Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Professor Behe 'responds' to the Dover decision

I found this response from Michael Behe, trying to save face after his disasterous testimony virtually lost the case for the defendants at the dover trial, rather amusing for his defence of his embarassment after being presented 58 papers on the evolution of the immune system (that he had no answer for).
1) Although the opinion’s phrasing makes it seem to come from my mouth, the remark about the studies being “not good enough” was the cross-examining attorney’s, not mine.
Really? Is that really the case Dr. Behe? You seem to have a very short memory for certain statements that you've made.

From the trial transcripts, we have Behe saying:

Q. You were asked some questions about the immunity system, and Mr. Rothschild gave you some books and articles and piled some papers on top of you. Do you remember that?

A. I do remember that, yes.

Q. And you claim that you didn't find these examples all that persuasive, correct?

A. That's right.

Oh dear, looks like Dr. Behe is remembering the events of his own testimony at the trial rather differently than what actually happened. Much like how the 'peer review' of his book, Darwins Black Box was different than what he understood. In any event he does indeed imply they are 'not good enough'' and yet:
2) I was given no chance to read them, and at the time considered the dumping of a stack of papers and books on the witness stand to be just a stunt, simply bad courtroom theater. Yet the Court treats it seriously.
This seems to be a direct contradiction of terms. Dr. Behe, did you find them 'unpersuasive' or had you not bothered reading them to know to begin with? If you hadn't read them, how are you to determine they are not persuasive, which is certainly interpretable as 'not good enough' unless you are already entering with the idea nobody could disprove your pet notion of IC?

It's amazing how Behe thinks he can get away with claiming he found that the papers were not persuasive without ever having read them to begin with. This is aside from the fact Behe should be reading and keeping up with the literature to begin with. To vindicate his claims about the irreducible complexity of the immune system, surely Behe should be keeping up with the very subject area he is claiming to be 'researching'. Evidentally, Behes ignorance about the actual evidence present says infinitely more about his 'scholarship' and dedication to doing proper science more than anything else.

Then he comes out with this:
I said in my testimony that the studies may have been fine as far as they went, but that they certainly did not present detailed, rigorous explanations for the evolution of the immune system by random mutation and natural selection — if they had, that knowledge would be reflected in more recent studies that I had had a chance to read (see below).
Bear in mind that Behe has admitted that he has never read them to begin with so how would he know? He very obviously fails to keep up with the current literature on the evolution of the immune system, so it's quite clear that he wouldn't know about these studies even if they appeared.
4) This is the most blatant example of the Court’s simply accepting the Plaintiffs’ say-so on the state of the science and disregarding the opinions of the defendants’ experts. I strongly suspect the Court did not itself read the “fifty eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system” and determine from its own expertise that they demonstrated Darwinian claims. How can the Court declare that a stack of publications shows anything at all if the defense expert disputes it and the Court has not itself read and understood them?
The point is Behe that you are the one making the claim that the immune system is IC, not the court and not the plantiffs. It should be up to you to maintain your own level of knowledge by actually bothering to read what other scientists write, in peer reviewed journals no less and not in popular books like Behes empty box. The fact is, that there has been a wealth of research on the immune system and the collective whole of the papers published gives us a picture of how the immune system evolved. It would be very hard to find a single paper that explained everything we know all from one experiment, but what we know is indeed in numerous papers that are published every year.

This response merely shows Behes contempt for following the actual research being produced by actual scientists. Perhaps Behe can demonstrate where he, or any ID advocate has ever bothered doing an experiment to prove the immune system is irreducibly complex? His response merely reinforces the courts points rather than serves as any form of 'refutation'. If Behe doesn't want to make himself at least familiar with research in the areas he makes claims for, he has no right calling himself a 'scientist'.

Dr. Behe needs to realise that science is not about making a claim and having everyone disprove what you think. Science is about proposing a testable hypothesis and then assembling positive evidence (or for that matter disproving the original hypothesis) that demonstrates your idea is correct. Rather than being a 'court stunt' as Behe derides the presentation of actual research articles (the irony of that can be left for the reader to determine) it demonstrates that breadth and depth of research into the evolution of the immune system. That Behe fails to do any research of his own, in other words assembling positive evidence for his claims, demonstrates the lack of any real science behind his claims very sufficiently.