Monday, October 17, 2005

Michael Behe's deleterious multi-mutant flagellar protein secretion systems double secret probation

If you came to Speaking Freely looking for a scientific breakdown of Dr. Michael Behe's arguments from this afternoon, you've come to the wrong blog and will have to wait until we get the transcripts posted. This writer had exactly two science courses in his last five years of schooling (four undergrad years at Pitt and my senior year of high school). And they were both astronomy courses. And they both included esteemed members of the school's academic community- Pitt football and basketball players.

In light of my deficiency in knowledge of "flagellar proteins" and "protein secretion systems," let's bring it back to something we all understand:

Sex.

(Of course, if Congress continues to fund abstinence-only education, teens and young adults won't even understand sex anymore.)

Before Dr. Behe spent the latter half of the afternoon discussing the really interesting stuff, he took the time to tick off a list of scientific issues that evolution cannot explain, including, according to Dr. Behe, sexual reproduction.

As he testified, asexual reproduction would actually make more sense in evolutionary theory.

"This is an idea that has stumped science for a very long time," he said.

(Ok, it had to be done. The very first selection in a Google search of "evolution of sex" brought up this document from Brown University.)

Dr. Behe also noted that evolutionary theory (or, as he continued to say, "Darwinian theory") cannot explain the genetic code, the structure and function of ribosome, new protein interactions, and a list of other scientific concepts that I can't spell.

Oh, and he also continued to insist that ID is a "positive argument," not a listing of evolution's weaknesses.

"The positive, inductive argument for design is the purposeful arrangement of parts," Dr. Behe noted.

Dr. Kenneth Miller's testimony was also in question again throughout the afternoon. Dr. Behe accused Dr. Miller of mischaracterizing his arguments and stated that Dr. Miller's removal of parts from the bacterial flagellum do not fit evolutionary, err, "Darwinian" theory.

"Dr. Miller is viewing my theory through the lens of his own theory," Dr. Behe said. "He's overstating my argument in order to make it seem brittle."

Let's back track slightly to an issue we didn't explain in much detail from the morning. Just before the lunch break, Dr. Behe equated ID theory with the Big Bang Theory. According to Dr. Behe, the BB was considered "supernatural" when it first came forth in the late 1920s, much like ID is considered "supernatural" today, and the BB was rejected by large segments of the scientific community. In his testimony, Dr. Behe implied that science accepted the BB over time.

He also claimed that ID and BB are similar in that ID cannot scientifically determine the "designer." Meanwhile, Dr. Behe had testified earlier in the morning that he believes the designer is God "based on theological and philosophical and historical factors."

A few other miscellaneous notes: Dr. Behe stated that he feels there is a bias against the publication of ID articles, and he bases that view on news stories, personal conversations, and his own experiences.

Also, he spent much of the morning session listing various academic conferences he has been invited to attend, which was clearly an attempt to legitimize "the controversy" and the discussion on the issue in the academic community. When opposing counsel Robert Muise asked Dr. Behe several times to recall conversations and letters he had received from publishers and other academics, Eric Rothschild from our team objected on the basis of hearsay, and Judge Jones sustained those objections in all but one instance.

Direct questioning of Dr. Behe continues tomorrow.

Submitted by Andy Hoover, community education organizer, ACLU of PA

1 Comments:

Anonymous improvius said...

"The positive, inductive argument for design is the purposeful arrangement of parts," Dr. Behe noted.

You know, he just said, "The argument for design is design."

9:13 PM  

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