Rosin on Behe
Over at Slate, Hannah Rosin has a good run-down of Michael Behe's testimony in the Dover ID trial. She writes:
But when he gets any closer to explaining how one would actually go about proving the existence of intelligent design, Behe starts chasing his tail. Design, he says over and over, is merely the “purposeful arrangement of parts.” We can detect it when “separate, interacting components are ordered in such a way as to accomplish a function beyond the individual components.” This is a perfectly tautological argument. It is reasonable to infer design, he argues, when something seems well designed. In his writings, Behe argues that the theory can be falsified and suggests an experiment: Place a bacterial species without a flagellum under selective pressure, grow it for 10,000 generations (about two years), and see whether a system as complex as a flagellum is produced. It's a circular experiment, as William Saletan has explained. To that I add: Why wouldn't Mr. Designer, whoever he is, just go to work on that Petri dish? I need look no further than myself for counter-evidence: weak ankles, diabetes, high probability of future death. If there is a designer, she doesn't seem so intelligent.
See the original for links.
I especially liked this part:
I've met biologists who are strict Biblical literalists. Usually they exhibit a certain humility and reconcile their twin beliefs by admitting that there are many mysteries of creation the tools of science can never explain. Behe utterly lacks that deference. In his book, he writes that ID should be ranked as “one of the greatest achievements in the history of science,” rivaling “Newton and Einstein, Lavoisier and Schrodinger, Pasteur and Darwin.” The evidence of design is all around us, and any honest scientist would embrace that as the obvious Ur-Explanation.
My 4-year-old daughter feels this way, too. She marvels at how a katydid looks exactly like a leaf, or how stars really do twinkle in the sky. But I'm hoping by ninth grade her thinking will have evolved.