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Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4926
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2011,06:50   

Quote (Southstar @ Dec. 14 2011,05:28)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 14 2011,05:09)

Could you clarify what, precisely, people are taking as if the scientific community agrees? That certainly doesn't sound like it could describe the Behe and Snoke article that was the topic of part of the cross-examination of Michael Behe in 2005.

This is the paper they hold next to their Bible. The claim is: this is what science believes since no scientist has ever published a paper that disprooves and or critisises Behe's "epic" work.




But consider these lines:
1) Behe's work in PLOS does not support ID it simply points to creating difficluties for evolution to work. Its a starting point in showing "see no gain of function, it's all loss". The people I'm debating with are using this paper to show that the biggest research ever carried out in the history of the planet shows that loss outweighs gain to such an extent that there is no way that evolution can work.
2) As far as I know, there is no peer reviewed paper out there that goes against this particular study. They use this fact as proof that the scientific community agrees with Behe's argument. So for them the case is closed.

QRB is not PLOS. Behe's publication is not a report of research. It's a meta-review. Other people did research, Behe is merely commenting on their work, often through the medium of still others who reviewed the original research. There is no "history of the planet" here, merely a selected set of research reports and reviews. The degree to which Behe's selected set of topics reflects "the history of the planet" is quite open to question, and is certainly no basis upon which to confidently state that "loss outweighs gain".

How could there be "a" peer-reviewed paper that would counter Behe's assertion, which as you've related it concerns the statistical question of how frequent "loss" is compared to "gain"? That requires some sort of grand sampling plan far more ambitious than anything yet attempted. To what purpose? Funding agencies aren't keen on "showing up IDC advocates" as the sole prospect of a study, especially one that would likely carry a price tag in the multiple billions.

A more apropos interpretation of the scientific community's estimation of the worth of Behe's meta-review would be that it is well-cited in further research. Is that the case? Google Scholar certainly shows no sign that Behe's opus has stimulated much of anything scientifically. There are thousands of papers published every year that go on without rebuttal or significant citation; do all of them thus attain the status of settled science? To my mind, that follows only if one is completely insane.

Boudry et al. wrote a QRB piece on irreducible complexity as pseudoscience; is that equally well-esteemed by your correspondents? If not, why not?

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

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