Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Kitzmas!

As many readers to this blog are already aware, the Judge in Dover has slapped down the IDiots in the Dover Intelligent Design trial (The PDF of the smackdown can be found here). As I'm currently slogging through the massive 139 pages just now, I'm left with a sense of true awe at how incredibly well this Judge has grasped every point scientists have been making about ID for years. It's such a complete and utter frisking that I'm surprised nobody pushed them to go to court earlier.

As many blogs have posted up their favourite quotes I think I'll just have to follow suit with this one:
Moreover, in turning to Defendants’ lead expert, Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific, as opposed to a religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition’s validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe’s assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.
Considering that it was nonsense from Behe in "Darwins Black Box" that I originally encountered creationism for the first time, it's good to see that he's basically been shown up for being full of hot air and little else. Of course, since reading that book and admittingly, thinking it was somewhat accurate until I asked my professors about it, I've participated in a lot of written (online) and oral debates with creationists. In such mediums, things like spin, bait and switching and more play a bigger role in 'winning' the debate than the facts and evidence often. This is why I'm satisfied to see that in a court of law when facts and evidence rule the day, not only is ID defeated by their leading advocates like Behe end up impaled on their own dishonesty.

This victory hasn't just been one for science but one for common sense as a whole.

Oooh oooh! Update time, I have a new favourite quote
The immune system is the third system to which Professor Behe has applied the definition of irreducible complexity. Although in Darwin’s Black Box, Professor Behe wrote that not only were there no natural explanations for the immune system at the time, but that natural explanations were impossible regarding its origin. (P-647 at 139; 2:26-27 (Miller)). However, Dr. Miller presented peer-reviewed studies refuting Professor Behe’s claim that the immune system was irreducibly complex. Between 1996 and 2002, various studies confirmed each element of the evolutionary hypothesis explaining the origin of the immune system. (2:31 (Miller)). In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fiftyeight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” (23:19 (Behe).
When I first read about Behe being 'unimpressed' by the amount of peer-reviewed studies and books on the immune systems evolution, I knew then that the Judge would pick up on that as one key sign of the vacuity of the Intelligent Design movement. It's very pleasing to read this statement in his decision, especially because it hits very close to home on my own interests.