Behe on IC (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 24, 2023, 16:54 (119 days ago)

In his words:

"Here analogies to mousetraps break down somewhat, because the parts of a molecular system have to automatically find each other in the cell. They can’t be arranged by an intelligent agent, as a mousetrap is. To find each other in the cell, interacting parts have to have their surfaces shaped so that they are very closely matched to each other, such as pictured in Figure 19.2. Originally, however, the individually-acting components would not have had complementary surfaces. So all of the interacting surfaces of all of the components would first have to be adjusted before they could function together. And only then would the new function of the composite system appear. Thus, I emphasize strongly, the problem of irreducibility remains, even if individual proteins homologous to system components separately and originally had their own functions.


"In Darwin’s Black Box I argued that the blood clotting cascade is an example of an irreducibly complex system. (Behe 1996, 74-97) As seen just by eye, clotting seems like a simple process. A small cut or scrape will bleed for a while and then slow down and stop as the visible blood congeals. However, studies over the past fifty years have shown that the visible simplicity is undergirded by a system of remarkable complexity. (Halkier 1992) In all there are over a score of separate protein parts involved in the vertebrate clotting
system. The concerted action of the components results in formation of a weblike structure at the site of the cut, which traps red blood cells and stops bleeding. Most of the components of the clotting cascade are involved not in the structure of the clot itself, but in the control of the timing and placement of the clot. After all, it would not do to have clots forming at inappropriate times nand places. A clot that formed in the wrong place, such as in the heart or brain, could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Yet a clot that formed even in the right place, but too slowly, would do little good.


"This is not at all what Darwinists expected. As Bruce Alberts wrote earlier in the article “The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines”: We have always underestimated cells. Undoubtedly we still do today. But at least we nare no longer as naive as we were when I was a graduate student in the 1960s. Then most of us viewed cells as containing a giant set of second-order reactions....But, as it turns out, we can walk and we can talk because the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered. Proteins make up most of the dry mass of a cell. But instead of a cell dominated by randomly colliding individual protein molecules, we now know that
nearly every major process in a cell is carried out by assemblies of 10 or more protein
molecules. And, as it carries out its biological functions, each of these protein
assemblies interacts with several other large complexes of proteins. Indeed, the entire
cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking
assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. (Alberts

"The important point here for a theory of intelligent design is that molecular machines are not confined to the few examples I discussed in Darwin’s Black nBox. Rather, most proteins are found as components of complicated molecular machines. Thus design might extend to a large fraction of the features of the cell, and perhaps beyond that into higher levels of biology. Progress in twentieth-century science has led us to the design hypothesis. I expect progress in the twenty-first century to confirm and extend it."

Comment: Behe sees IC everywhere down to the complex reactions in a single cell. So, do I.

"consider the words of the philosopher Michael Ruse:
For example, Behe is a real scientist, but this case for the impossibility of a small-step
natural origin of biological complexity has been trampled upon contemptuously by the scientists working in the field. They think his grasp of the pertinent science is weak and
his knowledge of the literature curiously (although conveniently) outdated. For example, far from the evolution of clotting being a mystery, the past three decades of work by Russell Doolittle and others has thrown significant light on the ways in which clotting came into being. More than this, it can be shown that the clotting mechanism does not have to be a one-step phenomenon with everything already in place and functioning. One step in the cascade involves fibrinogen, required for clotting, and another, plaminogen [sic], required for clearing clots away. (Ruse 1998)"

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