Michael Behe made a guest appearance in Beaver County the other day to engage in a debate on intelligent Design vs. Real Science. He got interviewed by a local reporter, who posed questions to both Behe and his antagonist. Here I provide a few excerpts for your amusement.
First, you may be wondering where Beaver County is. The Beaver County Times Online, like most local newspaper, does not mention where it is. Do you know how much time we bloggers have to spend figuring out where these dumbass local stories come from? You have to use odd clues and make guesses. For instance, the Times Online shows us that it is 7 degrees outside right now (8 PM on Sunday), s it is not in Texas, and they seem to be affiliated with the Allegheny Times, which might be from Allegheny County. Luckily, I’m from the Allegheny region, so I’m guessing this is somewhere in southern New York or northern Pennsylvania. But it could be in East Podunk for all I know. … But I digress. Here’s Behe making an ass of himself:
The Times: Define “intelligent design.”
Behe: Intelligent design is just the idea that there are some things in nature that are better explained by deliberate intelligent design rather than simple laws and accidents.
A good example is Mount Rushmore.
OK, next time I’m looking at a cell in a microscope and I see Teddy Roosevelt staring back at me, I’ll start preying to the Invisible Man.
The Times: Explain the existence of man
Behe: Of the many, many stars and galaxies that science knows of, none seems to have intelligent life except for one planet in our solar system, Earth. The beginning of life continues to be a vexatious scientific problem. The origin of humankind and culture is also a huge scientific problem. There are reasons to think that the explanation for those events lies outside, or partially outside, of science.
So, I was wondering where M.B. has been lately. I guess he’s been scouring the universe for intelligent life.
By the way, as you probably know, Behe clearly believes in the great age of the universe and stuff. He’s not a Young Earth Creationist. So, why don’t Bible-humping fundamentalists hate him?
The Times: What scientific proof can be offered to support or refute intelligent design?
Behe: I’m a biochemist. Biochemists study the molecular basics of life. I think the strongest evidence for intelligent design lies in biochemistry.
Charles Darwin and other scientists of his day thought that the cell was a little piece of jelly; protoplasm is what they called it. But now we know, through the efforts of science, that the cell is an ultra-sophisticated nanotech-driven factory filled to the brim with complex and elegant molecular machinery. The sophistication of such foundation of life is the strongest evidence for intelligent design.
Well, gee, if they thought it was jelly, why didn’t they call it jelly? Oh, and the cell is not nanotechnology. It is organic life. Nanotechnology is something different. Cells don’t have brims.
The Times: What are the most important challenges to the theory of evolution?
Behe: The most important challenge to the Darwin theory of evolution is the complexity of life. In Darwin’s day, scientists thought that all foundations of life would be simple.
Funny. I can’t think if a single place where scientists in Darwin’s day, or ever, proclaimed: “Well, we don’t understand it yet, but it’s going to be real simple, by jove.”
The Times: At what age or grade level should students be introduced to these topics?
Behe: I think whenever they start to learn about biology topics, they can learn about how plants and animals arose. So, if it’s in the sixth grade that students learn biology, they could also learn that there are different ideas on how life arose and changed on the Earth.
Behe has been known to say that he does not care what effect creationist politics has in the public school classroom, because his kids don’t go to public schools.
The Times: How would you respond to the following quote?
Intelligent design is “essentially a religious proposition. I understand it to be a reformulation of an old theological argument for the existence of God.” — John F. Haught, a Georgetown University theology professor testifying in 2005 at a trial over whether the theory of intelligent design belongs in a public school science curriculum as an alternative to evolution.
… you know, I don’t really care much about what Behe thinks of this. … Oh, you want to know? OK, but keep in mind that this is the guy who, for a long time, insisted that the “Intelligent Designer” was not necessarily god (wink wink). So he says:
There’s no reason why intelligent design should not have such implications. If science can bring evidence that seems to point against there being a God, then science can bring forth evidence that there is a God.