Ian Musgrave posted Entry 2901 on February 17, 2007 04:42 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2891

Recent research has thrown an interesting spanner into one of the key, but slightly obscure claims Behe makes about “irreducible complex” (IC) systems. In Behe’s discussion of the mammalian clotting system (Darwin’s Black Box [DBB], 1996, page 86, 1st edition) he claims:

“…none of the cascade proteins are used for anything other than the formation of a blood clot”.

This is a fundamental claim with important implications. If components of an allegedly IC system have other functions, this would violate his “well matched parts” condition for an IC system. Also, if these enzymes have other functions, they could be coopted from those functions to form a clotting system. If the clotting enzyme thrombin’s only function was to cut fibrinogen to make fibrin, then, if a mutation produced a thrombin-like enzyme in the absence of fibrin, natural selection would be unlikely to preserve this enzyme (but see below). On the other hand, if a general protease (an enzyme that cuts up lots of different proteins) were to gain the ability to break down fibrinogen, then its other functions would keep it preserved until a fibrinogen-like substrate appeared.

Contrary to Behe’s statement, many of the clotting proteins have other roles. Several of these non-clotting functions were known when Behe wrote DBB [1,2 and Note 1]. These roles, in wound healing and in tissue remodelling and embryogenesis, give us useful clues to their evolution. They also demolish Behe’s claims about IC.

A Myriad of Functions

Let’s have a look at some of these functions. But first a little background. The majority of enzymes in the clotting cascade are serine proteases, that is, enzymes that cut up proteins using the amino acid serine as the key catalytic group. The best-known serine protease is the enzyme trypsin, which helps us digest our food. Trypsin also plays important roles outside digestion as well, including responses to infection.

Molecular phylogeny suggests that trypsin and the clotting enzymes share a common ancestor [3]. Furthermore, the clotting enzymes prothrombin/thrombin, Factor X, Factor IX, Factor VII, and several others, all appear to be duplicates of each other [3,4].

Slide1.GIF

Figure 1. Click for larger version. Gene duplication in the clotting system. Orange, duplicates of core serine proteases, Factors X, VII and IX are all believed to be derived from prothrombin, in turn derived from another serine protease. Light Blue: Factors VIII and V are duplicates of the ceruloplasmin family. Yellow, factor XIII is a member of the transglutamase family. Dark blue, Factor XI, is a duplicate of prekallikrein.

Serine proteases are ancient enzymes, present in unicellular eukaryotes, and have a wide range of physiological roles in digestion, defence and tissue remodelling. One of these roles involves activation of a class of cell surface proteins called proteinase activated receptors (PARs). Clotting enzymes, as befits serine proteases and relatives of trypsin, also act on PARs [1,5,6].

Activated Factor VII and Factor X both activate PAR2 [5,7] . This receptor is also activated by trypsin released by damaged epithelial cells, and other serine proteases released from mast cells and white blood cells during injury or inflammation [8]. Activated Factor X and thrombin (and trypsin) turn on PAR1, which amongst other things, activates neutrophils and causes aggregation of platelets [5,7,8]. In protovertebrates without a clotting system, wounds are plugged with haemocytes, primordial versions of the white blood cells and platelets that are activated by thrombin and trypsin. Trypsin or trypsin-like enzymes, leaking from damaged cells attracting haemocytes to plug a wound, would be the start of a protoclotting system.

As well as activating PARs, thrombin also appears to be an alternative activation enzyme for the complement pathway, which is involved in passive immunity [9]. It is important to note that activation of white blood cells and complement systems predates the appearance of the clotting system. Indeed, in protovertebrates the prime function of the complement system is to produce masses of sticky protein to tangle up bacteria, making this an excellent candidate for a protoclotting system [10].

Continuing on this theme, the clotting factor XIII, which cross-links the loose fibrin clot into a hard clot, is also involved in wound healing, tissue remodelling and the formation of new blood vessels [11,12]. Factor XIII does this via clotting-independent mechanisms [11,12]. It can cross-link a number of connective proteins, for example integrin, which allows inflammatory and wound-repair cells to migrate more easily to damaged sites. Factor XIII also binds to some growth factor receptors, and results in tissue growth [11,12]. Interestingly, while in mammalian clotting, factor XIII needs to be activated by thrombin, a form of XIII is found in platelets and special white blood cells (macrophages and neutrophils) that can be activated and released independently of thrombin [11]. This active form of Factor XIII is found circulating in the blood of fish (mammals have no circulating active Factor XIII of any kind) [12]. This form of factor XIII is also found sea squirts, invertebrate relatives of ours, in the cells that form haemocytes [13]. Sea squirts don’t have the specialized blood cells that we do. They utilise a couple of generalized blood cell types, called haemocytes, more on this later.

So let’s briefly recap: several clotting factors, VII, X, Thrombin and XIII – in fact, the major components of the extrinsic clotting system, the system that is primarily responsible for forming clots – have other functions. And not minor functions – the tissue remodelling functions, for example, are particularly important.

But Does it Matter?

Now, you may say, “So What, Behe got his statement wrong, but it doesn’t invalidate his argument about IC and blood clotting, does it? After all, it’s just one throwaway sentence in a whole chapter.”

But you would be wrong. This is a key point on which Behe’s argument turns. The fact that these enzymes have other actions means that they could be doing another job, and then be co-opted into a clotting role. The irreducibly complex pentachlorophenol degradation pathway was produced by mutation and recruitment of a single enzyme. Behe says that if a protothrombin developed before fibrinogen, then it would be functionless, an enzyme “twiddling its thumbs” (DBB, p. 95) that would be removed by natural selection before a fibrinogen appears. But a protothrombin that is activating a PAR receptor has a job to do: attracting haemocytes to a wound to plug it. Remember that trypsin-like proteins are released when there is tissue damage, so a protothrombin derived from trypsin or a related enzyme would be released in the vicinity of haemocytes when a protovertebrate is cut. If a mutation to this protothrombin fortuitously made it able to cleave a protein that then clumped together, this then forms the basis of a protoclotting system. The addition of a globbing protein, even a weak one, to the haemocyte patch would inevitably make it stronger and more stable, offering a selective advantage [Note 2].

Waiting for Fibrinogen

In case you think this is a bit far fetched, sea squirts have a thrombin-like serine protease that can convert mammalian fibrinogen to fibrin, making a clot [14]. But sea squirts don’t have fibrinogen [15], in fact they don’t clot their heamolymph (their equivalent of blood) either, they just plug all cuts with a loose haemocyte patch. So the thrombin-like protein must be doing something different, yet it is capable of acting like thrombin. So much for Behe’s “thumb twiddling”.

Clotting_System.gif

Figure 2. Click for a larger version. The clotting systems of various chordates. Fish lack the intrinsic coagulation system, Jawless fish lack Factor X and the cephalochordates lack pretty much everything except a thrombin-like protein, but they can still clot their haemolymph. Sea squirts (not shown), have a thrombin-like protein but don’t clot their haemolymph.

As I’ve noted before, some of the complement enzymes have thrombin-like properties, and as they are also released during inflammation, they could be recruited to form a clotting system. Also, while protovertebrates such as sea squirts have no true fibrinogen, their haemocytes are enriched with the protein cortical granule lectin [16]. This protein has fibrinogen domains which could become a substrate for a protothrombin. Cortical granule lectin and similar proteins with a fibrinogen domain in sea squirts appear to be involved in passive immunity as proteins that makes bacteria “sticky”, which makes them ideally preadapted for becoming a part of a protoclotting system.

The chordate amphioxus (in modern taxonomy, Branchiostoma and its relatives), a protovertebrate that looks a bit like a minature eel, does clot its haemolymph. It has a thrombin-like enzyme (we don’t know if it is a true thrombin yet, but it clots mammalian plasma just like mammalian thrombin), but no true fibrinogen [4]. Clearly, Behe’s claim that all the enzymes of the clotting pathway must be in place to form a useable clot is incorrect.

A Path is revealed

Inspection of the non-clotting roles of the clotting enzymes also suggest how a clotting system could be assembled piecemeal. Bear with me for a moment, as this is going to get technical.

In developing embryos, development of blood vessels (angiogenesis) depends on thrombin activating PAR-1 [5]. However, you can knock out the thrombin pathway and the blood vessels will still form. Factor VII and Factor X can substitute for thrombin [5,6]. Thus a smaller, simpler version of the clotting system can work doing a non-clotting job of activating PARs, and this system could be built up into a full system acting on PARs by duplication and mutation with neofunctionalisation, and then mutations which allowed the protothrombin to act on a protofibrinogen would have produced a workable primitive clotting system.

Pathway.jpg

Figure 3. Despite knocking out thrombin, Factor X and Factor VI activate angiogenesis by alternate pathways. Figure taken from [5]

Another possible, but simpler, pathway suggests itself. Invertebrates such as lobsters and shrimp have a simple “one step” coagulation system, where a Factor XIII-like clotting factor is released by haemocytes and crosslinks a coagulation protein into a clot. Sea squirts have a short Factor XIII protein [13], which can be activated and released from haemocytes via non-standard pathways. As sea squirts do not clot their haemolymph, the most likely role of the short Factor XIII is in wound repair, as it is in vertebrates, where it crosslinks and stabilises tissue matrix proteins [11,12]. While the short Factor XIII is able to be activated in the absence of thrombin, thrombin will also activate the short Factor XIII [11]. As tissue damage in sea squirts also releases trypsins and trypsin-like proteins (and there is the thrombin like serine protease already mentioned [14]), it is not too difficult for a mutation on one of these tryspin-like enzymes to result in a trypsin/proto-thrombin that activates short Factor XIII, making it more effective at cross-linking and stabilizing wounds. As there is no feedback amplification in this system, the activated factor XIII is effectively restricted to the wound site. This is not dissimilar to the trypsin/prophenyloxidase system, in amphioxus, where a trypsin activates an enzyme (prophenyloxidase) to make gluggy melanin at wound sites [17].

A simple mutation to the small Factor XIII would allow it to crosslink one of the protofibrinogens, such as cortical granule lectin, that are present in, and released from, haemocytes. This would make a simple, if weak, clot that could stabilise the haemocytes. Yet another mutation in the protothrombin could make the protofibrinogen bind its substrate as well – the protofibrinogens are sticky proteins anyway (and are often used as a glugging factor in innate immunity, making bacteria sticky so they stick to each other or stick to phagocytes [16,18]). So the production of a self-associating protein that could be stabilised by further by the small factor XIII is highly probable.

Summary and take home Message

Now, I’ve presented three plausible scenarios above: (1) protothrombin as a haemocyte attractant, (2) protothrombin as a part of the complement system, and (3) prothrombin as an activator of Factor XIII. All of them are consistent with what we know of existing coagulation systems in vertebrates and invertebrates. All of them are potentially testable via molecular clocks and whole-genome studies on a variety of protoverebrates (we need the amphioxus genome, apparently due out this year) and vertebrates, as well as reconstruction of the common ancestral proteins.

However, Behe and other ID apologists will undoubtedly dismiss these scenarios as not detailed enough. This misses the point. The point is that Behe has claimed that his argument showed in principle that the coagulation system could not evolve from simpler systems. The simple fact that both sea squirts and amphioxus have thrombin-like enzymes, but no true fibrinogen (and, in the case of sea squirts, any other of the clotting components), demolishes Behe’s argument. Having evidence for the intermediate steps in the evolution of the clotting cascade is just the icing on the cake. Behe and others can complain all they like about the details, but the take-home message is that “irreducible complexity,” as described by Behe, is no barrier to evolution of complex systems.


Notes

Note 1: While Behe is an exemplary structural biochemist/biophysicist, he does get the biology a bit off centre, sometimes to amusing effect. In his discussion of the clotting system, he spends a long time detailing the labyrinthine intrinsic clotting system as an exemplar of “ICness”. Neither fish nor whales have the complete intrinsic clotting system, and they do just fine.

Note 2: Even in mice, which have a significant dependence on clotting factors, if you knock out fibrinogen, platelet (the mammalian equivalent of haemocytes) aggregation in full-thickness skin incisions will stop the mouse from bleeding to death. You can see how adding even minor amounts of sticky proteins to the plug would be beneficial.

Another note: Nick Matzke corrected various typos in the original posting.


References

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Comment #161284

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 16, 2007 4:35 PM (e)

nicely done, Ian.

Really though, i think the sea squirt could have beaten Behe even without your help.

;)

Comment #161290

Posted by John on February 16, 2007 5:19 PM (e)

“Also, if these enzymes have other functions, they could be coopted from those functions to form a clotting system.”

Be careful. Let’s not forget that the ID wackos somehow argue that because a secretory system evolved from the eubacterial flagellum, that those who argued the converse have somehow demonstrated that MET is wrong.

And somehow their targets believe this hooey. In reality, this shows that the eubacterial flagellum is not “irreducibly complex,” as a subset of its parts has a different function than locomotion.

Comment #161292

Posted by harold on February 16, 2007 5:27 PM (e)

To the unbiased mind, the clotting system, with its redundancy, its “needless” complexity (compared to what a designed-from-scratch system could look like) and its homology with other proteins and systems in other species, is exactly the kind of thing that evolution explains best.

There won’t be much creationist action in this thread. All science, no philosophical arm-waving about paradigms of materialism and realism.

Comment #161301

Posted by Randi Mooney on February 16, 2007 6:36 PM (e)

Uh oh!
http://www.overwhelmingevidence.com/oe/blog/haeris/argument_by_technobabble

:-)

Comment #161302

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 16, 2007 7:06 PM (e)

yeah, all you have to do at OE is simply read the title to see where the rest goes

“Argument by technobabble?”

rigggghhhht.

IOW, the poster can’t possibly fathom actual science, so he readily dismisses it as “technobabble”.

Is this really the level of ignorati that support ID these days?

yikes.

Comment #161303

Posted by Boo on February 16, 2007 7:22 PM (e)

The great thing about OE is that it’s often hard to tell who’s a parodiat and who isn’t. “HaEris” may have tipped their hand with this one, and earlier “Quizzlestick” actually argued that Judge Jones should have given the ID side a break in spite of their lying because of the evil evolutionist conspiracy. (Yes that was the actual argument) Is it possible that the only serious pro-ID people on that site are TroutMac and Oleary?

Comment #161304

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 16, 2007 7:32 PM (e)

the only serious pro-ID people on that site are TroutMac and Oleary?

uh, you mean the drivel they write doesn’t also make you think parody?

In fact, the reason the irony meter was invented is because of complete morons like Densye and Co.

still, I’ve simply run out of money to replace mine, and basically now take it at face value that regardless of appearance of parody, there are simply enough similar arguments that were not meant as such that you might as well think it a real argument, even if it isn’t.

for every creationist parody posted, I can damn near always find an exact match to the argument from someone who thinks themselves ‘serious’.

Comment #161306

Posted by Mike Elzinga on February 16, 2007 8:13 PM (e)

Overwhelming Excrement writes :

“One of the great things about Intelligent Design is that it simplifies things. Unlike the theory of evolution it passes the test of Occam’s razor the universally true scentific axiom that given a choice between a complex theory and a simple one, the simple one has the greatest probability of being right. It’s another way of saying that tall-tales and just-so stories are usually false. ID is so simple that even people who are un-trained in biological sciences can make great and astounding progress. What could be a greater indicator of it’s truth than that?”

Wow! Occam’s razor says we don’t even have to think! I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen Occam used as a science stopper.

Since these fundamentalist IDiots can’t demonstrate an understanding of things that can be investigated and checked out in the real world by people with reasonable intelligence and initiative, what makes them think they can demonstrate that they know anything about the mind of god, especially that god did any of it? They can’t, period.

The fact that they are they unable to come up with any research program with testable questions in the real world is pretty good evidence that they can’t do it in any other world either. If Occam’s razor is “universally true”, according to them, they don’t have to think in any world. They may love blissful ignorance for themselves, but why should they be allowed to impose it on others, and why should anyone want any of their religion?

They remind me of the street thugs who beat up on students returning home from school with textbooks and homework under their arms.

Comment #161314

Posted by Ritchie Annand on February 16, 2007 9:28 PM (e)

Ahhh… thanks for that, Ian. Big-bite-sized postings like that help keep me up to date without crushing my knees with a textbook for “light reading” on the way to and from work :) I’ve been looking forward to a little more detail of blood clotting evolution since the Dover trial, and since some of Ken Miller’s excellent presentations.

It’s actually pretty nice to see various critters’ biological systems compared across the board. I like, in particular, seeing spots where nature can truly skip steps or get by with less or more (Factor VII and Factor X can still make blood vessels form without the thrombin pathway? Neat!)

The things you can learn from cute little critters that eat their own brains!

Comment #161315

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on February 16, 2007 9:28 PM (e)

I fixed a number of typos and other minor issues like punctuation that may have confused people.

Ian’s essay takes a little work on the part of the reader, but it really is a significant step forward in understanding the evolution of blood-clotting – he has put a number of things together that have not been synthesized even in the journals yet. (Ian: you could get something like this published in BioEssays!)

Comment #161318

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on February 16, 2007 9:33 PM (e)

Oh my goodness, that “Overwhelming Evidence” blogpost is hilarious:

One of the great things about Intelligent Design is that it simplifies things. Unlike the theory of evolution it passes the test of Occam’s razor the universally true scentific axiom that given a choice between a complex theory and a simple one, the simple one has the greatest probability of being right. It’s another way of saying that tall-tales and just-so stories are usually false. ID is so simple that even people who are un-trained in biological sciences can make great and astounding progress. What could be a greater indicator of it’s truth than that?

Yeah! Anyone can do ID! It’s so simple – just say “IDdidit”, and you’re done!

(or maybe this is a parody, but actually I doubt it)

Comment #161323

Posted by Ian Musgrave on February 16, 2007 10:36 PM (e)

Randi Mooney wrote:

Uh oh!

I’ve just posted this comment over at OE, (and I have a screen shot). Lets see what they say.

“Activated Factor VII and Factor X both activate PAR2 [5,7] . This receptor is also activated by trypsin released by damaged epithelial cells, and other serine proteases released from mast cells and white blood cells during injury or inflammation [8]…”

I’m sure I do not have to dignify this obviously absurd technobabble with a rebuttal. Anybody with the most basic qualification in biology can see that they are making up this zany nonsense as they go along.

I do wonder where they are getting their so-called facts? Has anybody been watching too much Star-Trek recently?

Star Trek has gone downhill from the original series; I’m hanging out for the third series of Dr. Who thank you. Where do I get my facts? From textbooks and the original literature. You can see this yourself in the reference section at the end of the post. If you look up references 5, 7 and 8 in the reference section, they are hyperlinked to free full text research articles, where you can read up the role of clotting factors and protease activated receptors.

I’m curious what you think is made up? Factor VII and X? They are standard clotting factors found in any textbook, I recommend Rang et al. 6th edition. Protease activated receptors? Well described receptors and a major research area since 1994 (again, if you follow the links in the references section it describes recent work on clotting factors and these receptors). I’m going to a conference this year that has a special workshop on these receptors. If they are made up those conference organizers will look pretty silly. Trypsin being released from epithelial cells? Sea Squirt haemocyte aggregation? All these facts can be found in the main stream research literature which I cite.

So, which parts made up? Which parts are zany (Sea Squirts having Factor XIII is pretty amazing, but I wouldn’t call it zany)?

Comment #161337

Posted by Ian Musgrave on February 16, 2007 11:02 PM (e)

Thanks for fixing the typos Nick! Proof reading “assisted” by a 3-year old can be a little difficult.

Comment #161348

Posted by Ian Musgrave on February 16, 2007 11:48 PM (e)

Well, that didn’t last long, as of now (4:14 local time, 5:45 UTC, about an hour after posting) my comment has been deleted and my user name blocked from OE. Way to start a dialog guys. I still have the screen shot, which I will post later.

Comment #161356

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 17, 2007 12:05 AM (e)

congratulations Ian!

I think there are a bunch of folks over at ATBC who have started a “banned from ID sites” club.

I think your OE banned badge would qualify.

Comment #161357

Posted by MelM on February 17, 2007 12:36 AM (e)

OT but exciting…

Scientists urged to run for school boards

Maybe a way to keep the schools from turning into some kind of “Jesus Camps.”

Comment #161372

Posted by KarmaPolice on February 17, 2007 4:08 AM (e)

Well, as a sudden de-lurker here, I don’t want to overstep my bounds but, I just h-

It seems to me, y’al are completely missing the real money quote on this one.
As far as I can tell, the truly amazing part of this post is this:

“Of course the fatal and obvious flaw in this argument is that the other structure must by definition be also IC. Instead of having just one IC structure the darwinists have actually proved that there are two! There is the precursor IC structure and also the originally observed newer IC structure. If only they taught that in schools!”

So, according to this particular numb-nut, not only does clearly demonstrating that there are several logical, observable, and completely reducible precursors to this supposedly irreducible phenomenon fail to invalidate the flimsy IC argument- It actually enhances it! Because, for no real reason what-so-ever, if you can explain away supposed IC in any system as a result of obviously functional precursor systems, not only have you *not* invalidated the idea that that the system in question is truly IC (which would seem obvious, even by the standards of the usual IDist)- You’ve now somehow expanded the universe of IC systems so that not only does it include the supposedly-irreducible-yet-now-reduced system in question, but its magically expanded to include all the precursors that clearly explain the irreducible system in question, as well.

Talk about gaps! Not to mention movable goalposts!

No wonder he/she thinks IC is such a boon- not only does it allow unscientific thinkers ignore their ignorance of simple things like basic biological terminology and the characteristic language of actual scientific give and take as being “technobabble”- It actually absolves them from understanding the consequences of the theories they claim to support.

Come on everyone! Its an epistemological free for all! Yee-haw!

Comment #161373

Posted by Sven on February 17, 2007 4:11 AM (e)

From the “rebuttal” at OE:

If you want a laugh, go see today’s update on “The Panda’s Thumb” called Behe vs the Sea Squirt, the best place to see that rare and endangered species the red-faced angry evolutionist blogger.

Interestingly, HaEris has invented technology which extracts the mood of the writer from an text written on a webpage! The Noble prize awaits him!

More:

Today’s theme is an attempt to discredit Michael Behe’s proven facts that the mamalian clotting sequence is Irreducably Complex.

Strange. I thought that Behe was talking about the mam*m*alian clotting sequence to be *irreducible* complex. But I’m not a native speaker, so maybe I got something wrong…

Seriously: If I want to defend something, I should at least try to get the name right!

Comment #161374

Posted by KarmaPolice on February 17, 2007 4:16 AM (e)

‘Kay- not sure what happened there, but that first part was ment to say:

Admittedly, as a sudden de-lurker here, I don’t want to overstep my bounds but-

It seems to me, blah blah blah…..

Not that its all that important. I just don’t like to appear more incomprehensible than I normally am…

Comment #161377

Posted by Epinymous on February 17, 2007 4:49 AM (e)

OverWhelmingevidence had made it clear that they only want students who are Pro-ID. Professors and doctors who can explain what evolution is really about are not wanted. Try to remember this simple rule!

Comment #161380

Posted by Ian Musgrave on February 17, 2007 6:17 AM (e)

Here’s an invitation to HaEris of OE, how about explaining which items in the paragraph you quoted were made up. You can do it here or in private email (you have my email address from the registration), but I still would like to know what you thought was made up.

Cheers! Ian

Comment #161383

Posted by Boo on February 17, 2007 7:08 AM (e)

uh, you mean the drivel they write doesn’t also make you think parody?

In fact, the reason the irony meter was invented is because of complete morons like Densye and Co.

Troutmac is just too angry, and Denyse has enough outside activities and links with Dembski that the most likely explanation for both is just extreme stupidity combined with a zealous sense that they know everything.

Comment #161389

Posted by MarkP on February 17, 2007 8:58 AM (e)

Notice the appearance of “pathetic” at the beginning of the paragraph where HaEris derides the detailed explanation as “absurd technobabble”. So has “pathetic level of detail” evolved into “pathetic absurd technobabble”?

On a more serious note, the real disturbing aspect of HaEris’ rant is the underlying theme:

You don’t have to think. You don’t have to deal with facts. If you are unable to understand the terminology of those who have studied an issue, that means there is something wrong with them. If a theory is too complicated for you, it must be wrong. All truth can be instantaneously understood by anyone, and if it can’t, then it is obviously just made up by someone red-faced with anger.

This is hardly the intellectual message we need to send to teenagers. They already have an absurdly overblown sense of their own knowledge of the world.

Comment #161395

Posted by Cody on February 17, 2007 10:14 AM (e)

Guys, I still think the OE post is a parody. I mean, just read this passage again:

HaEris wrote:

“Of course the fatal and obvious flaw in this argument is that the other structure must by definition be also IC. Instead of having just one IC structure the darwinists have actually proved that there are two! There is the precursor IC structure and also the originally observed newer IC structure. If only they taught that in schools!”

That’s a pretty obvious reference to the “problem” of finding an intermediate fossil and consequently creating two gaps!

I think. I could be very, very wrong about the whole thing, especially in light of Ian’s deleted comment (but that can only be done by a moderator, and HaEris isn’t a moderator, right? I mean, nobody’s claiming that the people who run OE are smart enough to distinguish serious writing from parody … right?)

Comment #161396

Posted by mark on February 17, 2007 10:16 AM (e)

I find that “Wah, wah, it’s technobabble!” complaint especially funny having just read Rosenhouse’s report on the Dembski-Shermer debate in which he describes a video shown by Dembski as “…a voice-over provided rapid-fire, jargon-laden descriptions of what was going on. I’d be curious to know what effect this video had on the audience. To me it seemed an obvious snow-job. No one other than a professional cell biologist could have followed the presentation. It was strictly an attempt to get the audience to say, “Gosh! That’s really complex!”.” But we’ve long known that the ID crowd likes to use big, scientific-sounding words and make believe they’re actually doing science. However, there’s a difference between merely spewing the words and using them coherently.

Comment #161397

Posted by mark on February 17, 2007 10:18 AM (e)

I find that “Wah, wah, it’s technobabble!” complaint especially funny having just read Rosenhouse’s report on the Dembski-Shermer debate in which he describes a video shown by Dembski as “…a voice-over provided rapid-fire, jargon-laden descriptions of what was going on. I’d be curious to know what effect this video had on the audience. To me it seemed an obvious snow-job. No one other than a professional cell biologist could have followed the presentation. It was strictly an attempt to get the audience to say, “Gosh! That’s really complex!”.” But we’ve long known that the ID crowd likes to use big, scientific-sounding words and make believe they’re actually doing science. However, there’s a difference between merely spewing the words and using them coherently.

Comment #161401

Posted by Tuomo Hämäläinen on February 17, 2007 10:34 AM (e)

“…none of the cascade proteins are used for anything other than the formation of a blood clot”.

If Well Matched mean “parts are not used in anywhere else”, then design which humans do are not IC. We usuallu use same parts in lot of different uses. Mousetrap and such “analogies” are not therefore design (spring is part in many diffrend kind of machines…)

In Finland we have old tale about Magpie in a tared roof;
Its peak is stuck in tar, and when it frees its peak, its tail is get stuck in tar, and when it free its tail, its peak get stuck…
This is the feeling which i get when i read the arguments “why this and that algoritm or biological system, which have generated in lab or in algorithm is not IC.”

Comment #161403

Posted by harold on February 17, 2007 10:42 AM (e)

It can be hard to distinguish ID from a parody of ID.

Having said that, Overwhelming Evidence is clearly a parody site (and a good one). Very clearly.

If some real life creationists are taken in, that just makes it even funnier.

My prediction about lack of creationist posts in this thread has proven correct. Biochemical pathways, like almost any other actual science, are an excellent form of creationist repellant.

Comment #161419

Posted by harold on February 17, 2007 2:35 PM (e)

Incidentally, the clotting pathways here are not just known to basic science biologists.

They have been a very basic part of clinical medicine for decades. In fact, it was medical research that first elucidated them.

In addition to well-known congenital deficiency states, such as hemophilia, these clotting cascade reactions are impacted by a wide variety of clinical states, including complications of certain cancers, infections, and autoimmune conditions.

There are literally many thousands of people being treated for disorders of clotting at this very instant, in the United States and Canada only, let alone the rest of the world.

To argue that they “don’t exist” is almost the equivalent of arguing that gravity doesn’t tend to pull falling apples toward the surface of the earth.

Comment #161420

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 17, 2007 2:44 PM (e)

Having said that, Overwhelming Evidence is clearly a parody site (and a good one). Very clearly.

*sigh*

sadly, harold, you’re actually wrong about that.

OE was not and is not intended as a parody site, although many posters manage to slip in a few that easily escape the notice of the “serious” supporters of creationism on that site.

Hence, the number one poster on that site is one Denyse OLeary, coinnaner of Uncommonly Dense.

really, the site IS supposed to be a serious place to post creationist drivel, aimed at “teen” audiences.

Comment #161424

Posted by RBH on February 17, 2007 2:58 PM (e)

Harold wrote

It can be hard to distinguish ID from a parody of ID.

Having said that, Overwhelming Evidence is clearly a parody site (and a good one). Very clearly.

If some real life creationists are taken in, that just makes it even funnier.

If it’s parody, it’s self-parody, more Dembskian street theater.

www.overwhelmingevidence.com:

Registrant:
Erasmus Communications
538 Post Oak Ln
Riesel, Texas 08723
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: OVERWHELMINGEVIDENCE.COM
Created on: 02-Jul-01
Expires on: 02-Jul-08
Last Updated on: 03-Apr-06

Administrative Contact:
Dembski, William info@iscid.org
Erasmus Communications
538 Post Oak Ln
Riesel, Texas 08723
United States
6099244424 Fax –

Technical Contact:
Dembski, William info@iscid.org
Erasmus Communications
538 Post Oak Ln
Riesel, Texas 08723
United States
6099244424 Fax –

Domain servers in listed order:
NS1.MYHOSTDNS.COM
NS2.MYHOSTDNS.COM

Reisel, Texas, is the home of the Brazos Barbecue, in which Dembski is (or at least was) a ‘silent’ partner. Would that his silence extended much much further. I linked to the previous Panda’s Thumb post because the Brazos Barbecue site is now a dead link. However, whois to the rescue:

brazosbarbecue.com:

Registrant:
Erasmus Communications
538 Post Oak Lane
Riesel, Texas 08343
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: BRAZOSBARBECUE.COM
Created on: 04-Jun-03
Expires on: 04-Jun-08
Last Updated on: 13-Jul-05

Administrative Contact:
Dembski, William info@iscid.org
Erasmus Communications
538 Post Oak Lane
Riesel, Texas 08343
United States
6099244424

RBH

Comment #161443

Posted by wamba on February 17, 2007 5:31 PM (e)

Behe vs Sea Squirts

I’m putting my money on the Sea Squirts. has anyone else seen The Calamari Wrestler?

Comment #161445

Posted by anonymous on February 17, 2007 6:18 PM (e)

For the past year or so, several evolutionist persons have engaged in a project based on Russell’s Law: it is impossible to distinguish a creationist from a parody of a creationist. So in order to create some chaos, these evolutionists have created over a dozen creationist personalities at UD and OE and elsewhere and have been quietly pretending to be creationists. They are deliberately not saying anything too kooky, to make themselves impossible to spot. The point is simply to harrass the moderators, who will want to ban the parodies, but won’t be able to figure out which is which. For example, JoeG is a real guy, real creationist. Whereas Tribune7 is a parody. But if you were an angry Dembski and had to guess which one was faking it, you’d probably guess JoeG, because he says nuttier things.

At this point, about half the commenters on UD are fake. And several of the ones who appear to be parodies are actually real.

Comment #161469

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on February 17, 2007 8:47 PM (e)

anonymous wrote:

For the past year or so, several evolutionist persons have engaged in a project based on Russell’s Law: it is impossible to distinguish a creationist from a parody of a creationist. So in order to create some chaos, these evolutionists have created over a dozen creationist personalities at UD and OE and elsewhere and have been quietly pretending to be creationists. They are deliberately not saying anything too kooky, to make themselves impossible to spot. The point is simply to harrass the moderators, who will want to ban the parodies, but won’t be able to figure out which is which. For example, JoeG is a real guy, real creationist. Whereas Tribune7 is a parody. But if you were an angry Dembski and had to guess which one was faking it, you’d probably guess JoeG, because he says nuttier things.

Stop that you naughty boy! They’ll go nuts trying to figure out whether you’re pulling their leg. Oh wait, I forgot. They’re already nuts.   Carry on.

Comment #161475

Posted by sparc on February 17, 2007 11:17 PM (e)

If it’s parody, it’s self-parody, more Dembskian street theater.

Demski’s adolescent humor (if he had any) is different. You’ll find links here and here. I am sure that one who can laugh about brites.org is incapable of any self-parody.

Comment #161477

Posted by sparc on February 18, 2007 12:13 AM (e)

At this point, about half the commenters on UD are fake.

I’d vote for DaveScot rather then Tribune7 because an agent provocateur will seek a position in the heart of an organization where he will have administrative rights. DaveScot is the one who writes the most about a Darwinian conspiracy which makes him quite suspicious. In addition, he appears unsuspicious to his co-posters because he doesn’t have to make money from writing at UD due to his former position at Dell. His camouflage is quite elaborate: He is untouchable due to his CV (US Marine Corps) and who else would dare to claim being agnostic while working amongst creationists?
There was some rumor about him at UD that led WD to boot him. However, due to his IQ ‘north of 150’ and posts like the one about meiosis and the haploid Jesus this James Bond of evolution theory managed to get back into his position to further protect the world from overwhelming ignorance. Indeed, his writings before the Dover case undermined DI’s position so much that WD could not appear there. Luckily, Dave managed to convince WD that this was a mistake of these Thomas Moore guys. Thus, he is able to continue his brave fight for science.
Another prime suspect is O’Leary because she is Canadian (sic!) and earned unsurpassed 240 credit points at overwhelming ignorance (sic!). However, she’s sacrosanct because of the book with the christian symbol on its cover that she is always carrying in front of her.
Do these two world class undercover agents know about each other? I guess not because this would contradict the main doctrine of conspiracy. In addition, Dave is one of these old school agents who do not work with other agents, especially if they are women.

Comment #161518

Posted by harold on February 18, 2007 8:47 AM (e)

Sir Toe_Jam etc -

I guess I was wrong. OE is actually an uproariously clumsy propaganda site aimed at teenagers.

However, the posts they’re attracting are largely parody, as for example this one about blood-clotting, and the one about “Brussels sprouts”. And apparently, they can’t tell the difference.

This is potentially useful.

Comment #161541

Posted by Unsympathetic reader on February 18, 2007 12:10 PM (e)

However, Behe and other ID apologists will undoubtedly dismiss these scenarios as not detailed enough. This misses the point. The point is that Behe has claimed that his argument showed in principle that the coagulation system could not evolve from simpler systems.

Agreed. He’ll also claim that you didn’t address “IC core” at the heart of the system.

What it has demonstrated is that ICness is not necessarily an indicator of ‘evolvability’. That takes any wind of the arguments sails. BTW - What’s the real name for this fallacy that Behe employs: “Either A or B. Not 100% sure of A, therefore B by default”.