Last week, I reposted four old articles that I wrote back in 2005, when a group representing a number of Christian schools in California filed a lawsuit against the University of California claiming that UC’s rejection of several of their courses was illegal “viewpoint discrimination.” In a more recent post, I mentioned that there’s a hearing on motions for summary judgement scheduled for later this month. I also mentioned that the Christian schools claim that all they are doing is “adding a religious viewpoint” to “standard course material.” It doesn’t take a genius to see that the “viewpoint” presented in some of the textbooks used in the rejected courses is explicitly opposed to the actual science of biology. It certainly represents something very far from the “standard” course material for high school biology. (Or, for that matter, biology anywhere in the reality-based universe.) Nevertheless, the Christian schools seem to be determined to argue that they really do teach the “standard” scientific material.
And they’ve got help – an expert witness. That’s right, the Christian schools have found themselves someone who is willing to stand up and argue that a textbook that “puts the Word of God first and science second” really does teach standard science. Who, you might wonder, is the scientist brave enough to stand up to the harsh wind of reality and claim that teaching that, “man is a special creation that is completely separate from the physical universe and the animal kingdom,” is just an addition to “standard” science? Professor Michael Joseph Behe of Lehigh University, that’s who.
The Christian schools hired Dr. Behe (for $20,000) as an expert in “biology and physics.” (That second part should make Chad and Rob’s heads explode, given that Behe has absolutely no physics experience of any kind.) To earn his fee, Dr. Behe prepared a report that said, basically, that the Christian textbooks are excellent works for high school students. He also defended that view in a deposition that was taken back at the end of May.
I’ll have more – much more – to say about both the contents of Behe’s expert report and about his deposition performance in coming days. It wouldn’t surprise me, either, if a few other folks weigh in on Behe’s views. In the meantime, read the two documents (linked in the paragraph above) for yourself. Feel free to use the comment thread for this post to discuss various points that you find interesting or amusing.