December 20, 2005

Behe, Dembski, ID get a royal smackdown

Judge says Behe doesn’t even understand his own theory

How could Judge John Jones say such a thing (page 46, footnote 7)?

“Outright lies under oath”? How could the good Christian creationist Intelligent Design former Dover, Pa., board members do such a thing?

Oh, let’s count the ways:
1. Ideological jealousy
2. Fundamentalist fervor, or, if you will, a crusading mentality
3. A quasi-theocratic mindset
4. Lack of education themselves
5. Willful ignorance of what their own educations and the world around have availed them
6. A planned pattern of deception for the half-decade since the Discovery Institute pulled the “wedge strategy” from its website.

I’m sure you could list more.

As other bloggers have noted, this is a slam-dunk victory for proper science education in public schools and a crushing defeat for IDers. Plus, since the Edward decision, as Judge Jones noted, nationalized Supreme Court rulings on scientific creationism, if his ruling stands, it will do the same nationally for ID.

And, by pointing out the family antecedents of ID in scientific creationism, from IDers’ own paper trail, Jones has also established precedent against what’s next up IDers sleeves. As part of that, Jones’ long memorandum carefully notes the political and social activity of the old Dover school board as part of its deception.

Jones carefully points out how the old Dover board and its IDer backers deliberately distorted the scientific use of the word “theory,” how the book Pandas changed “creationism” to “ID” right after the Edwards decision and more.

He also notes how IDers science claims don’t stack up, either. (All quotes below are referenced by page number in the PDF.)
We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. (64) …

It is notable that defense experts’ own mission, which mirrors that of the
IDM itself, is to change the ground rules of science to allow supernatural causation of the natural world, which the Supreme Court in Edwards and the court in McLean correctly recognized as an inherently religious concept. (67)

It doesn’t get much more emphatic than that.

Of course, if you try to redefine science, you might think you have a chance of winning.
The Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science.” (69)

But, of course, that doesn’t work, either.
Notably, every major scientific association that has taken a position on the issue of whether ID is science has concluded that ID is not, and cannot be considered as such. (69)

Of course, this nuttery did lead leading IDer Michael Behe to make a buffoon of himself on the witness stand.
First, defense expert Professor Fuller agreed that ID aspires to “change the ground rules” of science and lead defense expert Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology. (68)

Plus, vaunted intellectuals Behe and Dembski show they don’t even grasp one of the most elemental principals of logic: You can’t prove a negative.
ID proponents primarily argue for design through negative arguments against evolution. … However, we believe that arguments against evolution are not arguments for design. Expert testimony revealed that just because scientists cannot explain today how biological systems evolved does not mean that they cannot, and will not, be able to explain them tomorrow. (71)

As referenced, the concept of irreducible complexity is ID’s alleged scientific centerpiece. Irreducible complexity is a negative argument against evolution, not proof of design, a point conceded by defense expert Professor
Minnich. (71-72)

Uhh, wouldn’t this be “ID of the gaps”?

In addition, Judge Jones points out that Behe doesn’t even have a good handle on his own theory, let alone what is allegedly wrong with the theory of evolution.
Professor Behe admitted in “Reply to My Critics” that
there was a defect in his view of irreducible complexity because, while it purports to be a challenge to natural selection, it does not actually address “the task facing natural selection.” (73)

It’s now official. ID has zero credibility.

And in case IDers don’t get that fact, for good measure, Jones refers to the “breathtaking inanity” of the board’s policy.

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