Pharyngula

WTF?

The incompetence is stunning. Richard Dawkins makes the Time 100 list, and who do they commission to write up his profile?

Michael Fucking Behe.

That’s not just stupid, it’s a slap in the face. It would have been no problem to find a smart biologist, even one who might be critical of Dawkins’ message, to write something that expressed some measure of respect from the editorial staff. But to dig up a pseudoscientific fraud whose sole claim to fame is that he has led the charge to corrupt American science education for over a decade is shameful.

I’m sure there’s an editor at Time sniggering over his cleverness.

Comments

  1. #1 quork
    May 3, 2007

    The page you’ve requested has been moved or taken off the site.
    We apologize for the inconvenience.

    Did they realize their error already?

  2. #2 Teresa
    May 3, 2007

    And why did they put an age-progression caricature of Anderson Cooper next to the article? WEird.

  3. #3 quork
    May 3, 2007

    The link worked for me the second time. Maybe they did it deliberately to stir up some controversy and sell some page hits (cough Chad Orzel cough)

  4. #4 quork
    May 3, 2007

    Of Richard Dawkins’ nine books, none caused as much controversy or sold as well as last year’s The God Delusion. The central idea–popular among readers and deeply unsettling among proponents of intelligent design like myself–is that religion is a so-called virus of the mind, a simple artifact of cultural evolution, no more or less meaningful than eye color or height.

    I wonder if Behe even read the book. The “mind virus” concept is not the central idea of the book. It is a broad-based discussion of the lack of evidence for the existence of gods, with additional sections on the possible evolutionary origins of religion, and the harm that religion causes in the world.

  5. #5 Bryce
    May 3, 2007

    Wow. Could they possibly find anyone less qualified than Michael (F) Behe?

    It’s the equivalent of asking George W. Bush to write a treatise on ethics…

    And who new that the Bible advises us to be not lukewarm??

  6. #6 Anony-Moshe
    May 3, 2007

    Nothing could be as bad as Condie Rice’s write up of her Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni. Reads like the usual ‘ain’t we awesome and so good’ hyperbole one would expect from the leaders of the axis of ‘good’.

  7. #7 AlanW
    May 3, 2007

    Best WTF? moment: “I believe his new book follows much less from his data than from his premises”

    pot…kettle…black
    projection!?

  8. #8 PZ Myers
    May 3, 2007

    The Time website is awful. Try navigating around to the other entries, or finding a central list to all 100 — some genuinely incompetent designer put that mess together.

  9. #9 Steven
    May 3, 2007

    They could easily have found a someone more respectable in the scientific community who disagrees with Dawkins (if that is what they wanted). To choose Michael Behe to write his profile is odd. That said at least it wasn’t Dembski.

  10. #10 denise
    May 3, 2007

    wow, I’m horrified and angry.

  11. #11 cleek
    May 3, 2007

    it’s a respectful review, at least.

  12. #12 MartinC
    May 3, 2007

    I never knew that was Behe’s middle name.
    It could have been worse for Dawkins though, at least they didn’t ask Michael Egnor!

  13. #13 Blake Stacey
    May 3, 2007

    They got Michael Lemonick to write up Neil deGrasse Tyson. (You’ll recall that Lemonick’s blog is where Michael Egnor first showed up and the whack-a-mole game began.) I can only think that he exaggerates Tyson’s name-recognition factor and meme-market capitalization. In other words, I wish Tyson were as famous as Lemonick makes him out to be.

    (Note: the ScienceBlogs spam filter apparently thinks Tyson is a dirty word when used in a hyperlink!)

  14. #14 Curt Cameron
    May 3, 2007

    I wonder why they didn’t get Jeanne Dixon to write the profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson?

  15. #15 Steven
    May 3, 2007

    Anyways if you look at that Time 100 top 5. It shows just how stupid the list is. I don’t want Dawkins associated with it to be honest. Top 5 is 1. Rain (Who?) 2. Stephen Colbert (ok hes funny but most influential in the world?) 3. Sanjaya Malakar (a american idol loser) 4. Dane Cook (comedian, not influential). 5. Sidney Crosby (A feckin Hockey player I am told).

    Any list that has Paris Hilton on it (unless it is “biggest waste of sperm ever”) doesn’t deserve much attention.

    Seriously. People are dumb.

  16. #16 quork
    May 3, 2007

    And happy National Day of Reason to all of you, too!

  17. #17 Blake Stacey
    May 3, 2007

    PZ said:

    The Time website is awful. Try navigating around to the other entries, or finding a central list to all 100 — some genuinely incompetent designer put that mess together.

    Sweet Lady Isis, yes! Even when you do find a list, you see a Flash applet used to display it. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

  18. #18 Anony-Moshe
    May 3, 2007

    And Newt Gingrich wrote the profile for Nancy Pelosi! I don’t have the time nor the patience to wade through all these entries, so if anyone actually runs across a profile of a conservative figure written by a liberal please let me know. I’ve seen a few like Dawkins and Pelosi where they pick an ‘opposing’ person to write the acticle, but, so far, almost all the conservatives on the list have their profiles written by fellow conservatives or journalists who aren’t ‘big names’.

  19. #19 Mike Haubrich
    May 3, 2007

    Not to worry, PZ. They all ready have plans for when you are on the list. John A Davison will write the article.

    I never voted in this. I think this kind of thing is as useful as fan voting for the Baseball All-Stars. People largely vote for their hometown players and faves, and not for the players they really think represent the best in the league.

  20. #20 sdh
    May 3, 2007

    Yes the list is stupid… however it would have been interesting if Time had kept the Behe-writing-up-Dawkins theme for all of their profiles.

    Perhaps they should have had David Duke write up Oprah Winfrey. Or Dick Cheney write up Al Gore.

    Regardless, Time has not been a magazine of repute for quite some time.

  21. #21 forsen
    May 3, 2007

    I’m at a loss of words. Why didn’t they pick Ken Miller or Simon Conway Morris if they wanted a theist to write it?

  22. #22 MJ Memphis
    May 3, 2007

    Well, when I read the profile, it wasn’t as bad as I expected; Behe was actually fairly complimentary towards Dawkins. I would still question the reasoning behind choosing Behe as the writer, but at least he didn’t do a hatchet job. Did the other figures in the top 100 have a similarly adversarial choice of profile author, or is Dawkins just special?

    Bryce- the verse is from Revelations, the acid-trip book of the bible. Rev 3:14-16 “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Evidently yahweh doesn’t like fence-sitters.

  23. #23 Blake Stacey
    May 3, 2007

    PZ said:

    Dawkin’s message

    For shame!

  24. #24 Bronze Dog
    May 3, 2007

    Yeah, let’s go ahead and have a newage “Let’s redefine science so that Astrology is science, therefore so is ID!” woo talk about a scientist who opposes sloppiness.

    Sickening.

  25. #25 ERV
    May 3, 2007

    I KNEW this would happen! I fucking KNEW it! Wheres my Randi prize?

    **VOMIT**

  26. #26 Anony-Moshe
    May 3, 2007

    Never mind, I found a profile of a conservative by someone who doesn’t like that person, granted it is the profile of Osama bin Laden… And the profile is more Muslim bashing than bin Laden bashing…

  27. #27 Bryson Brown
    May 3, 2007

    Positively bizarre. Would Time have (say) Rush Limbaugh write a piece on Noam Chomsky? Behe’s comments are surprisingly restrained, though the editors may well have insisted on that: “If you want a mainstream profile, you have to pretend respect for your opponents…” It’s quite a contrast with the review of Climbing Mount Improbable that Behe wrote for the Globe and Mail in Canada, which was a very silly piece of axe-grinding. It would be nice if this were a turning point for Behe, and he really is adopting a more respectful and honest approach to the issues. But I’m not optimistic.

  28. #28 rrt
    May 3, 2007

    Ratzinger’s bit is written by the author of The Ratzinger Report (supportive).

    This may not have been a hatchet job on Dawkins, but I agree it’s a deliberate slap in the face.

  29. #29 Christian Burnham
    May 3, 2007

    From the department of low expectations:

    ‘Time’ is not a serious journal. It’s a supermarket tabloid that markets itself to the lower brow of the middle class.

    It occasionally manages to produce a good article as if by accident, but that’s the exception these days.

    Remember, this is the magazine that chose ‘you’ to be the most important person of 2006. Can they get any worse? (Yes.)

  30. #30 Stanton
    May 3, 2007

    Look on the bright side, at least they didn’t get William Dembski, or worse yet, Jonathan Wells, to write it.

  31. #31 David Marjanovi?
    May 3, 2007

    2. Stephen Colbert (ok hes funny but most influential in the world?)

    Marginal name-recognition outside the USA for his speech. “This administration isn’t sinking, this administration is soaring! If anything, they’re rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg!”

  32. #32 David Marjanovi?
    May 3, 2007

    2. Stephen Colbert (ok hes funny but most influential in the world?)

    Marginal name-recognition outside the USA for his speech. “This administration isn’t sinking, this administration is soaring! If anything, they’re rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg!”

  33. #33 386sx
    May 3, 2007

    Mr. Behe says: “I believe his new book follows much less from his data than from his premises, and yet I admire his determination. Concerning the big questions, the Bible advises us to be hot or cold but not lukewarm. Whatever the merit of his ideas, Richard Dawkins is not lukewarm.”

    That doesn’t even make sense. A couple of thought experiments: “Whatever the merit of his ideas, Joseph freaking Stalin is not lukewarm.” “Whatever the merit of his ideas, Satan the Evil One is not lukewarm, and yet I admire his determination.”

  34. #34 quork
    May 3, 2007

    I wonder why they didn’t get Jeanne Dixon to write the profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson?

    Perhaps they should have had David Duke write up Oprah Winfrey. Or Dick Cheney write up Al Gore.

    Positively bizarre. Would Time have (say) Rush Limbaugh write a piece on Noam Chomsky?

    I’ll bet there’s a Time editor refreshing this thread right now, taking notes…

  35. #35 quork
    May 3, 2007

    Vatican calls verbal attack on Pope “terrorism”

    ROME (Reuters) – The Vatican’s official newspaper accused an Italian comedian on Wednesday of “terrorism” for criticizing the Pope and warned his rhetoric could fuel a return to 1970s-style political violence.

    Happy National Day of Reason to all.

  36. #36 Steve LaBonne
    May 3, 2007

    Does anybody still read Time? Why??

  37. #38 Christian Burnham
    May 3, 2007

    This is embarrassing…

    From Nelson Mandela:

    Oprah Winfrey’s own story is an inspiration because she overcame almost every obstacle that a person might face. She is an icon to people all over the world because of her commitment to help those who have faced similar obstacles. We therefore salute a friend and a role model.

    You know- I stop worrying about someone’s struggle in this cruel and unjust world after they’ve made their first billion dollars. Is that wrong of me?

  38. #39 Hank Roberts
    May 3, 2007

    Do you suppose that was a threat by the Vatican? I don’t recall their terrorist actions against comedians during the 1970s. Didn’t the Inquisition end earlier?

  39. #40 Aris
    May 3, 2007

    I suggest posting complaints at TIME’s blog, Swampland (http://time-blog.com/swampland). It seems that the few TIME columnists who blog at Swampland actually read the comments, and often they respond. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how often they will engage their commenters.

    I posted the comment below at the “Buying “Buying the War” post. If enough people post on this subject we may be able to at least attract some attention. — or at least it’s one way to vent at the sheer stupidity of the people who control our major media.

    ___________________________

    [Posted at http://time-blog.com/swampland/2007/05/buying_buying_the_war.html%5D

    I just found out that the horrid magazine you work for just published a profile of noted scientist and rationalist Richard Dawkins by … Michael Behe.

    Behe must be the least respected biologist in the world, a principal of the Discovery Institute (the medievalist think tank that promotes creationism to the rubes), a pseudo-scientist whose ideas were totally and repeatedly debunked — not only by real biologists, but even by lawyers at the Dover trial.

    This is not only an insult to intelligent readers. It fits a pattern that explains why TIME, along with other prominent media, failed us on Iraq. I was a subscriber of TIME for more than 30 years, until 2004, when the magazine became thoroughly unreadable. TIME first started accepted unscientific BS as legitimate several years ago, and then it consciously moved towards presenting political BS with equal reverence. TIME columnists, Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol, are some of the most sociopathic of rightwing conservatism, and have been wrong on every recommendation and prediction they ever made on foreign policy. So now Behe, a man whose scientific theories are the equivalent of astrology, joins them. How inanely symmetrical! The only thing missing is a TIME issue celebrating Ann Coulter or perhaps picking Powerline as the blog of the year. But even TIME wouldn’t stoop that low, right? Right?

    As I will I keep saying, anyone who still works for this repugnant magazine cannot avoid bearing responsibility for its many trespasses.

    ___________________________

  40. #41 Zeno
    May 3, 2007

    My Time magazine subscription ran out during the nineties when I got tired of their susceptibility to right-win spin. Haven’t missed it.

  41. #42 PZ Myers
    May 3, 2007

    I’ve never subscribed, and I’ve only occasionally picked up a copy when the cover promises something interesting about science. It has never delivered, yet I keep hoping.

    I won’t be fooled ever again, though.

  42. #43 Anony-Moshe
    May 3, 2007

    You know- I stop worrying about someone’s struggle in this cruel and unjust world after they’ve made their first billion dollars. Is that wrong of me?

    Nope, it isn’t wrong of you. Once when I was channel surfing I watched Oprah try to enter a superstore (Walmart I think) through the little half height entrance they have so they can get the carts back into the store. I’m sorry but anyone who doesn’t even seem to know that Walmart has people sized doors doesn’t strike me as struggling!

  43. #44 Chris Ho-Stuart
    May 3, 2007

    Several folks have noted that Behe did not do that bad of a job. That’s debatable, but it misses the main point.

    Even if the review was beyond criticism, Behe himself is a loon. A sensible magazine does not go trolling for washed up nutcases as contributors even in such a minor capacity.

    It’s interesting to see who wrote the review for Al Gore. He must have been chosen by a different editor. They picked James Hansen. Hansen has long been an outspoken critic of the head-in-sand denial of the Bush administration, and one of the scientists who first recognized and expounded the seriousness of global warming, before congress back in the eighties.

  44. #45 Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD
    May 3, 2007

    That would be like having Steve Balmer write the profile for Steve Jobs.

  45. #46 Glen Davidson
    May 3, 2007

    The last paragraph is the worst. The “pearl of great price” refers in the Gospels to a religious prize, hence Behe is using Biblical language to smear Dawkins’ rejection of religion as if it were a religious conversion to “Darwinism”. The slightly later reference from Revelation (it is better to be hot or cold than lukewarm) indicates that this “pearl of great price” reference is not just an odd appropriation of religious symbolism with no further religious meaning.

    Then too, there is no “debate” to be “invigorated”. Neither religion nor ID has any traction in any intellectually honest debate. Intelligent theists know this, and simply claim to “have faith”, whatever that means.

    Behe’s smirk that Dawkins isn’t making the case on the “data” is his standard misdirection. ID and religion fall, by the usual intellectual standards, on their lack of any reasonable evidence, and one does not have to argue the case against them based upon “atheism” or upon “evolution” (actually, one may use evolution against ID, but the fundamental fault of ID is not that evolution works so well, but that ID doesn’t explain anything at all). He’s whining about the “lack of data” again, as he does in evolution, while ignoring the fact that what we’re arguing foremost is that explanations are needed rather than the resort to God, and in fact we have many explanation which Behe ignores in order to focus on the gaps in our knowledge.

    Behe frames Dawkins as though his skeptical approach were the one based upon “premises” or prejudices, when Dawkins’ primary argument against Behe’s apologetics is the fact that religion insists that their premises and prejudices be privileged over the (ideally) unprejudiced skeptical approach. Time managed thereby to twist the issues into the exact opposite of Dawkins’ positions and statements (as well as those of any intellectually honest and knowledgeable person), and allowed Behe to judge Dawkins according to Biblical “principles”. I don’t think I’ve seen a worse case of yellow journalism.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  46. #47 Elf Eye
    May 3, 2007

    When I was a kid, my family subscribed to Time, but we let the subscription lapse because for a long time they were supportive of the war in Vietnam. Now I’m about to let my subscription to Newsweek lapse because (a) for too long they were uncritical toward Administration claims re Iraq and (b) lately there is too much coverage of celebutants and that sort of superficial dreck. Once upon a time I could look forward to substantial articles in a series of sections dedicated to such topics as politics and education and science and medicine and the arts. Now there are cute little boxes scattered about like the one devoted to the Conventional Wisdom Watch. I don’t want snippets; I want substance. And if I wanted the sort of list Time came up with–a beauty contest whose outcome is determined by the votes of audience members–I would be watching American Idol right now.

  47. #48 dorid
    May 3, 2007

    Is anyone REALLY surprised? with all the trash in the news and print media, it seems we should all be aware by now that the popular media will only be spoon feeding us right wing Christian reactionary opinions and passing them off as TRUTH.

    I remember when the US criticized the Soviet Union for doing the same thing, and laughed at all the gullible “reds” watching the farm report and thinking that was the limit of the world.

    Who’s stupid now?

  48. #49 Mick
    May 3, 2007

    For those so inclined: the e-mail address for letters to the editor is letters@time.com.

  49. #50 daenku32
    May 3, 2007

    At least there is one thing in common with both Behe’s description of Dawkins, and the picture of Dawkins.

    Both are poorly done caricatures of the man.

  50. #51 Blake Stacey
    May 3, 2007

    Well, my vitriol is on record. What a sorry business.

  51. #52 Stuart Coleman
    May 3, 2007

    That’s unbelievable. They must be incompetent on a massive scale.

  52. #53 #~%^
    May 3, 2007

    Behe has a new book coming out, The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism. You’ll be seeing his byline in many places in the weeks and months ahead, his voice on the radio, etc. It’s capitalism.

  53. #54 Dork
    May 3, 2007

    Behe wrote an erroneous book report for the list of most influential people. Maybe “The Selfish Gene” is the influential idea of Dawkins’ M”F”B wished to attack, but he did it wrong. Time didn’t notice or care.

    Maybe next they can try an article by Roseanne Roseanna-Danna, or Dana Carvey on Bush or Osama?

  54. #55 Pygmy Loris
    May 3, 2007

    Aris said:

    The only thing missing is a TIME issue celebrating Ann Coulter or perhaps picking Powerline as the blog of the year. But even TIME wouldn’t stoop that low, right? Right?

    I hate to break it to you…..They ran a COVER STORY on Ann Coulter in 2005!

    I do subscribe to Time and Newsweek, but since they’ve increasingly veered right, I think I’m going to let both subscriptions lapse. Newsweek lets George Will have the Last Word way too much, and last week’s was the last straw.

  55. #56 Josh
    May 3, 2007

    “And who new that the Bible advises us to be not lukewarm??”

    Kind of worrying when lukewarm is about body temperature.

  56. #57 jk
    May 3, 2007

    I just read their brief profile on Stephen Colbert. I particularly liked this little comment:

    “His performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner stirred controversy, raising concerns over the biased nature of his satire.”

    Sad.

  57. #58 sdh
    May 3, 2007

    Pygmy Loris:

    The only thing missing is a TIME issue celebrating Ann Coulter or perhaps picking Powerline as the blog of the year. But even TIME wouldn’t stoop that low, right? Right?

    That statement by Aries was pure snark. TIME not only had Ann Coulter as their cover-gender-questionable, but they also did name Powerline as the blog of the year.

  58. #59 CalGeorge
    May 3, 2007

    My Time magazine subscription ran out during the nineties when I got tired of their susceptibility to right-win spin.

    They’ve been that way for decades. Forever!

    Just recently:

    Time has just hired former ABC News political director Mark Halperin. […] Halperin, while not a Republican, is the next best thing: Someone so cowed by accusations of “liberal media bias” that he will bend over backwards and fold himself into some kind of geometrically-improbable shape to give the G.O.P. the right to define the story.

    http://gawker.com/news/right-wing-shills/time-hires-republican-suck+up-mark-halperin-256341.php

    Then there was a story about Coulter that provoked Fair to report:

    Magazine’s Cover Story a Sloppy, Inaccurate Tribute to Far-Right Pundit

    Because the author (John Cloud) stated:

    “Coulter has a reputation for carelessness with facts, and if you Google the words ‘Ann Coulter lies,’ you will drown in result. But I didn’t find many outright Coulter errors.”

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2496

    Time Magazine is garbage.

  59. #60 Warren
    May 3, 2007

    Wazzup?

    I’m doing the writeup on the Pope, so what’s the beef?

  60. #61 The Constructivist
    May 3, 2007

    Please join the WAAGNFNP’s war on technorati and its WTF function, not least because Pharyngula has dropped out of the top 100 most favorited blogs on their nefarious popular page! Now that’s some real stupidity. I propose a phavoriting drive.

  61. #62 joel
    May 3, 2007

    The Bible encourages us not to be hot or cold, not lukewarm…

    Is this the new IDist justification for their never-ending fascination with their (mis)reading of Newton’s 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

    That we don’t fall into thermal equilibrium with our environment because God is encouraging us to be either hot or cold but never lukewarm?!?

    And even if he’s really just talking about having firm, as opposed to wishy-washy, opinions, this is an odd statement for Behe to make. From what I recall, he acknowledges a great many of the tenets of neo-Darwinism but manages to accomodate God by giving him a small place in the design of bacterial locomotion. That level of fine flagellum-splitting seems mighty tepid to me. If you’re going to argue for special creation, at least argue big like the young-earthers. You won’t be any more correct, but at least no one will accuse you of being lukewarm in your faith.

  62. #63 Kseniya
    May 3, 2007

    Glen D: nice assessment. You’re right on about Behe’s insidiously clever use of the “pearl” metaphor. It troubles me that most people aren’t really aware of the nature or significance of the ideological distance between Behe and Dawkins, and therefore won’t pick up on the spin that’s oh-so-obvious to most Pharyngula readers.

    Re: Time/Coulter. I know an ex-Marine who dismisses Time as a “Leftist rag” — exhibit A is the Coulter “Legs” cover photo. Hard-core Limbaugh Rightists like him considered that Time piece to be a real slap in the face.

    (Timepiece? Watchmaker? Hey!)

    Ok, I’m back.

    Blake:

    (Note: the ScienceBlogs spam filter apparently thinks Tyson is a dirty word when used in a hyperlink!)

    I don’t think it’s the Tyson. It’s gotta be “de ass in deGrasse.”

    Please note the two phony URL’s embeded in the following line. I wasn’t allowed to link to “degrasse.jpg” on the same site.

    Neil Tyson

    I’ve noticed this filtering behavior before: Inside an <a> tag, word boundaries are ignored, which is sensible if you’re targeting nasty web addresses. Sigh. AI ain’t what it cracked up to be. 🙂

  63. #64 Captain C
    May 3, 2007

    Would Time have (say) Rush Limbaugh write a piece on Noam Chomsky?

    Well, they did have Nancy Pelosi’s profile done by Newt Gingrich, who basically wrote as a concern troll and Republican shill.

  64. #65 HPLC_Sean
    May 3, 2007

    That’s just awful! How can a self-serving QUACK, stripped of any credibility in a court of law for wanting to disseminate bullshit to our children in school, be commissioned to write the profile for a respected and prolific Oxford scientist and educator? That’s just utter incompetence. It’s more proof of the demise of respectable journalism.

  65. #66 Glen Davidson
    May 3, 2007

    Just for interest’s sake, here’s what Behe originally wrote, for anyone who doesn’t visit UD much (they keep bragging about their traffic, but their opponents must be a substantial portion of their totals):

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/religion/2302/

    I didn’t think that the bit Time posted was even a little bit unbiased, but the original was rather worse. Behe does correctly note that Dawkins’ “selfish gene” idea wasn’t original with him, but wtf merits this nonsense?

    But, using his remarkable gift of scientific exposition, Dawkins painted the abstruse concept so clearly, and drew out the logic of its problematic premises so brightly, that it quickly became evolutionary orthodoxy.

    What’s problematic about the premises (and, dumbfuck Behe, it isn’t “just premises” being used, it is evidence–something you don’t know how to use or understand), and what’s this “evolutionary orthodoxy” shit?

    You see the idea that evolution is a religion or quasi-religion throughout both the Time piece and the original piece by Behe, all shoehorned in by his insidious use of language.

    He quickly moves on from the legitimate facts that Dawkins didn’t originate the idea of the “selfish gene” and Behe’s dismissal of its “problematic premises” that became “orthodoxy”, to this little smear:

    Dawkins pushed the old idea in new directions.

    It wasn’t an “old idea”, it was just a highly useful idea which wasn’t original with Dawkins. Behe really can’t write anything without trying to use modifiers to disparage Dawkins and evolutionary theory.

    And no, I don’t think that Dawkins’ meme concept of the mind was particularly helpful (which was the “new directions” into which the selfish gene idea was being “pushed”). It’s a better conception of brain operation than the IDists’ “magic mind” concept, but the “mind” is typically discussed via models and concepts which are better than meme “theory”.

    That, however, has nothing to do with the sleazy rubbishing effected by Behe of the selfish gene concept so ably publicized and developed by Dawkins within the realm of genetics and evolutionary theory.

    Those are just some of the worst examples of the fuller piece by Behe. Anyone who missed the prejudice in the edited article ought not to miss the careful biasing against Dawkins practiced in the original article.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  66. #67 matthew
    May 3, 2007

    this is crap, i wrote a letter to the editor

  67. #68 Greg Laden
    May 3, 2007

    Are you sure you did not just read this in a Dilbert cartoon? It can’t be true.

    If it is true, it is certainly a sign of Time.

  68. #69 Glen Davidson
    May 3, 2007

    Sorry about the formatting problem in post #65. It was supposed to go like this:

    “I didn’t think that the bit Time posted was even a little bit unbiased, but the original was rather worse. Behe does correctly note that Dawkins’ “selfish gene” idea wasn’t original with him, but wtf merits this nonsense?

    “But, using his remarkable gift of scientific exposition, Dawkins painted the abstruse concept so clearly, and drew out the logic of its problematic premises so brightly, that it quickly became evolutionary orthodoxy.

    “What’s problematic about the premises (and, dumbfuck Behe, it isn’t “just premises” being used, it is evidence–something you don’t know how to use or understand), and what’s this “evolutionary orthodoxy” shit?”

    Btw, it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong to write of “evolutionary orthodoxy” in all contexts, however it is highly prejudicial in an article of careful smears against Dawkins and evolutionary theory.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  69. #70 Rick
    May 3, 2007

    I find that article to be of most interest, and think that all of the articles should be written by opposing authors. Otherwise, as it is, the rest of Times 100 is fairly pointless and doesn’t make their case to why they are 100 better than anyone else.

  70. #71 Greg Laden
    May 3, 2007

    I assume every single person commenting on this post is going to take the 20 seconds to send off a letter to Time, right?

    Go to the bottom of the page with this bio on it, pick “contact” … click a few more obvious things along the way and Time will give you a “mailto” link for letter to the editor. One of the easiest I’ve seen.

    You need to do this. GO do it. What are you doing sitting there, do it already. Let us know when you’ve done it.

    Come on, let’s get going…

  71. #72 dzd
    May 3, 2007

    Man, they had better let Hitchens write the Pope’s obituary to make up for this.

  72. #73 Pygmy Loris
    May 3, 2007

    shd,

    Ooops…man I’m having a hard time with sarcasm lately….it’s all the grading. Let me just say, reading freshman/sophmore papers is pure torture….especially since they don’t listen to a word I say about how to write. One of my students came up to me after I handed back the last paper that required scholarly sources and asked why wikipedia wasn’t a scholarly source. This came after I spent an entire class period talking about appropriate sources and what makes a source scholarly and mentioning that wikipedia specifically, but also websites in general, was not an appropriate source for this paper. Makes me want to find a convenient bucket to throw up in.

  73. #74 Pygmy Loris
    May 3, 2007

    It took a couple of minutes for something to sink in….Powerline as blog of the year??!?!?!??!!??!!?!?

    (Has a stiff drink)

    Well, I don’t normally engage in end times propaganda, but I think my civilization is collapsing around me.

  74. Greetings from South Bend, Indiana where we are about to have a screening in a couple hours of “Flock of Dodos,” at Notre Dame which I will introduce by telling everyone the punchline of the day — that the star of the movie got to write the profile of Dawkins. Should get a big laugh, followed by mutters of, “he’s joking, isn’t he?”

  75. #76 Blake Stacey
    May 3, 2007

    Greg Laden:

    I fully intend to send a letter, but it’ll take me a while to turn my initial rant into something more potent and more concise. Tomorrow morning, at the latest.

  76. #77 Blake Stacey
    May 3, 2007

    Kseniya:

    That’s odd. I munged “Tyson” with some HTML trickery to get my comment through the filter, not “deGrasse”. Strange behavior.

  77. #78 frog
    May 3, 2007

    They also had Gingrich write up Pelosi’s bit. It seems to be a method to this madness – anyone that would be “controversial” to put on the list, they let their enemies write up their blurb.

    At least they seem to have forgotten young Bush on the list.

    Remember, the media believe that their are two sides to every story – that’s what they call objectivity. Balancing Newton with some flat-earther who lives in a Kansas trailer.

  78. #79 windy
    May 3, 2007

    The central idea–popular among readers and deeply unsettling among proponents of intelligent design like myself–is that religion is a so-called virus of the mind,

    Although the “intelligent design is NOT about religion” joke was buried a long time ago, it’s still funny to see Behe write this in Time.

  79. #80 Dustin
    May 3, 2007

    It took a couple of minutes for something to sink in….Powerline as blog of the year

    Yeah, well the Cokehead in Chief was Time’s person of the year twice.

    I guess I should drop out of graduate school and become a raging alcoholic. Then after half of my brain cells have popped, I can amount to something, just like our President. Who wants to be my turdblossom?

  80. #81 Willo the Wisp
    May 3, 2007

    …And the caricature is shit too.

  81. #82 Dustin
    May 3, 2007

    Judas H. Christ. Did they have Behe design their website, too? I can’t find a thing on that piece of crap.

    After hearing about the Dawkins thing, I’m surprised they didn’t grab a string theorist to write Neil deGrasse Tyson’s profile, or Bjrn Lomborg to write up a profile for Al Gore.

    (Not surprisingly, Bjrn Lomborg’s smarmy ass was on the top 100 list 3 years ago).

  82. #83 Kseniya
    May 3, 2007

    Blake: Well wouldn’t you know it. So the behavior isn’t consistent. Sigh. Odd, indeed. Was your “deGrasse” inside the quoted href part? Mine was not, but I didn’t think it would matter. A week or two ago I ran into a similar problem here. I couldn’t link to a PDF with the label “this document” because of.. well.. this: document. It wasn’t part of the href, so I assumed the behavior would be consistent anywhere between the <a> and the </a>, and the fake links I posted above seem to support that. And yet, your experience does not. Hmm. Frustrating.

    Figuring out what the filter doesn’t like can be sorta fun, though. A month or two ago I was stymied by the word filter in an MPORPG during a conversation about psychotherapy, of all things. I couldn’t send a line containing the phrase “treatment plan.” After staring at it for half a minute, I saw it: treatment. LMAO.

    I guess those hours I spent doing cryptic crossword puzzles wasn’t totally wasted after all. *g*

  83. #84 andyo
    May 3, 2007

    I got a little late for the party, so I haven’t read all the comments, but it seems that people for the most part are disgusted. At first so was I.

    But then I thought if Dawkins or PZ would accept to write a blurb about Behe, Dembski or Egnor with the condition that it should sound respectful at least. I don’t think they would.

    So this says something about Behe and his integrity. Most of the public doesn’t really know Behe, and those who do can at least realize (I hope) that he’s trying to gain respect by pretending to be respectful at “other” scientist’s ideas. When people realize that no respectful scientist respects his, I guess they can see what a weasel he is. Or maybe this is my own brand of wishful thinking.

  84. #85 Justin Moretti
    May 3, 2007

    Was this the same 100 most influential people list that included Cate Blanchett and Justin Timberlake, yet left George W Bush off?

    This list has got to be a brainfart, surely. But whether you claim it supports the right, left or centre, I agree on one thing – Time’s journalistic standards are on the move… through the S bend.

    (On the other hand, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden doing each other’s profiles… that I’d pay to read.)

  85. #86 Geoffrey
    May 3, 2007

    I have to disagree with the suggestion that Behe did a decent job. Granted, it’s not as hostile to Dawkins as I’d expected… but it’s not much of anything else, either. It’s the shortest and least substantive of all the profiles I looked at.

    Worst of all, Behe inserts himself into *every single paragraph*. Gingrich’s is good by comparison.

  86. #87 Doc Bill
    May 3, 2007

    I, too, thought that what Behe wrote for TIME was not as bad as I feared. I thought Dawkins came off OK, better than I imagined.

    However, it’s worse than you imagine. Turns out that TIME edited out about half of what Behe REALLY wrote.

    Check out the original text at EvolutionNews.org and prepare yourself for a treat. Here’s a sample of Behe at his, er, “finest:”

    “With the big questions of life and mind supposedly solved in principle, Dawkins has in the past several decades abandoned research, and turned instead to persuading society of the correctness of his views.”

    Once you read the original, you’ll appreciate what TIME printed even more!

  87. #88 andyo
    May 3, 2007

    […]
    Posted by: Doc Bill | May 3, 2007 07:11 PM
    Well, that negates what I thought. Good that they edited it, but they shouldn’t have asked him in the first place.

  88. #89 anonymous
    May 3, 2007

    People there were two time 100 most influential lists. One is in which random people voted online.

    The other is the one that Time is tradiontantily famous for.

    Some of the other profiles are just horrid and should never have been allowed to be printed. One of them 90% of it had the author praising himself and was writting in the most self promoting manner instead of being about the person the article was supposedly about. http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/time100/article/0,28804,1595326_1615737_1615521,00.html to see what I am talking about.

  89. #90 Ron Sullivan
    May 3, 2007

    “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

    Revised Standard Version: “You will not be eaten first.”

  90. #91 Dustin
    May 3, 2007

    One of them 90% of it had the author praising himself and was writting in the most self promoting manner instead of being about the person the article was supposedly about.

    Would you expect anything less from a 24-year old who still thinks that “gamer” is a demographic? When the population crisis comes, they’re the first ones going in the Soylent Green vat.

  91. #92 Troff
    May 3, 2007

    Glen D and Doc Bill…

    … (as disgusting as it sounds,) go read the COMMENTS at the UD page. They’re almost as unhappy as we are.

    Not to mention there’s some of the dumbest cherry-picking in a couple of the comments which basically manufacture points out of nothing to make Dawkins look autocontradictory.

  92. #93 frog
    May 3, 2007

    By the way, is Fucking Behe’s legal middle name?
    Or just a nickname he’s taken recently, like Hector “The Man” Camacho?

    Just curious!

  93. #94 Pete
    May 3, 2007

    The bio is respectful in tone. Deciding to use Bebe was a decision by Time to be cautious and responsible.

  94. #95 Greg Laden
    May 3, 2007

    Randy: I was sure Muffy Moose was the star of the film!

  95. #96 Nick
    May 3, 2007

    May be he was the cheapest to hire?

  96. #97 Steve_C
    May 3, 2007

    What are you smoking Pete?

  97. #98 Chinchillazilla
    May 3, 2007

    The central idea–popular among readers and deeply unsettling among proponents of intelligent design like myself–

    Because little Fucky Behe (childhood nickname) likes masturbation as much as he hates science, he has to work this in.

    The last tattered remnants of my belief in human intelligence are fraying…

  98. #99 Jongpil Yun
    May 3, 2007

    I think this just goes to show that TIME is a piece of shit.

    By the way, “gamer” could easily be construed as a demographic, in the sense that they’re a semi-homogeneous block that does things in approximately the same way, and will almost always vote similarly on certain issues (ie, censorship).

  99. #100 Keith Douglas
    May 4, 2007

    I was actually surprised at how vapid and content-free the piece seemed.

    Also, I found it interesting that it states that Behe as having a forthcoming book. Oh, boy, we can hardly wait …

  100. #101 G. Tingey
    May 4, 2007

    I sent “ime” this, under the heading:
    “Fraud, or incompetence?”

    Dear Sirs,

    Which of the above lead you to select M. Behe to review Richard Dawkins as one of the top 100 people?

    You chose a Cousteau to review Craig Venter – excellent, but to pick a known fraud like Behe, who is a discredited and empty waffler, peddling the lies of “ID” and “creation science” must be either incompetence, or fraud on your part.

    Or did you do it deliberately, in order to see if anyone would react?

    In which case it would merely be stupidity, wouldn’t it?

    Yours sincerely,

    G. N. G. Tingey.

  101. #102 Blake Stacey
    May 4, 2007

    Ron Sullivan revised this:

    “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

    to this —

    Revised Standard Version: “You will not be eaten first.”

    Excellent.

    As for Behe’s new book, the Amazon page< already has laudatory quotes for that piece of trash. Orac will not be pleased, but two of the four come from M.D.s. The fourth comes from "Dr. Philip Skell, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Pennsylvania State University, and member of the National Academy of Sciences" — a byline which made me go “WTF?” for sure. Skell has raised eyebrows before; see, e.g., this post at the Panda’s Thumb.

  102. #103 Blake Stacey
    May 4, 2007

    Well, something seriously garbled my previous comment. What I had meant to say was more like this:

    As for Behe’s new book, the Amazon page already has laudatory quotes praising what will certainly be a piece of trash. Orac will not be pleased, but two of the four come from M.D.s. The fourth comes from “Dr. Philip Skell, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Pennsylvania State University, and member of the National Academy of Sciences” — a byline which made me go “WTF?” Skell has raised eyebrows before; see the post I linked at PT or this post at the old Pharyngula.

    The other gush comes from David Snoke, a physicist (now I get to feel the burning shame). He’s the one who co-authored “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues” (2004) with Michael Behe, and he’s written books advocating Old Earth Creationism.

    Business as usual, in the grimpen mire of deception.

  103. #104 Dave
    May 7, 2007

    To be fair to Behe, looks like Time edited his article heavily and added some of the more contentious phrases.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/05/time_what_michael_behe_actuall.html

    I think getting him to write it in the first place is pretty offensive, but I also think based on this display it is Time that comes off (astonishingly) looking like more of an ass than Behe.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.