Monday, June 10, 2019

Behe Rides Again

The Science Magazine blog has a specific subsection for book reviews. The comment traffic was very low until the recent review of the Intelligent Design Creationist book, "Darwin Devolves" by Michael Behe.  The review was authored by Nathan H. Lents, S. Joshua Swamidass, and Richard E. Lenski. Over the last few weeks there were 170 comments posted on the review page itself.

The Intelligent Design Creationist movement, IDC, got its public start with Phillip Johnson's 1993 book "Darwin on Trial" (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press). It was really inspired by the 1987 US Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard, where the Court held Louisiana's "Creationism Act" as unconstitutional. This meant that "special creation," and "creationists," and  were not terms that would pass for "science" in public schools. Consequently, they were replaced with Intelligent Design, and "intelligent design proponents" in a creationist book eventually sold as a high school biology textbook, "Of Pandas and People" (1989, Foundation for Thought and Ethics). This was the true origin of ID creationism.

The "science" of ID creationism got its first play in a 1996 book by Michael Behe, "Darwin's Black Box," where he argued that life manifested a property he called, "irreducible complexity." Further Behe insisted that irreducible complexity could not have come to be by material evolutionary means.

Behe had to eat his denials when under oath during the 2005 "Pandas Trial" over the Dover PA attempt to teach ID creationism as science.

My favorite part of Behe's collapse was;

Kitzmiller v. Dover: Day 12, PM: Michael Behe (continued)
Q. Let's discuss archaeology a little bit more. Matt, if you could pull up Exhibit 722? May I approach, Your Honor?
THE COURT: You may.
Q. And Professor Behe, this is a chapter from a book called Why Intelligent Design Failed: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism. Do you see that?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. We're going to look at chapter 8 of that book, if you could pull up the chapter heading there? And it's titled The Explanatory Filter, Archaeology and Forensics, and it's written by somebody named Gary S. Hurd. Are you familiar with Dr. Hurd?
A. No, I am not.