Saturday, July 5, 2008

Michael Behe is at it Again!!

Once again on his Amazon blog. Here is what he said that bothered me the most:

"[Kenneth Miller] lovingly quotes Dover trial Judge John Jones, either not recognizing or purposely ignoring the fact that Jones’ opinion was pretty much copied word for word from a document given to him by the plaintiff’s attorneys; there’s no evidence that Jones comprehended any of the expert testimony at the trial — even Miller’s own testimony."

Yet Michael Behe admitted on Point of Inquiry that such copying-and-pasting is a common practice among judges (it saves time, after all, and a lawyer's words are generally concise and not copyrighted). Judge Jones wrote, "Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge..." Well, if Judge Jones hadn't stuck with common practice and had gone through the trouble of writing out his entire decision, what would the IDers have said? They'd have said, "This is a judge who is emotionally invested in Darwinism. You know, most judges just copy and paste the prosecutor's words into their decision, but this one was so up in a tizzy about it that he spent countless hours writing up his decision. I guess he needed to get it out of his system."

On the claim that Judge Jones did not understand the trial: Read the damn transcripts. Kenneth Miller, for instance, spoke in everyday, understandable language and broke things down in a way that any non-specialist could easily understand. Besides, the Judge apparently had sympathetic feelings for ID before the trial (See the PBS Documentary). So if he didn't understand the science, what would make him change his mind about ID? It simply doesn't make any sense. It is a very weak attempt to poo-poo the disastrous defeat the ID movement suffered at Dover.


James F. McGrath said...

Also not to be missed is the irony that the ID proponents have consistently aimed their claims not at the scientific community but at the masses, thus implicitly (and at times explicitly) expressing their conviction that ordinary people can make the "right choice" about ID. But the public is to be trusted, they now seem to say, only if they choose in favor of ID.

As you would put it, "BUSTED!" :)

Izgad said...

"But the public is to be trusted, they now seem to say, only if they choose in favor of ID."

Since when is an appointed judge the general public?

AIGBusted said...

I think what McGrath meant to say is that the IDM has aimed their claims primarily at the nonscientific community, supposing that they could "choose for themselves". When put in front of a non-scientist judge, they failed and then complained that he may not have understood the issues (presumably because he was too stupid or knew too little about science).

Simply put: If 9th graders are sophisticated enough to understand the "controversey", why isn't a full grown judge?

Evolved Rationalist said...

Ah, Behe. The one who claimed that astrology, as well as ID, is science.

He never ceases to amaze me.

Brian said...

As time goes on, Behe continues to reveal his emotional investment in creationism.

Brian said...

I find Behe's post quite ironic. He's decrying Miller for stating the same thing over and over, yet Behe does the same thing. What really gets me is when he says "Despite the doubts of many — perhaps most — evolutionary biologists of the power of the Darwinian mechanism..."

Behe is actually claiming that many, PERHAPS MOST scientists doubt evolution. Even if he did have evidence of this--which he doesn't, this is wild speculation on his part, but I forgot, Behe thinks wild speculation is science--it would still be the argumentum ad populum.

Izgad said...

Speaking as a conservative opponent of Intelligent Design, what happened in Dover played right into the hands of the Intelligent Design crowd. Their goal is to persuade the wider conservative movement that they are being persecuted by an atheist/secularist establishment. Most conservatives have a low opinion of the judiciary, seeing it as a tool by the left to establish laws that would never have passed through traditional means. Intelligent Design’s loss in Dover simply allowed them to connect themselves to this larger conservative narrative.
Evolved Rationalist
Technically speaking, Astrology is a science, albeit a failed science. In fact certain astrological claims are true; the heavenly spheres do affect the earth. The most obvious example of this is the Sun. Moreover the Moon and Venus both have a measurable effect on tides. Galileo, in fact, rejected the theory that the Moon caused the movement of the tides precisely because he thought that it smacked too much of Astrology. From a strictly logical point of view there is no difference between claiming that the Moon affects the tides on earth and saying that Saturn affects people’s black bile and therefore causes depression. The only difference is that those “scientists” who pursued the latter theory failed to make their case and, as such, this theory was rejected.
This is in keeping with the history of science, which is mostly about the study of failed ideas.

AIGBusted said...

Hello again Izgad!

I hope that conservatives will realize that even if they disagree on the way the decision was reached (judicially) they will realize that the correctness of the decision is an entirely different matter. Just reading the transcripts, it is enormously clear that Evolutionary Theory is supported by evidence, and Intelligent Design is not. So called "holes" in Evolutionary Theory often turn out to be only things which are not yet explained by evolution, usually because of a lack of research.

I hope our disagreement won't keep you away from this blog. I always like hearing from a wide range of people and can easily disgree with someone without disrespecting them.


Izgad said...

This conservative definitely understands that Intelligent Design does not belong in the classroom even if he is not happy that the decision was made by a judge. I must admit that when I first heard of Intelligent Design, several years ago, I was somewhat sympathetic in that I was willing to take them at their word that they were nothing more than scientists who objected to certain elements in Darwinian evolution. Fortunately I have a friend, who is much more knowledgeable, science wise, than I am, and he managed to set me straight. Part of the problem is that, particularly from a lay perspective, it is very difficult to distinguish between people carrying on a legitimate scientific debate and come up short and those using science as an ideological mask. The fact that you have people like Richard Dawkins, who openly use science as cover for his ideology, does not make this issue any easier. I would be able to rest a lot easier with the court decision in Dover if I thought that atheist ideologues were being treated to the same standard as religious ideologues. To me, a separation between church and state does not mean that the government is secular; it means that the government is neutral on religion.