“Do you even know what intelligent design is?”

On the Pensacola News Journal’s letters page, one John Pasquale writes:

Do you even know what intelligent design is? Does your child?

Look into the work of biochemist Dr. Michael J. Behe or go to www.ICR.org (Institute for Creation Research).

At the ICR site, we learn that

The first human beings did not evolve from an animal ancestry, but were specially created in fully human form from the start.

and also that evolution has never occurred and is not happening now, and could never happen at all. Furthermore, “the millions of years postulated by old-Earth advocates never happened.

Michael Behe, on the other hand, writes in Darwin’s Black Box, pp. 5-6:

For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it. I greatly respect the work of my colleagues who study the development and behavior of organisms within an evolutionary framework, and I think that evolutionary biologists
have contributed enormously to our understanding of the world.

When I asked him, Behe confirmed that he accepts evolution, natural selection, and common descent.

(And let’s not forget that ID proponents are quick to point out that they are not creationists.)

So why would Pasquale recommend learning about ID from both the ICR and Behe? Either 1) ID is so broad a concept that it encompasses both a young and an old earth, both evolution and no evolution, both common descent and separate creation, and is therefore probably far too broad to be of much use; or else 2) Pasquale doesn’t know and doesn’t care about the differences between ID and young-earth creationism.

This seems to be a common affliction. It looks as though the Discovery Institute has a PR problem on its hands: on one hand, it wants to pretend that ID is scientific, which means accepting common descent and denying a literal interpretation of Genesis. On the other hand, it needs the political support of the uneducated rubes who want to believe that “I ain’t related to no monkey”. So no wonder the suckers are confused.

What’s the Legal Term for Ass-Whuppin’?

I’m only about two thirds of the way through judge Jones’s ruling in the Dover Panda case, but it’s getting late, and I’ve just downed a celebratory bottle of not quite the cheapest champagne they had at the liquor store, so I’m not really in any shape to make snarky comments. I’ll just present some interesting bits from the ruling, with maybe a one-liner in passing.

The ruling in a nutshell:
p. 63:

After a searching review of the record and applicable case law, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research.

Continue reading “What’s the Legal Term for Ass-Whuppin’?”

Behe Part 2: Pomo vs. Buzzsaw

Michael Behe’s cross-examination started well. He answered the first four questions with as much confidence and aplomb as when he was answering the planned and rehearsed questions at the direct examination. For the record, those questions were:

  1. How are you?
  2. Professor Behe, do you have a copy of your deposition and expert report up there with you?
  3. And I saw that you had a copy of Pandas, but do you have a copy of Darwin’s Black Box with you?
  4. Professor Behe, there are many many peer-reviewed articles regarding the Big Bang theory, correct?

After that, it was all downhill.

Continue reading “Behe Part 2: Pomo vs. Buzzsaw”

Behe: the Bore Before the Storm

Call me a wonk if you like, but I actually slogged through the Dover trial transcripts for Michael Behe’s testimony. I do hope you appreciate, gentle readers, the sacrifices I make for you.

The nutshell version: Is Intelligent Design science that should be taught in school? It depends on what your definition of “is” is.

Continue reading “Behe: the Bore Before the Storm”