Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » October 2005 » I see a rawther Sketchy Future for the I.D. Movement...

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10/21/2005: I see a rawther Sketchy Future for the I.D. Movement...

Evolutionblog has some good coverage from the I.D. trial in Harrisburg, PA., and this bit from The New York Daily Record:

"Dr. Michael Behe, leading intellectual light of the intelligent design movement, faced a dilemma.

In order to call intelligent design a "scientific theory," he had to change the definition of the term. It seemed the definition offered by the National Academy of Science, the largest and most prestigious organization of scientists in the Western world, was inadequate to contain the scope and splendor and just plain gee-willigerness of intelligent design.

So he devised his own definition of theory, expanding upon the definition of those stuck-in-the-21st-century scientists, those scientists who ridicule him and call his "theory" creationism in a cheap suit.

He'd show them. He'd come up with his own definition.

Details aside, his definition was broader and more inclusive of ideas that are "outside the box."

So, as we learned Tuesday, during Day 11 of the Dover Panda Trial, under his definition of a scientific theory, astrology would be a scientific theory.


Who knew that Jacqueline Bigar, syndicated astrology columnist, was on par with Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe?

Eric Rothschild, attorney for the plaintiffs, asked Behe about whether astrology was science. And Behe, after hemming and hawing and launching into an abbreviated history of astrology and science, said, under his definition, it is. He said he wasn't a science historian, but the definition of astrology in the dictionary referred to its 15th-century roots, when it was equated with astronomy, which, according to the National Academy of Science, is a science.

So, taking a short logical leap, something Behe would certainly endorse since he does it a lot himself, you could say that intelligent design is on par with 15th-century science.

Sounds about right.

Actually, that's not quite fair. It shortchanges astrology. For example, my personal horoscope for Tuesday, formulated by the aforementioned famous scientist Bigar, said, "Confusion could be your middle name, but many other people feel confused too."

Nailed it.

These kinds of *OOPs moments* happened quite often. (Here is the link for all the available trancripts from the trial.) Here a GEM from the transcript when the Attorney for the plaintiff's, Mr. Rothchild, would delve into the *critical review* and authorship of the book Of Pandas and People and their I.D. claims. [Behe has trouble giving even a straight-forward answer to some of the questions]:

Click on the "more" button to read this transcript excerpt.

Rothschild: Before we leave Pandas, you said this was not a statement you would have signed off on, correct?

[*The statement* being: Intelligent Design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features already intact: fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings.]

Behe: Yes.

Q: But you actually were a critical reviewer of Pandas, correct; that's what it says in the acknowledgments page of the book?

Behe: That's what it lists there, but that does not mean that I critically reviewed the whole book and commented on it in detail, yes.

Q: What did you review and comment on, Professor Behe?

A: I reviewed the literature concerning blood clotting, and worked with the editor on the section that became the blood clotting system. So, I was principally responsible for that section.

Q: So, You were reviewing your own work?

A: I was helping review or helping edit or helping write the section on blood clotting.

Q: Which was your own contribution?

A: That's -- Yes, that's correct.

Q: That's not typically how the term "critical review" is used, would you agree with that?

A: Yeah, that's correct.

Q: So, when the publishers of Pandas indicate that you were a critical reviewer of Pandas, that's somewhat misleading, isn't it?

Mr. Muse [for the defense]: Objection. Assumes that he understands what their purpose for listing him as a critical reviewer.

Court: He just answered the question that that's not a critical review, so the objection is overruled. You can ask that question.

Rothschild: Advertising you as a critical reviewer of this book is misleading to the students, isn't it?

Mr. Muse: Objection, that's argumentative.

Court: It's cross examination. It is appropriate cross. Overruled.

Behe: I'm sorry, could you repeat the question?

Rothschild: Telling the readers of Pandas that you were a critical reviewer of that book is misleading, isn't it?

A: I disagree. As I said, that's not the typical way that the term "critical reviewer" is used, but nonetheless, in my opinion I don't think it is misleading.

Q: Professor Behe, are you aware that a new edition of Pandas is being developed called, The Design of Life?

A: Yes.

Q: Are you and author of that book.

A: I am not an author of that book.

Q: Are you aware that William Dembski is one of the authors of that book?

A: Yes, I've heard such, yes.

Rothschild: Matt, could you pull up exhibit 621. And that's the expert report of William Dembski that was submitted in this case before he withdrew as an expert.
...[document information]
And you see there he's discussing the new version Of Pandas and People: The Design of Life?

A: I'm sorry?

Q: Do you understand him to be describing his work on new book called The Design of Life?

A: Give me a chance to read this please.

Q: Absolutely.


A: Yes.

Q: And Mr. Dembski, who is the author of The Design of Life, described you a co-author of the book, correct.

A: That's what he does, yes.

Q: That's false, isn't it?

A: Again, I am not an author of the book, but William Dembski, several years ago, asked if I would contribute. And I explained to him that I did not have the time to do so. And he says well, perhaps, you know, in the future he could solicit material from me and then I would be one of the authors of the book. So, that is correct.

Q: So that makes you a co-author right now, Professor Behe?

A: I certainly would not have listed myself now as a co-author, however, I think that he was anticipating my future participation in the project.

Q: So, that's a true statement, Professor Behe, that you're a co-author?

A: It is not now a true statement but it might be in the future.

Q: Okay.

Rothschild: Matt, could you pull up the deposition of Jon Buell [publishers of Pandas]
...[document and background information]
and look at line 11. And Mr. Buell is asked, "Who are the authors of The Design of Life as you understand it?"

And can you read his answer?

A: He says. "Kenyon, Davis, Dembski, Behe and Wells, Jonathon Wells."

Q: So, Mr. Buell thinks you're an author too?

A: That's correct. I think he's working under the same impression as Bill, that he wanted to get together people who were most involved with the intelligent design movement to have a book which would be authored by them. And again, I told them that right now I was too busy. I told them that a couple years ago. But I said that perhaps in the future I could be involved.

Q: Mr. Behe, this statement is false, isn't it?

A: I'm sorry?

Q: The statement is false, isn't it?

A: What statement is that?

Q: The statement that you're an author, and Mr. Dembski's is false too, isn't it?

A: That's not what it says on the screen, sir. It says, "Who are the authors of Design of Life as you understand it?" And the way I read that is that he's seeing into the future and seeing when this actually will be published and anticipating that I will participate in the publication of the book at that point.

Q: Seeing into the future is one of the powers of the intelligent design movement?

[Defense objection - question withdrawn.]

Karen on 10.21.05 @ 01:43 PM CST

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