Laelaps

Over at Darwinian Conservatism, Larry Arnhart recently wrote a post about how Michael Behe, the scientific “star” of the ID movement, seems to have fallen out of favor with the Disco Institute. Almost a year ago his book The Edge of Evolution was published, yet it seemed to have little impact within ID circles (or anywhere else). Behe’s previous book (Darwin’s Black Box) was a major hit, making it all the more shocking that Behe was absent from the recent creationist propaganda piece Expelled. If you’ve been paying attention, though, you’ll know that Behe was interviewed for the film. Don’t believe me? Watch the Expelled super-trailer again and make sure you’re paying attention when it gets to the 4:37 mark;


There’s Michael Behe. But why was he expelled from the film? I honestly have no idea. The movie gives face time to more unfamiliar figures (outside our little corner of the web where everybody knows their names) like David Berlinski, Gerald Schroeder, and Pamela Winnick, so it really is a puzzlement why Behe, previously held up as the star of intelligent design, is missing.

[Post-Script] As Tegumai points out in the comments, including Behe in Expelled would have undercut the film’s main premise, chiefly that anyone who stands up for intelligent design has their career destroyed by a shadowy collective of “Darwinists.” While the film certainly promotes intelligent design, it primarily claims that academic freedom is at risk, so featuring a biochemist at a university that has not been kicked out for his involvement with creationism runs counter to argument Expelled seeks to make. Whether this is the reason why Behe was left on the cutting room floor or not, I can’t say, but it certainly is a good possibility.

[Hat-tip to John Lynch]

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    May 2, 2008

    I guess that what they say about Hollywood is true:

    There are no more good roles written for bald-headed buffoons that have no career and a discredited idea.

    Dembski and his new little BFF Nein Stein will have to carry on the mantle of stupidity without him.

  2. #2 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    May 2, 2008

    Let’s take a wild flying leap at a guess: Behe wasn’t included because his continuing employment in a tenure-track position undercuts the message that ID proponents are being expelled from academia.

  3. #3 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    May 2, 2008

    Alternative guess: Behe is still wandering lost in downtown Seattle because he can’t find the Discovery Institute.

  4. #4 Adam Pritchard
    May 2, 2008

    Interesting…I like the suggestion that Behe was not included because of his currently holding a stable, uncontested position.

    However, my guess has to do more with Behe’s concept of Intelligent Design. Unlike most of the folks at the Discovery Institute, Behe believes that common descent is supported by the evidence. Such a position is not quite as outside the norm as Stein might wish to portray. After all, I’m sure much of Expelled’s intended audience might have serious problems with common descent.

  5. #5 Dave S.
    May 2, 2008

    Wasn’t Michael Engor shown, and doesn’t he also have a stable, uncontested position?

    I think there’s a variety of reasons Behe’s star seems to have fallen. One is that yes, he does accept some form of common descent, which sticks in the craw of a lot, perhaps most of, ID supporters. Another I think was his poor performance at Dover. Most of the others abandoned that ship rather than crash it into the rocks like Behe did.

    Behe is like Dr. Phil to the rest of ID’s Oprah. They may claim to still be on good terms, but the distance between them says otherwise.

  6. #6 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    May 2, 2008

    Wasn’t Michael Egnor shown, and doesn’t he also have a stable, uncontested position?

    Yes, but people said mean things about him on the internet.

  7. #7 RBH
    May 2, 2008

    As I commented on Arnhart’s blog, I think it’s because Behe has committed a capital theological mistake. I wrote there that

    Behe has done something that is theologically worse. He has abandoned the Fall. Consider his paragraph from The Edge of Evolution (p. 237):

    “Here’s something to ponder long and hard: Malaria was intentionally designed. The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts. C-Eve’s children died in her arms partly because an intelligent agent deliberately made malaria, or at least something very similar to it.”

    According to Behe the disease is designed, and is not a consequence of the degeneration of the biota of earth consequent on the Fall. And without the Fall, the death and resurrection of Christ become meaningless. I think that Behe’s sin for the Disco ‘Tute is not so much that he has conceded most of evolutionary theory, as you argue. Rather, his apostasy in theological: he has abandoned the only acceptable explanation (for evangelical and fundamentalist Christians) of the existence of pain and suffering.

    I’d add only a phrase to the last sentence: “… and therefore rendered Christ’s sacrifice meaningless. That’s unforgiveable”

  8. #8 oldcola
    May 2, 2008

    Hi there, seems the video’s post you pointed at is not “This video is not available in [my] country.”. (France)
    But available here, for frenchies ;-)

    Maybe other locations have the same problem.

  9. #9 sparc
    May 3, 2008

    BTW, did WE Lönnig (I’ve been told to shut up) make it in the final version?

  10. #10 prostopravda
    May 20, 2010

    I don’t see any contradictions between the concept of the Fall and Behe’s claim that malaria or any other kind of disease was designed by certain type of an intelligent agent. As far as I know in theological notions it’s not God who has done that, but certain kind of evil forces which got an ability to intervene into God’s creation after the Fall. So, I don’t think Behe was expelled for that reason.

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