Andrea Bottaro posted Entry 1978 on February 7, 2006 08:38 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1973

I have a confession: although I am convinced that, at this stage of the game, the vast majority of ID’s claims are either consciously or unconsciously fraudulent, I sometimes find it hard not to feel empathy for some of its proponents. Perhaps because of his legitimate scientific training and past accomplishments, Behe in particular strikes me as worthy of compassion, someone who is often more deceived (by his fellow ID advocates, his Creationist groupies and adulators, and his own ego) than deceiver.

Although I was not there to see him, the transcripts of his appearance at the Kitzmiller trial make for compelling, almost tragic reading, transpiring with steadfast quasi-delusional self-assurance as the testimony unfolded into a progressively more predictable humiliating fiasco. This impression was reinforced when Behe confidently stated, on the ID-the-Future weblog, that as far as he was concerned his testimony was pretty much a smashing success (the need for such an act of unequivocal public reassurance, with the verdict still unknown and in the works, is in itself puzzling to me). I can just barely imagine what reading Judge Jones’ ruling must have felt like for Behe. Very clearly, his own claims were the centerpiece of the decision, and their surgical, at times merciless dismantling was the main motivation for the final decision that ID “science” is essentially a sham.

It took Behe some time to answer Judge Jones’s verdict, but his reply is surprisingly weak, at times almost whiny. Behe directly takes on 20 statements from the central, and crucial, part of Judge Jones’s decision, supporting its conclusion that ID is not science. Most often, Behe’s answers consist of simply repeating the arguments he made at trial, as if the Judge was just hard-of-hearing instead of utterly unconvinced by them. And when Behe does try to explain himself, the outcome is often worse.

Behe starts with addressing the Judge’s claim that ID, by invoking or admitting the supernatural, violates the scientific method, and promptly puts his foot in his mouth by saying ID “does no such thing”. This will come as a surprise to almost all other ID movement leaders (such as Dembski, Wells, Johnson, Meyer etc) who not only have explicitly called for science to dispense with methodological naturalism (with it in place, according to Dembski, ID has “no chance in Hades” to succeed), but are right now engaged in a political struggle over the Kansas science standards which revolves, in significant part, on the local ID advocates’ attempt to change the definition of science to implicitly admit the possibility of supernatural explanations. Oops.

Behe follows this faux pas with his now well known, but unsustainable analogy between ID and the Big Bang (clearly his new favorite mantra, clocking 6 independent appearances in the 10-page document!). Since the Big Bang theory, Behe says, has potential supernatural implications, ID should be allowed to do the same. But of course, this is nonsense: Big Bang Theory per se does no more admit the supernatural than evolutionary theory does (think theistic evolutionism, for instance). Unlike ID, Big Bang theory makes no claim about ultimate causation, but focuses only on the mechanisms that explain how the Universe has been expanding for the last 15 billion years, and still is. ID, on the other hand, is entirely a theory of ultimate causation (the Designer), but refuses steadfastly to speculate about mechanisms, indeed proudly claims to be unable to. Of course, one is free to philosophize about ultimate causation regarding any scientific theory, from evolutionary theory to plate tectonics, but only ID makes this speculation its centerpiece, at the expense of empirically testable mechanistic hypotheses, and still tries to call itself science.

Behe’s next reply, to Judge Jones’s observation that ID uses the same strategy of “contrived dualism” as scientific Creationism did in the 1980’s, is equally logically muddled, so much so that it actually makes the Judge’s point. I am going to quote it verbatim, since it’s short:

The dualism is “contrived” and “illogical” only if one confuses ID with creationism, as the Court does. There are indeed more possible explanations for life than Darwinian evolution and young earth creation, so evidence against one doesn’t count as evidence for the other. However, if one simply contrasts intelligent causes with unintelligent causes, as ID does, then those two categories do constitute a mutually exclusive and exhaustive set of possible explanations. Thus evidence against the ability of unintelligent causes to explain a phenomenon does strengthen the case for an intelligent cause.

Let’s leave aside that the Judge’s purported “confusion” stems in fact from the abundant, striking evidence emerged at trial about the politically opportunitistic sudden emergence of ID from Creation Science in the late 1980s, and from the demonstrable substantial, if not complete overlap of their arguments. Behe here seems to be unaware that the contrivance is precisely the conflation, which Behe repeats in this paragraph, of “Darwinian evolution” with all unintelligent causes. Of course, this is preposterous: we already know of many naturalistic theories of evolution which are potential alternatives to Darwinian evolution, and which do not require “intelligent causes”, such as Lamarckism and various forms of structuralism and self-organization theories, for example. Several ID advocates and supporters have even spoken very positively of some of them, pointing out how strongly, in their opinion, they challenge the Darwinian “status quo”.

Behe’s own clear focus on selectively disproving Darwinian mechanisms (not “unintelligent processes” as a whole), whether successful or not, would therefore do nothing in and of itself to counter those alternatives or support ID, in the absence of the contrived dualism approach. (In reality, the shrewd reader would realize that there is yet another layer of contrived conflation at play in Behe’s work: the subsuming of the whole of evolutionary theory under the rubric of “Darwinian mechanisms”, when the latter are only a part, though an important one, of the former.) To be fair to Behe, the other prominent ID advocate to have tackled this problem, Dembski, does even worse than him, conflating every non-intelligent mechanism into the “chance” category (of course, Dembski did not testify at Dover, so we cannot know how he would have addressed the many scathing critiques of his methods, including that of counter-expert and PT contributor Jeff Shallit, but Behe cannot fault the Judge for ignoring the arguments of a witness who hastily bailed out of the trial).

Behe clearly knows that contrived dualism, while useful for lay public consumption, is a losing proposition scientifically, because he later directly contradicts himself :

In the history of science no successful theory has ever demonstrated that all rival theories are impossible, and neither should intelligent design be held to such an unreasonable, inappropriate standard. Rather, a theory succeeds by explaining the data better than competing ideas.

In other words, ID does not stand in opposition of a single, vague, artificial category of “unintelligent mechanisms”, but to a number of potential independent theories, and cannot address them all. ID therefore cannot, even in principle, gain ground by negative argumentation against Darwinian mechanisms alone. Positive evidence for an empirically investigatable alternative explanation based specifically on ID principles is required, and so far is sorely lacking.

Things shift to comedy when Behe complains that his “biochemical arguments against Darwinism” cannot be considered to have been refuted by the scientific community, as Judge Jones claims, because he “strongly disagrees” they have. In other words, Behe raises himself as the ultimate arbiter of the refutation of his own claims: as long as he “strongly disagrees” that they have been refuted, they haven’t, and that’s that. It seems to escape Behe that the same logic would apply to his own claims against “Darwinism”: as long as a single “Darwinist” held fast in his/her belief, no matter if every other biologist had since converted to ID, Darwinian theory would apparently stand unrefuted. Alas, science is a communal enterprise, and it is the community of scientists which decides which claims are refuted, and which stand. They do so mostly by voting with their own hands, so to speak: scientists will choose to use in their daily work, to formulate new hypotheses, to design experiments and to pursue intellectually, those claims they think are valid, and ignore those that are not. In this respect, the contrast between the vibrant field of evolutionary biology, with its continuous stream of publications and its numerous applications (in biotechnology, genomics, medicine, etc), and ID, which by Behe’s own admission has generated close to nothing in terms of scientific output of any kind (including non-peer-reviewed works), could not be starker and more damning.

Behe’s response goes on pretty much like this for the whole 10 pages: he repeats his trial claims as if repetition made them more convincing, freely contradicts himself and other ID advocates, and occasionally appears simply befuddled that the Judge would not see things his way. At one point, he says he considered being challenged with a large amount of literature on immune system evolution “bad courtroom theatre”, and complains he did not have a chance to read the stuff, as if a thorough knowledge of the relevant literature was not required before making his claims about the nature of the evidence for immune system evolution. Behe’s tone then almost drifts to petulance, asking:

How can the Court declare that a stack of publications shows anything at all if the defense expert disputes it and the Court has not itself read and understood them?

ignoring that the Court has very good reasons to trust the word of dozens of experts in the field, writing in peer-reviewed publications, prominent textbooks etc, when they explicitly discuss the evolution of the immune system, especially in the absence of any evidence of the contrary by the “expert witness”, who by his own admission didn’t even read the material himself (nor, bizarrely, even asked to, which I believe would have been his prerogative).

Similarly, Behe insists, as he did at trial, with the bizarre notion that a text search for key phrases such as “random mutation” should be taken as a reliable indicator of whether a paper addresses Darwinian mechanisms or not, even though during his testimony it was shown that some of the “failing” papers in fact went even further, discussing specific mutation mechanisms, such as transposition. (As someone who has to read content-thick science papers essentially on a daily basis, I just wish it were so simple to judge the literature’s relevance to a topic.)

I can’t really go through the entire response, but here is one more nugget: in section 19, Behe strongly argues that, since the “appearance of design” in biology is, in Richard Dawkins’s and most biologists’ opinion, overwhelming, the recognition of “purposeful arrangement of parts” as a telltale sign of design cannot be considered simply subjective. But of course it can: just because our brains are wired in such a way to “see” purpose in phenomena occurring around us, it doesn’t mean that actual purpose exists in them, just like the fact that our brains are wired to “see” human faces in simple arrangements of lines or natural objects does not make the Face on Mars a bona fide human face depiction. The distinction between “subjective” vs. “objective” does not depend on the distribution or relative abundance of opinions: only one century ago, essentially 100% of human beings, including all scientists, agreed with the overwhelming appearance of immobility of continents on the surface of the Earth, but objective evidence has since shown that theirs was just a subjective, if unanimous, impression.

Going back to my original expression of empathy for Behe, I find myself wondering how I can harbor such feelings for someone who is so obviously wrong, so often, and so unrepentantly. In large part, I have decided, it’s an issue of “There but for the grace of God go I”. As scientists, we are trained to apply as much objectivity and detachment as possible, but also to be strongly argumentative and ambitious. We are told to resist the pull of our egos, trying to keep enough distance between our analytical abilities and our very own theories and ideas not to be sucked into whirlpools of self-perpetuating error and delusion, and on the other hand we are also encouraged to stand up for what we believe is true, regardless of how strong the opposition, as the more numerous and vocal the opponents, the sweeter and more rewarding the vindication and final recognition. It is a hard equilibrium to maintain, and occasionally we all, to some degree, fail one way or another. The trick is being able to tell when enough is enough.

Anyway, Behe is at least correct in his conclusion, when he says that “the realities of biology… are not amenable to adjudication”. If this statement in fact signaled the end of the political-legal strategy for placing ID in science classes before it makes it into science journals, at some point in the future it may end up sounding less irony-deaf than it does now.

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Comment #78173

Posted by Mike Elzinga on February 7, 2006 9:10 PM (e)

I had similar feelings when I was going through Dembski’s work. My first thought was, “Is this guy serious?” It was immediately obvious to me as a physicist that he either didn’t have a clue about what he was doing, or he was embarking on a premeditated deception. He doesn’t even seem to know how to formulate a problem let alone solve it or get a productive research program going on it.

I suspect ego may be involved in this case as well. Dembski painted himself into a corner when he received the adulation of the creationism community, and it went to his head. My impression of most of these ID Fellows is that they haven’t really been through a good shakedown of their training by responsible mentors. Somehow in their training they never confronted serious misconceptions that they carried with them all the way through their Ph.D. work. Getting two or more Ph.D. degrees may also have gone to their heads. They spent too much time on “book larnin’” and not enough time confronting reality in the lab. I have also wondered if something about their religious beliefs predisposes them to the kinds of misconceptions they seem to hang onto so tenaciously.

There are some similarities to the Cold Fusion fiasco. Once the claims were made publicly before being peer reviewed, more deceptions were piled on top of other deceptions until the whole thing came crashing down.

Comment #78177

Posted by Les Lane on February 7, 2006 9:31 PM (e)

“The dualism is “contrived” and “illogical” only if one confuses ID with creationism.”

The Foundation for Thought an Ethics presumably shares this “confusion”.

Comment #78178

Posted by Dude on February 7, 2006 9:46 PM (e)

I have no empathy, sympathy, or any other “athy” for Behe and his ilk.

They are incapable of admitting error, some of them openly acknowledge that they have a fully, and exclusively, religious agenda(ID is the gospel of John and all that….), and they have chosen to adopt political strategies and present their feeble position in the court of public opinion (because they KNOW they don’t have a scientific case for ID).

They knowingly, deliberately devise fallacious arguments and call on emotional reasoning in support of ID. They lie, in other words, to support their religious agenda.

Do not pity them for their inability to articulate a rational defense of ID, for they are unworthy of such consideration.

Comment #78180

Posted by dogscratcher on February 7, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

Dude:
“I have no empathy, sympathy, or any other “athy” for Behe and his ilk.”

How about “antipathy?”

Comment #78182

Posted by Doc Bill on February 7, 2006 10:24 PM (e)

Behe starts his apology by redefining science to be “broad” enough, I’d say sloppy enough, to encompass the supernatural:

On the other hand, like myself most of the public takes a broader view: “science” is an
unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence. By those
lights, intelligent design is indeed science.

Yeah, who needs experiments? Who needs data? Let’s just have a love-fest!

At this point Behe moves from scientist to layman. Thus, the remainder of his apology is from the perspective of a layman; not a trained expert; not a professional; not a scientist.

I’m sorry, but the layman’s view of the world that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west has no bearing on science which can prove that the earth moves around the sun, and that sunrise and sunset, however beautiful and poetic, are illusions of movement and do not reflect the reality of the cosmos.

Likewise, Behe’s observation that the cell is “like a little factory” is an illusion and does not reflect the reality of biology.

The fact that Behe continues to promote his incorrect and simplistic view, considering his training and position as a professor, and in light of considerable evidence to the contrary presented to him on many occasions, constitutes, in my opinion, malpractice, fraud and slander. It is unfortunate that in his protected Ivory Tower that Behe is unaccountable for his malfeasance.

Comment #78183

Posted by Michael Hopkins on February 7, 2006 10:27 PM (e)

Bob Park’s Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud is really relevant to this. Dr. Park documents how a lot of pseudoscience started with the inability to admit that one was wrong. This can lead to the types of behaviors we have come to expect from creationists and other pseudoscientists.

Comment #78184

Posted by Michael Rathbun, FCD, FARW on February 7, 2006 10:30 PM (e)

It is recorded that Behe wrote:

However, if one simply contrasts intelligent causes with unintelligent causes, as ID does, then those two categories do constitute a mutually exclusive and exhaustive set of possible explanations. Thus evidence against the ability of unintelligent causes to explain a phenomenon does strengthen the case for an intelligent cause.

Well, my late grandfather would no doubt take vigourous exception to such a declaration. He was a firm and vocal advocate of the existence of a “Life Force”, a pervasive, impersonal but enormously creative natural phenomenon that gently but ineluctably compelled inanimate matter to organise. He would have declared that neither “intelligent” nor “unintelligent” would be apposite adjectives. And certainly the body of scientific evidence in favour of his argument was as large as that which Behe commands.

mdr (who today received his very first spam to the address attached to his disquisitions at the Thumb)

Comment #78185

Posted by Gary Hurd on February 7, 2006 10:34 PM (e)

I am glad that there is finally a PT reaction to Behe’s latest effort to salvage the Dover trial. I started to write this up but had no where to put it.

Michael Behe has recently made what I hope is the first of many responses to the Dover Panda Trial decision by Judge John Jones. In his decision, Judge Jones made a comprehensive legal determination that teaching Intelligent Design Creationism in American public schools is a violation of the US Constitution, and resulting laws. Behe’s response begins with a measured tone, but sometimes descends toward a petulant rant. (This isn’t really a criticism- we all know I love a good rant).

It is very important to remember that the decision by Judge Jones is legally limited to the testimony presented at trial. The judge can not simply deny the trial and substitute his own reasoning and evidence. On several points Behe is claiming non-testimony “fact” in his response and on that point alone his response is invalid. The creationist lawyers and Behe were given every possible opportunity to present their version of the facts - now they are stuck with them.

I was personally most interested in Behe’s refashioning of his testimony about archaeology for obvious reason. Behe whines that Jones had “… switched in the space of a paragraph from calling the argument for ID an “inductive argument” to calling it an “analogy”. Behe even called it “… a critical confusion.” The only one confused is Behe. In the relevant exchange from the Behe cross examination there is the following :

Q. And as we discussed in the bacterial flagellum, they often have millions or in some cases billions of years to go through this process of replication of reproduction and have changes occur, correct?
A. Yes, that’s correct.

Q. So when we try to figure out from the appearance of design in, how the appearance of design arises in biological systems, they have some opportunities to develop that don’t exist for my keys or my watch, correct?
A. They certainly have properties of their own which would, you have to take into consideration. You have to take into consideration. They also have other things that you have to worry about because they can die and so on, which watches and so on don’t do.

Q. But no longer, no matter how long my keys exist, they’re not going to reproduce or replicate, correct?
A. That’s right.

Q. And that really impairs the analogy, doesn’t it?
A. I don’t think so. I don’t think so at all. As a matter of fact, I explicitly addressed that in Darwin’s Black Box. I explicitly addressed it in other places. It certainly makes it, you certainly have to take that into consideration, but if you do and if you don’t think that particular property affects the situation too much, then the reasoning continues to be the same.

Q. And that’s your view about the phenomenon of reproduction and replication over hundreds of thousands, millions, or billions of years, depending on the organism?
A. In my paper with David Snoke one can try to calculate how those great time spans and great populations would affect the situation.

Q. And we’ve seen earlier today how that works out?
A. Yes.

Q. And you remember I asked you at your deposition about whether there was any specialized scientific discipline that goes into reasoning that objects we’re familiar with in the world are intelligently designed. Do you remember me asking you that?
A. I think so, yes.

Q. And the first answer you gave me is yes, there’s archaeology, right?
A. I believe I did, yes.

Jones was totally correct to refer to the use of analogy as this was the very condition of the series of questions related to archaeology and human artifacts as this was true to the testimony given by Behe.

(18) JONES: For human artifacts, we know the designer’s identity, human, and the mechanism of design, as we have experience based upon empirical evidence that humans can make such things, as well as many other attributes including the designer’s abilities, needs, and desires….Professor Behe’s only response to these seemingly insurmountable points of disanalogy was that the inference still works in science fiction movies. (23:73 (Behe)).

BEHE: Again, the Court confuses an analogy with an induction. Our knowledge of the nature of the designer is not necessary for a conclusion of design based on induction, any more than knowledge of what caused the Big Bang was necessary before we could inductively conclude that the universe had an explosive beginning. Although the Court appears to disdain science fiction movies, the induction works in science as well. The SETI project (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is based on our ability to recognize the effects of nonhuman, alien intelligence. It was featured in the science-fiction film Contact, for example, based upon a work by Carl Sagan.

Good grief! Behe did it again! Complaining that Jones correctly observed that all Behe offered in the end was an appeal to Science Fiction (the monolith from 2001 in Behe’s court testimony), Behe retreated into another SciFi movie Contact. And as a mere factual issue, SETI is not at all based on the fictional novel Contact by Carl Sagan, any more than it is based on the movie. Quite obviously, Behe knows as little about SciFi, and SETI as he does about archaeology. Further, the expansion of gasses following the explosion of a firecracker has no analogy (other than a false one) to any cosmological theory. (This is actually a red herring on Behe’s part, but it is false at any rate).

Comment #78187

Posted by S. C. Hartman on February 7, 2006 10:39 PM (e)

ID does offer a possible teaching moment in a science class as an example of what happens when someone falls in love with an idea of his and is unable to detach himself and look at it objectively. Cold fusion is another one as is Duesberg’s claims about HIV not being the causative agent of AIDS.
On the other hand, the scientific community has to be careful not to condemn and ridicule new ideas without a fair hearing. Plate tectonics is a good example. Another is Mitchell’s chemiosmotic theory of energy coupling in mitochondria, which was dismissed by “mainstream” biochemists for some years as black magic.
Of course, ID is a non-starter as a scientific contribution since it depends on the oxymoron of seeking to explain things using the unexplainable. It’s a dead end, by definition.

Comment #78188

Posted by Flint on February 7, 2006 10:56 PM (e)

Personally, I got the biggest kick out of Rothschild demanding that Behe specify the mechanisms of IC, since Behe wrote in his book that IC is ‘focused exclusively on the mechanisms’. Here’s how I read that passage of testimony, in my own words (of course):

OK, says Rothschild, what ARE those mechanisms?

Behe: Well, actually, I don’t have any mechanisms, but I know that there’s an intelligence involved.

Rothschild: Wait a minnit! Isn’t “an intelligence involved” a *conclusion* that one would draw AFTER investigating the mechanisms? How can a scientist start by assuming his conclusion and then doing no research to defend it?

Behe: Well, it’s obvious there’s an intelligence involved, so the mechanism must have involved the application of that intelligence somehow.

Rothschild: OK, then, what IS the mechanism from whose investigation you concluded an intelligence.

Behe: I don’t NEED any mechanism, because I know the answer before I start.

Rothschild: But in that case, why did you write that IC is ‘focused exclusively on the mechanisms’? How could you say that if you have no mechanisms?

Yep, smashingly successful testimony there. Start by assuming your conclusions, and from your assumptions, state your conclusions. No research, no evidence needed. Man, this science stuff is a piece of cake. And finally, there was Behe sitting on the stand saying “I say it’s science, I believe it, that settles it!” Pathetic.

Comment #78190

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on February 7, 2006 11:22 PM (e)

Returning to this:

Behe wrote:

On the other hand, like myself most of the public takes a broader view: “science” is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence. By those lights, intelligent design is indeed science. Thus there is a disconnect between the two views of what “science” is.

Ye olde redefinition of science trick. No need for the scientific method. The word “reasoning” covers very broad territory. If Behe means the sort of reasoning he delivers here, or in his book, it does not resemble science at all.

What is striking is that Behe offers no ID science at all. The way to show that ID is science is to point to some actual ID science. The notion that ID can be made into science by an argument, even though there is no ID science, is absurd on its face.

I think though that this response to the Judge was much more carefully considered than the many others from DI guys. They must have considered offering actual papers as evidence, and about each one thought Oh! Oh! If we say this is an example if ID science, we will be ridiculed. We had better stick to what we are good at: proof by assertion, and stone walling.

Comment #78191

Posted by KL on February 7, 2006 11:26 PM (e)

In all seriousness, the poor man may be mentally ill. The DI puts a lot on him, as he is the closest thing to a biological science expert (biochem) that they have. He does not, though, sound like a scientist in this testimony. I doubt an institution such as Lehigh would have let him get to a tenured position if he was not at one time competent, but he seems almost psychotic now. It’s a shame, really.

Comment #78193

Posted by Anton Mates on February 7, 2006 11:29 PM (e)

And as a mere factual issue, SETI is not at all based on the fictional novel Contact by Carl Sagan, any more than it is based on the movie. Quite obviously, Behe knows as little about SciFi, and SETI as he does about archaeology.

I think he just means the movie’s based on the book.

Comment #78196

Posted by Jason on February 7, 2006 11:41 PM (e)

As I testified, when it was first proposed the Big Bang theory struck many scientists as pointing to a supernatural cause. Yet it clearly is a scientific theory, because it is based entirely on physical data and logical inferences. The same is true of intelligent design.

Um DUH! NO! The BB theory does not try to say that there is an intelligent agent behind the expansion of the universe. It couldn’t even if it tried.

The dualism is “contrived” and “illogical” only if one confuses ID with creationism, as the Court does.

There’s no confusion. ID is a type of creationism. Only an idiot can’t see that and only a liar wouldn’t admit it.

Thus evidence against the ability of unintelligent causes to explain a phenomenon does strengthen the case for an intelligent cause.

“Evidence against the ability of unintelligent causes” translates to “I haven’t figured it out yet.” Behe’s terrible logic makes me wonder how he ever got to be a professor.

Again, repeatedly, the Court’s opinion ignores the distinction between an implication of a theory and the theory itself. If I think it is implausible that the cause of the Big Bang was natural, as I do, that does not make the Big Bang Theory a religious one, because the theory is based on physical, observable data and logical inferences. The same is true for ID.

I don’t think Behe gets it. ID “theory” as it stands could even encompass BB theory, saying that the intelligent designer (you know who) made the universe bang in just the right way to get stars and planets and people. In this sense it’s a religious inference and it can never be anything more than that without direct evidence of God.

Pennock, a philosopher, wrote that a complex watch could
be made by starting with a more complex chronometer (a very precise timepiece used by sailors) and carefully breaking it! — So therefore a watch isn’t irreducibly complex! As I testified I have not bothered to address Pennock’s point because I regard the example as obviously and totally contrived — it has nothing to do with biologically-relevant questions of evolution.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! So references to watches (and Mt. Rushmore and mousetraps) have nothing to do with biologically-relevant questions of evolution? Is that so Dr. Behe? HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Nonetheless, I do agree that, for example, a computer missing a critical part can still “function” as, say, a door stop. That hardly constitutes a concession on my part.

In other words you have no argument. You are agreeing with “the evolutionists” who say that a structure expressed to carry out one function can one day evolve into a different structure that is expressed to carry out a different funtion.

Nor do experiments exist that demonstrate the power of natural selection to make irreducibly complex biochemical systems, either directly or indirectly–proclamations of the National Academy notwithstanding. Again, children who are taught to mistake assertions for experimental demonstrations are being seriously misled.

I don’t believe children are taught a damned thing about the evolution of the bacterial flagellum or even the eukaryotic flagellum. They also are not taught that the aether theory is supported and should not be taught that ID is a valid theory, all for the same reasons.

The distinctions can be read in my Court testimony. In short, the Court uncritically accepts strawman arguments.

Strawman arguments against non sequiturs? Behe admits (without knowing it) that his IC argument is exactly a non sequitur.

Again, as I made abundantly clear at trial, it isn’t “evolution” but Darwinism — random mutation and natural selection — that ID challenges.

Well, it depends on which ID person you ask and on which day (and on who is asking, reporters or ministers.)

The 19th century ether theory of the propagation of light could not be tested simply by showing that light was a wave; it had to test directly for the ether. Darwinism is not tested by studies showing simply that organisms are related; it has to show evidence for the sufficiency of random mutation and natural selection to make complex, functional systems.

Holy smack! He is actually shooting down ID wholesale! Earlier in his response he says that ID doesn’t need direct evidence of an intelligent designer, just cursory evidence that might implicate an intelligent designer. Now he’s saying that a scientific theory MUST have direct evidence for what it aims to prove! This isn’t necessarily true, but it’s what he’s saying. Besides, there is plenty of direct evidence to support the fact that genetic mutations occur and that natural selection occurs.

If I conducted such an experiment and no flagellum were evolved, what Darwinist would believe me? What Darwinist would take that as evidence for my claims that Darwinism is wrong and ID is right?

Dr. Behe, you are being dishonest here. Not even you would think that you’ve done anything to support any particular theory. You would merely disprove that bacterial flagella could not evolve under the conditions of the experiment and nothing more. Think Louis Pasteur and spontaneous generation vs. abiogensis.

The flagellum experiment the Court described above is one that, if successful, would strongly affirm Darwinian claims, and so should have been attempted long ago by one or more of the many, many adherents of Darwinism in the scientific community. That none of them has tried
such an experiment, and that similar experiments that were tried on other molecular systems have failed, should count heavily against their theory.

Experiments like this ARE going on, but you know, Dr. Behe, that they take a long long time (years and years) and they can’t strive to acheive a specific goal in mind, at least one as monumental as evolving a structure as complex as a flagellum. You are being especially disingenuous here.

William Paley would likely think that the Big Bang was a creative act by God, but that does not make the Big Bang theory unscientific.

Right, because what William Paley says about the BB theory isn’t the BB theory.

I have repeatedly affirmed that I think the designer is
God, and repeatedly pointed out that that personal affirmation goes beyond the scientific evidence, and is not part of my scientific program.

What IS your scientific program? The only ID programs are public relations and politics.

#16 - #19 are just sad. Sad.

Oh and #20 is sad too. Just repeating the flawed BB analogy.

On the day after the judge’s opinion, December 21, 2005, as before,
the cell is run by amazingly complex, functional machinery that in any other context would immediately be recognized as designed. On December 21, 2005, as before, there are no non-design explanations for the molecular machinery of life, only wishful speculations and Just-So stories.

You already said that the appearance of design is overwhelmingly subjective.

Behe, how did you ever become a professor or biochemistry? Or, what happened between when you were tenured and now? What happened to your logical faculties? What happened to the biochemist Michael Behe?

Comment #78202

Posted by Karl on February 8, 2006 12:24 AM (e)

I seem to always get in on the tail end of these conversations when everyone else has gone to sleep. But let me post two questions just in case anyone is still reading.
Let me say, first, that I am an unrestricted believer - of evolution.
1. Behe says “‘Science’ is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence”.
Isn’t that exactly what science is? How can you argue with that?
Then he says: “By these lights, intelligent design is science.”
Now you CAN argue - where is the reasoning from evidence?
But the first statement seems to be quite sensible.
2. Some of Behe’s argument is “the appearance of design”. And the refutation of that - as a sufficient argument by itself - is the history of physical phenomena that are not what they “appeared” to be; such as: the Earth is flat, the Sun revolves around the Earth, the continents are immobile, there must be an ether between the planets, etc.
Now, can you give me some more “appearances” that were accepted lore and have been disproven? What about Relativity? How would that be worded?
It seems that the common thread of all these disprovals of appearances is the enlarging scope of mankind’s physical world.
I am preparing (in general) for the upcoming debate in Oklahoma about putting ID into the science classrooms. I need all of the easily understandable (by laymen) rebuttals that are available.

Comment #78203

Posted by RavenT on February 8, 2006 12:28 AM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

At one point, he says he considered being challenged with a large amount of literature on immune system evolution “bad courtroom theatre”, and complains he did not have a chance to read the stuff, as if a thorough knowledge of the relevant literature was not required before making his claims about the nature of the evidence for immune system evolution.

Yeah, I liked that part, too. So much, I think I’m going to try it out at my dissertation defense.

“Background literature? Sorry, didn’t have a chance to read it, but I’m sure there’s nothing worthwhile there.”

Comment #78205

Posted by Caledonian on February 8, 2006 12:58 AM (e)

Science isn’t just reasoning based on physical observations. It’s also about testing the hypotheses produced and actively seeking to perform experiments that would disprove those hypotheses if certain results were observed.

It’s easy to be an armchair philosopher and speculate endlessly upon some initial observations. It’s easy to accept assertions made by some ‘authority’. But neither of those things are science.

Aristotle came up with some reasonable-sounding statements about how objects fall, based on some observations of the physical world. He did not, however, conduct experiments to see if those statements actually matched reality. Galileo did that, and as it happened, he found that Aristotle was wrong. That’s why Aristotle was not a scientist, and Galileo was - the first didn’t experiment and try to disprove his own hypotheses, and Galileo did.

Comment #78207

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on February 8, 2006 1:05 AM (e)

Yeah, I liked that part, too. So much, I think I’m going to try it out at my dissertation defense.

“Background literature? Sorry, didn’t have a chance to read it, but I’m sure there’s nothing worthwhile there.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of undergraduate students defending the lack of references in their papers with a similar argument.

Comment #78210

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 1:22 AM (e)

It was immediately obvious to me as a physicist that he either didn’t have a clue about what he was doing, or he was embarking on a premeditated deception.

Fortunately, no one has to guess at the motives or aims of the IDers. They have put them clearly in print for the whole world to see and understand, right there in the Wedge Document:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/wedge.html

Comment #78211

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 1:25 AM (e)

Behe starts his apology by redefining science to be “broad” enough, I’d say sloppy enough, to encompass the supernatural:

This is deliberate ID strategy, in both Kansas and Ohio. If the definitoon of sciecne rules out ID, their proposed solution is to use legislative power to redefine science so it DOES include ID.

After all, the stated aim of the Wedge Document is to replace science with “theistic understanding of nature”.

Comment #78218

Posted by Mike Walker on February 8, 2006 3:38 AM (e)

I don’t think Behe is mentally ill, I just think that, like Dembki, he cannot openly admit to being mistaken, about anything. This affliction is fairly common. We’ve all come across people like this. Those who can never admit to any mistake even when forced into a corner. They will lie, accuse, ignore, change the argument, make excuses, do anything to avoid saying “I was wrong.”

Comment #78221

Posted by Craig Pennington on February 8, 2006 5:52 AM (e)

I undrstand your sympathy with Behe. It was his Kitzmiller testimony that moved me from the opinion that he did not believe some of what he was saying. After his preverdict assuredness, I am of the opinion that he is a true believer.

Comment #78226

Posted by Ed Darrell on February 8, 2006 7:27 AM (e)

Karl asked:

1. Behe says “‘Science’ is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence”.
Isn’t that exactly what science is? How can you argue with that?
Then he says: “By these lights, intelligent design is science.”
Now you CAN argue - where is the reasoning from evidence?
But the first statement seems to be quite sensible.

I would note two problems with Behe’s claim. Maybe three.

First, science isn’t unrestricted. Science looks for proximate causes, and replicable causes, for one set of restrictions. There are rules of the game. ID asks that we skip some of those steps. Real science knows “then a miracle happens” on the chalkboard of equations is a cartoon, not science.

Consider a hypothetical IDist’s claim that God told him in a dream that ID is right. There is the famous story of the structure of benzene being understood first in a dream by a scientist working on the problem. But benzene rings work out in the lab, they are corroborated by other evidence. ID is refuted by other research, not supported. Claiming dreams as science is bizarre – inspiration may come in a dream, but if the inspiration doesn’t work out on the lab bench, it’s nightmare, and not science.

Second, while Behe claims to make appeals to evidence and reasoning, ID requires ignoring a lot of evidence, distortion of a lot more (Jonathan Wells’ book should be indicted on academic fraud charges, but Behe defends it), and amazing and spectacular leaps of illogic, such as the claim that complexity means an intelligence made it, instead of acknowledging that the hallmark of intelligent design is simplicity, as a rule.

Third, there is simply no connection between Behe’s expanded definition of science and his conclusions about ID. You could just as well insert “cold fusion” for “intelligent design”: “By these lights, cold fusion is science.” Or, “By these lights, colorless green ideas sleeping furiously is science.” Behe strays off into the realm of philosophy, but apparently without any grounding in philosophy, none of the tools the philosopher needs to stay in reality.

“And then a miracle happens” is a cartoon, not science.

All of this hooey is made possible because people don’t learn evolution. If one carefully notes the five observations and three inferences Mayr boils evolution down to, one might then observe that nothing in “intelligent design” challenges any part of evolution theory. ID advocates, failing to understand evolution, miss this. We should stop missing it. Teach the facts, ID won’t be able to stand up to them.

Comment #78227

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on February 8, 2006 7:27 AM (e)

Karl wrote:

1. Behe says “‘Science’ is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence”.
Isn’t that exactly what science is?

No, he left out precisely what makes science science - testing. Arguing without testing is exactly what science isn’t. Philosophy is fine. However, philosophers know that they are doing philosophy, not science. Behe gutted the very concept of science in order to claim that ID is science.

Comment #78228

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 7:49 AM (e)

No, he left out precisely what makes science science - testing.

As I have noted several times before (in very long posts) that is EXACTLY what ID is trying to avoid. They want to have their “science” accepted WITHOUT having to test it.

Comment #78230

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 8, 2006 8:12 AM (e)

More on the topic: at Immunoblogging, JM O’Donnell further elaborates on Behe’s puzzling statements about who should have read and understood the immune system evolution papers to begin with. Hint: it’s not Judge Jones.

Comment #78231

Posted by William E Emba on February 8, 2006 8:12 AM (e)

Jason wrote:

Behe wrote:

The flagellum experiment the Court described above is one that, if successful, would strongly affirm Darwinian claims, and so should have been attempted long ago by one or more of the many, many adherents of Darwinism in the scientific community. That none of them has tried such an experiment, and that similar experiments that were tried on other molecular systems have failed, should count heavily against their theory.

Experiments like this ARE going on, but you know, Dr. Behe, that they take a long long time (years and years) and they can’t strive to acheive a specific goal in mind, at least one as monumental as evolving a structure as complex as a flagellum. You are being especially disingenuous here.

Inspired by Dr. Behe, I’d like to propose an experiment. Watch 10000 generations of some bacterium that does not have a flagellum, and see if poof happens, and a bacterium with a flagellum suddenly appears. If not, conclude there is no IDer.

Similarly, watch hundreds of generations of mosquitoes in mudholes, and see if poof, any of them give birth to a South Carolina governor. If not, conclude there is no IDer.

In the interests of doing real science, I’m sure Dr. Behe will jump at this opportunity to convince the world’s skeptics.

Comment #78234

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 8:30 AM (e)

Screw Behe. My sympathies are with the millions of less-educated but no less sincere and well-meaning rank-and-file Christians, whose money, support, and even beliefs became cannon-fodder for a cynical and hateful campaign to undermine the most indispensible foundation of liberty: the ability of individuals to think clearly and rationally for themselves.

Behe was a happy and willing Quisling, supporting the agenda of those who stroked his ego and fattened his wallet (probably with money donated by the aforementioned well-meaning Christians). There’s no way he could not have known what a con-job the whole IDifice was, or what the consequences of his side’s success would have been. If he’s now left with no dignity or credibility, and thus no further use to his masters, then he’s just like all the other willing press-flacks and PR stooges who gave up their integrity to pay the rent. Every job has its risks.

Comment #78236

Posted by blah on February 8, 2006 8:36 AM (e)

“I can’t really go through the entire response”

Of course you can’t.

Comment #78240

Posted by blah on February 8, 2006 8:46 AM (e)

“I am glad that there is finally a PT reaction to Behe’s latest effort to salvage the Dover trial. I started to write this up but had no where to put it.”

You must be so sad now, that you left the PT without any serious reason whatsoever, eh? :-)))

Comment #78246

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 8, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

PREVENTIVE REMINDER:
Please do not feed trolls, it wastes your energy and encourages more trolling. Troll-feeding will not be allowed in this thread.
If necessary, I’ll take care of troll-control.
Thanks

Comment #78249

Posted by steve s on February 8, 2006 9:48 AM (e)

The Uncommon Descent thread about Behe’s response is full of comedy.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/785

We’re discussing it at AtBC.

My favorite bit:

Natural selection is death, and the last time I checked, death did not have the power to “bring together parts of a system” for any purpose whatsoever.

Comment by GilDodgen — February 6, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

Hear that sound? The creaking of the berlin wall of evolution, I’m sure. ;-)

Comment #78250

Posted by Lou FCD on February 8, 2006 9:56 AM (e)

Natural selection is death,…blah blah blah… for any purpose whatsoever.

That’s funny, I just posted a couple of links on the “Teaching Evolution” thread that directly contradict that statement.

Just the view from a Carpenter’s son.

Comment #78251

Posted by improvius on February 8, 2006 10:00 AM (e)

If Behe wanted to be taken seriously as a scientist, the first thing he would do would be to distance himself from the Discovery Institute. Leaving aside the errors of his own work, any protest of being unfairly lumped in with creationists is ludicrous so long as he is a senior fellow at the DI.

Comment #78252

Posted by Lou FCD on February 8, 2006 10:16 AM (e)

If Behe wanted to be taken seriously as a scientist, the first thing he would do would be to distance himself from the Discovery Institute.

And perhaps the second might be to, I dunno, do some science?

I’m not a scientist, historian, or philosopher. That’s just the view from a Carpenter’s son.

Comment #78253

Posted by JAllen on February 8, 2006 10:24 AM (e)

Judge Jones: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation.

Behe: It does no such thing.

From Science, Philosophy, Religion

Behe wrote:

In his essay, then, Dickerson does not say scientific evidence has shown that the supernatural has never affected nature (for those concerned about the definition of supernatural, substitute “higher intelligence”). Rather, he argues that in principle, science should not invoke it.

[snip]

The final point I wish to make about Richard Dickerson’s argument is that although he certainly didn’t intend it, it is a prescription for timidity. It tries to restrict science to more of the same, disallowing a fundamentally different explanation. It tries to place reality in a tidy box, but the universe will not be placed in a box. The origin of the universe and the development of life are the physical underpinnings that resulted in a world full of conscious agents. There is no a priori reason to think that those bedrock events are to be explained in the same way as other physical events. Science is not a game, and scientists should follow the physical evidence wherever it leads, with no artificial restrictions.

Whether it is complete self-delusion, or bald-faced, unabashed lying (my bet), it is just fascinating.

Comment #78257

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 11:06 AM (e)

Comment #78196 Posted by Jason on February 7, 2006 11:41 PM

Dr. Behe, you are being dishonest here. Not even you would think that you’ve done anything to support any particular theory. You would merely disprove that bacterial flagella could not evolve under the conditions of the experiment and nothing more. Think Louis Pasteur and spontaneous generation vs. abiogensis.

If (or more properly when) chemists ever do abiogenesis in a test tube won’t the ID’ers simply say the same thing; that all the experiment proved is that life could evolve under the conditions of the experiment and nothing more. Seems there must be a better way to say this that it can’t be turned around to bite back.

Sincerely,

Comment #78259

Posted by Inoculated Mind on February 8, 2006 11:13 AM (e)

Although I think Behe is deluding himself, I agree that one can’t help liking some personality aspects of his, and having a bit of sympathy as well. Compared to the rest of the IDists he’s very congenial.
That said, time to criticize him.

Thank you, Andrea for taking the time to go into it with this kind of depth. You pointed out that he tried to fault Judge Jones saying “Evolution” when Behe would have preferred “Darwinism” (ALthough it is NOT an -ISM). But I think you might have been a little light on an obvious conclusion to make, although I think it as implied. After Behe complains about the evolution-darwinian evolution distinction, he decides to go claim that unintelligent evolution versus intelligent causes covers everything, and by undermining darwin, intelligent causes are proved.

Although he has in no way undermined darwin, what he’s done is tried to switch darwin with evolution, after he tried to chide Judge Jones on switching them! He has not exhausted all unintelligent causes, and so by pointing out an inadequacy in darwinian evolution, he does nothing to support the case for intelligent causes. Evidence against theory A is not evidence against theory B. Although they repeat the mantra that unguided processes versus guided processes exhaust all possibilities, they have to undermine all the unguided processes (incl the as-yet unknown ones) to make an argument for the guided ones by that dichotomy.

In conclusion, this is what it takes to prove a hypothesis when you aren’t clever enough to figure out how to test your hypothesis yourself.

Comment #78260

Posted by Inoculated Mind on February 8, 2006 11:16 AM (e)

Oops, I meant to say: Evidence against theory A is not evidence FOR theory B.

Comment #78269

Posted by R. Lewis on February 8, 2006 11:55 AM (e)

Just a few random thoughts from a lurker:

1) An excellent article that articulates many of my feelings, and I suspect those of many other non-scientist lurkers.

2) As a new lurker who was siding with the ID’ers until the Dover decision, I often post contrarian theories on seemingly thoughtful web sites. As a result, I have been accused of being a troll everywhere I have gone, be it Democratic Underground, Free Republic, Panda’s Thumb (where I only posted once, and the response was minimal), etc.

3) Despite the Dover victory, evolutionists are losing in the court of popular opinion. The refusal of scientists to debate the issue on the grounds that it gives undeserved credence to ID is quite stupid, even if it is in a forum picked by creationists.

4) The author notes that “he repeats his trial claims as if repetition made them more convincing,” Ah, the Clinton-Carville-‘90’s democratic strategy. Say it often, loudly, and interrupt the other side and it becomes the truth, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately, it is working with the public again.

5) Evolutionists must, in some manner, address the issue of the self-awareness of humans. let’s call it the soul. It demands the existence of something everlasting, it the opinion of many.

A troll by my very nature. Thanks for listening.

Comment #78281

Posted by Henry J on February 8, 2006 12:32 PM (e)

Karl,
Re “What about Relativity? How would that be worded?”

Time and space measurements appeared to be independent of each other.

But you missed some: matter appears to be continuous. So does energy.

Henry

Comment #78282

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on February 8, 2006 12:41 PM (e)

1. Behe says “‘Science’ is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence”.
Isn’t that exactly what science is? How can you argue with that?
Then he says: “By these lights, intelligent design is science.”
Now you CAN argue - where is the reasoning from evidence?
But the first statement seems to be quite sensible.

I would suggest you take a look at the actual trial testimony, which you can find over on Talk.Origins. This bit is covered in Day 11 Afternoon, Michael Behe cross-examination

Q In any event, in your expert report, and in your testimony over the last two days, you used a looser definition of “theory,” correct?

A I think I used a broader definition, which is more reflective of how the word is actually used in the scientific community.

Q But the way you define scientific theory, you said it’s just based on your own experience; it’s not a dictionary definition, it’s not one issued by a scientific organization.

A It is based on my experience of how the word is used in the scientific community.

Q And as you said, your definition is a lot broader than the NAS definition?

A That’s right, intentionally broader to encompass the way that the word is used in the scientific community.

Q Sweeps in a lot more propositions.

A It recognizes that the word is used a lot more broadly than the National Academy of Sciences defined it.

Q In fact, your definition of scientific theory is synonymous with hypothesis, correct?

A Partly – it can be synonymous with hypothesis, it can also include the National Academy’s definition. But in fact, the scientific community uses the word “theory” in many times as synonymous with the word “hypothesis,” other times it uses the word as a synonym for the definition reached by the National Academy, and at other times it uses it in other ways.

Q But the way you are using it is synonymous with the definition of hypothesis?

A No, I would disagree. It can be used to cover hypotheses, but it can also include ideas that are in fact well substantiated and so on. So while it does include ideas that are synonymous or in fact are hypotheses, it also includes stronger senses of that term.

Q And using your definition, intelligent design is a scientific theory, correct?

A Yes.

Q Under that same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your definition, correct?

A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that – which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one, and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and many other – many other theories as well.

Q The ether theory of light has been discarded, correct?

A That is correct.

Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?

A Yes, that’s correct. And let me explain under my definition of the word “theory,” it is – a sense of the word “theory” does not include the theory being true, it means a proposition based on physical evidence to explain some facts by logical inferences. There have been many theories throughout the history of science which looked good at the time which further progress has shown to be incorrect. Nonetheless, we can’t go back and say that because they were incorrect they were not theories. So many many things that we now realized to be incorrect, incorrect theories, are nonetheless theories….

Comment #78284

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 8, 2006 12:51 PM (e)

I have sympathy for Behe as a person (who couldn’t have some feeling for someone so disastrously wrong, yet apparently unable to change?), but not as a public figure. In his latter role he acts like a charlatan, whether he means to or not (I’m guessing not).

To elaborate further on his Big Bang analogy I first quote Behe:

As I testified, when it was first proposed the Big Bang theory struck many scientists as pointing to a supernatural cause. Yet it clearly is a scientific theory, because it is based entirely on physical data and logical inferences. The same is true of intelligent design.

How is ID the same? Does it have observations like the microwave temperature that were predicted by theory? Do the expected variations in radition seen from the Big Bang have any sort of analogous observations in ID?

The fact is that Behe apparently isn’t even trying to think through these things, he just brings in the vaguest analogies (like, ‘some people thought the Big Bang had theological implications’) and then says, “The same is true of intelligent design.” As a supposed intellectual he has clearly abdicated his responsibility to at least attempt a reasonable line of thought in his discussions.

And of course the Big Bang turns out to be science precisely because it doesn’t really point to a supernatural cause. Those who thought it did evidently thought that if a beginning step was missing, the default becomes God, when there is no logical or inferential process for defaulting to God at the point where we don’t know. What I’m saying is that the reason the Big Bang was recognized as science is because it was realized that a knowledge gap, in the Big Bang like in biology, is not rightfully filled by some “unknown designer”. Had the Big Bang actually entailed an unknown cause like God it would be as unscientific as Behe’s notions are.

If I think it is implausible that the cause of the Big Bang was natural, as I do, that does not make the Big Bang Theory a religious one, because the theory is based on physical, observable data and logical inferences.

Actually, it does make the Big Bang theory a religious one, precisely at the point where He says that the unknown cause caused it (and get it right for once Behe, it’s the unknown factor that makes in unscientific, not the “unnatural” factor). He may be scientific up to that point, just as he is where he accepts the evidence for evolution. It’s where he abandons empiricism for unfounded speculation that he ceases to be scientific in any way. And because ID involves primarily the point at which the unknown appears, it has no independent scientific life at all. All of the science that exists in ID has come from normal science, usually evolutionary science.

What particularly interested me when the Big Bang was utilized by Behe is that George Deutsch (affiliated with the White House) has been arguing in quite the opposite manner:

The Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion,” Mr. Deutsch wrote,
adding, “It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be to make a
declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that
discounts intelligent design by a creator.”

Deutsch dislikes the Big Bang precisely because it has no obvious place for the “supernatural”. Don’t these pseudoscientists ever compare notes?

About contrasting intelligent causes with unintelligent causes, these terms are meaningless unless they actually refer to something that is “physically plausible”. God is not “intelligent” according to a number of philosophers, because God is not properly described in human terms. He is transcendent, he transcends human categories, so although God is held to be a candidate for this “intelligent designer”, he in fact is automatically excluded by not being properly referenced via human terms. If Behe wants to suggest aliens or time travelers he may do so, but then he needs to tell us why “designed organisms” look only like they were derived.

And wow, Behe strongly disagrees that ID has been refuted by the scientific community, then throws up a bunch of nonsense contrasting “refuted” and “controverted”. That’s why we don’t leave the issue up to one so biased as he.

Again, as I made abundantly clear at trial, it isn’t “evolution” but Darwinism — random mutation and natural selection — that ID challenges.

Evolution is “Darwinism” (to use his term) in its role as a science. Saying that things evolved, but through unknown intelligence, only admits to the barest conclusions possible, and expected, from science. It is to move back to something little better than the chain of being.

The 19th century ether theory of the propagation of light could not be tested simply by showing that light was a wave; it had to test directly for the ether. Darwinism is not tested by studies showing simply that organisms are related; it has to show evidence for the sufficiency of random mutation and natural selection to make complex, functional systems.

That’s right, Behe, one has to show evidence for the sufficiency of a cause in order for it to be an acceptable theory. What evidence have you brought forward for your lame ideas? Have you tested ID, the “designer”, to show that it is capable of producing the complex functional systems that we see?

Of course you haven’t, you intend to slide by on criticisms of “Darwinism”.

Current evolutionary theories (“Darwinism” to Behe) are of course tested not only by showing that all organisms are related. That is one of the tests of “Darwinism”, btw, because evolution through natural selection actually predicts that organisms will be related (not necessarily that all life is related, but that large chunks of life must be related). Behe’s designer is not constrained to produce “related organisms”, thus relationship is no prediction of ID whatsoever. By claiming that it is not a sufficient test, Behe obscures the fact that relationship between life forms really is an important test of “Darwinism”. Fine, it is not the conclusive test of “Darwinism”, but it is a test, which by itself is one more test of successful test “Darwinism” than the zero tests that ID has passed.

That said, Behe also obscures the fact that “Darwinism” is tested in many other ways, notably through the patterns of relationship and variation between related organisms. We can compare ape and human DNA to show where selective pressure has left its mark on the genome, and where change has been relatively neutral. Both neutral change and selective change are predicted by current theory, and both appear within the genome. This actually is a great test of “Darwinism” which was recently passed by that theory, suggesting that the predictions of “Darwinism” continue to prevail. Meanwhile, back at the ID ranch, the sagebrush drifts slowly by.

These aren’t the only tests passed by “Darwinism” by any means, but they are both excellent examples of predictions of evolutionary theory that have been verified and which confirm the theory. Behe has nothing analogous to it, only poor analogies that, if considered well, typically go against his claims about ID.

And besides, not only are there other purportedly “naturalistic theories” claiming to explain life, more importantly we have to recognize that if “Darwinism” were not able to broadly explain all known biological adaptation, then the real alternative scientific theory may very well be what is presently unknown. Behe has a truly warped sense of science not to recognize that if the present outlines of evolutionary thought are insufficient for all apparent adaptation that we see, then we return to forming hypotheses based on the evidence that we find. We don’t resort to the unknown designer, and especially we don’t suppose that God fits the names and conceptions of mortal designers. The latter is not only bad science, it is bad philosophy.

So no, I have little if any sympathy for Behe when behind the ID podium. He gets nearly everything wrong, he doesn’t learn either when we point out his mistakes, or even when IDists force the courts to weigh in and point out what rubbish he preaches. I hope that he is a personally sympathetic figure, but he does not evoke sympathy politically or scientifically in my mind at all. He only goes back to selling the same old snake oil, no matter how many times he has been hauled before the judges to be reprimanded for faking it.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78286

Posted by Mike Elzinga on February 8, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

I would like to second the recommendation of Bob Park’s book made by Michael Hopkins in comment #78183. It’s a good read.

Lenny’s mention of the Wedge Document goes to motive pretty accurately. Most of the arguments made by Dembski and others are simply repackaged ideas that were used by Morris and Gish in the Creation Science heydays. Also the extensive use of “quote mining” is a carryover from those days. So there is little doubt what the ID masters were doing.

Whether Behe, Dembski, or Wells, etc. were initially naive dupes or willing participants in the sham may be open to question, however, after a few terse comments by members of the scientific community about the stupidity of their arguments, anyone with a scientific conscience would be brought up short and forced to reconsider what they were doing before proceeding. The disclaimer on the Lehigh Biology Department website should have alerted Behe. That’s the importance of peer review. We hope our colleagues will alert us to the embarrassment of destroying ourselves with ill-conceived ideas.

Comment #78287

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 1:05 PM (e)

R. Lewis,
Re. Comment #78269,

3) Despite the Dover victory, evolutionists are losing in the court of popular opinion. The refusal of scientists to debate the issue on the grounds that it gives undeserved credence to ID is quite stupid, even if it is in a forum picked by creationists.

Fair enough.

4) The author notes that “he repeats his trial claims as if repetition made them more convincing,” Ah, the Clinton-Carville-‘90’s democratic strategy. Say it often, loudly, and interrupt the other side and it becomes the truth, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately, it is working with the public again.

I presume you are referring to Karl Rove’s present strategy.

5) Evolutionists must, in some manner, address the issue of the self-awareness of humans. let’s call it the soul. It demands the existence of something everlasting, it the opinion of many.

Venture on over to Carl Zimmer’s site. He has posted a lot on neuro-biology/chemistry. Someday science may be able to define the soul, even if it can’t quite do it now.

A troll by my very nature. Thanks for listening.

From one troll to another, Welcome to the Thumb. Pull up a stool and I’ll buy you a virtual beer. As I only have virtual money that works out well. :)

Comment #78291

Posted by Karl on February 8, 2006 1:16 PM (e)

Earlier I asked two questions:
1) Isn’t Behe’s definition of science correct?
I got several very good explanations of why it isn’t. Thank you to the several of you who replied.
and
2) Are there other examples throughout history of explanations of physical phenomena that were based on “appearance” that have since been demonstrated to be false? (Some of Behe’s argument is “the APPEARANCE of design”
I am aware of the geocentric theory, immobile continents, and the aether theory. Caledonian pointed out the Aristotle-Galileo falling bodies example. (very nice, thank you). I previously included “flat earth”, but, after researching that, I’ve decided that that really never was an accepted model.
Are there others?

Comment #78292

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 1:16 PM (e)

Evolutionists must, in some manner, address the issue of the self-awareness of humans. let’s call it the soul. It demands the existence of something everlasting, it the opinion of many.

We do address those issues – in churches, mosques, and/or whatever sacred space we demark for ourselves. We’ve been addressing those issues for centuries, and some churches, particularly the Catholics, still have transcripts of the debates.

Unfortunately, some other churches won’t participate in the debates, can’t or won’t follow what’s being said, can’t be bothered to read the transcripts, or – in the case of the ID establishment – are trying to undermine our ability to think independently, and thus see through their con-games.

Comment #78295

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on February 8, 2006 1:20 PM (e)

I just noticed that Project Steve has 699 signatures. Who will be the lucky Steve #700?

Comment #78306

Posted by Craig Pennington on February 8, 2006 1:58 PM (e)

In Comment #78269 R. Lewis wrote:


3) Despite the Dover victory, evolutionists are losing in the court of popular opinion. The refusal of scientists to debate the issue on the grounds that it gives undeserved credence to ID is quite stupid, even if it is in a forum picked by creationists.

The answer to this is that the debate is ongoing – in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. It is the ID crowd who don’t show or do very poorly when they try. As far as I know, Behe’s attempt to participate in the real debate has been less than stellar. The same is true of Meyer’s attempt. And the Dover trial was also a debate and we see how well that played out for the ID crowd.

What the IDC proponents want is to play in the infotainment arena. Well, science is hard work. It’s complicated. It’s not intuitive – often counter-intuitive. It takes a long time to explain – but when it is explained with sufficient detail, even to a lay audience, ID loses hands down. Science often deals with complex ideas and lots of data. That’s why the ID proponents want a limitted-time format debate where rhetorical tricks and grandstanding play well and there isn’t time to cover complex ideas and data. Rhetorical tricks and grandstanding are all they have. In fora where the time is taken to fully discuss the issues, ID is found wanting. When IDC proponents call for debate, the response should be that the debate is ongoing – and they are welcome to join in any time.

Comment #78309

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 8, 2006 2:01 PM (e)

A few people here and other places have mentioned Behe is actually a nice fellow and they expressed a curious sense of feeling sorry for him. I do not. If Behe were an MD he’d be a garden variety quack who would likely be peddling healing crystals or cancer curing magnets.

Personally I think he’s a dunce and a liar who if he ever leaves Lehigh will never get a job anywhere other than at some Bob Jones University or a seminary/theology school.

And at least one of his fellow biologists at Lehigh has written about her experience working with him and his ideas here.

I’ts difficult to feel sorry for someone who is working so hard to promote scientific retardation amongst our young people. Whether he is intellectually stunted, a simple Christian opportunist, or a dupe is moot. The man is a menace to public science education.

And for him to explain using the unexplainable while insisting it is scientific is pure comedy. Anyone who has not read Behe’s “expert” testimony should do so at their earliest convenience.

I am looking forward to the book he and William The Theologian are writing for ARN. That should be a howler.

.

Comment #78317

Posted by Lynn Fancher on February 8, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

Ed commented:

“Second, while Behe claims to make appeals to evidence and reasoning, ID requires ignoring a lot of evidence, distortion of a lot more (Jonathan Wells’ book should be indicted on academic fraud charges, but Behe defends it), and amazing and spectacular leaps of illogic, such as the claim that complexity means an intelligence made it, instead of acknowledging that the hallmark of intelligent design is simplicity, as a rule.”

This issue is beginning to drive me a bit crazy :^)

Beyond all of the very sound reasoning which refutes the claims of the IDers, this assertion that complexity is a hallmark of design creates a fatal flaw right in the vital core of their position.

Good design usually creates *simplicity* not complexity. And some of the best demonstrations of this are the ID movement’s favorite icons–watches, the faces on Mt. Rushmore, etc. Yes, to most of us the inner workings of a watch look pretty complicated. But the parts are all simple, and the actual assemblage is many orders of magnitude less complex than the simplest cell. What’s impressive about Mt. Rushmore is our recognition of the patterns carved into the face of the native rock, but creating those faces required *reducing* the complexity of the rock surface, not increasing it. The natural rock surface is far more complex than the smooth surfaces manufactured to make those faces recognizable to us.

You get complexity when things are cobbled together opportunistically, when systems are jerryrigged, when available materials and structures are co-opted to perform new functions, when the imperative is for something to *work*, whether it’s “well designed” or not, when the need is immediate, not long-range.

Oh, gee. That sounds sort of like evolution, doesn’t it?

Comment #78321

Posted by Alann on February 8, 2006 2:30 PM (e)

I feel quite a bit of sympathy for Michael Behe. He does get worked over very hard, when much of what he says isn’t that bad.

For starters he is not an ID creationist (just plain crazy), but more of an ID theistic evolutionist (relatively sane). From his point of view there is a distinction between evolution and Darwinism, in which Darwinism includes philosphy aspects which are very aetheistic. (I never considered any part of evolution to be aetheistic, but I guess you can view it that way) He agrues specifically against natural selections and random mutation as the sole explanation.

The whole thing about dualism, or opposing B to support A is not as bad as it sounds. Whichever theory has the most support wins. Just proposing a hypothesis which is not inconsistent with the facts earns you a few points. (although real the real points come in when predications made are supported by new evidence) So taking a quick glance at my score board:
ID creationists:______________ -4,097 (for ignoring evidence)
ID theistic evolution:______________ 3 (at least accepts evolution)
ID Flying Spagetti Monste:__________ 5 (marinara sauce)
Evolution (natural selection):___ 10,000 (probably should be higher)
See, if you take a point off evolution it does mean ID is closer to winning. (9,994 behind instead of 9,995 for FSMism)

To be honest I think it boils down to something this simple:
God is truth
Science is truth
Science cannot conflict with God, only our understanding of science.
(or our understanding of God, but they like to forget that part)

Comment #78322

Posted by Keith Douglas on February 8, 2006 2:32 PM (e)

karl: Aristotle’s theory of 5 elements is another one. Ditto for all the early views holding that water is an element, which persisted for a fairly long time.

Comment #78361

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 4:24 PM (e)

Craig Pennington,

The answer to this is that the debate is ongoing — in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. It is the ID crowd who don’t show or do very poorly when they try. As far as I know, Behe’s attempt to participate in the real debate has been less than stellar. The same is true of Meyer’s attempt. And the Dover trial was also a debate and we see how well that played out for the ID crowd.

What the IDC proponents want is to play in the infotainment arena. Well, science is hard work. It’s complicated. It’s not intuitive — often counter-intuitive. It takes a long time to explain — but when it is explained with sufficient detail, even to a lay audience, ID loses hands down. Science often deals with complex ideas and lots of data. That’s why the ID proponents want a limitted-time format debate where rhetorical tricks and grandstanding play well and there isn’t time to cover complex ideas and data. Rhetorical tricks and grandstanding are all they have. In fora where the time is taken to fully discuss the issues, ID is found wanting. When IDC proponents call for debate, the response should be that the debate is ongoing — and they are welcome to join in any time.

What an excellent way to look at it. Thanx.

Raging Bee,

We do address those issues — in churches, mosques, and/or whatever sacred space we demark for ourselves. We’ve been addressing those issues for centuries, and some churches, particularly the Catholics, still have transcripts of the debates.

And what answers exactly have centuries of religious debate come up with? None? I’m not surprised. When mankind does finally answer such mysteries you can be damn sure it won’t be in churches, mosques, and/or other sacred spaces. And it won’t be religion that provides the answers. Put that on your cracker and eat it.

Forgive me Mr. Bottaro, I will not trespass in your thread again.

Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #78362

Posted by Frank J on February 8, 2006 4:41 PM (e)

Craig Pennington wrote:

I undrstand your sympathy with Behe. It was his Kitzmiller testimony that moved me from the opinion that he did not believe some of what he was saying. After his preverdict assuredness, I am of the opinion that he is a true believer.

True believer of what? He already said that he accepts an old earth and common descent, and that “some designer (who might not even exist anymore) did something at some time.” Heck, one of the chief ID critics, Kenneth Miller, believes all that and more (e.g. that the designer is God, still exists, and intervenes beyond the beginning of life). The big difference is that Miller does not deliberately and repeatedly misrepresent evolution. Furthermore, if Behe, unlike Miller, sincerely thought that the driving mechanism was something other than Darwinian evolution, why isn’t he searching for a testable alternative, like Stuart Kauffman? No, if anything, Behe misrepresents Kauffman too.

That said, I do have some sympathy for Behe et. al., even though I have no doubt that they are being deceitful (note, by playing dumb about common descent, and not challenging Behe directly, Dembski is perhaps even more deceitful). That is because:

Lenny Flank wrote:

Fortunately, no one has to guess at the motives or aims of the IDers. They have put them clearly in print for the whole world to see and understand, right there in the Wedge Document:
http://www.geocities.com/lflank/wedge.html

…which means that IDers probably genuinely fear that, while evolution is true, the public can’t handle that fact. So they feel obligated to pretend that they doubt evolution (let he who hasn’t told a fairy tale to a child cast the first stone). Because they need the political support of rank-and-file YECs and OECs, however, they usually know better that to criticize YEC/OEC beyond a token “I’m not a creationist” disclaimer.

Ronald Bailey figured it all out 2 years before the Wedge Document was leaked.

Comment #78380

Posted by Henry J on February 8, 2006 5:58 PM (e)

Keith Douglas,

Re “Aristotle’s theory of 5 elements is another one.”
Five elements? I’ve heard that earth, water, air, and fire were once considered “elements”, but that’s just four - what were the five?

Henry

Comment #78390

Posted by Rieux on February 8, 2006 6:44 PM (e)

Aristotle’s Five Elements were Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Ether (quoth Wikipedia: “the divine substance that makes up the heavens”).

Of course, Aristotle explained all this in a screenplay that sat unused for millennia until it was filmed in 1997 as a vehicle for Bruce Willis, Chris Tucker and Milla Jovovich.

(I initially figured the title of that movie was shorthand for Boron, which strikes me as a pretty lousy movie title.)

Comment #78429

Posted by Spike on February 8, 2006 9:27 PM (e)

Ancient Chinese science had five elements also:

Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth

Like ancient Greek science, there was not a distinction between science and philosophy, so the five elements were incorporated into the calendar and predictions:

http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/2006.htm

But don’t read this post, because I have sworn off PT and all internet fora!

Bye!

Comment #78433

Posted by H. Humbert on February 8, 2006 9:56 PM (e)

Another name for the fifth element, or aether, that you might be more familiar with is “quintessence.”

Comment #78440

Posted by Andy H. on February 8, 2006 10:55 PM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote in the opening comment of this thread –

At one point, he says he considered being challenged with a large amount of literature on immune system evolution “bad courtroom theatre”, and complains he did not have a chance to read the stuff, as if a thorough knowledge of the relevant literature was not required before making his claims about the nature of the evidence for immune system evolution. Behe’s tone then almost drifts to petulance, asking, “How can the Court declare that a stack of publications shows anything at all if the defense expert disputes it and the Court has not itself read and understood them?”

Behe did say that he read more-recent studies of the evolution of the immune system and that the material in the stack of publications would have been reflected in those more-recent studies. See the discussion on pages 6-7 of Behe’s response to the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion.

The dumping of the stack of publications on the witness stand was comparable to, say, setting up a weighing balance in the Bakke case, dumping the 16 amicus briefs supporting Bakke on one side and the 46 amicus briefs opposing him on the other, and then saying “Bakke loses” when the scales tipped against him. Arguments should not be judged on the basis of the weight of the paper that they are printed on.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys did have a flair for courtroom drama, like they were playing Perry Mason or something. One of these attorneys grilled former school board member William Buckingham with lots of questions with endings like “isn’t that true?” and “isn’t that correct?”, and I could just picture Buckingham breaking down and confessing, “yes, yes, it’s all true — I am just a fundy and a liar !” LOL

I think that Behe was correct in saying that “this is the most blatant example of the Court’s simply accepting the plaintiffs’ say-so on the state of the science and disregarding the opinions of the defendants’ experts.” Judge Jones knew that he could get away with murder because there was virtually no chance that the decision would be appealed.

There are just two possibilities – (1) the literature in the huge stack of publications did not rebut irreducible complexity or (2) this literature did rebut irreducible complexity. If the first of these possibilities is the truth, then of course irreducible complexity was never refuted. If the second possibility is the truth, then the claim that the scientific merit of irreducible complexity was never a controversy in the scientific community at large is wrong (how many scientific publications address the issue of the scientific merit of astrology, for example ? ).

Comment #78442

Posted by Paul Adams on February 8, 2006 11:04 PM (e)

Out of curiosity, and piqued by the characterisation of Behe as sad and pathetic, I looked at his rebuttal of the Judge’s opinion. But I found that he writes and reasons well, and has earned my grudging respect. It must take great courage to hold out against an overwhelming majority of scientists, and I like the idea that there are still iconoclasts out there. And that he has allied himself, perhaps reluctantly, with creationists, is perhaps more a reflection of scientific ostracism than religious fervor.
It is good, though surprising, that there are a few scientists who are willing to question the very foundations of biology. And he has a point about the ether dogmatists.
He is also right that there are few, or no, complete accounts of the evolution of complex systems. Almost all of us are content with fragmentary evidence leavened with a strong dose of logic. I doubt very much that he is right, but for the moment I will defend his right at least to doubt.
There’s another difficulty. Both sides bandy that word “intelligence” around somewhat as scientists once invoked “ether”. But in fact we don’t really know what it is, and should be particularly reluctant to use, whichever side of the divide we sit.

Comment #78444

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 11:16 PM (e)

So, Paul, now you’re advancing the standard that the person who looks most pathetic and ostracized automatically wins every debate because we’re supposed to pity him rather than think and act responsibly? I notice your post was long on gushing about his “courage” and short on actual discussion of the facts at issue. Do you even know the difference between courage in the face of opposition, and unyielding mental rigidity?

I guess getting all dewy-eyed for the “underdog” is easier than thinking and making responsible judgements – but it sure doesn’t help innocent kids to get an honest education.

Comment #78449

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 8, 2006 11:55 PM (e)

Andy H:
most of the literature presented to Behe addresses the issue of the origin of the vertebrate immune system, of which Behe claims scientists are clueless. The point of the pile of papers was of course in part theatre, but it also conveyed a specific and important message: scores of scientists, most of them enormously more qualified and prominent than Behe, not only have ideas and hypotheses about how the immune system evolved, but also collect data to test those models. Behe has all the right to call himslef unimpressed, but his is the opinion of a single non-expert, who doesn’t even bother following the primary literature (nor shows any intererest to), trying to wave off a mountain of evidence with a flick of his wrist.

This was important because of the natural imbalance of the court system: there are experts on both sides in comparable numbers, so the weight of the opinions and evidence naturally seems to even out. Showing that the NAS and every other scientific organization and group, down to Behe’s own department, think ID is bogus and evolution well supported helps on one side, and the physical pile of papers vs. Behe’s “peer-reviewed” book takes care of the ratio of the evidence on the other.

As for IC, some of those papers, cumulatively, do in fact show how specific aspects of the immune system, which Behe claimed were IC, evolved. I pointed one of these out to Behe months ago (I apologize for the formatting, we changed the posting language since - I’ll fix it as soon as possible). His response was essentially to give up on IC altogether, and retreat into asking for an infinite amount of detail along the evolutionary pathway (see my response, with a link to his reply, here). However, none of those papers explicitly addressed IC because it is essentially irrelevant for evolutionary biologists, who proceed in their work by testing specific predictions of evolutionary theory, not by trying to falsify every creationist cooky idea out there.

Paul:
of course Behe is smart and articulate, that’s where the tragedy lies. As for his “courage”, that is precisely what I was pointing out in my original post - there is a point in which faith in one’s opinions turns into stubborness, and that into foolishness. I read Behe’s work and his testimony’s transcripts and shudder at the waste of talent and career. You may read the same things and feel admiration. Your prerogative.

Comment #78451

Posted by Anton Mates on February 9, 2006 12:07 AM (e)

Andy H. who is not at all Larry Fafarman wrote:

There are just two possibilities — (1) the literature in the huge stack of publications did not rebut irreducible complexity or (2) this literature did rebut irreducible complexity. If the first of these possibilities is the truth, then of course irreducible complexity was never refuted. If the second possibility is the truth, then the claim that the scientific merit of irreducible complexity was never a controversy in the scientific community at large is wrong (how many scientific publications address the issue of the scientific merit of astrology, for example ? ).

Does he contradict himself? Very well then, he contradicts himself. Larry is large, he contains multitudes.

(Of aliases, anyway.)

Comment #78472

Posted by KL on February 9, 2006 7:33 AM (e)

The first step in publishing work in a scientific field, the first step that everyone must take, even undergraduates, is to READ the pertinent literature (and cite it in your work). If you submit a manuscript that rehashes someone else’s work, you will be called on the carpet. Since you should try to make sure it is reviewed by your rivals and/or critics whenever possible, you will be found out. For Behe to be saying publicly, as a scientist, that there is no evidence for the evolution of a system when there are papers already published, is irresponsible to the point of embarrassment. For Behe to excuse himself from the responsibility of reading said is outrageous. I stand by my previous hypothesis that the man is ill. He could not have gotten tenure if he has been doing this throughout his career.

Comment #78487

Posted by Andy H. on February 9, 2006 10:10 AM (e)

Posted by Frank J on February 8, 2006 04:41 PM

Craig Pennington wrote:

I undrstand your sympathy with Behe. It was his Kitzmiller testimony that moved me from the opinion that he did not believe some of what he was saying. After his preverdict assuredness, I am of the opinion that he is a true believer.

True believer of what? He already said that he accepts an old earth and common descent, and that “some designer (who might not even exist anymore) did something at some time.” Heck, one of the chief ID critics, Kenneth Miller, believes all that and more (e.g. that the designer is God, still exists, and intervenes beyond the beginning of life).The big difference is that Miller does not deliberately and repeatedly misrepresent evolution.

Does Kenneth Miller really believe all that ? I am really astonished that he was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Dover case. If Miller believes all that, then he should have no problem with the idea that Darwinism – i.e., the theory that evolution was driven solely by random mutation and natural selection – could be wrong. Miller could at least concede that Behe’s irreducible complexity could be right.

Furthermore, if Behe, unlike Miller, sincerely thought that the driving mechanism was something other than Darwinian evolution, why isn’t he searching for a testable alternative, like Stuart Kauffman?

I see no reason why a scientific theory should not be criticized without presenting a plausible alternative scientific theory at the same time.

Comment #78495

Posted by Raging Bee on February 9, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

Larry So Many Names So Little Substance Feefafaloola wrote:

Does Kenneth Miller really believe all that ? I am really astonished that he was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Dover case. If Miller believes all that, then he should have no problem with the idea that Darwinism — i.e., the theory that evolution was driven solely by random mutation and natural selection — could be wrong.

Maybe he had a problem with the fact that “Darwinism” could not be scientifically proven wrong, or that there was no scientific alternative explanation for the available facts. It’s possible to believe in a Creator who is above physical laws, and thus can’t be discerned by physical science.

Comment #78501

Posted by gwangung on February 9, 2006 11:42 AM (e)

Does Kenneth Miller really believe all that ? I am really astonished that he was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Dover case.

Given your lack of knowledge, Larry, I think you are quite easily astonished.

Comment #78514

Posted by k.e. on February 9, 2006 12:38 PM (e)

Andy H
who in the past has posted as
Larry F.
Bill Keely
Bill Reed
John B
And possibly others

I’m astonished that you are only now just being astonished !
I am amazed that you have made all your arguments against evolution without checking the FACTS
I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you! You did not know one of the witnesses for the plaintiffs in the Dover trial believes in a creator!
I’m dumbfounded that you did not know Dr.Kenneth Miller actually is an EXPERT in biology and evolution.

I’m astounded you are so damn stupid !!!
Tell us all about meteors, imaginary numbers and the Holocaust Larry, regale us all with your cunning stunts. Entertain us with your wisdom and expertise. Choose a name, any name.

Comment #78515

Posted by Andy H. on February 9, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

Comment #78449
Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 8, 2006 11:55 PM

However, none of those papers explicitly addressed IC because it is essentially irrelevant for evolutionary biologists, who proceed in their work by testing specific predictions of evolutionary theory, not by trying to falsify every creationist cooky idea out there.

How can it be claimed that scientists have “refuted” IC when they have not even addressed it? And it could very well be – as Behe claimed — that the literature on the evolution of immune systems never questioned Darwinism, the idea that evolution was driven solely by random mutation and natural selection.

Comment #78472
Posted by KL on February 9, 2006 07:33 AM

The first step in publishing work in a scientific field, the first step that everyone must take, even undergraduates, is to READ the pertinent literature (and cite it in your work).

Possibly the reason why Behe ignored a lot of the pertinent literature was that he assumed that this literature did not address irreducible complexity and did not question Darwinism. I don’t know how much of the literature he reviewed before writing his own stuff about irreducible complexity.

Also, there is the question of how far back in time one should go in reviewing the literature. Certainly it is not always necesssary to review the earliest literature on a subject.

Comment #78520

Posted by KL on February 9, 2006 12:52 PM (e)

Whoa, wait just a minute there:

“Possibly the reason why Behe ignored a lot of the pertinent literature was that he assumed that this literature did not address irreducible complexity and did not question Darwinism. I don’t know how much of the literature he reviewed before writing his own stuff about irreducible complexity.”

Wrong- The assumption that something is IC falls completely on its face when it is shown that it is not IC. I have to ask again, Andy H. AKA Larry, what science training have you had? Papers explaining evolutionary mechanisms nullifies IC, plain and simple. Behe did not do what a scholar should do-stay current in the peer-reviewed literature.

Aaaargh…never mind. It’s just troll-feeding.

Comment #78522

Posted by AC on February 9, 2006 12:55 PM (e)

R. Lewis wrote:

Evolutionists must, in some manner, address the issue of the self-awareness of humans. let’s call it the soul. It demands the existence of something everlasting, it the opinion of many.

In this case, the opinion of many is a non sequitur. Human self-awareness does not demand the existence of “something everlasting”. Why would it? While you’re alive and your brain is intact, you’re aware. When you die (or your brain is sufficiently damaged), you’re not. Human consciousness is certainly marvelous, but there is no need for magical thinking to explain it - none, that is, beyond an emotional desire to be special or not die.

Anton Mates wrote:

Larry is large, he contains multitudes.

He is legion….

Comment #78523

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 9, 2006 1:07 PM (e)

Andy H (Larry) I note that you still have not explained why you continue to engage in the unethical and rude practice of posting under multiple names in violation of the board policy number six.

Do you somehow think no one will notice?
Are you incapable of admitting that you’re wrong about every single point?

And why not simply admit it at this point? You’ve no credibility left under any of your various aliases.

Too much of a coward to own up to being dishonest? Or are you one of those peculiar people who presume that the rules don’t apply to them?

Just curious.

Comment #78526

Posted by Andy H. on February 9, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

Comment #78495
Posted by Raging Bee on February 9, 2006 10:50 AM

“If Miller believes all that, then he should have no problem with the idea that Darwinism — i.e., the theory that evolution was driven solely by random mutation and natural selection — could be wrong.”

Maybe he had a problem with the fact that “Darwinism” could not be scientifically proven wrong, or that there was no scientific alternative explanation for the available facts.

Aha !! Part of the definition of “science” is that it is falsifiable, so if Darwinism is not falsifiable, then Darwinism is not science !! Beautiful.

Comment #78514
Posted by k.e. on February 9, 2006 12:38 PM

I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you! You did not know one of the witnesses for the plaintiffs in the Dover trial believes in a creator! I’m dumbfounded that you did not know Dr.Kenneth Miller actually is an EXPERT in biology and evolution.

And I am shocked that a religious crackpot was an expert witness for the plaintiffs.

According to the post I originally responded to, Miller’s beliefs go much further than just believing in a creator – he supposedly believes that “the designer is God, still exists, and intervenes beyond the beginning of life.” If you evolutionists keep playing footsie with the fundies, you may wake up one day and find that evolution too has been banned from public-school science classrooms.

Comment #78527

Posted by Raging Bee on February 9, 2006 1:33 PM (e)

Larry Intellectual Dysfunction By Any Other Name Fafafafafafafafafafarbetter wrote:

Possibly the reason why Behe ignored a lot of the pertinent literature was that he assumed that this literature did not address irreducible complexity and did not question Darwinism.

Wow – an admisstion that an icon of creator-free creationism refused to read papers that he thought might not agree with his opinions? That’s the most honest thing I’ve heard from you yet! I’m sorry, I keep forgetting your name…

Comment #78528

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 9, 2006 1:34 PM (e)

IquoteJORDAN HOWARD SOBEL in Logic and Theism” Theistic explanations have alway drawn their evidential support from facts for which no naturalexplanations were known.And so as the bounds of science expand, and more and more of nature’s puzzles are solved in natural terms,the eviential support for theistic hypotheses contracts. At thea limit , it vanishes.When this kinematic becomes evidential to persons who are ininitial sympathy with the methods of natural theology, something remarkable can happen to their arguments.The claim that facts , in order to be made intelligible, need to be understood in theistic terms, can changeIttends to change from the claimthat this is required for purposes of a good ,open-ended, ordinary explanation of facts concerning mainly living things to the claimthat only byrecourse to supernaturalterms anddnecessary beings that one can reach areally complete and finished understanding of any thing at all…. What aarea initially entirely reasonable requests for ordinary explanations of certain aspect of nature have a way of degenerating into what are unreasonable demands for utterly impossible kinds of explanations of , or grounds for,ccoooooontingenciesThay have a wqy of doing thisas the suspicionn grows that in the end science and ordinary natural explanations are boound tao appropriate to themselves all would be evidence for supernatural explanations and all explanatory roles that theisms might perform.Abetter response for the religious to the relentless advance on all fronts of secular science ,and a more secure response is to give over the field of explaining nature to science and to baseblief and religion not on arguments and reason , but on one’s personal experience of God….Anothear response to the relentless progress o fscienceis pending undeniable personal encounters, to give up on God and religion and live alone in the world, save for the rest of humanity and creatures great and small”[p. 287-288]There I have anwered such as Dembske and any other theists. This book is hard going. Don’t be on mescal9ine when reading it!Another great book is Jonathon Harrison’s God ,Freedom and Immortality. NOmescaline before , just mentalillness! Sorry I blew MY mouth !

Comment #78530

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 9, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

Sorry I ran words together.

Comment #78532

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 9, 2006 2:01 PM (e)

Sorry I ran words together.

Comment #78539

Posted by ben on February 9, 2006 2:26 PM (e)

Spell.
Check.
Proof.
Read.
Take.
Meds.

Comment #78548

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 9, 2006 2:57 PM (e)

Andy H (Larry) I note that you still have not explained why you continue to engage in the unethical and rude practice of posting under multiple names in violation of the board policy number six.

Do you somehow think no one will notice? You actually POINTED OUT THAT YOU’RE USING MULTIPLE IDENTITIES. Amazing. Are you incapable of admitting that you’re wrong about every single point?

And why not simply admit it at this point? You’ve no credibility left under any of your various aliases.

Too much of a coward to own up to being dishonest? Or are you one of those peculiar people who presume that the rules don’t apply to them?

Just curious.

Comment #78580

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on February 9, 2006 4:12 PM (e)

Alann wrote:

I feel quite a bit of sympathy for Michael Behe. He does get worked over very hard, when much of what he says isn’t that bad.

For starters he is not an ID creationist (just plain crazy), but more of an ID theistic evolutionist (relatively sane).

While he does seem to believe in evolution, natural selection and speciation, he also believes that sometimes they stop working when we aren’t looking and miraculous supernatural acts of creationism fill the gaps. Hence, he is a Creationist.

From his point of view there is a distinction between evolution and Darwinism, in which Darwinism includes philosphy aspects which are very aetheistic. (I never considered any part of evolution to be aetheistic, but I guess you can view it that way) He agrues specifically against natural selections and random mutation as the sole explanation.

You can view anything any way you want, it’s a free country. Making a rational case for your view is another thing. Perhaps you could explain why anyone should view evolution as any more atheistic than any other branch of science, such as the heliocentric model of the solar system.

Every competent evolutionary biologist would argue against natural selection as the sole mechanism of evolution. That doesn’t mean they all propose miracles to fill the gaps. They propose other possibilities such as neutral drift, or endosymbiosis, and they leave open the possibility for other possibilities not yet proposed.

The whole thing about dualism, or opposing B to support A is not as bad as it sounds. Whichever theory has the most support wins.

(False dilemma + argument from ignorance, not dualism) Yes, it’s bad. It ignores the possibility that another theory C may be proposed at some future time. Also, if the arguments offered to oppose B are a stack of ***** ****, then the argument is suspect on still another level. And it still remains that no evidence to support A has been offered.

Just proposing a hypothesis which is not inconsistent with the facts earns you a few points.

What facts could possibly be inconsistent with the hypothesis ‘God did it that way’? Why should points be awarded for such intellectual laziness?

Comment #78798

Posted by Doug on February 10, 2006 1:16 PM (e)

This past Thursday; Feb. 9, 2006 I attended a talk given by Behe at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The talk was sponsored by none other than the Campus Crusade for Christ. It was a well oiled showcase of what good marketing and Propaganda should be; all smoke and mirrors with stooges reporting to the ID Creationist master about anyone in the crowd who might counter His message of ignorance. I brought three papers refuting His claim of blood clotting to be IC. I even waved them over My head as Behe was giving His thread worn lie about there being nothing in the scientific literature about the evolution of these systems. Behe quickly clicked ahead his power point frames about blood clotting mumbling something about there’s not enough time to cover these.A high point was the Religious fanatic behind Me who rambled on quoting some bible chapter as if it was supreme law to Behe’s dismay. This rhetorical question gave away the feelings of the rank and file ID Creationists who packed the crowd.

If you have a chance: I recommend that you witness Behe in person. I felt like Indiana Jones when he went to Berlin and by chance bumped into Hitler(read page 107-108 of the Kitzmiller trial where Buckingham burns the Evolution mural).

Comment #78814

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 10, 2006 3:13 PM (e)

BZZZZ!
Sorry, first one to mention Hitler or Nazis loses.

Seriously, Doug, looks like you could provide an interesting rundown of Behe’s talk, as well as your own impressions of it. For instance, it would be useful for other people here to know whether he has changed in any way the presentation of his arguments (I don’t expect changes in the substance!) in the face of the recent criticisms. Did he talk about the immune system, and the recent papers on its evolution? Did he say anything at all about the Dover trial? Perhaps you took some notes on specifics you could share?

All this would be immensely more productive than Nazi analogies.
Thanks.

Comment #78823

Posted by Joe G on February 10, 2006 6:15 PM (e)

Perhaps Andrea is unaware but scientists at first did resist the “big-bang” hypothesis because of its supernatural implications. That is a fact of history.

Someone should also point out to her that ID does NOT mention the supernatural nor does it mention anything about ultimate causation.

And the point about Dawkins and design is that if something looks designed we should at least check out the possibility that it was (intentionally) designed- especially in light of our ignorance as to the reality behind our existence.

Intelligent Reasoning

Comment #78847

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 10, 2006 10:13 PM (e)

Someone should also point out to her that ID does NOT mention the supernatural

Um, right.

Why, again, do IDers keep bitching and moaning about “methodological naturalism”, then …… ?

Comment #78896

Posted by Joe G on February 11, 2006 7:54 AM (e)

Lenny sez:
Why, again, do IDers keep bitching and moaning about “methodological naturalism”, then …… ?

IDists understand that “methodological naturalism” is atheistic mullarkey- IOW it is unwarranted limitation.

Perhaps you could support the claim that ID does say soemthing about the supernatural. I would love to see you try.

Refuting More (anti) ID propaganda

One more thing- IC does NOT mean the system could not have evolved. It is the mechanism of evolution that is being debated. IOW even if the immune system evolved in order to refute what Dr. Behe states it has to be demonstrated that the mechanism was some blind watchmaker-type process- such as random variation/ random mutation culled by natural selection.

Comment #78898

Posted by Joe G on February 11, 2006 8:01 AM (e)

Gary Hurd sez:
In his decision, Judge Jones made a comprehensive legal determination that teaching Intelligent Design Creationism in American public schools is a violation of the US Constitution, and resulting laws.

Umm, there isn’t any such thing as “Intelligent Design Creationism” and no one was trying to have it taught in public schools.

If the theory of evolution and evolutioners cannot withstand a simple paragraph that states that the theory should be critically analyzed and that alternatives may exist, then their battle is already lost.

Comment #78902

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 11, 2006 8:23 AM (e)

IDists understand that “methodological naturalism” is atheistic mullarkey- IOW it is unwarranted limitation.

Leaving aside all the religious scientists who are perfectly comfortable with methodological naturalism, belieing the claim that it is “atheistic”, are you saying that, under the ID perspective, limiting science to the investigation of natural mechanisms is unwarranted? Why?

Comment #78906

Posted by k.e. on February 11, 2006 8:54 AM (e)

Joe Intelligent Design Creationism G said

Umm, there isn’t any such thing as “Intelligent Design Creationism” and no one was trying to have it taught in public schools

Bwhahhahahahahaha er… excuse me sorry about that Bwwwhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


If the theory of evolution and evolutioners cannot withstand a simple paragraph that states that the theory should be critically analyzed and that alternatives may exist, then their battle is already lost.

Oh really ? Well when you have that alternative, let us all know, then you can put it in THE BOOK. No religiuos Intelligent Design Creationism needed.

Bad News Joe Intelligent Design Creationism G

The theory of evolution and biologists have been criticized like NO OTHER HUMAN PURSUIT for over 150 years. I wish you the VERY BEST OF LUCK! But let me tell you and the intellectual pygmy’s who promote Intelligent Design Creationism , for them whole WAR was lost a long, long, long time ago and the tiny tiny little farts that keep coming are not battles but just amusing fun for a few sane people with a little spare time, no more than trouble than lifting our little fingers. That WAR was lost 150 years ago. Hey even if you do get the Church/State barrier lowered guess what…then you won’t be seeing a few antsy so called “Polite Darwinians” complaining, you will see a religious war. That would make me very happy.

SO Joe Intelligent Design Creationism G ….……go away and cry.

Comment #78909

Posted by Joe G on February 11, 2006 9:26 AM (e)

IDists understand that “methodological naturalism” is atheistic mullarkey- IOW it is unwarranted limitation.

Andrea says:
Leaving aside all the religious scientists who are perfectly comfortable with methodological naturalism, belieing the claim that it is “atheistic”, are you saying that, under the ID perspective, limiting science to the investigation of natural mechanisms is unwarranted? Why?

I don’t know any religious scientists who are perfectly comfortable with MN- but that doesn’t mean anything.

Both intelligence and design are natural phenomena. And as I have pointed out before the origin of nature could not have come about via natural processes as natural processes only exist in nature. Therefore MN cannot explain the origins of nature. Yet nature exists.

Can MN explain the laws that govern nature? No. Again those laws could not have arose via natural processes.

Comment #78910

Posted by Joe G on February 11, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

To KE,

Anytime you want to use actual data and reality to refute what I said that would be a good sign you understand what you are talking about.

Umm, there isn’t any such thing as “Intelligent Design Creationism” and no one was trying to have it taught in public schools.

The above statement is fact and can be substantiated by reality. What do you have?

Comment #78924

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

IDists understand that “methodological naturalism” is atheistic mullarkey- IOW it is unwarranted limitation.

Um, I thought ID wasn’t about religion and had no religious aims, motives or effect.

If so, why are you dragging “atheism” into this?

Or are IDers just lying to us when they claim to be science and not religion?

And if “atheism” is an “unwarranted limitation”, then I presume you want to REMOVE that “unwarranted limitation”, right? And that would allow NON-atheist or NON-naturalist explanations in science, right?

Would you mind explaining the difference between “non-natural” and “supernatural”, please?

Be as specific as possible, and take as many screens as you need.

It sure is a good thing for us that IDers are so dumb. They still have no clue at all why they lost in Dover, and they still can’t go ten minutes without dragging their religious motives right out into plain view.

I thank them for that.

Comment #78925

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 10:53 AM (e)

Umm, there isn’t any such thing as “Intelligent Design Creationism” and no one was trying to have it taught in public schools.

Blah blah blah. Tell it to the judge.

Oh wait — you already DID, didn’t you.

(snicker) (giggle)

ID shot its load. ID lost. Get used to it.

Comment #79030

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 11, 2006 5:32 PM (e)

I don’t know any religious scientists who are perfectly comfortable with MN- but that doesn’t mean anything.

I know plenty, and I bet I know many more scientists than you do. Ken Miller, Francis Collins, George Coyne are some religious scientists you may have heard about who are on record as accepting the scientific method and thinking ID is bogus, as are several PT contributors.

Both intelligence and design are natural phenomena.

Sure, and when they are natural in origin, they are covered under methodological naturalism. Indeed, mainstream scientists already study examples of natural intelligence and design (e.g. human and animal behavior, archaeology, etc) using methodological naturalism - so where’s the problem?

And as I have pointed out before the origin of nature could not have come about via natural processes as natural processes only exist in nature. Therefore MN cannot explain the origins of nature. Yet nature exists. Can MN explain the laws that govern nature? No. Again those laws could not have arose via natural processes.

Well, since you weren’t there, and no one else has any clue, I guess it’s a bit premature to state with any certainty how the “origin of nature” (whatever that is - I guess you mean the origin of the Universe) and its laws could or could not have come about. But regardless, if the origin of the Universe were in fact supernatural, then science could just not study it - can you propose any experiment to investigate the supernatural origin of the Universe?

Anyway, you keep making our point here, and contradicting Behe: you are insisting that science should accept the supernatural. This, as I see it, is in fact what the vast majority of ID advocates argue, which is what Judge Jones stated very clearly in his decision, and what Behe tried to clumsily deny in his response to the ruling.

Comment #79045

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 11, 2006 6:01 PM (e)

Whaddayaknow: The Pope has no problems with atheistic mullarkey either. (Hat tip to Red State Rabble)

Comment #79068

Posted by Joe G on February 11, 2006 7:40 PM (e)

I don’t know any religious scientists who are perfectly comfortable with MN- but that doesn’t mean anything.

Andrea:
I know plenty, and I bet I know many more scientists than you do. Ken Miller, Francis Collins, George Coyne are some religious scientists you may have heard about who are on record as accepting the scientific method and thinking ID is bogus, as are several PT contributors.

I would take that bet if I knew you but I don’t. The “scientific method” is not the same as methodological naturalism. And I also seriously doubt Miller’s “christianity”.

Both intelligence and design are natural phenomena.

Andrea:
Sure, and when they are natural in origin, they are covered under methodological naturalism. Indeed, mainstream scientists already study examples of natural intelligence and design (e.g. human and animal behavior, archaeology, etc) using methodological naturalism - so where’s the problem?

But one can’t tell if the intelligence is natural in origin or not until one studies the design. Therefore the origin of the intelligence does not matter to the detection and understanding of the design.

And as I have pointed out before the origin of nature could not have come about via natural processes as natural processes only exist in nature. Therefore MN cannot explain the origins of nature. Yet nature exists. Can MN explain the laws that govern nature? No. Again those laws could not have arose via natural processes.

Andrea:
Well, since you weren’t there, and no one else has any clue, I guess it’s a bit premature to state with any certainty how the “origin of nature” (whatever that is - I guess you mean the origin of the Universe) and its laws could or could not have come about. But regardless, if the origin of the Universe were in fact supernatural, then science could just not study it - can you propose any experiment to investigate the supernatural origin of the Universe?

Logic 101. Natural processes ONLY exist IN nature. Pure and simple. Therefore it ALL boils down to something non or suoer natural. There just isn’t any way to get around the fact.

Methodological naturalism sez nature is all there is. However that is shot to heck right out of the gate.

Andrea:
Anyway, you keep making our point here, and contradicting Behe: you are insisting that science should accept the supernatural. This, as I see it, is in fact what the vast majority of ID advocates argue, which is what Judge Jones stated very clearly in his decision, and what Behe tried to clumsily deny in his response to the ruling.

In reality what I and all IDists say is that we have to follow the data and IF that data leads to the metaphysical then so-be-it.

Mike Gene at Telic Thoughts

“As I have explained before, ID does not invoke the supernatural as there is no aspect or attribute of the supernatural that is required to make a design inference.”

For more on ID please visit:

Intelligent Reasoning

I will gladly demonstrate how wrong you people are about ID and preserve it for all time- just stop on by…

Comment #79105

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 10:22 PM (e)

“As I have explained before, ID does not invoke the supernatural as there is no aspect or attribute of the supernatural that is required to make a design inference.”

Then why do you care if “methodological naturalism” is “atheistic”.

Comment #79106

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 10:24 PM (e)

I will gladly demonstrate how wrong you people are about ID and preserve it for all time- just stop on by…

Why didn’t you go to Dover and set that judge straight? See, now it’s ALL YOUR FAULT that the IDers lost. YOU had the ability to go there and WIN THE CASE for them, and you DIDN’T.

I hope they give you your just desserts fopr letting them down like that.

Comment #79107

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 10:26 PM (e)

Logic 101. Natural processes ONLY exist IN nature. Pure and simple. Therefore it ALL boils down to something non or suoer natural. There just isn’t any way to get around the fact.

Make up your friggin mind, Joe. Is ID based on the supernatural, or isn’t it.

Are you lying when you say it’s NOT, or are you lying when you say it IS.

Geez.

Comment #79111

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 11, 2006 10:45 PM (e)

Methodological naturalism sez nature is all there is. However that is shot to heck right out of the gate.

very simple.

prove it.

Comment #79112

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on February 11, 2006 10:49 PM (e)

The “scientific method” is not the same as methodological naturalism.

Excuse me? Does the scientific method consist of observing supernatural phenomena, formulating supernatural hypotheses, and empirically testing supernatural explanations? Can you provide any example of this? The only way the scientific methods can work, is by limiting itself to natural phenomena and natural explanations.

And I also seriously doubt Miller’s “christianity”.

No true Scotsman he, uh? I guess you doubt the Pope’s “christianity” as well.

But one can’t tell if the intelligence is natural in origin or not until one studies the design. Therefore the origin of the intelligence does not matter to the detection and understanding of the design.

Wrong again - in all cases when intelligence and design can be empirically, scientifically investigated, the investigation begins with a hypothesis about the nature of the intelligence (human or animal) and its specific properties related to the observation at hand, or in cases like, say, archaeology, a hypothesis about who the designer may have been in terms of natural agents (e.g. people of a certain civilization, such as the Aztecs). One can certainly say “the designer of the Yucatan pyramids may have been a supernatural intelligence”, but of course that is immediately a scientific dead end - no way to test that hypothesis with the methods of science.

And as I have pointed out before the origin of nature could not have come about via natural processes as natural processes only exist in nature. Therefore MN cannot explain the origins of nature. Yet nature exists. Can MN explain the laws that govern nature? No. Again those laws could not have arose via natural processes.

That’s what you say. An obvious possibility is that matter and energy could have always existed, through infinite cycles of universe formation and destruction (in series and/or in parallel), each universe with its laws depending on the events at its formation. There is no need, logical or empirical, for postulating supernatural intervention at the beginning of our Universe.

Logic 101. Natural processes ONLY exist IN nature. Pure and simple. Therefore it ALL boils down to something non or suoer natural. There just isn’t any way to get around the fact.

Methodological naturalism sez nature is all there is. However that is shot to heck right out of the gate.

As I said above, this is an entirely unwarranted conclusion. I suspect you have never taken any introductory course in logic. If you did, you may want to ask for your money back.

You also show that you don’t even understand what methodological naturalism is. Most emphatically: methodological naturalism does not say nature is all there is. Look at it again: see the word “methodological”? That’s there for a reason. It means that methodological naturalism maintains the methodological, operational presumption that the basis of any phenomenon to be studied is natural, so that it can be empirically investigated using the scientific method. It only concerns the practice of science, it says nothing whatsoever about whether supernatural phenomena and causes exist or not, and it has no metaphysical philosophical implications.

In reality what I and all IDists say is that we have to follow the data and IF that data leads to the metaphysical then so-be-it.

They are of course free to do so, but they can’t call it science, because as soon as you say “a supernatural agent must have done this”, you stop doing experiments, and sit on you ass for the rest of your scientific career.

And once again, you are confirming Judge Jones’ words that ID invokes or permits supernatural causation, and contradicting Behe. If that’s your way of showing how wrong we people are about ID, I’m not sure it’s working.

Which brings me to my final comment: I am sensing trolling behavior here. Either that, or you are remarkably impenetrable to reason and unaware of self-embarassment. I strongly suggest you check the content of your next posts for unwarranted and self-contradictory claims.

Comment #79113

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 11, 2006 10:57 PM (e)

They are of course free to do so, but they can’t call it science, because as soon as you say “a supernatural agent must have done this”, you stop doing experiments, and sit on you ass for the rest of your scientific career.

or you abandon it entirely and become a PR spokesperson (Behe), or teach theology classes (Dembski).

for those that haven’t you really ought to take a look at Dembski’s course syllabi sometime….and they accuse public schools of “indoctrination”.

laughable.

Comment #79118

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 11:20 PM (e)

And I also seriously doubt Miller’s “christianity”.

Interesting.

Since you seem to have annointed yourself the Final Arbiter About Who Is Or Isn’t a True Christian©™”, then I have a simple question for you:

*ahem*

What exactly is the source of your religious authority. What exactly makes your (or ANY person’s) religious opinions more (or less) authoritative than anyone else’s. Why should anyone pay any more attention to my religious opinions, or yours, than we pay to the religious opinions of my next door neighbor or my gardener or the guy who delivered my pizza last night. It seems to me that no one alive would or could know any more about God than anyone else alive does, since there doesn’t seem to be any potential source of such knowledge that isn’t equally available to everyone else. You pray; I pray. You read the Bible; I read the Bible. You go to church and listen to the pastor; I go to church and listen to the pastor. So what is it, exactly, that makes your religious opinion any more (or less) valid than anyone else’s. Are you more holy than anyone else? Do you walk more closely with God than anyone else? Does God love you best? Are you the best Biblical scholar in human history? What exactly makes your opinions better than anyone else’s? Other than your say-so?

Is it your opinion that not only is the Bible inerrant and infallible, but YOUR INTERPRETATIONS of it are also inerrant and infallible? Sorry, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible. Would you mind explaining to me why I SHOULD think you are? Other than your say-so?

It seems to me that your religious opinions are just that, your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

Can you show me anything to indicate otherwise? Other than your say-so?

Comment #79130

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 12, 2006 12:38 AM (e)

Posted by Joe G on February 11, 2006 07:40 PM (e)

I don’t know any religious scientists who are perfectly comfortable with MN- but that doesn’t mean anything.

I would take that bet if I knew you but I don’t. The “scientific method” is not the same as methodological naturalism. And I also seriously doubt Miller’s “christianity”.

Both intelligence and design are natural phenomena.

But one can’t tell if the intelligence is natural in origin or not until one studies the design. Therefore the origin of the intelligence does not matter to the detection and understanding of the design.

And as I have pointed out before the origin of nature could not have come about via natural processes as natural processes only exist in nature. Therefore MN cannot explain the origins of nature. Yet nature exists. Can MN explain the laws that govern nature? No. Again those laws could not have arose via natural processes.

Logic 101. Natural processes ONLY exist IN nature. Pure and simple. Therefore it ALL boils down to something non or suoer natural. There just isn’t any way to get around the fact.

Methodological naturalism sez nature is all there is. However that is shot to heck right out of the gate.

In reality what I and all IDists say is that we have to follow the data and IF that data leads to the metaphysical then so-be-it.

“As I have explained before, ID does not invoke the supernatural as there is no aspect or attribute of the supernatural that is required to make a design inference.”

I will gladly demonstrate how wrong you people are about ID and preserve it for all time- just stop on by…

Congratulations!

I think that is the most contradictions in one post that I have seen here.

Considering the number of cranks that come by, quite an achievement. Not one to be pleased about though.

Comment #79132

Posted by PvM on February 12, 2006 12:54 AM (e)

Joe G really seems to believe it, which given the excellent rebuttals on this thread, is regrettable. ID once exposed for what it is, really stands up to defend itself.