Wednesday, October 19, 2005

School-board's efforts to undo 150 years of scientific thought won't die without a fight


Myth-based ad-hoc story telling takes a beating in PA:

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 18 - A leading architect of the intelligent-design movement defended his ideas in a federal courtroom on Tuesday and acknowledged that under his definition of a scientific theory, astrology would fit as neatly as intelligent design...

The cross-examination of Professor Behe on Tuesday made it clear that intelligent-design proponents do not necessarily share the same definition of their own theory. Eric Rothschild, a lawyer representing the parents suing the school board, projected an excerpt from the "Pandas" textbook that said:

"Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features already intact, fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, etc."

In that definition, Mr. Rothschild asked, couldn't the words "intelligent design" be replaced by "creationism" and still make sense? Professor Behe responded that that excerpt from the textbook was "somewhat problematic," and that it was not consistent with his definition of intelligent design.

Mr. Rothschild asked Professor Behe why then he had not objected to the passage since he was among the scientists who was listed as a reviewer of the book. Professor Behe said that although he had reviewed the textbook, he had reviewed only the section he himself had written, on blood clotting. Pressed further, he agreed that it was "not typical" for critical reviewers of scientific textbooks to review their own work.

In a related story, Ashton Kucher gave the director's cut DVD of "Dude, where's my car?" two big thumbs up and George Lucas awarded himself an Oscar for lifetime achievement.

However, in a dazzling display of were-you-not-listening-at-all-you-fuckwit-ishness, a school board member said he found Professor Behe's testimony reaffirming. "Doesn't it sound like he knows what he's talking about?" said the Rev. Ed Rowand, a board member and church pastor.

The whole sorry story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/19/national/19evolution.html

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