Behe on Darwin: polar bear discussion (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 10:55 (14 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have now read a Behe section on bacteria in glucose lactose culture. The bacteria always automatically eat all the glucose first and the automatically switch to lactose when the glucose is used up. All molecular steps are known. The bacteria have no independent thought to switch.

dhw: Maybe I've misunderstood the significance of this experiment, but why should they switch? Firstly, if they prefer glucose, it seems quite natural to me that they should gobble up their favourite first and only gobble lactose when there’s no glucose left. Secondly, how does this prove that there is no intelligence involved when they are confronted with new threats to their existence but, after millions of deaths, find a solution to the new problem? And has Behe informed you yet that the solution to all their problems was preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, or that your God dabbles every time there is a new threat to their existence?

DAVID: The point was the proven automaticity of the switch.

dhw: Well, yes, if your favourite food runs out, you will automatically switch to your second available favourite. What is that meant to prove?

DAVID: Automaticity, which you just stated.

dhw: Wonderful! So let’s offer a million hungry humans a choice between their favourite food and their least favourite food, see which one they eat first, and if they all eat their favourite food first, we shall have proved that humans are automatons.

DAVID|: Quite a leap. Are we comparing human actions to bacteria as a means of argument or a fun comment?

As presented here, the experiment is daft. The bacteria were apparently offered two foods, and when they had finished the one they obviously liked best, they then started on the second. According to you, this proves they are automatons. According to me, this only proves they prefer glucose to lactose. I have offered you an analogy just to illustrate the point. But maybe the experiment was meant to prove something else – I can only comment on what you presented.


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