Monday, February 16, 2009


What Does It Prophet a Man?

It's not just his own department at Lehigh University that stands against Michael Behe.

Darwin's theory of natural selection plays a key role in most Lehigh Valley public school science curricula.

None of the public schools interviewed for this article includes the controversial idea of intelligent design, a theory that living organisms are so complex a higher power must have created them.

"The only place I would see a place for it in the curriculum would be if we had a comparative religions class," said Bethlehem Area School District Science Supervisor Eric Smith. "It is not really science so we keep it out of the science curriculum."

Behe's reaction:

Behe said he believes intelligent design is an empirical conclusion based on the physical evidence of life that's been discovered in the last 50 years.

"It might be friendly to some religions but it comes through empirical reasoning, observation and experiment," said Behe, who testified in the 2005 Dover Area School District intelligent design trial.

Scientific ideas are constantly evolving and things that half a century ago seemed impossible, such as the genetic code, are now accepted, Behe said.

"There is no reason other than prejudice to deny intelligence in biology," he said.

Well, that and the fact that the IDeologists haven't come up with actual evidence of design like we have for the genetic code, just claims that natural selection is not sufficient to explain all of evolution (which we've known for some time, a la genetic drift and neutral evolution) and a ridiculous analogy to human technology debunked before Paley ever uttered it. Mr. Smith has this part right:

There is no controversy," Smith said. "Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. I didn't teach 'Hamlet' in my physics class because it's not physics."

The best Behe can do is say that Hamlet -- and religion -- are out there:

Behe said he feels students should be given "the blunt truth" that there are many ideas out there.

Sure there are. The question is why they should be taught in science classes.

I suppose Behe can comfort himself with the notion that "a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house."

But the same might be said about a loon.

"There is no reason other than prejudice to deny intelligence in biology," he said.

He's quite right (assuming he's referring to the intelligence of the students and to the sectarian biases of some school board members).
That's not just denying it, though ... that's trying to kill it.
Hamlet is good. I see Eric Rothschild looking down at a greasestain on the floor of a witness-box: "Alas, poor Behe, I knew him well."
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