A press release from Medical News Today, which is located in the UK, talks about the December Issue Of The Quarterly Review Of Biology. It gives descriptions of several articles in that issue, including one labeled “The Incoherence of Irreducible Complexity.” The press release says, with bold font added by us:
Advocates of intelligent design creationism often tout the concept of irreducible complexity (IC) as a withering critique of Darwinian evolution. But Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman, (Ghent University, Belgium) argue that IC as defined by its most vocal proponent, Michael Behe, is a conveniently vague concept.
Most of you know about Michael Behe, but in case you’re new here, he’s a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, and the author of “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,” which makes him the lord high guru of the cult of irreducible complexity. His colleagues at Lehigh — from which he’s never been Expelled! — are so impressed by his brilliance that they have publicly disassociated themselves from him by issuing this statement: Department Position on Evolution and “Intelligent Design”. To read about Behe’s disastrous testimony in the Dover litigation, see: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony.
After seeing that press release, we went to the website of the Quarterly Review of Biology and found the abstract for Irreducible Incoherence and Intelligent Design: A Look into the Conceptual Toolbox of a Pseudoscience, by Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman.
You’ll need a subscription to see the full article, but here’s what the abstract says, with bold font added by us:
The concept of Irreducible Complexity (IC) has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of the creationist movement over the past two decades. Evolutionary biologists and philosophers have unambiguously rejected the purported demonstration of “intelligent design” in nature, but there have been several, apparently contradictory, lines of criticism. We argue that this is in fact due to Michael Behe’s own incoherent definition and use of IC.
In addition to his other distinctions, Behe is a “senior fellow” at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists). What effect will this have on them?
Your Curmudgeon confidently predicts that the Discoveroids will soon post something at their blog crowing that Behe’s work on intelligent design has been cited in a peer-reviewed journal. They’re very good at quoting a few choice phrases out of context.
Let’s read on from the abstract:
This paper offers an analysis of several equivocations inherent in the concept of Irreducible Complexity and discusses the way in which advocates of the Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC) have conveniently turned IC into a moving target.
Moving target? Sure. Whenever one of the Discoveroids’ allegedly non-evolvable structures is shown to be very evolvable, they just drop it and move on to another. We’ve all seen this behavior on the playground: “You can’t catch me. Nya, nya, nyaaaaaah!”
The abstract ends with this:
An analysis of these rhetorical strategies helps us to understand why IC has gained such prominence in the IDC movement, and why, despite its complete lack of scientific merits, it has even convinced some knowledgeable persons of the impending demise of evolutionary theory.
Okay, Discoveroids — this is the breakthrough you’ve been hoping for. You’ve wedged your way into the big leagues now. Go ahead and make the most of it.
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