Dawkins cuts Behe apart and throws him to the dogs

July 1, 2007 | By | 2 Replies More

This NYT article by Richard Dawkins is just too much fun to not read. And when I mentioned “dogs,” I meant it. 

If mutation, rather than selection, really limited evolutionary change [as Behe argues], this should be true for artificial no less than natural selection. Domestic breeding relies upon exactly the same pool of mutational variation as natural selection. Now, if you sought an experimental test of Behe’s theory, what would you do? You’d take a wild species, say a wolf that hunts caribou by long pursuit, and apply selection experimentally to see if you could breed, say, a dogged little wolf that chivies rabbits underground: let’s call it a Jack Russell terrier. Or how about an adorable, fluffy pet wolf called, for the sake of argument, a Pekingese? Or a heavyset, thick-coated wolf, strong enough to carry a cask of brandy, that thrives in Alpine passes and might be named after one of them, the St. Bernard? Behe has to predict that you’d wait till hell freezes over, but the necessary mutations would not be forthcoming. Your wolves would stubbornly remain unchanged. Dogs are a mathematical impossibility.


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Category: Evolution, Religion, Science

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Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    For more on the timing of the evolution of dogs from wolves, here is an article by PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/5/l_

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    I suspect Behe's reply to Dawkins would be to point out that modern dog types are the result of "intelligent design," namely, humans selectively interbreeding to create particular breeds. Thus, to a Behe-follower, evidence of dog breed "evolution" would not contradict (indeed, might support) the notion of "intelligent design."

    Trouble is, the analogy is flawed. Directed breeding by an intelligent designer in one case does not demonstrate directed breeding by an intelligent designer in another case.

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