Robert O’Brien Nominee: Pat Robertson »« McCain’s Libyan Adventure

Coulter Hearts Behe

With evolution becoming a political issue again after Rick Perry’s ignorant babble on the subject, you knew it wouldn’t take long for Ann Coulter to say some really stupid things about the subject. And she’s all about the Behe, folks.

This week, we will consider one small slice of the mountain of scientific evidence disproving this mystery religion from the Victorian age.

Most devastating for the Darwiniacs were advances in microbiology since Darwin’s time, revealing infinitely complex mechanisms requiring hundreds of parts working together at once – complex cellular structures, DNA, blood-clotting mechanisms, molecules, and the cell’s tiny flagellum and cilium.


No, this week you’ll declare “golly gee, that sure is complex! God must have done it!” over and over again, while totally ignoring the well-tested explanations for how they got to be complex through the process of evolution. And your credulous readers will lap it up like a saucer of milk because they’re as ignorant as you are.

The (extremely generous) test Darwin set for his theory was this: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Thanks to advances in microscopes, thousands of such complex mechanisms have been found since Darwin’s day. He had to explain only simple devices, such as beaks and gills. If Darwin were able to come back today and peer through a modern microscope to see the inner workings of a cell, he would instantly abandon his own theory.

It is a mathematical impossibility, for example, that all 30 to 40 parts of the cell’s flagellum – forget the 200 parts of the cilium! – could all arise at once by random mutation.

Wow, that sounds like a really compelling argument from incredulity — until you recognize the false premise. No scientist would ever suggest that all 30 to 40 parts arose all at once by random mutation, so we are once again dealing with a very poorly constructed straw man. Coulter simply ignores, out of complete ignorance, the many ways that evolution can build up such a system through duplication and cooption. This is hardly a controversial idea in science, it happens all the time in the lab and in the wild. The only ones who don’t seem to get it are creationists.

As Michael Behe, biochemist and author of “Darwin’s Black Box,” explains, even a mechanism as simple as a three-part mousetrap requires all three parts to be working together at once. Otherwise, you don’t get a mousetrap that catches half as many mice – and thus might win a survival of the fittest competition – you don’t get a mousetrap at all.

The more we have learned about molecules, cells and DNA – a body of knowledge some refer to as “science” – the more preposterous Darwin’s theory has become. DNA is, as Bill Gates says, “like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” (Plus DNA doesn’t usually crash when you’re right in the middle of reproducing.)

Evolution fanatics would rather not be called on to explain these complex mechanisms that Darwin himself said would disprove his theory.

Except that scientists, in fact, love explaining how how such complex mechanisms evolve. And they’re very, very good at it. You see, Behe’s views don’t hold up very well under scrutiny. In fact, he got beaten like a narc at a Grateful Dead rally when he got cross examined at the Dover trial. In fact, he was forced to admit that his own research actually disproved the concept of irreducible complexity on the witness stand. If you’re relying on Behe to disprove evolution, you’ve already lost that fight.

Comments

  1. Aquaria says

    This week, we will consider one small slice of the mountain of scientific evidence disproving this mystery religion from the Victorian age.

    As opposed to you dry-humping a Bronze Age goatherder’s genocidal delusions, Ann.

    Pot.

    Kettle.

    Black.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Most devastating for the Darwiniacs were advances in microbiology since Darwin’s time, revealing infinitely complex mechanisms requiring hundreds of parts working together at once – complex cellular structures, DNA, blood-clotting mechanisms, molecules, and the cell’s tiny flagellum and cilium.

    Microbiology is the study of microorganisms. Not many microorganisms have blood-clotting mechanisms. Most of that stuff would fall under molecular biology or cellular biology. Not a huge mistake, relative to the other errors Coulter makes, but it goes to show her lack of familiarity with the field.

  3. daveau says

    He had to explain only simple devices, such as beaks and gills. …all 30 to 40 parts of the cell’s flagellum…

    Why, yes. Flagelli(?) are way more complex than a simple beak, or an eye, or a brain. Game over, Darwin pwned.

  4. ManOutOfTime says

    When I was younger – and, to be honest, into my thirties – there were a few lines I would hear liberal friends parrot which I thought were cynical and lazy: religion is used by the powerful to keep the masses down; conservatives want to keep the masses ignorant and scared; and corporate interests rule both political parties and news media. Hoo boy, was I a sucker: they are all demonstrably true. The Coulters, Becks, Limbaughs, and Behes of the world barely try to conceal it.

    I think Ann Coulter might be a dementer. She makes my blood run cold and I feel sort of depressed and hopeless.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    … DNA doesn’t usually crash when you’re right in the middle of reproducing.

    Add to Coulter’s invincible armada of ignorance the fact that, in humans, between failure to implant and later spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), from 75% to 90% of fertilized ova do not make it through gestation – many for strictly DNA-based reasons.

    daveau @ # 3: Flagelli(?) …

    Flagella!

  6. Chaos Engineer says

    this mystery religion from the Victorian age

    This is obviously a dog-whistle. A “mystery religion” is just a religion where some of the doctrine isn’t made public and is only taught to members of the church. Obviously this has nothing to do with the Theory of Evolution as it exists in the real world; it’s a reference to one of the Antichrist’s pals (Revelation 17:5).

    But what’s the significance of the Victorian Age? Normally I’d expect Coulter to like the Victorians; they’re associated with solid conservative values, like sexual repression, a rigid class hierarchy, and the encouragement of a healthy attitude of self-reliance among the poor.

    Apparently there’s some new popular interpretation of the Book of Revelation that I haven’t heard about yet. Maybe the Antichrist’s world government will have some kind of Victorian Steampunk theme? If so, he’s got my vote already!

  7. Aquaria says

    DNA doesn’t usually crash when you’re right in the middle of reproducing

    I dare this scumbag to say that to my friend whose son died from Tay-Sachs.

  8. pinky says

    Whatever else I might think of Ann Coulter’s pandering nastiness she does not seem moronic to me. I think she is too lazy to work for a living so she tells lies to the people idiotic enough to believe her.

    Ms. Coulter lost points with the feckless fundies when she appeared to support gays (at least the logic of the deranged Dominionists paints her that way) in the recent past. She is hustling now to tamp down the rumors of her sanity. Along with today’s pean to creationism expect similar diatribes from Ms. Coulter soon:

    ✎Real Americans sacrifice their children to god in foreign wars.

    ✎Civil rights are only for Blacks not for women, LGBT people or other minorities.

    ✎Radiation is Actually Good For You

    ✎Airport security measures are a complete waste of time because they do not make us any safer, and in fact make us less safe due to radiation exposure.

    ✎School children should be forced to carry guns. Kindergärtners would start with a pellet gun then a .22 in first grade. Proficiency with a .44 magnum would be required to graduate high school.

    ✎There has never been a problem with consuming alcohol, but everyone who smokes one doobie is a homicidal maniac.

    To quote Kurt Vonnegut

    “So it goes.”

  9. bobthebiologist says

    I have seen this argument before, and could never understand it. Anyone who knows the slightest thing about molecular biology knows that it provides extremely strong evidence for common descent. Through DNA and protein sequencing we can see ridiculous similarities between proteins and our cells and those of yeast and fruit flies.

    There are molecules that are so highly conserved through the phylogenetic tree that anything but common descent and evolution makes no sense at all. How could a yeast protein and a human protein have 60% amino acid similarity and do basically the same thing if they didn’t come from the same place? And then you look at the same protein in a mouse and it has 80% similarity to the human protein. If molecular biology isn’t the strongest evidence available for evolution, then I don’t know what is.

  10. Nentuaby says

    I suppose with all the other falsehoods going on here, it’s worthless to point out that DNA is not anything remotely like a computer program. Take it from a software engineer who is, evidently, a lot more biologically literate than W. Gates.

  11. Michael Heath says

    Bobthebiologist,

    Michael Behe concedes common descent. He’s argues for the impossibility extant results can be explained purely through natural processes with no intervention from a designer.

Leave a Reply