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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site


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Title Author Date
Argument from artificial selection Frank, Mark Jul 04, 2007
I am totally in sympathy with your views, but I think you oversimplify the argument from artificial selection. I am pretty sure that any sophisticated IDist (including Behe) would argue that the range of phenotypes we can achieve through breeding are the result of recombination i.e. they take advantage of variety that is already present - not mutation. Is there any evidence of artificial selection taking advantage of mutations?
Incidentally is not also a bit unfair to choose dogs? I believe I read somewhere that they are unique or very unusual as a species in the range of phenotypes that have been created through artificial selection - most, maybe all, other species are less pliabe.

Related Articles: Professor Jerry Coyne addresses Michael Behe's reply to Coyne's review of Behe's new book

Title Author Date
Argument from artificial selection Coyne, Jerry Jul 04, 2007
OF COURSE the dog phenotypes are the results of mutations, both old (segregating in the ancestral wolf) and new (variants that have occurred since breeding began). Recombination simply shuffles the variation around and can combine mutations into new phenotypes, but the origin of that variation has to be through mutations in DNA. In fact, we know some of the mutations that are involved in creating new dog breeds.
And many other species are just as pliable--there are tons of examples (the wild cabbage, for instance, produced domestic cabbage, brocolli, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts, all plants that are tremendously different from their ancestor). The same goes for corn, tomatoes, etc.: most species are in fact quite pliable to artificial selection. This was in fact recognized by Darwin in The Origin, where he makes a big to-do about the genetic malleability of pigeons. And think of how flowers have changed through horticultural breeding: new colors, new petal shapes, different numbers of petals, and so on.

The point I was making was, of course, that all of these advances in breeding, which occur far more rapidly than evolution in natural populations, have taken place by the accumulation of RANDOM mutations, rather than the God-given miracle mutations that Behe requires for substantial evolutionary change.
Related Articles: Professor Jerry Coyne addresses Michael Behe's reply to Coyne's review of Behe's new book

Title Author Date
Argument from artificial selection Bowman, Lee Jul 06, 2007
I wouldn't classify Behe's criticism of Jones' decision as 'denigrating', or consisting of ad homs. Behe merely stated that he copied and pasted, granted, a common practice by judges. But a simple reading of Judge Jones' decision plainly shows that he didn't add/ offer anything coherent regarding why he concluded ID as to be unscientific, unless you'd consider phrases like "breathtaking inanity" to be constructive criticisms of ID. Also, deprecating his credentials to evaluate a theory as scientific would logically follow from his background, and is in no way an ad hominem attack. I'd say, rather, that phrases like, "Behe not only engages in sophistry ... ", or "These argument betray a profound, almost willful ignorance ... " would classify as ad homs.
You stated, " ... you can bet that if the verdict had gone in favor of Behe's side, he wouldn't be impugning Jones as "the former head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board."
Obviously, but does the unanimous support of him by evolutionists make sense, when Phillip Johnson was roundly criticized as being a 'lawyer', and therefore not qualified to critique Darwinism or support the concept of Intelligent Design? Unlike Judge Jones, Johnson did his own extensive research prior to his authoring of 'Darwin on Trial", as evidenced by his footnotes and citations (over 20 pages of 'research notes'). Sorry, but JJ did none of that, and yet although Johnson was hammered, JJ has been eulogized.
Finally, a personal observation. Throughout your review, you repeatedly chide Behe for sidestepping the identity of he designer, but I do credit you for not asking the Dawkins like question of "who designed the designer?" In your original review, you state that ID is an outgrowth, or even more guileful, a cleverly disguised form of Creationism. I'll repeat a point I've made over and over: Although certain Creationists have used the term 'Intelligent Design' in an attempt to gain credibility from a science perspective (the Dover School Board is a prime example), they are not a viable part of the ID community today.
Quoting the original review, "Intelligent design, or ID, is a modern form of creationism cleverly constructed to circumvent the many court decisions that have banned, on First Amendment grounds, the teaching of religious views in the science classroom. ID has shed many of the trappings that once cost creationists scientific and legal credibility, including explicit reference to God and the ludicrous idea that the Earth is only about ten thousand years old. Instead, God has been replaced by an unspecified "intelligent designer."
While there have been instances of the above, the central tenet of ID is that certain biologic features (actually, most) are too complex to have evolved naturalistically. Given certain changes in the landscape, it appears that the 'big tent' may have gotten a little smaller. ID is a scientific theory, and research is, and will be ongoing.

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Title Author Date
Argument from artificial selection TalkReason , Jul 06, 2007
We have posted Lee Bowman's letter, wherein he defends the output of Phillip Johnson, tries to justify Behe's hurling mud at Judge Jones, and asserts that ID is science in which research is going on. Bowman pretends to be a thoughtful observer of the ID vs. evolution debate. However, a brief investigation reveals that Bowman is an active member of the crowd behind the rabidly pro-ID website Uncommon Descent, which is one of Dembski's outlets (where one of Bowman's colleagues is such an odious figure as DaveScot, and where Dembski stooped to such devices as attacking Judge Jones by utilizing the sounds of flatulence). In other words, Bowman is a hard-core ID-type creationist, an acolyte of Dembski and a participant in a notorious blog known for intolerance to critique and use of extremely rude and contemptible methods of "debate." It is common knowledge that on the Uncommon Descent blog every comment lacking admiration for Dembski and ID is promptly erased. Unlike Bowman and friends, who do not allow any critical word to appear at their site, Talk Reason is not afraid of publishing Bowman's letter. Still, Bowman has his own outlet where he can defend Johnson, attack Judge Jones, and admire ID "science," Behe, and Dembski, rather than sending his deceptively "thoughtful" letters to Talk Reason, where he surely knows his views will make most readers only shrug. As to a detailed response to the assertions made by Bowman in his letter, they have been debunked more than once before, including many posts on Talk Reason and on the Panda's Thumb blog, so we see no need to rebut every unsubstantiated notion in Bowman's letter one more time in this brief comment to his letter.
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