Richard Dawkins Tries to Refute Behe With Dog Breeding
I was astounded to read Richard Dawkins' attempt at a review of Michael Behe's most recent book. It is not much of an attempt. It is more of an attempt at personal ridicule.
In any case, Dawkins actually pulls out intentional dog breeding as an argument to refute Behe:
That last line is an attempt to anticipate the obvious response- dog breeding is not natural selection but is an excellent example of intelligent design. Dog breeding works because you have human dog breeders selecting the dogs for breeding.
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.
Don’t evade the point by protesting that dog breeding is a form of intelligent design. It is (kind of) . . . .
More importantly, even with intentional selection, you only end up with dogs and more dogs- all the same species. This is microevolution, which is well established and is not controversial. Dog breeding is actually an example of the inherent limits to variation, even with human input.
In any case, Dawkins argument is blatantly fallacious, and embarrassingly so. The fact that Dawkins has to resort to such a bad argument should tell you that he does not have any really good arguments to use instead. "Bad arguments" continue and continue and continue to convince me.
No one denies variation within species. The question is whether random mutation and natural selection can produce all the varieties of species, families, orders and phyla that we see around us. Intentional, controlled dog breeding does not tell us. Suggesting that it does is misleading at best.