Behe denies all avenues to understanding the evolution of pathways

This is just a short post, following up recent posts that point to evidence that does indeed give very good hints at how metabolic pathways evolved, such as through the adaptation of cilia for photoreception, gene duplications in general, and duplication of the genes for photosystem I, which allowed for the evolution of photosystem II.

You can see the satisfaction that Behe has in the idea that his claims are beyond the reach of the evidence, in the following DBB quote:

Thus biochemistry offers a Lilliputian chalnge to Darwin.  Anatomy is, quite simply, irrelevant to the question of whether evolution could take place on the molecular level.  So is the fossil record….  Neither do the patterns of biogeography matter, nor those of population biology, nor the traditional explanations of evolutionary theory for rudimentary organs or species abundance.  DBB, 22

Unsurprisingly, he ignores rather crucial issues of falsifiability of unguided evolution, such as whether or not cladistics map out to the expected evolutionary predictions, which, so far as anyone can demonstrate, is indeed the case.  He also ignores the fact that if evolutionary thinkers were unable to garner positive evidence in favor of “darwinian evolution” from the various lines of evidence, the exact same fact would exist for ID.  But then he fails to understand the need for positive evidence for his claims, unlike the far better scientific thinker, Rev. William Paley (See here).

Above all, he wants to pretend that science should not simply use the evidence of origination that fits taxonomy, biogeography, comparative anatomy, and the fossil record, unless actual evidence is found that something else is responsible–or if one found actual evidence that it could not have evolved (he isn’t even close).

But another issue crops up in the book, for note that the quote above came from page 22.  Only rather later does he even bring up genetic evidence of molecular evolution, and then denies it without justification or a mention of evidence.  The denial is bad enough, and reveals an apparent stupidity on his part, though it could be mendacity instead.  Yet, worse, it would seem as though he left this issue alone at the beginning because he actually knew that it could provide such evidence (or if he’s too deeply into denial, he seems to know that others say so).  Otherwise, why would he not bring it up on p. 22?  On pp. 180-181 can be found his blank, unevidenced denial of this crucial issue (though the same stupid denial is on p. 90, its first appearance I believe):

…Although sequence data can be used to infer relationships, they cannot be used to determine how a complex biochemical structure originated.  DBB 180-181

Never mind that he does exactly this time and again, including mitochondria and even to a degree with his “irreducibly complex” examples, for, although he denies that they evolved by “Darwinian” means, he does not deny that genes were adapted from previously existing genes.  This is acknowledged more explicitly in Edge of Evolution.

This is not the only time that he brings up crucial issues only when (it appears) he hopes to have already confused people sufficiently that they won’t catch on.  I have mentioned this before, but he writes on p. 245 of DBB “…Large questions remain (as they inevitably do in basic science),….”  Suppose he had admitted as much at the beginning, rather than well after he had claimed that evolution doesn’t work due to the difficulties we have in the basic historical science of biology?  It would have completely undermined his whole case. 

Oh, I am quite convinced that he crafted his book to avoid many of the honest questions, at least until after he had already dishonestly misconstrued the science of evolution.  Of course even at the end he quite continues to deny the obvious, that genetic sequences give us considerable insight into the evolution of metabolic pathways, no matter that he himself makes many claims based expressly upon genetic sequences. 

Could he ever admit that we can indeed find out how genes evolved by observing the evidence of gene splits?  Of course he could not, because then he’d have to honestly face (or at least would be pressed to do so) the evidences of duplications behind the evolution of the clotting cascade and in the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, as well as having to notice that his “irreducible pathways” in the eye are mainly in an highly modified cilium, which in turn is a highly modified set of pre-existing cellular transport system.

Since he never once was interested in supplying any evidence for design, he doesn’t mind closing off all avenues which provide the evidence that life evolved.  The mere fact that he ends up basing his pathetic analogies and “arguments” on exactly what he has denied is not a problem for someone who isn’t concerned about either science or consistency.

This is part of a series of posts that I am combining into one long post, which may be found at Darwin’s Black Box.

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2 Comments on “Behe denies all avenues to understanding the evolution of pathways”


  1. […] Behe Fails Weblog Just another WordPress.com weblog « Behe denies all avenues to understanding the evolution of pathways […]


  2. […] I briefly discussed his denial that genetic evidence tells us about evolution yesterday, along with his denial of all of the other evidence. But this particular denial cuts so close to the heart of Behe’s errors and apparent lack of understanding of science that I thought it would be worth discussing further, especially since it tantamount to denying the evidence used to understand language evolution (although the selectional mechanisms are different, which shows up in the details of both evolutions, including their taxonomies). For, nucleotide sequences, coupled with their organization, have many similarities to languages and their structures, even though they also have many dissimilarities. […]


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