Joined: Jan. 2008
Some more blogging about Behe: The Sensuous Curmudgeon
|Okay, you know all that. Now here’s the fun part:|
|After the lecture, an audience member asked, “Where are the testable predictions in intelligent design that we would expect in science?”|
Good question! We applaud that audience member. Here’s what Behe, the “internationally recognized” creationist guru, had to say for his answer:
|“I don’t have a mechanism to substitute for the Darwinian mechanism, that’s true. But the same was true for Newton or the Big Bang Theory,” Behe answered. “I don’t think you need a mechanism all the time in science.”|
Think about that. Behe admits what we’ve always known — that he has no mechanism. But such mechanisms — explanatory mechanisms — are what scientific theories are all about. Darwin had a mechanism to explain the origin of species — variation and natural selection. Any competing theory should do at least as well, because scientific theories are explanations — testable explanations. But Behe has no theory, and although he probably doesn’t realize it, he just said so.
As for Behe’s mention of Newton, that’s a sleazy bit of bait and switch. Newton didn’t propose a theory. His nifty formula, shown here, described the effects of gravity. Similarly, his laws of motion described motion. He never explained these phenomena. That’s the difference — in science — between laws and theories. The former are descriptions, the latter are explanations.
Then there’s Behe’s mention of the Big Bang. That’s sneakier, because it really is a theory — of limited scope. What Big Bang theory purports to explain is the observation that the universe appears to be expanding. The explanation is that the universe began with expansion of a singularity. This makes predictions that are testable by reference to various observations. See: Foundations of Big Bang Cosmology.
But this is where Behe gets super-sneaky. In Big Bang theory, the cause of the initial expansion is unexplained. It really isn’t part of Big Bang theory — indeed, such a cause may be beyond scientific investigation. But this is irrelevant to the almost unanimous acceptance of Big Bang theory, which does explain observable phenomena following the initial moment.
Okay, let’s try to tie this all up to see where Behe’s ID fits in. Newton (like Behe) had no mechanism — but he had a law of gravity. It still works splendidly, in all cases except those extreme conditions where relativity takes over. Behe’s reference to Newton is utterly foolish.
Then there’s the Big Bang. True, it doesn’t have a mechanism for the origin of all things. But cosmological observations are indeed explained by the mechanism of the expansion — that’s the Big Bang theory.
Now what of ID? Behe has no mechanism — which means he has no explanation, no theory. What does have have? Surely he has no law — no tidy description of biological phenomena.
So Behe has no theory, and he has no law. There’s not much left of ID, is there? A bit of smoke, a few mirrors, and that’s about it.
We should invite him/her/them over here, they'd fit right in (and if you're using a feed reader: add this blog).
"Random mutations, if they are truly random, will affect, and potentially damage, any aspect of the organism, [...]
Thus, a realistic [computer] simulation [of evolution] would allow the program, OS, and hardware to be affected in a random fashion." GilDodgen, Frilly shirt owner