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  Topic: Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism, Comments, links, etc.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 319
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 24 2003,14:08   



Thanks, Nic. I'd like to refocus my question. Perhaps Dr. Dembski is a blowhard, or blathering idiot, or whatever; I don't know.
What I'd like to know concerns the concept of IC, my understanding of it, and what the questions should be.
I',m trying to understand your post. Is the literature you are citing positing a possible evolutionary pathway for T-cells and other antigen receptors? Does it also explain how the complete adaptive (combinatorial)system could have been "put together?" In other words, are we talking about the evolution of "parts" or "complete systems" (tightly integrated systems)? Dembski and Behe seem to question the presence in the literature of explanations of system development. Maybe I'm wrong, but you state that the innate system's evolution has been detailed (with a number of built-in assumptions, I might add), but what about the adaptive, combinatorial system (I mean the engineering of the system, not just the manufacture of its components)?

Neither Behe nor Dembski has ever been very precise about what constitutes a "part" and what constitutes the "system".  If you read Inlay's FAQ, you know that the skin can be seen as "part" of "the immune system".  There are all kinds of proteins involved in immunity, going in all directions, many not found in various organisms, others with multiple uses inside and outside immunity, etc.  It basically doesn't fit very well the simplistic models of clear biological "systems" favored by IDers.

What Behe did in DBB was pick three sets of molecular components in the immune system and call each of them an IC system.  One of these was adaptive immunity.  Basically what makes adaptive immunity different from other kinds of immunity is that the receptors re-arrange.  Signalling, replication of cells with successful antigen-binding receptors, etc. can all occur without rearranging receptors.  Even self-nonself recognition appears to predate the origin of rearranging receptors.  So yes, explanation of the origin of adaptive immunity is basically the origin of these re-arranging receptors.

Of course all of these different subsystems are continually co-evolving, and going in different directions in different lineages.  It would take books to explain it all, e.g.:

Origin and Evolution of the Vertebrate Immune System (Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology, 248)
by L. Du Pasquier (Editor), G. W. Litman (Editor), Springer Verlag, May 2000

...although this one is already sorely out of date.  There are sample pages online at, you can take a look and see all the different topics that are discussed.

Here's my question: would you, if you read only Dembski's work, including his profligate pronouncements about the lack of literature on the evolution of IC systems, have ever found out about this book?  Something like 30+ academics, mostly with PhDs in immunology, contributed to that volume, and yet to the ID movement it simply doesn't exist.  There are far more biologists studying the evolution of the immune system, than there are IDists of any stripe seriously studying the origin of anything.

*This* is why the biological community at large is unimpressed with ID.  The only people ID can snowjob are folks like you, jon_e, who might not be aware of literature like this.  Don't you think that Dr. Dembski should retract his assertions regarding the literature until such time as he deals with the literature on the evolution of the immune system?

Actually, let's have a vote, people can say "yea" or "nay" as they desire:

Should Dr. Dembski retract his assertions regarding the literature until such time as he deals with the literature on the evolution of the immune system?

  11 replies since July 22 2003,20:51 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  


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