Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The View From Lehigh

The Lehigh University Department of Biological Sciences has issued this statement about evolution and ID:

The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function. This commitment carries with it unwavering support for academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also demands the utmost respect for the scientific method, integrity in the conduct of research, and recognition that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypothesis testing, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.

The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of “intelligent design.” While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

You can be sure the ID folks will respond to this by pointing out that you don't see physics department issuing statements in support of relativity. The difference, obviously, is that physicists are not besieged by well-funded, dishonest political operatives trying to convince the public that relativity is a dying theory.

While you're at it, you can check out this brief but informative op-ed from Lehigh biologist Lynne Cassimeris, published in the Morning Call, a newspaper published out of Allentown, PA:

More than 10 years ago, my Lehigh University faculty colleague Michael J. Behe asked me to read a chapter of a manuscript that was later published as “Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.” In this book, Dr. Behe suggested that biochemical systems inside of cells are “irreducibly complex” and cannot have evolved without the hand of a supernatural designer. Over the past decade, I have had considerable time to ponder the ideas Dr. Behe put forward in his book, and time and again I concluded that his arguments lack scientific credibility and are equally offensive to religious faith.


At 7:17 PM, Blogger Bob Davis said...

Good editorial. I especially liked the mouse trap part:

He often uses the mousetrap example to illustrate irreducible complexity, but mousetraps actually better illustrate the concept of evolution of protein complexes.

Catching and killing a mouse is easily achieved by the modern glue trap, requiring nothing more than glue and a cardboard base upon which to spread the glue. Both glue and the cardboard support have other purposes and were only recently brought together to form a mousetrap. Increasing the complexity by a notch, peanut butter can be used to bait the glue trap, and it also has another use.

Delicious peanut butter. So simple, and yet so true.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger LiberPaul said...

As far as I am concerned, the concept of "Irreducible Complexity" has been completly debunked.

See this link:

If you can't read it all, it talks about an Evolution simulator (Avida) where irreducibly complex things did form in the experiment. Behe is full 'o shit and his derision is well founded.


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