Today’s ID the Future features three recent Evolution News essays by Lehigh University biology professor and Darwin Devolves author Michael Behe, as read by host Andrew McDiarmid. In the first, nothing shows the feebleness of Darwinism quite so much as breathless stories about new results that turn out to be much ado about nothing. In this case, it’s some recent speculation about the rise of “lactase persistence” in many human adults. Then it’s onto malaria, much beloved of evolutionists, not for its lethality but as a demonstration of evolution in action. But Behe dissects the latest news story on the topic to show that the touted malaria evolution is, once again, malaria gnawing off the proverbial leg to achieve a niche advantage—that is, mere devolution. It’s akin, Behe says, to the rise of tuskless elephants in Africa, where having the devolutionary mutation that leaves an elephant tuskless renders the creature of no interest to elephant-slaying ivory poachers, thereby improving its chances of survival. In the third essay Behe makes a case for his favorite way of concisely describing what we detect when we detect intelligent design in biology. For a great collection of Dr. Behe’s essays, get a copy of his newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael Behe Answers His Critics.
On today’s ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith explores a recent article in the journal Nature, “The Alarming Rise of Complex Genetic Testing in Human Embryo Selection.” As alarming as that title sounds, Smith says the reality is even worse than the Nature article suggests. Using the breakthrough technology known as CRISPR, scientists are not only altering the genes of a given creature, including humans, but are even altering the creature’s germline. This threatens to permanently alter a species, Smith explains, including the human species. There’s the question of whether we have the right play god in this way, of course. There’s also the practical issue of scientists not really knowing what they are doing yet. A gene identified as having a certain negative effect and therefore targeted for elimination, Smith says, could turn out to also have a positive effect that was only discovered after the gene was eliminated. This precise scenario may have occurred in a case in China involving human beings. Tune in to learn more, and check out Smith’s new podcast, Humanize.Show.
On today’s ID the Future Darwin Devolves author and biologist Michael Behe discusses two recent technical papers that the news media billed as dramatic evidence for evolution. As Behe explains in his conversation with host Eric Anderson, a careful look at the papers themselves shows that both cases involve devolution. That is, the biological forms in question did not evolve novel structures and information; instead they threw away things to achieve a niche advantage. In the first study, in the journal Nature Microbiology, the researchers found that in Africa, where “most rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for falciparum malaria recognize histidine-rich protein 2 antigen,” the malaria parasite has repeatedly evolved a way to sometimes elude detection, giving it a selective advantage, since this sneakier form of the parasite is less likely to be treated with anti-malaria drugs and eliminated. But what gets lost in the media hype is that the trick is managed by deleting histidine-rich protein 2 (pfhrp2) and 3 (pfhrp3) genes—devolution. A similar story unfolds in a Current Biology article focused on the yeast S. cerevisiae. Behe says the thinking used to be that, as an earlier and simpler evolutionary form, it was no wonder this yeast had fewer introns than later, more sophisticated organisms higher up the evolutionary tree. But as Behe underscores and as this recent paper argues, it looks instead like the yeast devolved, tossing off genetic information to achieve a niche advantage while sacrificing functionality outside the niche. But evolution’s grand tree-of-life story requires constructive evolution, not more and more cases of organisms tossing parts overboard. Instead, here we have two more examples strengthening Behe’s thesis that devolution dominates the biological scene, swamping by many orders of magnitude cases of genuine, complexity-building evolutionary mutations (if any such exist), rendering the prospect of substantive constructive evolution hopeless.
In today’s ID the Future, intelligent design pioneer Michael Behe continues his conversation with philosophers Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. Here in Part 2 of a three-part series, Behe offers an illustration from language and Madden presses him, noting that meaning detection in language is not parts to whole. A lively exchange ensues and then Behe turns the discussion back to his primary focus, detecting design in molecular biological machines by recognizing the purposeful arrangement of parts. From there the conversation turns to everything from epigenetics, systems biology, and autopoiesis to co-option, mousetraps, tie clips, biologist Kenneth Miller, and the philosophers Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. For Behe’s newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin, go here. This discussion is presented here with permission of philosopher and podcaster Pat Flynn.
Today’s ID the Future concludes our series on A Mousetrap for Darwin, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe’s new book on evolution and intelligent design. Here Behe and host Eric Anderson tackle an objection to Behe’s work from evolutionary biologist Larry Moran. Moran says that while the Darwinian process may find it difficult to find any particular solution requiring evolutionary innovation, there are countless possible solutions to a given problem, not just the one solution that evolution did hit upon and that is under investigation. According to Moran, Behe failed to take this into account, a factor that greatly enhances the chances of blind evolution to engineer novel solutions to ecological challenges. Behe counters that Moran’s objection misses the force of the evidence gained from the study of evolution in the malaria parasite and in other microbes. That evidence shows that evolution is extremely limited in what it can achieve, no holds barred, no possible solutions disallowed. Behe also discusses recent research confirming Dollo’s Law, why that’s bad news for Darwinism, and why Behe’s time-symmetric Dollo’s Law spells even bigger trouble for Darwinism.
Today’s ID the Future features an excerpt from the Michael Medved Show spotlighting intelligent design proponent Michael Behe. The two Michaels do a quick flyover of Behe’s hard-hitting new book, A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael Behe Answers His Critics. Along the way they discuss some random mutations often touted as proof of evolution’s power, including some found in dogs. On closer inspection, this dog of an argument for evolution won’t hunt. Tune in to hear Behe’s lucid explanation.
Today’s ID the Future provides another peek at A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics. Here Behe and host Eric Anderson discuss the new book’s section on malaria evolution. Evolutionists say malaria’s ability to evolve resistance to the antimalarial drug chloroquine is powerful evidence of unguided microbe-to-man evolution. Behe discusses how this evolutionary innovation required two coordinated mutations and lies at the outside edge of what blind evolution can manage. But many innovations in the history of life require three or more coordinated mutations, which Behe argues is so improbable as to lie beyond the reach of blind evolution. If so, this would discredit evolutionary theory. Drawing from his new book, Behe discusses various attempts to discredit his argument and explains why he’s convinced that each such attempt collapses under scrutiny.
On this ID the Future Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe dives deeper into A Mousetrap for Darwin. Behe and host Eric Anderson pivot to the new book’s section defending Behe’s earlier work, The Edge of Evolution. In that earlier book, Behe reviewed hard data from evolution studies of malaria parasites, HIV, and E. coli, showed that blind evolutionary processes face severe limits as to what they can build, and argued that intelligent design was required for the origin of life’s great diversity. In this new conversation Behe touches on some of the attempts to refute that argument and suggests why those refutations fail. For a more in-depth look at his defense of The Edge of Evolution, get your copy of A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics and check out Part 3 of the book.
On this episode of ID the Future, biochemist Michael Behe and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss the anti-malarial drug chloroquine, now being investigated as a treatment for COVID-19, and how it may work on the cellular level against the coronavirus. The same drug was featured in Behe’s 2007 book The Edge of Evolution, as part of his demonstration that evolution has strict limits: It can do adaptive work for organisms with single mutations, but if just two coordinated mutations are required at once, evolution’s random processes have great difficulty even with natural selection helping them along. In cases where population sizes are enormous, as with malaria, it can eventually overcome the need for two simultaneous and coordinated mutations, but only just barely. Because the odds go up exponentially, three simultaneous coordinated mutations may be beyond the edge of evolution. What does all this bode for chloroquine and the coronavirus? Listen in as McDiarmid and Behe discuss.
On this episode of ID the Future, guest host Jonathan Witt sits down with molecular biologist Douglas Axe at the recent Dallas Science and Faith Conference. Axe, author of Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed, had his research on protein folds published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, work showing that random mutations are not up to the task of building fundamentally new protein folds from old, a finding that poses a major challenge to modern evolutionary theory. After all, if evolution can’t build something as basic as a new protein fold, how could it build whole new organs and body plans in the history of life? But Witt presents Axe with an objection: Axe couldn’t possibly have tested more than the tiniest fraction of a fraction of all the possible amino acid combinations for the protein he studied, so how can we trust his findings? Tune in to hear Axe’s explanation, and to learn about other lines of evidence confirming his research.