Michael Behe’s “First Rule of Adaptive Evolution” Could Undermine the Evolution of Functional Coding Elements

After reviewing the effects of mutations upon Functional Coding ElemenTs (FCTs), Michael Behe’s recent review article in Quarterly Review of Biology, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” offers some conclusions. In particular, as the title suggests, Behe introduces a rule of thumb he calls the “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: “Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.” In essence, what Behe means is that mutations that cause loss-of-FCT are going to be far more likely and thus far more common than those which gain a functional coding element. In fact, he writes: “the rate of appearance of an adaptive mutation that would arise from the diminishment Read More ›

Michael Behe’s Quarterly Review of Biology Paper Critiques Richard Lenski’s E. Coli Evolution Experiments

In a previous post, I discussed Michael Behe’s recent paper in Quarterly Review of Biology, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” which reviews much recent work in the field of bacterial evolution. He devotes particular space, however, to the research of Richard Lenski, who has now grown over 50,000 generations of E coli in the lab to study its evolution. Lenski’s work was cited by Richard Dawkins most recent book (The Greatest Show on Earth) as the ultimate refutation of irreducible complexity. Dawkins’ book, however, made a straw man argument by discussing a misguided attack on Lenski’s work by Conservapedia editor Andrew Schalfly, completely ignoring critiques of Lenski’s research by Behe in The Edge of Read More ›

Peer-Reviewed Scientific Paper by Michael Behe Challenges “Gain of Function” Mutations in Molecular Evolution

Michael Behe has published a peer-reviewed scientific paper in the journal Quarterly Review of Biology titled “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” arguing that “the most common adaptive changes seen … are due to the loss or modification of a pre-existing molecular function.” The observation that a particular type of molecular change involves loss-of-function has been used by leading evolutionary biologists as argument against that particular mechanism as being an important force for adaptive evolutionary change. In a 2007 article in the journal Evolution, Hopi E. Hoekstra and Jerry Coyne co-authored a review article critiquing cis-regulatory mutations as a mechanism of evolution, stating, “Supporting the evo devo claim that cis-regulatory changes are responsible for morphological Read More ›

Tracking Down the Quotes John Wise Invented for Michael Behe

In my prior post, I noted that John Wise’s online response to Discovery Institute used invented quotes from Michael Behe’s Dover testimony. In one case, this was understandable since Wise was simply copying a misquote from Judge Jones (who copied it from the ACLU). But there’s another invented misquote from Behe’s Dover testimony whose origin is more puzzling. Wise stated: During the Kitzmiller v. Dover Board of Education trial, Prof. Michael Behe – a leading proponent of Intelligent Design, stated under oath that “under the broad definition of science that ID proponents prefer, astrology also qualifies as science”. I tried finding the words attributed to Behe in the Dover trial transcript, but could not. The quote Wise attributed to Behe Read More ›

Ken Miller and the Evolution of the Immune System: “Not Good Enough”?

Download the Complete “Truth or Dare” with Dr. Ken Miller Lecture Guide Permission Granted to Copy and Distribute for Educational Use. Links to our 7-Part Series Responding to Ken Miller: • Part 1: Science and Religion: Is Evolution “Random and Undirected”? • Part 2: Misrepresenting the Definition of Intelligent Design • Part 3: Confusing Evidence for Common Ancestry With Evidence for Darwinian Evolution • Part 4: The Name-Dropping Approach to Transitional Fossils • Part 5: Spinning Tales About the Bacterial Flagellum • Part 6: Misrepresenting Michael Behe’s Arguments for Irreducible Complexity of the Blood Clotting Cascade • Part 7 (This Article): Ken Miller and the Evolution of the Immune System: “Not Good Enough”? Brown University biologist Ken Miller often attacks Read More ›