Joined: Sep. 2002
Dembski's 'contains no actual biology' remark echoes Behe's remark in the Chronicle of Higher Education, where he was quoted as saying
|But Michael J. Behe, a professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University who is one of the most vocal proponents of intelligent design, says that the simulation proves nothing. "If I were a Darwinist, I would be embarrassed for this paper to be published in Nature," he said.|
"There's precious little real biology in this project," Mr. Behe said. For example, he said, the results might be more persuasive if the simulations had operated on genetic sequences rather than fictitious computer programs.
Dembski's comment about the Lenski, et al. study 'begging the point' because there were functional intermediates available in the simulation echoes some of the objections raised in the ISCID Literature Review Forum discussion of the paper. There's no indication in his Introduction that Dembski learned anything from that discussion, though.
Finally, the inclusion of intermediates in the Lenski, et al., study was not an assumption or requirement; it was part of the experimental design. They actually ran evolutionary runs with 38 different combinations of intermediates, including the extreme case of no simpler intermediates, the case with all 7 'simpler' functions (simpler than EQU), and 36 different conditions with one or a pair of the intermediates removed. In 37 of the 38 conditions, lineages capable of performing the input-output mapping corresponding to EQU evolved; only in the condition in which there were no intermediates did the EQU mapping fail to appear in 50 runs.
Edited by RBH on July 23 2003,00:14
"There are only two ways we know of to make extremely complicated things, one is by engineering, and the other is evolution. And of the two, evolution will make the more complex." - Danny Hillis.