Wednesday, March 08, 2006

That "court stunt" again

Reading yet another report on the now infamous "Dover Trial" where ID was categorically handed a massive defeat in the Pennsylvania Gazzette, I can do nothing more than crack a little smile upon seeing my favourite court stunt mentioned again:

Behe claimed that mainstream scientists had produced “no detailed, rigorous explanations for how complex biomedical systems could arise by random mutation and natural selection.” The biochemical intricacy of the immune system is one such purposeful arrangement of parts. “I see no Darwinian explanation for such things,” he stated.

During cross examination, Rothschild stacked up on the witness stand 58 articles from prestigious journals like Science, Nature, Molecular Cell, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. All of them described research on the evolution of the immune system. “Is your position today that these articles aren’t good enough?” Rothschild challenged. He then piled on 10 textbooks with titles like Origin and Evolution of the Vertebrate Immune System.

“What I strongly doubt is that any of these address the question in a rigorous fashion,” the star witness replied, adding later that “I haven’t read them [all].”

“It was the high point of the trial,” Harvey recalls. “Anyone who studies that cross examination would realize that Professor Behe’s work is bankrupt. Eric just took it to pieces and did it brilliantly.”

Once again it's very evident just how devastating an effect and simply memorable that part of the trial has ended up. It was just so poignant a moment to have Professor Behe, surrounded by numerous articles from the very scientists he just derided as having no satisfactory answer admitting he hadn't even read the relevant literature. Bear in mind that after the trial Behe claimed that he had shown the other side was "full of rhetoric and bluster". Unfortunately for Behe, his testimony was completely essential in the massive defeat suffered by the school board at Dover. That moments such as the one above are continually mentioned in the media as essential in the defeat, you have to wonder if Behe is really wishing that he'd done a Dembski and avoided getting on the stand to begin with.