Saturday, January 08, 2005

Dembsk's 'pathetic' comment

On ISCID a poster named Rafe asked Dembski the following question:

in regards to paul nelson's request for a description of an IC system's evolution, i believe i have provided a simple one for the complement system. i'll repost it in case you didn't notice it:

the original complement protein contained a thioester group that is cleaved by serine proteases. when an infectious agent's serine proteases cleaves this protein, it exposes the thioester group, which then binds covalently to the pathogen's serine protease, inactivating it. later, the system evolved it's own serine protease (perhaps co-opted from the blood-clotting cascade), and could activate the complement protein by itself. now the system could protect itself from pathogens by attaching large amounts of complement to them, neutralizing them (agglutination). later, receptors appeared that facilitated the elimination of these complement-bound pathogens by phagocytosis (opsonization). later, the complement proteins evolved the ability to induce local inflammation (anaphylatoxins). finally, the complement system evolved a cytolytic ability (lysis). all of this proceeded through the mechanisms that yersinia initially described.

admittedly, i left out a lot of details, but if you want more, you'll first have to propose a model for the origin of an IC system through intelligent design in at least as much detail as i presented. that shouldn't be too hard, it's only 8 sentences.

Dembski was quick to retreat into the gaps of our ignorance (a common hiding place for Intelligent Design)

As for your example, I'm not going to take the bait. You're asking me to play a game: "Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position." ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it's not ID's task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

William Dembski on ISCID

It's a great thread where Deanne M. Taylor gives Dembski a run for his money and an education in the mathematics of scale free networks.
I intend to explore scale free networks later...
Read more!