End of week

It’s time for bed. Good-night, all!

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Rhetorical tactics: the Behe Blunder

Wesley R. Elsberry of Austringer makes some very good points about the ways in which creationists and IDists avoid actually respond to real-world evidence. I expanded on one of his ways, which I’ve named the Dembski Dodge.

However, Wesley omits the Behe Blunder: get the science wrong and use that as a basis for argument. In perhaps his worst stumble, Behe declares that the evolution of the eukaryotic cilium or flagellum is irreducibly complex and that those structures are assembled by an irreducibly complex multi-protein system known as intraflagellar transport, which he touts as irreducible complexity squared! But Behe gets it wrong.

As Nick Matzke points out,

Nick MatzkeThe huge problem with Behe’s invocation of intraflagellar transport in his “IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY SQUARED” section of chapter 5 is that he is completely wrong when he says that intraflagellar transport is universally required for cilium construction! Anyone can see this by reading this 2004 paper by Briggs et al. in Current Biology, which they cleverly entitled “More than one way to build a flagellum,” presumably so that people would find out that there is…wait for it…more than one way to build a flagellum….

One of the parasitic apicomplexans completely lacks the IFT genes…yet makes a cilium anyway! … Behe would have known all this if he had only carefully read the Jekely and Arendt (2006) cilium evolution paper that he dismissed with a hand wave…. it really doesn’t help the “irreducible complexity” argument much if Behe’s favorite system, the eukaryotic cilium, and the extra-favorite “irreducible complexity squared” system, intraflagellar transport, on which he bases a whole chapter, is in fact entirely reducible…. A great deal of creationism/ID boils down to sloppy claims made on insufficient information, plus wishful thinking that blocks the impulse to double-check one’s claims…

Which apicomplexan critter is it that builds cilia despite Behe’s declaration that “a functioning cilium requires a working IFT”? Why, it’s Plasmodium falciparum, aka malaria, aka Behe’s own biggest running example used throughout The Edge of Evolution.

Nick Matzke’s entire article, “Of cilia and silliness,” is well worth reading.

LOL Michael Behe:

–from Lou FCD

To read more about Behe’s blunders, read these:

The Austringer: Ben Stein contradicts Mark Mathis

Wesley ElsberryWesley R. Elsberry lays out the details that expose Mark Mathis’ self-serving lies. See “The Austringer: Ben Stein contradicts Mark Mathis.

Women speak out against rape in Iraq

We Move to Canada has the story of a woman standing up against rape:

Whenever a woman refuses to be silent about rape, she is standing up for rape survivors everywhere – and for those who didn’t survive. She is standing up for all women, and our right to control our own bodies. She is fighting for freedom from fear.

Posted in people. Tags: , . 2 Comments »

Expelled: coming soon to a church basement near you

It becomes clear who are the target audience of the intelligent design propaganda movie Expelled. The movie is being flogged to church audiences across the U.S.:

coming soon soon to a church basement near you

For more about this travesty of a movie, visit Expelled Exposed.

Sunday Crackpot: Chonosuke Okamura

More people I’ve never heard of. Pharyngula commenter Lars Dietz says:

My favorite in this field is still the “work” of Chonosuke Okamura. Microscopic versions of recent vertebrate species … from the Silurian! An article with some illustrations is here: Okamura illustrations.

Apparently there was some excitement in the 1880s about fossils (crinoids, corals, sponges etc.) found in meteorites by Otto Hahn (not the nuclear physicist). Turned out to be another case of pareidolia.

From the link:

The Great Discoverer

Okamura did no less than discover the Silurian Period beginnings of all vertebrate life, including humans, 425 million years ago. Nearly everything he found was a new subspecies, whether the species was extant or extinct. Some examples are Gorilla gorilla minilorientalis (gorilla), Canis familiaris minilorientalis (common dog), Homo sapiens minilorientales (humans), Pteradactylus spectabilis minilorientalis (pteradactyl), and Brontosaurus excelus minilorientalus (a dinosaur).


Figure 4. Faces of minimen. (Okamura, 1983?, fig. 4.)

(Did I mention, that they were all diminutive, discovered through the eyepiece of Okamura’s microscope? In his description of the mini-man, he wrote, “There have been no changes in the bodies of mankind since the Silurian period… except for a growth in stature from 3.5 mm to 1,700 mm.”)


Figure 5. Miniperson holding a minibaby. (Okamura, 1983?, fig. 18.)

Hoo, boy! Microevolution vs. macroevolution, anyone?

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