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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Comments from Mike Behe after the publication of Edge of Evolution

Following on the fact that a Canadian writer, Cameron Wybrow, got a positive review of Mike Behe's Edge of Evolution published, I think it is worth introducing two things this evening:

1. Both Wybrow and I implicitly wonder whether some of the Darwinists who trashed Behe's book in legacy deadtree media have even read it (we assume they have of course read it, sort of - the way a secure prof reads stuff he hates) and how many of them understand its significance.

Behe is demanding serious answers from Darwinists, not protestations of faith in their theory.

The questions he raises in Edge of Evolution can be used to sort Darwinists conveniently:

(1) Those who can address the science challenge and

(2) Those that should go back to fronting the Big Bazooms theory of human evolution. (I kid you not. Follow the link.)

2. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I asked Mike Behe, the author of Edge of Evolution - a biochemistry prof at Lehigh University (whose biochemistry Web site cravenly disowns* his views) for some comments.

O'Leary: I still can't believe that Dawkster garbage about dogs. [Richard Dawkins's review of Behe's book that did not make clear whether he had even read it or understood the challenge it poses to Darwinism, and indulged in an extended riff about intelligently designed dog breeding.]

Behe: Yeah, I was astounded when Dawkins talked dogs. Now Jerry Coyne is doing it too! These guys have some serious problems.

O'Leary: So far, I am finding your book quite easy to read, as well as informative. Is that your own style, or did you have help from an editor?

Behe: Mostly it's my style, although my editor did give the text a going-over.

O'Leary: The pattern is quite different from your previous book Darwin's Black Box so far, in that the technical material (so far) seems to be placed in indexes [appendices]. I can follow just about everything in the actual book.

Behe: Great. It's critical for the book to be understandable by non-scientists, since by and large the scientific community will not respond positively.

Then a few days later, I asked Behe,

O'Leary: Things you feel safer in saying now than you would have then?

Behe: Depends on what you mean by "safe." These days I don't feel safe talking in public about my grocery list -- in the sense that there's always someone watching me, ready to jump down my throat if I make a misstep.

Hey, you know, that could be about to CHANGE.

* Meanwhile, here's the craven statement from his biology department:
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.

Can you believe it? Darwinism is obviously in ruins, and they would actually make a statement like THAT?

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Canadian writer gets positive review of Edge of Evolution published in Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cameron Wybrow wrote me a while back wanting to know why most legacy Canadian mainstream media will not publish anything about the intelligent design controversy beyond the often incompetent or politically motivated stuff that the New York Times would put out.

I said it was my guess that the legacy media would go under before they would update their thinking and ask obvious questions like, "Could it be that there IS something wrong with Darwinism, and that that is why Darwinists must attempt to ruin the careers of anyone who questions it?"

Well, I underestimated Cameron. He now writes to say,
After many failed tries, I hit upon a newspaper to publish a positive review of Behe, and a major newspaper, too -- The Philadelphia Inquirer. It runs about 700,000 copies for its Sunday edition! My review is going to be in tomorrow, Sunday August 19th.

He will send me the text of the review after it appears in the Inquirer, or else I will link to it. He adds,
The editor, who is not hostile to ID but is more of a fan of Francis Collins, was going to try to get Collins to write a "con" review to match my "pro" review. I don't know if he succeeded. If so, the result would be a unique pair of duelling reviews -- good publicity for Dr. Behe, I think. But if not, at least my review will be the first positive review of Behe published in a major print medium (outside of Christian magazines, that is). I hope it balances things a little.

Yes,and I hope it helps a few intelligent people face up to the significance of Behe's Edge of Evolution challenge to Darwinism.

Update: You can read the article for free here, but you must sign up.

Further Update: Here it is, with no registration required.

One thing Wybrow does is go after the reviewers who have attempted to hide Behe's findings in damning reviews:
A large part of each [hostile] review is ad hominem, concerned with Behe's alleged religious agenda, his minority status among biologists, and other irrelevant matters. In Dawkins' review, the science is barely touched, and it's not clear from Ruse's review that he has even opened the cover of the book. Behe deserves better. Edge of Evolution makes a serious, quantitative argument about the limits of Darwinian evolution. Evolutionary biology cannot honestly ignore it.

No. Not honestly. Not any more.

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