Sunday, December 10, 2006

Behe and Astrology

I found an interesting post at Andrew Rowell’s blogsite regarding Behe and the infamous statement about astrology.

Rowell offers the actual words from the transcript and Behe’s explanation.

It simply boggles the mind to think that people could actually believe that Behe considers astrology science. Darwinists would like to relay this to the public, but I guarantee you that there is not a one of them who actually believes that Behe truly meant that modern astrology should be considered science. This is nothing but an obvious ploy in attempt to degrade Behe.

The only people who might possibly believe something like this are those who know next to nothing about Behe and his expansive breadth of knowledge on various scientific issues. Anyone who has read Darwin’s Black Box would certainly reject any ridiculous notion that Behe believes modern astrology is science.

It’s amazing the lengths that those who oppose Intelligent Design will go to denigrate those who support it. I’ve been called just about every name in the book by those who oppose ID simply because of my involvement in this debate.

It's truly sad that people cannot rise above this type of behavior.

Added in edit 12/10:

Below are the actual words from the Dover trial transcripts regarding Behe’s statements about astrology and his reference to the “stack of books” on the immune system.

Q And now the term is used, “The divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects.” That’s the scientific theory of astrology?

A That’s what it says right there, but let me direct your attention to the archaic definition, because the archaic definition is the one which was in effect when astrology was actually thought to perhaps describe real events, at least by the educated community.

Astrology – I think astronomy began in, and things like astrology, and the history of science is replete with ideas that we now think to be wrong headed, nonetheless giving way to better ways or more accurate ways of describing the world.

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.

Q I didn’t take your deposition in the 1500s, correct?


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 astrology when it was first proposed. I’m not thinking of tarot cards and little mind readers and so on that you might see along the highway. I was thinking of it in its historical sense.

Q I couldn’t be a mind reader either.

Immune system:
Q. We’ll get back to that. Now, these articles rebut your assertion that scientific literature has no answers on the origin of the vertebrate immune system?

A. No, they certainly do not. My answer, or my argument is that the literature has no detailed rigorous explanations for how complex biochemical systems could arise by a random mutation and natural selection and these articles do not address that.

Q. So these are not good enough?

A. They’re wonderful articles. They’re very interesting. They simply just don’t address the question that I pose.

Q. And these are not the only articles on the evolution of vertebrate immune system?

A. There are many articles.


Q. And I’m correct when I asked you, you would need to see a step-by-step description of how the immune system, vertebrate immune system developed?

A. Not only would I need a step-by-step, mutation by mutation analysis, I would also want to see relevant information such as what is the population size of the organism in which these mutations are occurring, what is the selective value for the mutation, are there any detrimental effects of the mutation, and many other such questions.

Q. And you haven’t undertaken to try and figure out those?

A. I am not confident that the immune system arose through Darwinian processes, and so I do not think that such a study would be fruitful.

Q. It would be a waste of time?

A. It would not be fruitful.


Q. And the fifty-eight articles, some yes, some no?

A. Well, the nice thing about science is that often times when you read the latest articles, or a sampling of the latest articles, they certainly include earlier results. So you get up to speed pretty quickly. You don’t have to go back and read every article on a particular topic for the last fifty years or so.


Q. You conclude the chapter called “Publish or Perish” by saying, “In effect, the theory of Darwinian molecular evolution has not published, and so it should perish,” right?

A. That’s correct, yes.

Q. And then all these hard working scientists publish article after article over years and years, chapters and books, full books, addressing the question of how the vertebrate immune system evolved, but none of them are satisfactory to you for an answer to that question?

A. Well, see, that again is an example of confusing the different meanings of evolution. As we have seen before, evolution means a number of things, such as change over time, common descent, gradualism and so on. And when I say Darwinian evolution, that is focusing exactly on the mechanism of natural selection. And none of these articles address that.

Q. Again at the same time you don’t publish any peer reviewed articles advocating for the alternative, intelligent design?

A. I have published a book, or – I have published a book discussing my ideas.


Q. Professor Behe, isn’t it the case that scientists often propose hypotheses, and then set out to test them themselves rather than trusting the people who don’t agree with their hypothesis?

A. That’s true, but hypothesis of design is tested in a way that is different from a Darwinian hypotheses. The test has to be specific to the hypothesis itself, and as I have argued, an inductive hypothesis is argued or is supported by induction, by example after example of things we see that fit this induction.