

philos-- Heres your link.

Use the tags [a href="www.yourlink"]This is my link[/a href], except use <> instead of [].

I dont care what you think about HIV. I really dont. Until you explain the Denier Challenge post to everyone, you have no writer ethos. Answer it, and Ill have a conversation. Until then, the topic is Behe, not Mullis.

Tyler DiPietro said...

Philo, if you'd bother to look through Abbie's archives, you'd find out that Culshaw had already been dealt with.

And yes, Duesburg and Mullis are wrong about HIV. Both are virtually universally considered cranks by medical experts who know of their claims. The rest of your post is just the standard denialist garbage.

philos said...

And what source shall we use to support the statement:

"HIV is the probable cause of AIDS"

Show me an AIDS propagandist and I'll show you a delusioned, unfortunately misguided scientist whom should know better, who knows full well they'd be unemployable & have to work in a real job if not for chasing transparent demons, wasting everyone's time and funding.

http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/data/kmforeword.htm

Kristjan Wager said...

What the hell is an AIDS propagandist? Someone who wants AIDS to be spread? That would sound like someone claiming that there is no HIV-AIDS connection, even when all scientific evidence points to that.

Philos, I'll give you a friendly advice. It's not a smart move to claim that people who work on curing AIDS are doing it to waste peoples' money rather than admit that they are wrong. Especially not on the blog of someone who works in the field.
People tend to take that sort of thing very personally. And for good reasons. Unlike the AIDS deniers, these people are working hard to save lives - they'd be happy if there were no more AIDS (or HIV) in the world. That's the very goal they are working towards. Saying that they are wasting money just to saty employed, when they are trying very hard to not be needed any more, is gross stupidity. However, I guess that's to be espected by a AIDS denying creationist.

Now, back to the subject. Do you have anything to contribute to the debate at hand? Can you see any scientific errors in Abbies' post? Is there anything that she (and the rest of us) has overlooked that would mean that Behe could be correct? And trying to deny AIDS won't cut it, as Behe bases his entire premise on the existence of the HIV virus causing AIDS.

Tyler DiPietro said...

We officially have a crank troll on our hands, folks. He's managed to ignore all responses to him, including the recommendation that he take his AIDS denialist kvetching to the appropriate post.

Time to stop feeding.

Jay said...

It occurred to me that Behe could have been shot down easier by saying:

If AIDs evolves, why is there still AIDs?

Similar to the monkey evolution argument.

PDB said...

Bravo! I've linked to your blog from mine as of now.

Charles Foljambe said...

Um... all I see is that you found a gene that wasn't there before. You didn't see that it evolved, just that it's there. Its existence does not, in and of itself, give any information as to its creation. Behe's book was mostly about malaria, not HIV, and perhaps he was wrong on this point. I would hope he'd take the time to respond, rather than having Casey Luskin do it for him. In any case, there is no refutation here of Behe's main point, that certain changes are beyond the reach of Neo-Darwinian mechanisms. Correct me if scientists actually watched this gene evolve in a lab. Otherwise, the only way this is a blow against ID is if you take the philosophical stance that a Designer would not intentionally make diseases more effective against humans.

ERV said...

Charles-- A gene Behe says cannot exist. He didnt say "Vpu is there by magic." He said "there are no new genes, no new molecular machinery" over and over and over and over and over and over and then he made a diagram that said 'no new genes, no new molecular machinery' (just in case you missed it in the text).

Go to Borders. Look for yourself.

While youre there, look at the inside cover-- there is a list of things that are 'beyond' the 'edge'. Vpu covers three: "Genetic Code" "Multiprotein Complexes" and "Molecular Machines"

New gene.
CD4 degradation pathway.
Viroporins.

And yes, we can extrapolate the directionality of the evolution of Vpu. Like I said in my response on UD, look at reference #10. Vpu evolved in a very specific way in humans to overcome a species and cell specific host factor. It is a blow against ID because we have experimental evidence to support our claims, and 'A Designer put the gene there' is not science. Its magic.

Magic has never been the right answer. Ever.

Charles Foljambe said...

I am not attempting a defense of Behe. I believe he can do that ably himself. That "magic", that is, a nonmaterial cause for a material effect, is never the answer, can only be counted as a metaphysical assumption on your part, one that some would say is demonstrably false (body/mind dichotomies, etc.). Moreover, your assumption in this matter, combined with scientists' inability to come up with another naturalistic process as plausible as the neo-Darwinian synthesis, betrays a lack of objectivity as to your interpretation of data.

ERV said...

Charles-- Oh I can think of lots of non-evolution ideas to explain life as we know it! But not only do you have to find evidence to support the new claim, but you have to explain why the new process explains things better than evolution, and then why evolution was wrong, but appeared to be right.

Its that last part that conspiracy theorists have trouble with. Like that HIV Denier I 'debated'. He had this long, elaborate, alternate theory worked out. But he didnt have any evidence to support his claims. His 'theory' didnt really explain available data... at all. And, he didnt have an answer other than ANOTHER conspiracy theory to explain why SIV-->HIV-->AIDS explained things so well.

Not that Im calling you an HIV Denier :) I just wanted to illustrate the fact that its not enough to have an 'idea' or a 'feeling' that a well established scientific fact is wrong. You patiently collect data, publish papers, and then you write your Nobel acceptance speech.

Basically the opposite of what the DI does.

truth machine said...

Nobel prize winner and inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, states ...

Only a very stupid or very dishonest person would employ such a blatant argument from authority. That Mullis is a loon or may not have invented PCR is just gravy.

truth machine said...

That "magic", that is, a nonmaterial cause for a material effect, is never the answer, can only be counted as a metaphysical assumption on your part,

It's not an assumption; nonmaterial causes for a material effect is logically incoherent, which is why Cartesian dualism is dead in analytical philosophy. Scientists are more generous, sticking only to "methodological" naturalism, as they are pragmatists who are primarily interested in producing theories that generate accurate predictions. "magic", even if it were possible, provides no grip for doing that.

truth machine said...

In any case, there is no refutation here of Behe's main point, that certain changes are beyond the reach of Neo-Darwinian mechanisms.

This is a refutation of a specific claim by Behe; his more general "point" has been refuted numerous times elsewhere. Calling something a "point" is often a dishonest way of dodging the burden of demonstrating a claim, which is clearly what you are doing here. Saying that you are not attempting a defense of Behe is an obvious lie. Saying that he can ably do that himself is completely groundless -- he has been refuted here, and the only way he can defend his position, rather than concede error, is dishonestly.

truth machine said...

Charles Foljambe's blog: "Vitalism, Teleology, and Aether ...attempting the revivifacation of ideas both ancient and true."

Whoa. Enough said.

Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...

With respect, you've completely missed Behe's point, which is that there is an edge to evolution. If he misjudged the edge by a couple of orders of magnitude, that still doesn't mean that there isn't an edge. If you want to demolish Behe's case, you need to show not that the exact location of the edge is wrong but that there is no edge.

James said...

@"Charles Foljambe":
It's not a "lack of objectivity". It's scientific FACT that new genes arise through evolution. For a more layman-friendly SPECIFIC example of this (actually observing the emergence of new genes): Look-up Nylonase on wikipedia. Read the entire article.


@"Paul (probably - maybe Liz)":
That is a blatantly false assertion. It is BEHE's responsibility to show there IS an edge, if he is the one positively asserting that there is. And, he has utterly failed to do so. End of story. (Your claim is as vacuous as insisting that, because you can't disprove the existence of fairies, therefore they must exist.)


@ERV:
I wandered my way onto this blog, starting back on Iron Soul's blog (on which you made some posts---I'm his friend, Jim, whom he linked to, btw).

I just wanted to say: I think I'm now in e-love! LOL

Ok, what I actually wanted to say is: Bravo on the refutation! Excellent work!

truth machine said...

Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...

With respect, you've completely missed Behe's point, which is that there is an edge to evolution. If he misjudged the edge by a couple of orders of magnitude, that still doesn't mean that there isn't an edge. If you want to demolish Behe's case, you need to show not that the exact location of the edge is wrong but that there is no edge.

============

What a bunch of stupid ignorant twaddle.
No one claims that there is no edge -- but all of known biological diversity fits within it, contrary to Behe's claim (and "point").

Interested1 said...

So what is the cure? Aside from knocking down Behe.

Interested1 said...

TIMA. Having the charisma of the Boston Strangler doesn't make you any smarter, or the other guy more wrong. It only subtracts from any potential progress which could have been otherwise made.

Interested1 said...

James said: read about nylonase

I did, and found this:
"NMSR, among others, has responded by saying that gene duplication and frame shift mutations were powerful sources of random mutation.[9] In particular, proof that it was these mutations that gave rise to nylonase, rather than the process based on plasmids suggested by AiG, has been obtained from DNA sequencing."

The mutation which caused the sequence for said enzyme was DIRECTED, not randon. In fact, this is a classic example of bickering over nothing, which gets in the way of accomplishing something. The bacterium was found not from the application of evolutionary principles, but by what is called accident. They stumbled upon it.

I seems that the only useful purpose the tools of evolution are used for is to "refute" creationists. Maybe you guys are missing the forest for the trees. Look at all of the number crunching and gene sequencing being thrown at the genome, when there is a useful tool that was staring at you all along. Well, accidents do happen. I hope that one day science will get back on the right track.

ERV said...

'Debating' by yourself on a 9 month old thread is generally considered to be 'bad form'.