Saturday, August 16, 2014

Larry Moran Gets Down to the Nitty-Gritty

If you haven't been following the recent internet debate between Michael Behe and Larry Moran, you're missing a real treat.  And now Larry Moran is getting down to the nitty-gritty.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Behe Responds to Moran

Professor Michael Behe responded to Larry Moran's attempt to take "the Behe challenge."  Some interesting parts:

Moran doesn't seem to actually have much confidence in his own numbers. He asks the readers of his blog to help him correct his calculations -- which is a commendable attitude but makes one wonder, if he's so unsure of the likelihood of helpful combinations of mutations, whence his trust in mutation/selection? In response to the commenter who alerted him to the huge number of parasites in a million people he writes, "This is why meeting the Behe challenge is so difficult. There are too many variables and too many unknowns. You can't calculate the probability because real evolution is much more complicated than Behe imagines." But, again, if he thinks everything is so darn complicated and incalculable, on what basis does he suppose he's right?
That's the reason I issued the challenge in the first place. In my experience almost all Darwinists and fellow travelers (Professor Moran doesn't consider himself a Darwinist) simply don't think quantitatively about what their theory asks of nature in the way of probability. When prodded to do so, they quickly encounter numbers that are, to say the least, bleak. They then seem to lose all interest in the problem and wander away. The conclusion that an unbiased observer should draw is that Darwinian claims simply don't stand up to even the most cursory calculations.
... 
And Behe's conclusion says it all:

The bottom line is that numbers can be tweaked and a few different scenarios can be floated, but there's no escaping the horrendous improbability of developing chloroquine resistance in particular, or of getting two required mutations for any biological feature in general, most especially if intermediate mutations are disadvantageous. If a (selectable) step has to be skipped, the wind goes out of Darwin's sails.

I should confess that though I was the commenter who pointed out that Moran's original calculation meant the probability of developing chloroquine resistance was 1 in 10^18, it was a friend who had pointed out that fact to me.  



Friday, August 1, 2014

Larry Moran Joins the Battle against Behe and company...Sorta'

Professor Larry Moran has joined battle against Behe and company, though I don't understand why he and others only pick on his supporters, instead of going after him.

I suggested that Larry take the Behe challenge.

UPDATE:  And Larry took the challenge!

 I asked Professor Moran in the combox:


"Hi Larry, 

Thanks for taking "the Behe challenge." I'll be curious to see what Behe's response is. Meanwhile, you wrote:

The probability that the other required mutation will occur is roughly 125/25 Mb = 5 × 10‐6, or about five in a million.

I'm curious. Does that mean that if a third mutation was required, then the probability would be 5x10-6 x 5x10-6? And if a fourth mutation was required, would the probability be 5x10-6x5x10-6x5x10-6?"

If the correct answer is "yes," then the probability of getting all four required mutations would be 125 x 10-18, or 1.25 x 10-16, which is not too far off from what Behe estimated the probability was for malaria to develop chloroquine resistance, and also the probability he estimated for evolving one new protein binding site.