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Michael Behe Speaks in Kansas on Intelligent Design

Last week Michael Behe spoke at Kansas University as part of a series of “Difficult Dialogues,” with various speakers on the topic of intelligent design. There is an excellent report on Behe’s talk at Reasonable Kansans Blog which has some highlights worth noting. Behe primarily discussed and critiqued the Kitzmiller ruling. (We will have more news about this and related issues dealing with how Judge Jones wrote his ruling tomorrow, so be sure to check back here.)

The Immunology Literature Dump:

  • “As far as the ‘stack of books and articles’ presented at the trial, Behe took it as bad courtroom theatre. … Behe said that current studies do not provide evidence that the immune system has been explained by evolutionary mechanisms, so he was certain that this older material piled up in front of him did not contain anything that would explain it either. In the trial, he referenced the most current 2005 standard view of the immune system and he discussed this in depth with Ken Miller during the trial, but this information was not referenced in the Jones decision. He said the 2005 article on the immune system used words like ‘may have’, ‘appears to be’, ‘probably’, ‘might have’, etc. etc. It was speculative information, and if that were true in 2005, then obviously earlier papers wouldn’t have added anything more pertinent to the discussion. The papers in question do not address how random processes explain evolution of the immune system… they simply assume that they do.” (Reasonable Kansans Blog)

Misquotes by Judge Jones:

  • “Jones also made the statement in his decision that Behe said, ‘Those papers were not good enough’. In fact, Behe did not say this. Those are the words Eric [Rothschild] tried to put in his mouth while Behe was on the witness stand. Behe actually said that they were wonderful articles, that they were very interesting, but that they simply don’t address the question as he posed it. They address a different question.” (Reasonable Kansans Blog)

(As noted earlier, Discovery Institute will have more news about this and related issues dealing with how Judge Jones wrote his ruling tomorrow, so be sure to check back here.)

Media Misquotes on Astrology:

  • “Another misperception came out in the Q&A session. Behe was asked if he believed astrology was science because he had been quoted all over the media as saying astrology would fit in with his definition of science. Behe stated that at that point in the trial they were discussing the definition of science. He was asked if astrology was science and Behe said he stated astrology was considered science in the 13th and 14th century and that it in part led to astronomy. He was referring to historical times, not current times. But, the media only picked up his reference to astrology being acceptable in his definition of science.” (Reasonable Kansans Blog)
  • This same point about astrology was similarly addressed here last year at the time Behe testified:

    About 500 years ago, most “scientists” believed (albeit incorrectly) that the Earth was the center of the solar system. Had you asked an early astronomer in the year 1500 if the geocentric model of the solar system was “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, and tested hypotheses … that develop[ed] from extensive observation, experimentation, and creative reflection … [and] incorporate[s] a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses, and logical inferences” she would have probably told you YES!

    Put the NAS [National Academy of Sciences] on the witness stand, and they would admit that 500 years ago, some people would have said that geocentrism qualified under their definition of “theory.” In fact, 500 years ago, many of these same people would have put “astrology” under the NAS definition [of science] (note: we find this incredible today, but in his time, it was not scandalous that Newton was an astrologer). Today we know both astrology and geocentrism are totally wrong, and so nobody wants them taught as science in school.
    (500 Years Ago, Geocentrism & Astrology Would have Fit NAS definition of “Theory”!)

Reasonable Kansans Blog has done a good job of covering the lectures with reports on all of the lectures in the series: Ken Miller, Judge Jones, Os Guinness, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, Michael Behe, The Panel Discussion.

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



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