Behe Reveals the DI’s Latest Talking Points

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Reasonable Kansans has a positive writeup of a lecture Behe gave yesterday in Kansas. It seems that the “intelligent design” activists are still smarting from their loss in Dover a year ago. It looks like Behe and his DI breathern are trying out some new talking points about the trial.

It’s worth a read to keep up with the continuously morphing public relations campaign of the “intelligent design” activists: Reasonable Kansans: Behe Lecture.

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The University of Kansas Hall Center for the Humanities has put online the videos from this fall’s “Difficult Dialogs” series. Included are talks by Ken Miller, Judge Jones, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, and Michael Behe. We had so... Read More

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1. Design is not mystical. (Only the casual agent of design is mystical.) 2. Everyone agrees that aspects of biology appear to show design. (Everyone also says appearances can be deceiving) 3. There are structural obstacles to Darwinian evolution. (Just don’t look too closely. Just because it has been shown that not all the parts of a flagellum or mouse trap are needed doesn’t mean that they are not all needed. Oh, wait…) 4. Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination. (Grand IDism rests on unimagined discipline.) 5. There is strong evidence for Design and little evidence for Darwinism. (As told in a 101 analogies.)

The only person to have any advantage from this post is the pathetic author of “Reasonable Kansans.” Reed, you are beating a dead horse. “aka … foreskins” is not a well regarded author, or even ragarded at all. There is not a single comment attached to his miserable crap.

Why bother?

I think what is pertinent here is that the blog reports some of the talking points that Behe used to downplay the Dover decision. It seems like the DI continues to try to find ways to mitigate the impact of their defeat, in part by discrediting Judge Jones. I may be wrong, but I think this may be the first time since Dover that Behe has talked at length publicly about the Dover decision and his role in it. That’s why the blog was worth pointing out, not because of the commentary.

Gary: There is now, and it’s a slam.

“I think what is pertinent here is that the blog reports some of the talking points that Behe used to downplay the Dover decision.”

ROTFL - You mean the facts?

Hey guys - ID is spreading like wildfire all over the world at this point. It doesn’t seem to me that the good Judge’s decision has slowed it down any.

The problem that I foresee for you people is that when you misrepresent the facts, it comes back to haunt you.

But, by all means, keep on doing what you do best. It’ll catch up with you eventually.

Forthekids finished the report of Behe’s lecture with

It’s time for you boys to work on your compromising skills because ID isn’t going anywhere.

Which is what I always thought!

FTK is right; ID is spreading internationally. Just look at Libya.

(Yeah, I know it is low.)

But, by all means, keep on doing what you do best. It’ll catch up with you eventually.

waterloooooooo!!!!

LOL.

so much projection in such a short span of words.

like CW, i recommend this person sign up as a volunteer subject for the pych studies being conducted by the Dawkins Institute.

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on December 8, 2006 11:54 PM (e)

FTK is right; ID is spreading internationally. Just look at Libya.

(Yeah, I know it is low.)

No Reed, it is not “low” it is directly to the point. The far-right and their religious extremist allies are deadly. It is only scraps of paper that keep them in check. Only a matchstick away.…

Via the wonders of modern technology I have heard the Behe lecture. Fun quotes:

Behe, referring to Judge Jones being one of Time‘s most influential people of the year, said

Time magazine got the wrong guy. If they wanted the person who was behind the reasoning of the Dover school decision, they should have had Eric Rothschild, or perhaps some other members of his team.

Eric Rothschild has a big smile, but this just might make it bigger.

Behe, claiming that there isn’t actually a fair analysis of the ID arguments in the Kitzmiller decision, says that instead,

[t]here is just the former head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which is an honorable job, but does not prepare one for the types of discussions that came up in this trial. A former head of the Liquor Control Board, who signed off on a tenditious brief by a product liability trial lawyer, which touted the side of his clients, and caricatured and denigrated the arguments of the other side, as briefs by trial lawyers have done since the beginning of time.

Irony meters to low-gain, everyone…because I’m about to point out that Behe got into ID because he was annoyed at the dismissive treatment that Science magazine gave Phillip Johnso-KABOOM!

To FTK: Is that wildfire as in the destructive force, causing widespread damage but ultimately leaving the forest stronger?

or wildfire as in the medieval weapon?

Both could apply to ID.

“He then showed a picture of a duck, and stated that if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. He said design is an In-duck-tive argument. (cute humor)”

If Behe walks like a quack and quacks like a quack…

c’mon then FORTHEKIDS. Give us your prediction as to when ID will “win” and Darwinism “lose”. How long will it be before ID is taught in schools all over the world? 5,10,20,50,100 Years? Longer? 1000, 2000? I just posted a similar comment at your blog, will you let it appear i wonder? My prediction is no, you will not because then you might have to respond with a prediction. And whatever you say, we’ll be here in X years to point and laugth.

It is a pretty shoddy tactic to try and shoot the messenger and attack Judge Jones. If the ID perps had spent as much time working on their problems as they do lying about everything to make themselves feel better they would have probably given up on the ID scam early enough so that they wouldn’t look like the bogus slock miesters that they are.

Just think if they had come out back in 1999 when they figured out that ID was just scam and that it didn’t have a prayer and admitted that fact when they put out the teach the controversy replacement scam. Meyer put out the replacment scam and discussed the legal implications that year. If ID were all it was cracked up to be why did they need a replacement scam that didn’t even mention that ID had ever existed? They probably wouldn’t have to make excuses for their lame performance in Dover. Maybe if Meyer had told the Ohio board straight that there was nothing to teach about ID in the public schools Dover might not have happened. Instead he left them with a lie and claimed that the decision to teach ID should be made at the local level. Why did the Discovery Institute try so hard to get the Dover rubes to drop their efforts to teach ID if that had any semblance of being true?

Anyone that trusts anything that these guys say is worse than hopeless at this point. Just try and find ID mentioned in the latest name change (critical analysis) creationist scam. Who wouldn’t wonder about the perps that are running the replacment scam when they are the same perps that lied to everyone about ID and they know that they can’t even mention ID in the new scam.

Forthekids:

Last time I saw you appear here and retreat in a huff I twice tried to post to your blog asking for a clear statement of the theory of ID but it never appeared. Surprise, surprise!

Perhaps now you are here again you will tell us the theory of ID and how it could be falsified?

Hey Richard,

How about you tell us how Darwinian evolution could be falisified?

I’ve no doubt you have a wonderful analysis of how that could be accomplished. Should be interesting.

Hey Richard,

How about you tell us how Darwinian evolution could be falisified?

I’ve no doubt you have a wonderful analysis of how that could be accomplished. Should be interesting.

forthekids Wrote:

Hey Richard,

How about you tell us how Darwinian evolution could be falisified?

I’ve no doubt you have a wonderful analysis of how that could be accomplished. Should be interesting.”

Ah, yes, the classic creationist rote answer - faced with a question they cannot possibly answer because it would show how vacuos their statements are, they ask the same thing back, in hopes of diverting the attention.

forthekids, Richard asked first. Lets hear your answer before bringing up rabbits in precambrian and other such examples.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Forthekids said

Hey Richard,

How about you tell us how Darwinian evolution could be falisified?

I’ve no doubt you have a wonderful analysis of how that could be accomplished. Should be interesting.

If you are so ignorant about the theory of evolution, yet so willing to express opinions about it, there is no point in bothering with you.

Forthekids wrote:

How about you tell us how Darwinian evolution could be falisified?

I’m going to assume that when you say “Darwinian evolution” you mean “evolution by selection.”

At the risk of sounding condescending, the answer to your question is obvious and is a standard part of any decent science curriculum.

1. Treat the statement as a hypothesis. 2. Make a prediction of what you would see if the hypothesis were true. 3. Test the prediction.

Here’s an example of how it works …

1. The diversity of life on Earth can be explained by selection over time. 2. If this is true, then the age of the Earth would need to great enough to allow for selection to operate over enough time to account for the observed diversity. 3. All rigorous geological studies indicate the Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old.

It has been well argued that this length of time is sufficient to allow for evolution by selection.

Thus, evolution by selection could have been falsified. It wasn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that it could have been.

If you care, this example has an interesting history behind it. If I remember the story properly, after Darwin published the Origin of Species, many scientists offered scientific (not religious) objections to the theory of evolution by selection. One of them was by Lord Kelvin, who argued that the current temperature of the Earth was too high to indicate that the Earth was anything more than several million years old. Darwin himself acknowledged this as a serious scientific objection to his proposed mechanism for evolution. Thus, (now pay close attention, ‘cause this is important) Darwin himself acknowledged that his theory could be falsified. Of course, later studies that took into account the heat produced through radioactive decay (which Lord Kelvin didn’t know about in the late 1800s) demonstrated that the Earth was billions, not millions, of years old. Thus, the theory of evolution by selection was not falsified through this line of hypothesis testing. It wasn’t, but it could have been. Remember, there’s a difference between being falsifiable and being falsified.

Another way to look at this is to say, Dude, this is well established history. If you bothered in the slightest to learn what the hell you are talking about, you wouldn’t make yourself look like a friggin’ idiot blathering out lackwit implications that evolution by selection isn’t falsifiable.

While I’ve got your attention, let’s try another exercise in the hypothetico-deductive method.

1. The appearance of design is proof of design. 2. If this hypothesis is true, then there ought to be no way to produce something that looks designed without design. 3. Place a bucket of sand and marbles mixed together outside through the winter where you get freezing and thawing, wind, and earth trembles. Then observe.

The sand and the marbles become (gasp) sorted into layers, looking like they were purposefully designed that way. Thus, the prediction (“no way to produce …”) fails and the hypothesis (“appearance of design is proof of design”) is falsified.

This is the way science works. Deal with it. Better yet, try it yourself. You might learn something.

Steve T - Nicely done. Of particular note is the way both Darwin and Kelvin recognized the scientific reasoning at play, and both were willing to be refuted by good evidence. That’s scientific honesty.

Steve T …your post was really great. Well put, succinct, and would be very informative to anyone but a brain-dead creationist or IDiot.

I picked up a copy of the 10th aniversary edition of Darwins Black Box. Had a look at the new section; its around 20 pages of not much at all.

If ‘Reasonable Kansans’ is reasonable compared with other Kansans, what a horrible thing to say about Kansas!

Behe has to be the most unself aware IDista on the planet ( I know it’s a big call)

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on December 9, 2006 12:50 AM (e)

Behe, claiming that there isn’t actually a fair analysis of the ID arguments in the Kitzmiller decision, says that instead,

[t]here is just the former head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which is an honorable job, but does not prepare one for the types of discussions that came up in this trial. A former head of the Liquor Control Board, who signed off on a tenditious brief by a product liability trial lawyer, which touted the side of his clients, and caricatured and denigrated the arguments of the other side, as briefs by trial lawyers have done since the beginning of time.

Irony meters to low-gain, everyone…because I’m about to point out that Behe got into ID because he was annoyed at the dismissive treatment that Science magazine gave Phillip Johnso-KABOOM!

This Behe guy has a Ph.D. right?

Please tell me it’s for unintended humor. He plays the absent minded professor for maximum affect. Look everyone we are a caricature and I’ll get a lawyer to prove it. Now where did I put my denigrations. …searches pockets, forgets question, drifts off and dreams about meeting god.

What I said them already?

1. Design is not mystical. It is deduced from the physical structure of a system.

We detect design when we see a purposeful arrangement of parts. The more parts there are and the more precise the purpose leads to a stronger case for design.

Whenever some people see a bunch of parts that function in some way, they perceive a purpose that is fulfilled. Just like that pothole in the road, so intelligently designed to fit the volume of water that’s in it, which no doubt is the purpose of the hole. Several of Behe’s points suggest he is living in that World where up is down, in is out, goodbye is hello. His PAP can only be explained by “poof”, yet he complains there is no substantial evidence for evolution; no wonder his colleagues at Lehigh sought to distance themselves from him.

There’s a very simple way to get rid of ID once and for all: just let them win. Every biological research group, university, whatever in the world announce that from now on, they stand ready to use ID principles to guide all of their research. This would create the ultimate horror for ID advocates: ID would actually have to produce something. At that point, there would be exactly two options for ID advocates: either admit they can’t produce anything operating from ID principles, or work from evolutionary principles but pretend it’s ID. After all, pretending reality is something other than it is may work fine for press releases and making criticisms of others, but human beings can’t actually create something out of nothing.

The political tactics of the ID/Creationist crowd haven’t changed since at least the mid 1970s. After every major defeat, they continue to behave in public as though nothing happened, some of them even claiming that they won. Then there are the ones that claim they were treated unfairly.

The Wizards of ID at the Discovery (of their navel) Institute have spent something like 4 megabucks on their political campaign, so they apparently have some motivation to give it the appearance of success.

Our local newspaper continues to print letters-to-the-editor that are recitations of the standard ID camp follower theme (i.e., “ID is a real science with lots of research to prove it and scientists are too cowardly to debate with the ID scientists”). Most of these are arguing that the science community and the courts are suppressing ID’s findings. They are also attempting to make their language and definitions of science the memes that the wider public uses when they think about or discuss evolution and science.

There is still a large segment of society that thinks allowing debates to take place in the classroom will help settle the issue. Part of their argument is that debating the “controversy” in class is more interesting than the standard science course and students will learn more as a result. When they express this on the internet or in the newspaper, they seem to think that people who know nothing about science will be able to figure out who is lying by watching these debates. The Idiot/Creationist crowd appears to be taking political aim at these so-called “reasonable” types.

Hey Mike… if they write letters, write some letters yourself. I think every scientist should get in the habit of writing letters to newspapers about important issues.

Forthekids Wrote:

Behe went on to show in detail that Jones’ written 139 page decision was filled with cut and paste sections from Rothchild’s documents. Whenever Jones wrote on an academic issue, he provides a lightly edited “drag and drop” from the trial lawyer’s documents. Behe said that some judges do this to a certain extent, but not on as large a scale as Jones did. This made Behe wonder if Jones even understood all of the academic issues that were being presented to him if he had to copy so much from Rothchild’s documents.

You mean Jones based his decision on actual evidence provided by expert witnesses, rather than just making up his own scientific claims? That bastard!

FTK:

“The problem that I foresee for you people is that when you misrepresent the facts, it comes back to haunt you.”

Well,y ou and Walt Brown and your sundry ID heros know all about that, don’t you?

of course, it really doesn’t seem to matter to you people.

To “J. Mahoney”

Hi, Larry! You already used that name, or had you forgotten?

Excellent post GuyeFaux.

To answer your pondering of “why the science side continued with the much touted “Behe thinks astrology is science” straw-man.” see the post given above about cheating in soccer.

Both side also are fighting a rhetoric war for the hearts and minds of the less educated masses. It simply looks bad and colors ID to associate it with astrology. In the same way that the IDist associate darwinism with Hitler.

Textbook anti-academic debating tactics.

MS

BC said:

“… except of course evidence. I thought this was a pretty telling statement by ForTheKids. She seems to think that the only reason people believe in naturalistic evolution is to reinforce atheism. If someone isn’t an atheist, “[t]here is no objective reason for” supporting naturalistic evolution? Ha. What a joke.”

DaveScot uses the same argument as FTK over on UD a lot. The problem is they use the term “design” in a very general sense, whereas ID uses the term design in a very specific sense. I (and I assume most other TE’s) agree that there is, in a sense, “design” in the universe. I don’t, however, find that we can detect blatant design in “IC” or “CSI” “molecular machines,” or what have you… they do the same things with words like “unguided” and “random.” I think that TE’s are a huge threat to ID because we totally ruin their argument that evolution is somehow reliant on atheism and we threaten to bring reason to the Church with us and expose their lies…

But this is an excuse to be disingenuous:

Both side also are fighting a rhetoric war for the hearts and minds of the less educated masses. It simply looks bad and colors ID to associate it with astrology. In the same way that the IDist associate darwinism with Hitler.

Yes, I know they started it, but still.

Just quoting this as is:

“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.

This is a quote mine because Behe qualified this statement in a material way. He meant that astrology was science at some point in its history. This is an important distinction. The substance of his claim is reasonable, whereas the quoted statement is not.

So really this is quote-mine plus a straw-man plus an ad-hominem. I strongly disagree that it should be used from the side of intellectual honesty.

Please note everyone:

Dawkins and Miller are mentioned in the same breath.

The reference to counter argument is the “Beyond Belief” conference which equated science with atheism.

Forthekids may not even be conscious of doing it, but he, like Dawkins, etal., equates, not just evolution, but science in general with atheism.

The irrational insistance of linking science with atheism is insanely self-defeating. What’s the tragedy? 1. Its unnecessary. Humanism doesn’t need to prove anything. How evolution takes place is irrelevant to morality, or theology. 2. The strawman controversy buries the crucial facts that our society needs to learn: “What is science?” “How do you distinguish science from psuedoscience?” “How do I interpret what the scientific community is telling me?”

This is completely insane! Cut it out! Get your culture war out of my biology!

This is a quote mine because Behe qualified this statement in a material way. He meant that astrology was science at some point in its history.

This is simply not true. Do you even read the transcripts? The question is his definition of “scientific theory” and he goes on to talk about his own definition of the word theory, and of course he throws in history and everything else he can think of, but the bottom line is that under his definition of scientific theory both ID and astrology have to be included. That doesn’t mean he thinks astrology is true. He then goes on to directly contradict the sworn testimony he gave in his pre-trial deposition;

“Q And I asked you, “Is astrology a theory under that definition?” And you answered, “Is astrology? It could be, yes.” Right?

A That’s correct.

Q Not, it used to be, right?

A Well, that’s what I was thinking. …I was thinking of it in its historical sense.

Q I couldn’t be a mind reader either.”

So now he wants to be credited for what he was supposedly thinking, not what he said.

For anyone who hasn’t read the transcripts, particularly Behe’s section, I highly recommend it. You can’t buy that kind of entertainment.

This is simply not true. Do you even read the transcripts?

Yes, I’ve read the transcripts. Here’s the important qualification:

Behe: And simply because an idea is old, and simply because in our time we see it to be foolish, does not mean when it was being discussed as a live possibility, that it was not actually a real scientific theory.

And, like I said, that qualification makes this exchange reasonable:

“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.

Without it, Behe sounds ridiculous; with it, he sounds completely sane.

So how are unqualified statements about Behe including astrology within a definition of science not disingenuous? Generally the claim goes something like this: “In order for ID to be included as science, its definition needs to be changed so that it includes things like astrology.” This implies that science, before Behe’s change, does not include astrology, whereas post-Behe it does. But this implication is refuted by his stated qualification that things like astrology can become unscientific over time, which I think is a reasonable position.

Behe makes plenty of ridiculous statements that require no qualifications, so I don’t see why the science side need to hang on to this one.

Incidentally, according to the decision, Judge Jones III did not see it my way. I think it’s one of a few sore point in an otherwise well-written and lucid decision.

And, like I said, that qualification makes this exchange reasonable:

NO, it doesn’t.

Behe was specifically being asked about his definition for science as it stands TODAY, not a thousand years ago, or even a hundred.

indeed, the transcripts led me to doubt his sanity even more than the constant attemtps to spin it he has conducted since.

your interpretation is way off here.

I gotta run, but:

Behe was specifically being asked about his definition for science as it stands TODAY, not a thousand years ago, or even a hundred.

He wasn’t specifically asked about it until after he gave his “troublesome” reply. I can only find the trial transcript at the moment and not the deposition, but I don’t think his definitions of science were every temporally qualified. Please correct me if you know better (in a hurry, can’t find deposition).

TBC, I hope.

GuyeFaux wrote:

Yes, I’ve read the transcripts. Here’s the important qualification:

This is silly. The transcripts are here for anyone to read and draw their own conclusions. Fortunately, the doubletalk and contradictions of Behe didn’t confuse the judge the way they confused GuyeFaux.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dov[…]v_dover.html

Astrology become unscientific over time?

Who are you trying to kid!?! We’re talking modern science, right? Scientific method and all that.

Astrology was never scientific. Ever. It predates science for a start. Second, astrology has always been about fortune telling. It’s mystical. It’s witchcraft. Astrology is not nor has ever been science.

Behe killed ID at Kitzmiller and one of the weapons he used was astrology. The topic of astrology as science was raised at Behe’s deposition taken months before the trial. Behe had months to prepare for Rothschild’s questioning, but still managed to screw the pooch. Behe thought he could skate by with his old mousetrap and Mt. Rushmore routine, but it didn’t wash because Rothschild was prepared. Behe was pinned to the mat with his own words.

Behe was put on the stand as an expert witness. Expert Witness. Not some boob pulled off the street. However, when you’re stuck with a cow’s pseudoscientific ear like ID there’s only so much of a silk purse you can spin out of it. Behe tried to backpedal and say, well, he was thinking in the historical sense when he said that astrology could be considered science. Behe knew he was screwed because he had used the present tense twice on the stand and once in deposition. Rothschild didn’t even need to drive the point home because the Judge heard the entire exchange. It was obvious that Behe was inventing stuff on the fly. Even in an historical sense Astrology was never and could never be described as science. Behe hoped that nobody would notice or argue that point. He was wrong. Again.

But, why quibble? Astrology requires mystical intervention and so does ID. Behe wasn’t lying when he said that the definition of science would have to be broad enough such that astrology could be considered scientific in order for ID to be considered scientific. On the contrary, Behe needed that definition in order to drape ID with even a thin scientific mantle. Behe needed mystical interventions to be at least considered, at least tolerated before ID could even get its foot in the door. It didn’t wash.

In the transcripts you can see Behe squirming like a worm on a hook trying to contort a definition of science and scientific theory to fit ID’s requirements, but he can’t do it. In the end it’s Behe, himself, who demonstrated that ID is a will-o’-the-wisp, smoke and mirrors; an unsubstantiated notion. And he did it in public and under oath. It’s laughable and pathetic that after a year Behe is trying to explain what it meant. It’s too late. The decision has been made. It’s over in Dover.

Thank you, Behe, Elvis has left the building.

Who are you trying to kid!?! We’re talking modern science, right? Scientific method and all that.

It’s not a position I take that astrology at any time was scientific (I grouped it with the reading of entrails), merely that it’s plausible that it was.

But I get your position nonetheless, that astrology was at no point scientific. But this was certainly not demonstrated in court (neither was the obverse, I know).

And I’ve read the trial transcripts (but not the depositions), so no need to link to them again. Where (under oath) does Behe unequivocally state that he’s willing to include modern astrology under the umbrella of science? And that’s the insinuation, is it not? That Behe et al are trying to change the definition of science so that it will include modern astrology?

The decision has been made. It’s over in Dover.

I realize this; but it never sat well with me this business with astrology. Seems if you’re gonna throw out astrology you need to throw out a bunch of other plausible-at-the-time but wrong theories of the world. Like half of Aristotle’s sciency sounding ramblings come to mind.

Can’t a case be made for astrology at one point having been scientific? It made predictions about the world based on observable phenomena, did it not? The predictions happened to be wrong, but so what?

No. The case can not be made for astrology having been science every.

Astrology and astronomy developed in parallel, but at no time did or does astrology have any predictive power. Astrology always had to do with the gods and the affairs of man. Always. Fortune telling by the stars.

Behe was totally wrong about astrology simply falling out of favor. Didn’t happen. Astrology is with us today.

The other thing that Behe brought up, aether, is a different matter. It was postulated that an aether filled the void and that waves propagated through it. That was subject to testing and ultimately proven to be incorrect; no aether.

Finally, recall that Behe likened ID to the early days of the Big Bang theory as being “unpopular” and that the Big Bang finally became popular (who knows, maybe it got breast implants) while ID still has acne. That, again, is historically wrong and Behe is not so stupid nor so illiterate that he is unaware of this. Mind boggling as the Big Bang was, it was based on physical observation (galaxies receeding) and had predictable components (the microwave background radiation at something like 3 Kelvin) that were later detected and the theory has been fleshed out over the years by a series of predictions and confirming observations.

The Big Bang didn’t just become popular, it gained acceptance through test after test, prediction after prediction.

ID is nothing like that and Behe knows it. No tests for ID. No predictions for ID. No confirmations for ID. No soup for ID!

ID put their best and brightest on the stand at Kitzmiller. Behe was the Expert Witness, not some Boob from Bethlehem (Pa., home of Lehigh U.) and Behe proceeded to stab ID over and over again. Flagellums and parts and Big Bang and astrology, stab, stab, stab, stab. You didn’t see that much stabbing in Hitchcock’s Psycho! And Eric Rothschild handed the knife to Behe every time.

It’s all there in the transcripts in bloody detail. A year later the armchair revisionists can argue that Behe meant this or Behe meant that, but the bottom line is that Behe had the responsibility as the Expert Witness to be clear and concise and honest.

And I think he was.

He was clear and sort of concise and he honestly killed ID.

A year later the armchair revisionists can argue that Behe meant this or Behe meant that, but the bottom line is that Behe had the responsibility as the Expert Witness to be clear and concise and honest.

Don’t get me wrong, armchair legalizing is what I’m doing, but that’s the point of this thread, no?

Ok, back to astrology:

Astrology always had to do with the gods and the affairs of man. Always. Fortune telling by the stars.

This fact, that astrology always was fortune telling by the stars, would absolutely blow Behe’s argument out of the water. However I don’t know if this statement is true or not (like I said, I’m ignorant about the history of astrology). And, I’ve read nothing in the transcripts that speaks to its truth, which means the court doesn’t know it either. Therefore, “astrology was scientific” ought to seem plausible to the court, no? In which case Behe’s application of science to astrology should’ve been plausible as well.

Ultimately, the court decided that astrology always was a bunch of hocus pocus, but I don’t see on what grounds other than the its colloquial understanding of modern astrology (i.e. horoscopes).

But now I’ve moved the goalpost, since originally I wasn’t talking about this detail of the court’s decision. And, like I said, if it were ascertained that astrology was never useful in a scientific manner, then Behe’s schtick about “I’m using the archaic definition of astrology” is bogus.

GuyeFaux, I think you are really going out on a limb on this one. The whole discussion about whether Behe was talking about astrology 400 years ago, or today is completely irrelevant. As others have noted, astrology, in much the same way as ID, was never science. There was never an explanation for how it worked, only mystic mumbo jumbo. The fact that Behe thinks that this could have been considered science in the past is still a damning indictment.

The fact that he repeatedly referred to this idea in the present tense in his testimony only makes his error worse.

At any rate, he blithered on so incoherently, that he can’t complain if he’s “quote-mined” by people trying to find a coherent phrase or two in all of the mixed up ummms and ahhhs, and half-finished sentences. I can tell you that when I read the transcripts of the trial for the first time, I came away with the same opinion of what Behe had said as most other people in this discussion. That opinion is that the so-called “quote-mine” is substantially correct in it’s interpretation of what Behe was saying. Even Judge Jones came away with this as his understanding.

Ouch, Guido! Skewered me with my own point. I hate it when that happens.

True, true, what Doc Bill says and what the court heard are two different things, he said shifting his carcass in his armchair.

I see your all too sharp point that what was said and interpreted in court, and what we may or may not know about a subject are two different things. After all, it all depends on the definition of the word “is.”

However, from the ruling it appears that the Judge got the sense that Behe was full of hot air. And the big dominos that fell post-Kitzmiller in Ohio, Michigan and Kansas are no coincidence following that decision.

GuyeFaux wrote:

Where (under oath) does Behe unequivocally state that he’s willing to include modern astrology under the umbrella of science? And that’s the insinuation, is it not? That Behe et al are trying to change the definition of science so that it will include modern astrology?

No, that’s not the insinuation. The insinuation, as you call it, is that they are trying to change the definition of scientific theory so that it includes ID. In so doing Behe admits that it would also have to include astrology. If you want it spelled out …

The definition of theory they refer to is from page 11 of Behe’s 125 page expert witness pre-trial statement, found here http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/behe.pdf

The following is from pages 132-133 of Behe’s 272 page pre-trial deposition, and he has already stated that under his definition of scientific theory, ID would qualify. The deposition is found here. http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/depo/20[…]_Michael.pdf

Q. Using your definition of theory, is Creationism – using your definition of scientific theory, is Creationism a scientific theory? A. No. Q. What about creation science? A. No. Q. Is astrology a theory under that definition? A. Is astrology? It could be, yes. Q. Are you familiar with the term hypothesis as it is used in science? A. I am not sure an hypothesis has any singular meaning in science. I have certainly heard the word hypothesis and have a vague, general understanding of what it means, yes.

I included the hypothesis question so you can see I didn’t cut off anything exonerating, besides it gives a nice example of his general style and why the deposition ran 272 pages. If this doesn’t sound like he’s referring to astrology in the present day as something that would fall under his definition of scientific theory, well I give up. This is the only place in the entire document that astrology is mentioned, and for him to say on the stand at trial that he was thinking of it as ancient history is beyond belief.

If that doesn’t satisfy I can’t help you anymore.

Evolution is IRREFUTABLE.

There is change.

The fit survive.

If they didn’t surive, they weren’t fit.

Therefore atheism is true.

So there.

Mike Wrote:

out of my biology

You are restating this. A creationist statement makes you throw a fit because Dawkins is mentioned.

And the answer remains the same. Dawkins has a larger goal. He has started a foundation for “Reason and Science” ( http://richarddawkins.net/foundation,ourMission ).

ST Wrote:

Behe was specifically being asked about his definition for science as it stands TODAY

Yes, of course; and tomh noted this too. But I missed that. Too much ID soup and too little coffee.

Thanks tomh for the deposition transcript.

A. Is astrology? It could be, yes.

So I guess here he should’be said “It could’ve been.”

After all, it all depends on the definition of the word “is.”

Well, it’s the word “can” that’s under question here.

Away from the courts and back to reality:

There was never an explanation for how [astrology] worked, only mystic mumbo jumbo. The fact that Behe thinks that this could have been considered science in the past is still a damning indictment.

The fact that he repeatedly referred to this idea in the present tense in his testimony only makes his error worse.

I think I’ll have to concede this point. He never explained what about astrology made it science and why this definition also did not include creationism at one point or another. Ultimately in court, the judge decided the guy was full of shit (on other grounds) and decided the astrology question afterwards.

GuyeFaux wrote:

He never explained what about astrology made it science and why this definition also did not include creationism at one point or another.

This is covered in his definition of “scientific theory” from his expert witness statement,(1.2.2, p. 11), part of which reads, “… a “scientific” theory should not tailor its claims to agree with authoritative sources, such as the scriptures of any religion or the statements of any religious or governmental leaders, …”

This rules out creationism but in his view allows ID as a scientific theory.

… a “scientific” theory should not tailor its claims to agree with authoritative sources, such as the scriptures of any religion or the statements of any religious or governmental leaders, …

Which doesn’t rule out astrology because…?

GuyeFaux wrote:

Which doesn’t rule out astrology because…?

I’m sorry, it seemed obvious. Astrology has never “tailor[ed] its claims to agree with authoritative sources, such as the scriptures of any religion or the statements of any religious or governmental leaders.” (From Behe’s definition of scientific theory).

It’s a form of divination that has never (as far as I can tell) been associated with religion or government, in fact, from the Columbia Encyclopedia, “The Chaldaeans and the Assyrians were the first to discard their sky gods in favor of a nondeistic system of divination.” The Christians long waged war against it.

It’s a form of divination that has never (as far as I can tell) been associated with religion or government, …

I suppose this is obvious from Behe’s point of view. Astrology is a heretical so therefore not derived some authority. This is wrong (astrology is mentioned several times in the Bible, for instance), but I guess I see his point.

Astrology has never “tailor[ed] its claims to agree with authoritative sources, such as the scriptures of any religion or the statements of any religious or governmental leaders.” (From Behe’s definition of scientific theory).

This may be true for astrology in general, but I’m quite certain that specific astrologers tailored their predictions to please whatever powerful dude was breathing down their necks at the time. And since astrologers’ claims were untestable, they had a lot more wiggle-room – perhaps I should say bend-over-room – to do so than scientists as we know them today.

Steve T

To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect.

Active voice, bhai. Don’t try to sneak out by using the passive.

As for the sand and marbles thing...

Not exactly. I’m saying it isn’t design because I know it wasn’t the result of an effort to create or contrive a pattern for a particular purpose or effect.

You are saying it ain’t design because you watched it all the time. And you are saying something is design even though you haven’t watched it, and have no clue what its purpose is. Terrible anumana, I mean inference. A quick read of Gangesa and Navya Nyaya would help you a lot. No wonder you guys get badly beaten in debate.

I fail to understand the fuss over Behe’s bow to astrology, as if that is the kookiest thing he believes in! Behe went in unprepared, it seems, and was clean bowled when cornered about astrology! The guy is so ignorant that he doesn’t know that the astronomy predates astrology, the latter being a vulgarisation of the former. These guys are so busy reading each other’s trash (except Billy Boy who reads his own trash) that they have gone rusty on history of cultures. Comics indeed!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on December 8, 2006 7:28 PM.

Libya vs. Evolutionary Science: Will the Tripoli Six be sentenced to death by firing squad? was the previous entry in this blog.

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