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Author: JonBeer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 25048  
Subject: Re: Is Evolution Really Falsifiable? Date: 6/7/2001 5:00 PM
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FLF,

As a newcomer to this board please forgive any faux pas or repetition, however I felt the need to take issue with a couple of your points.

The key point in Behe's argument is that there are no papers in scientific journals which set out detailed, testable scenarios of how these incredibly complex biochemical systems could be produced by Darwinian-style processes. The very few papers that even attempt to speculate about this subject rely heavily upon what scientists call 'hand-waving.' The journals of molecular evolution are full of papers documenting sequence comparisons, showing closer or more distant relationships between molecules. What they don't contain is papers documenting the existence of a Darwinian staircase up Mount Improbable. Until somebody fills the gap with scientific papers rather than stories, the best explanation for this situation is that the staircase doesn't exist

I think this idea is fundamentally wrong. If we do not currently know how to explain something it does not necessarily follow that it is safe to assume there is no explanation (other than a supernatural one). I would say that in this case (the lack of papers detailing exact steps between one molecule and another) the chances are that the biochemists involved did not think it necessary to do so, they simply assumed it was possible. Perhaps this was an erroneous assumption, but I think the burden of proof falls on those who say it is NOT possible rather than those who assume it is. Even if evolutionists were not currently able to find the staircase up mount probable that does not mean it is not there. It simply means that our knowledge is not sufficient to find it. As Dawkins said, if it could be proved that a particular organ/molecule could not possibly have come about via successive slight modifications it would destroy Darwinism. However the important thing to rememer is that the failure to prove something is true does NOT prove it to be untrue.

This reminds me of your earlier post entitled "Assault on evolution". In it you make the intellectual leap from saying "We do not know how this woman died" to saying "It must have been intentional because we cannot explain it any other way". From there you manage to conclude that if it couldn't have been a human intention then it must have been a supernatural one (if you'll forgive my simplification and if I have read your thoughts correctly). I find this totally wrong. There are thousands of cases every year of so called "cot deaths" or Sudden Death Syndrome where babies left alone in their cots are found dead the next morning from no explicable cause. No-one knows precisely how these babies die (although many theories on suffocation, poisoning from matresses etc have been proposed). Applying similar logic to the one you used, if no-one could possibly have deliberately caused the infants death, and we cannot explain it conventionally, it must have been divine will. I guess this is as good an explanation as is currently available (and may provide comfort to grieving parents) but it is no excuse to stop looking for a natural explanation.
To infer intelligent design from specified complexity is a very dangerous game. As our scientific knowledge increases we are able to explain more and more things which previously would have required (if we were to follow your theory) intelligent design.

There is a huge gulf between saying "We cannot explain it" and saying "This will never be explicable without recourse to Intelligent Design"

regards
Jon
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