Monday, May 18, 2009

Strange Bedfellows: Michael Behe and Adnan Oktar?

While reading up a little on Adnan Oktar, the Turkish 'writer' who goes by the pen name Harun Yahya. Remember him, of the infamous "Atlas of Creation'? You have to remember the Atlas of Creation, whose first edition had numerous mistakes, including using a fishing lure image as a caddis fly?

Well while doing a little reading for another post, I can across a reference another Blog, Darwinian Conservatism, which made a couple of interesting notes about Michael Behe. The bottom line question raised is Michael Behe on the DI's naughty list.

Apparently Michael Behe was interviewed for the little bennie stein mockumentary "Expelled:" and his interview was left on the cutting room floor. I find that hard to believe. Since 1996 and "Darwin's Black Box" came out, Behe has been one of the most widely seen 'faces of ID' around country. He testified at the Dover hearing and even wrote a follow-up book to 'DBB'.

I know his testimony is what really seemed to put the Judge over the top in his ruling that ID is Creationism, it might be these points, raised by Larry Arnhart of Darwinian Conservatism (Why Was Michael Behe Expelled by Ben Stein?) that might explain any perceived schism between the Discovery Institute and their previously fair-haired [figuratively speaking] boy:
  • Was Behe expelled from Stein's movie for saying that "it's hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans" (Edge of Evolution, p. 72)?
  • Was he expelled for suggesting that the evolution of orders, families, genera, and species could be explained in a Darwinian manner through random mutation and natural selection (pp. 217-20)?
  • Was he expelled for saying that "treating the Bible as some sort of science textbook" would be "silly" (p. 166), and that in science there should be "no relying on holy books or prophetic dreams" (p. 233)?
  • Was he expelled for saying that "the purposeful design of life to any degree is easily compatible with the idea that, after its initiation, the universe unfolded exclusively by the intended playing out of natural laws" (p. 232), which would support theistic evolution?
  • Was he expelled for saying that "an intelligent designer deliberately made malaria" to kill millions of innocent children, and therefore we should consider the possibility that "the designer isn't all that beneficent or omnipotent" (pp. 237, 239)?
It certainly makes you think that he is no longer the wunderkind of the DI, but any public display of disfavor would only hurt the DI more than a private disagreement. I mean what other senior fellow over there is a working, tenured, biologist? None that I am aware of.

What is really surprising is how hard the DI pushed his Edge of Evolution book. Hey, they even funded it. And now, apparently, it's hard to find a reference to it on the DI's own website. DBB is on the list of 'Essential Reading', but not Edge. It certainly makes me think!

Well enough on Behe, just something to keep an eye on. Now the thing on Adnan Oktar and what I find sorta strange is a post by Denyse O'Leary over on Wild Bill Demsbki's Uncommon Descent Blog. She interviewed Oktar and called one of his books "the most succinct and comprehensive of the critiques of overblown claims for Darwinian evolution that I have ever read."

I guess she didn't read enough because Oktar is a vehement critic not only of Darwinism but also of intelligent design theory. He calls intelligent design theory, particularly as developed by the DI, as a product of "a Masonic conspiracy for promoting atheism and Deism."

So either Denyse didn't read much in preparation for her interview, or the ID folks are really scrapping the bottom of the barrel. Actually I think there is an easier explanation. Denyse assumes that anyone who is a Darwin Doubter must be an ID supporter and I bet her rose colored glasses never saw any criticism of ID in her prep for the interview.

1 comment:

  1. "I guess she didn't read enough because Oktar is a vehement critic not only of Darwinism but also of intelligent design theory."

    Denyse O'Leary is so dense she probably needs someone to read stuff for her. You can't post on her "blog" because in a microsecond she'd get shot down by any rational opponent in a debate.

    John Bartlett.