Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3478157 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Behe Testifying in Dover Evolution Trial
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (11)

And Hanna Rosin in Slate is writing about it.

[Michael Behe] constructs his arguments using scientific principles, from open inquiry to hypothesis testing to falsification. ID is science because it "relies on the physical observation of observable empirical facts," he says.

So far, so good. 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.

I'll be fair here...I think she's misrepresenting things a bit. He wouldn't say it is reasonable to infer design when something is well designed, but that it is reasonable to infer a designer. A not-so-subtle distinction. It is a simple argument, oft-repeated. The existence of a chair implies a chair-maker.

But wait...Behe has said before he believes in microevolution, small, incremental changes due to natural selection at work. So if he believes in small refinements (e.g., a slight improvement in aerodynamics to the shape of a bird's wing) due to evolution, then why does he not attribute design there? It doesn't have to be all or nothing, of course...but here's the rub: How do you tell the difference? Behe wants to say that biological subsystems that are "irreducibly complex" are obviously an implication of a designer. So then it's not just things that appear to be well-designed. It's things that appear to, really well designed? Here's where the distinction would fall apart for either your average adherent or non-adherent.

Anyway, go read the whole's interesting.

Although Rosin ends with this:

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.

Cute, but I don't like the implications here either. By saying she hopes her daughter's thinking will evolve, I hope she doesn't mean she still won't marvel at a katydid or stars. You can still marvel at the beauty of the universe (I've blogged about this before) while actually having a decent idea of how certain things work. In fact, it's long been my view that understanding enhances aesthetics...not the other way around.

I personally wouldn't see how understanding that stars are enormous spheres of exploding gases millions of miles away would decrease your marvel. But anyway, if you're marveling out of ignorance, the way you might express amazement at a magic trick ("Gosh, how did they do that?"), that's one thing. Personally, I hope her daughter keeps marveling at the world, but combines that with a healthy dose of understanding.

Read/Post Comments (11)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.