Thursday, September 30, 2010

That didn't take long UK Intelligent Design meet US Intelligent Design

It was just this past Sunday that I posted about us exporting the foolishness colloquially known as Intelligent Design to Great Britain ("It's about time we got even"). As I said there the link to the Discovery Institute might not be official, but the DI was trumpeting like it was an actual victory. Well it's more than a philosophical link now. The UK-based Centre for Intelligent Design has just announced a fall lecture tour featuring Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Michael Behe.

The press release is from the Discovery Institute, so lies, exaggerations, and distortions are a matter of course. So when they say "Controversial ID Scientist tours the UK" are they really serious? Let's see -- this is the man whose own organization, Lehigh University, does not agree with his hobby horse. This is a man who under oath admitted that no one was doing the scientific work needed to support his own ideas. This is the man who stated that in order for Intelligent Design to be accepted as science the very definition of science would have to be expanded to the point of making Astrology a science . . . get the idea? Michael Behe will do for Intelligent Design in the UK what he's done for it in the US -- damn near nothing at all!

I mean, really is he so controversial? I think by now even the DI would question his ability to help their cause. I will say one thing about Behe is at least he had the intestinal fortitude to stick to his beliefs and testify during the Dover Trial -- unlike other members of the DI. But as a controversial figure he rates pretty low on the scale.

Just as a reminder, here is what Lehigh University says about Intelligent Design:

"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."
Here is another exaggeration of the DI. When Michael Behe is stumping for the DI and waxing poetic on Intelligent Design, is he acting within his scientist persona?

It's something to think about. I mean if my dentist discusses the cyst I have on my back, he's not being a dentist, right? When the butcher offers portfolio advice, he's not acting as a butcher. Are my dentist and butcher free to offer an opinion on something other than their specialty? They certainly are -- but when they do so they are acting outside of their professional persona. Of course no one would take my butcher seriously if I identified him as the source of my stock advice!

However, when Behe speaks, the DI is quick to cloak him in his scientist cape -- but should it? Lehigh University says Intelligent Design has no basis in science, so calling anyone an 'ID Scientist' really has little to no meaning! Yes, Behe is a scientist when he is teaching and working in Biochemistry -- but Behe himself is not doing the work to support his own ideas (by his own admission). He's not being a scientist when he writes and speaks about Intelligent Design.

Yet, according to the Discovery Institute Michael Behe is a 'Controversial ID Scientist'. At the very least the DI is overstating the case -- at the very worst they are doing nothing but smoke and mirrors to catch some of the glint over having an actual biochemist selling their snake oil. But that's pretty typical for the Discovery Institute.

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