Pharyngula

Mike Behe, friend to evolution

Mike Dunford has a series of articles on a recent California court decision — in brief, Christian homeschoolers tried to sue California universities to force them to accept courses taught with Christianist literalist creationist textbooks as legitimate, college-level science credit, and they lost. They lost hard.

But the really funny part is that the creationists brought in Mike Behe as a friendly witness. Behe was asked to review the creationist textbooks that they used, bad books that anyone can see are misleading, unrepresentative, and ridiculous, and he approved them. The man has no standards and no credibility, and it’s appalling that he is such a man-whore for creationism that he’d approve even young earth creationist, fundamentalist books as reasonable texts for a science class.

But that’s not what the judge in this case ruled on; rather, Behe’s defense of these books was that it was “abusive” to ask students to subscribe to an idea like evolution with which they disagree. Setting aside the obvious point that the whole point of education is to introduce students to a multitude of ideas with which they may or may not agree, the judge pointed out that the books which Behe approved flatly state that Christians must accept creationist conclusions—unlike our biology books, which don’t demand any religious litmus test of their readers—and were therefore perfect examples of exactly the problem he was complaining about.

So, once again — Behe goes down in flames in a court of law, dragging the whole case to perdition with him. He’s like the fire ship of the creationist fleet, always being launched into a headwind. But, to be fair, you can’t just pick on Behe: the problem is that the entire creationist position is so bad, and so stupid, that whoever gets appointed to be the front man for it is going to look like an idiot. Poor sap.

Comments

  1. #1 globalizati
    April 2, 2008

    Fascinating how he actually defends evolution (up to a certain point) in his books, and at times tries to distinguish himself from YEC, and then goes back to supporting YEC textbooks too. Is he just an opportunist?

  2. #2 Barklikeadog
    April 2, 2008

    Who is the one being abusive to children? Forcing a fairy tale as real or offering real evidence based science? I’m seeing a tactic that is wholehartedly full of holes & the Tards don’t even recognize it. Behe is a pernicious twit.

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    April 2, 2008

    He’s amusing because he’s apparently an unwitting IDiot. I think he must be sincere, or he’d probably be more clever.

    Replacing universalist books which strive to present science in an unprejudicial manner, with books that are only interested in insisting that a sectarian viewpoint is correct, by actually bringing up the sanctity of conscience, is the nadir of ignorant tripe. But he blithely does this, all the while thinking he’s an incredible asset to his religious movement.

    If the threat of ID and creationism were a matter of their leadership, instead of the entrenched religiosity in this country, we could have started ignoring them years ago.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  4. #4 Donnie B.
    April 2, 2008

    *** “He’s like the fire ship of the creationist fleet, always being launched into a headwind.” ***

    Great simile! You might have added “and upstream”.

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2008

    As much self-ass kicking that goes on in Behe’s life, I sure hope he has some good ice packs.

  6. #6 allkom
    April 2, 2008

    One shoot on the foot after the other . All this creationist types are doing looks like an Elmer X Bugs Bunny cartoon . I wonder who works for them in PR and Marketing . We should nominate them honorary members of NCSE . Starting with the so aptly named film (no intelligence allowed) and all the fracas that succeed it . Good work !!

  7. #7 Carlie
    April 2, 2008

    the judge pointed out that the books which Behe approved flatly state that Christians must accept creationist conclusions–unlike our biology books, which don’t demand any religious litmus test of their readers–and were therefore perfect examples of exactly the problem he was complaining about.

    Is that an example of the judge using perfect, what’s the word, framing?

  8. #8 allonym
    April 2, 2008

    Funny. When Behe’s not being an IDiot, he’s still an idiot!

  9. #9 Lilly de Lure
    April 2, 2008

    He’s like the fire ship of the creationist fleet, always being launched into a headwind.

    We are sure that he’s not some sort of pro-science double agent aren’t we? It’s just that I can’t help but notice that the quickest way to ensure we win court cases is to get Behe on the stand.

  10. #10 Ryan F Stello
    April 2, 2008

    The whole agenda is intensely confused.

    Homeschoolers and private bible collegers want to teach their attendents in their own way? OK, but then why is it important that they try to make public institutions teach their own way? Especially if they already hold to the whole “Big Science” pablum.

    They’re losing the PR campaign to get support through rational discource, so the obvious action to take is force.

  11. #11 Moses
    April 2, 2008

    I read that yesterday. It read like an all-fools-day joke. Which just goes to prove, when it comes to creationists, you can’t really separate the parody from the stupidity.

  12. #12 raven
    April 2, 2008

    IIRC, Behe got paid $20,000 bucks to review those texts which were erroneous even on the noncreo parts. This explains a whole lot.

    He is also wrong. Textbooks, universities, and secondary schools can’t make people believe anything. Nor should they. Students are required to know the material, what scientists have found out about the world. If they want to believe the sky is green and Noah had a Big Boat full of dinosaurs, it is a free country.

  13. #13 Blake Stacey
    April 2, 2008

    Lilly de Lure (#9):

    We are sure that he’s not some sort of pro-science double agent aren’t we?

    Given the idiotic things he said about HIV in The Edge of Evolution, and his asinine behavior when called on them, I’d have to say that if he’s a double agent, he’s under deep cover.

  14. #14 Bill
    April 2, 2008

    Raven – No, no, no. There wasn’t room on the big boat for the dinosaurs. That’s why they are extinct now. But before the flood the T-Rex ate coconuts and children rode on triceritops. http://www.flickr.com/photos/drjonboyg/526893292/

  15. #15 Jason Failes
    April 2, 2008

    You’re right, globalizati, Behe does accept common ancestry (including our own common ancestry with the great apes), mutation (with strange caveats), natural selection, and most of the evidence from DNA analysis, radiometric dating, and fossil homology.

    Why, then, does he not go “Miller” and simply believe in a God who is smart enough to make a universe that makes itself, rather than insisting that nature must have some fault in it only a micro-managing tinkerer God can fix?

    I do not know, and get the impression that I may be thinking too rationally when looking for his motivation (the money? not wanting to alienate the personal and “professional” communities he is a part of? Not wanting his scientific career to be for naught? an attention hog with a martyr fetish?).

    Leaving the floor open, does anyone else feel that they can “get into Behe’s head” and explain why he’s so insistent on defending a position that’s so untenable while, at the same time, having at least the bare minimum of intellectual honesty to admit that position’s absurdities, at least twice now in court? (run-on, sorry)

  16. #16 JohnW
    April 2, 2008

    Jason (#15):
    “Leaving the floor open, does anyone else feel that they can “get into Behe’s head” and explain why he’s so insistent on defending a position that’s so untenable while, at the same time, having at least the bare minimum of intellectual honesty to admit that position’s absurdities, at least twice now in court?”

    Raven, #12:
    “IIRC, Behe got paid $20,000 bucks to review those texts which were erroneous even on the noncreo parts. This explains a whole lot.”

    I have no reason to think he’s not sincere in his religious beliefs and I’m not saying he’s just doing it for the money. Still, $20,000 for a few days’ work… that’s a pretty fair percentage of what a mid-level academic at a mid-level university must be making. And the people who think he’s making a fool of himself already think he’s a fool, so why not?

    Everyone has their price. Behe’s is $20,000.

  17. #17 Schmeer
    April 2, 2008

    More Behe, please!

    Since Monty Python isn’t putting out anything new in the vein of “Upper Class Twit”, Behe more than satisfies my craving. Is there any way we can get him to make more appearances? Maybe he can take an intense interest in UFO’s or getting astrology into the curriculum of a local school.

  18. #18 Roger
    April 2, 2008

    Its all an evolutionist ploy to make him look bad!! hahahah

  19. #19 Jonathon
    April 2, 2008

    “Behe’s defense of these books was that it was ‘abusive’ to ask students to subscribe to an idea like evolution with which they disagree.”

    This is what makes me simply want to scream when dealing with creationists.

    It is not “abusive” to teach students the scientifically-established truth about the way in which life has evolved on this planet. Students don’t necessarily have to believe in evolution or even “subscribe” to it. But they do need to be taught about evolution and have an understanding of the the underpinning and importance of this well-established scientific theory.

    What is “abusive”, however, is teaching students an outright falsehood. Intentional miseducation and misinformation is indeed child abuse.

    Creationists have absolutely no evidence for their theory of the origins and development of life. All that they can point to is a collection of folk-tales and legends from a tribe of Bronze Age people who lived in the Middle East. Those who seek to slap a coat of paint on creationism and call it “intelligent design” can only say “well, it looks like it was designed” and cannot establish the identity or the existence of the creator/designer.

    These people confuse religion with science. Religion relies on belief; science relies upon proof. One doesn’t have the luxury of choosing to believe when it comes to science. Once science has made a determination based upon evidence and proof, one’s choice of believing or disbelieving is eliminated. The fact stands on its own evidence.

  20. #20 DanioPhD
    April 2, 2008

    Bill @ comment 14:

    WRONG , Sinner.

  21. #21 MartinM
    April 2, 2008

    I should point out that the case isn’t over; what the creationists lost on was a motion for summary judgement. The trial is still to come. Should be fun.

  22. #22 386sx
    April 2, 2008

    Why, then, does he not go “Miller” and simply believe in a God who is smart enough to make a universe that makes itself, rather than insisting that nature must have some fault in it only a micro-managing tinkerer God can fix?

    Probably because it doesn’t make any sense. Obviously God needed something to do or God wouldn’t have made a universe in the first place. And if God makes a universe that it has to tinker with, then that equals more stuff for God to do. Busy God = happy God.

  23. #23 Schmeer
    April 2, 2008

    Busy God = happy God.

    That’s right. And what’s that saying about idle hands…

  24. #24 Matt Penfold
    April 2, 2008

    “More Behe, please!

    Since Monty Python isn’t putting out anything new in the vein of “Upper Class Twit”, Behe more than satisfies my craving. Is there any way we can get him to make more appearances? Maybe he can take an intense interest in UFO’s or getting astrology into the curriculum of a local school.”

    Can we get him to do a silly walk as well ? And do we get to slap him around the face with a dead halibut ?

  25. #25 Cogito
    April 2, 2008

    Shouldn’t it be obvious from the guy who recently got a PhD in geology, despite being a YEC, that one can learn the science without “subscribing” to it?

    I for one would be fine with my kids learning about what Christianity teaches in a history class, without necessarily feeling they must subscribe to it. My position is “Here is what Christians think, but I reject Christianity.

    Perhaps it is too baldly stated for comfort for creationists to say, “Here is what science says, but I reject science.”

  26. #26 Schmeer
    April 2, 2008

    Matt Penfold,
    How about a Python reenactment of a DI “meeting of the minds”?
    Michael Palin as Behe. Eric Idle as Dembski. Does Berlinski look anything like John Cleese?

    “In my day our science teacher would march us around, goose-step fashion, wearing Nazi belt buckles saying “Darwin Mit Uns”. And then he would cut us in two and make us beat a puppy.”

    “You were lucky!…”

  27. #27 Bluzey
    April 2, 2008

    You know, if it gets to the point where we actually have to accept creationist bullshit books as “science” in our classrooms, maybe we should just ban books altogether. I mean, which is worse, ignorance through illiteracy or ignorance through extremely fucked-up people who think an imaginary sky fairy will help them win the lottery (and want to teach this to others)?

  28. #28 negentropyeater
    April 2, 2008

    Are Ben(Stein) & Behe competing for the title of biggest bullshiter of the year ? Wonder who will win.

  29. #29 amphiox
    April 2, 2008

    The whole creation science (evolving into ID) movement is tantamount to an ideological surrender by the creos. By the very act of trying to get their theological fantasies expressed in some crude facsimile of scientific-like language, and trying to get it taught in school science classes, published in fake papers and accepted by colleges, they are conceding that the only worldview credible with the majority of people is the scientific one. If this wasn’t the case they wouldn’t be wasting their time and effort on all these lawsuits, debates, books and movies. They’d just denounce the lot of us as heretics and burn us all at the stake.

    Deep down they know their worldview has already lost the war, and they’re scared. That’s why they’re so loud and obnoxious.

    As for Behe, I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for him. Didn’t he used to produce real, honest to goodness, decent quality science? Or am I being too kind?

  30. #30 Matt Penfold
    April 2, 2008

    “Perhaps it is too baldly stated for comfort for creationists to say, “Here is what science says, but I reject science.””

    One or two get close to that. Kurt Wise comes to mind. He clearly knows what real science says but has chosen to reject science in favour of scripture. Richard Dawkins has called him the only honest creationist as a result.

  31. #31 Alex
    April 2, 2008

    Well said amphiox.

  32. #32 Behe
    April 2, 2008

    LEEEEEROOOOY JENKINS!

  33. #33 RAM
    April 2, 2008

    Agree, well said amphiox.

  34. #34 J
    April 2, 2008

    #23

    Busy God = happy God.

    That’s right. And what’s that saying about idle hands…

    “Look, do you want a happy God or a vengeful God?!”
    “Happy God!”

  35. #35 DanioPhD
    April 2, 2008

    Shouldn’t it be obvious from the guy who recently got a PhD in geology, despite being a YEC, that one can learn the science without “subscribing” to it?

    Indeed, there is a grad student not 10 feet away from me at the moment who will earn his PhD within the year, who is an evolution ‘doubter’. He was a complete disbeliever until recent construction on campus unearthed a bivalve fossil from the Oligocene. He recently opined that the only thing preventing him from wholesale acceptance of the Genesis account of creation is the absence (so far!) of a transitional form between birds and fish, as the biblical account states that birds were created first.

    For his thesis project, he has chosen to study a very specific developmental genetics question without any overt evo-devo implications. He assiduously avoids referring to any orthologous genes outside his model organism in ways that might acknowledge evolution. He will soon complete the requirements, enter the world with bona fides from an accredited state university whose biology department was recently ranked in the top 20 worldwide (cheapening my own degree in the process), and continue to conduct the bad, constrained, science that his belief system will allow.

  36. #36 Chuck
    April 2, 2008

    Unrelated to the post, but I thought it was worth bringing to people’s attention:

    The UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution that, among other things, “urges states to prohibit the dissemination … of … xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement to racial and religious … hostility” (there goes calling Scientology a cult, for example, to say nothing of criticizing “mainstream” religion) and “emphasizes that respect of religions and their protection from contempt is an essential element conducive for the exercise by all of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

    You can read the whole thing here (in .doc format):

    http://tinyurl.com/2zktwq

  37. #37 Bureaucratus Minimis
    April 2, 2008

    Good catch MartinM @ 21.

    Also, this case is in the US District Court for the Central District of California, so the court’s rulings only affect UC campuses in the counties of LA (UCLA!), Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

    Complete ruling here.

    Still ploughing through the ruling (IANAL!), but note that the plantiffs (Association of Christian Schools International) were denied summary judgement, and the defendants (Roman Stearns of UC) were granted partial summary judgement.

  38. #38 James Goetz
    April 2, 2008

    We need to maintain science standards, but we can also make a small compromise for students who claim that they are unable to believe in the basics of evolutionary theory. We ask only that all students recite the basics of evolutionary theory regardless if they accept the theory. And we can point to philosophy classes as a great place to debate atheism versus theism.

  39. #39 Reality Czech
    April 2, 2008

    if it gets to the point where we actually have to accept creationist bullshit books as “science” in our classrooms, maybe we should just ban books altogether.

    Ink n. A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and water, chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime….

    (somebody had to)

  40. #40 DanioPhD
    April 2, 2008

    Whoops, I got the bird—>fish thing backwards:

    20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

    So I gather he’s expecting to find a proto-avian Tiktaalikesque beastie of some sort.

  41. #41 James F
    April 2, 2008

    #29 amphiox wrote:

    As for Behe, I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for him. Didn’t he used to produce real, honest to goodness, decent quality science? Or am I being too kind?

    He still does, but he’s being suppressed by the Global Darwinist Conspiracy?! MU HU HA HA HA!

    But seriously….

    Before publishing Darwin’s Black Box, he did do some actual scientific research on the effects of DNA sequence upon DNA structure and interactions with histones (very roughly, aspects of how DNA is wound up into our chromosomes). His work was solid but far from stellar – his highest-profile pub was a PNAS paper in ’84.

  42. #42 PeteC
    April 2, 2008

    #15:
    Behe’s already written books and gone on record with his position. His actions now are just what you’d expect from a status-conscious social primate. If he were to change his mind, admit he was wrong, and give up being a cdesign proponentsists, that would be a huge blow to his status among his tribe, and he knows he’d never be accepted in any other tribe. So the parts of his brain that keep him motivated to live (status being essential in social primates) disengage the other parts of his brain, the ones that should be telling him “You know ID is bollocks!”. His brain is doing a very good job of this, so he never hears that voice. It’s called self-deception, it pre-empts what would otherwise be terrible cognitive dissonance, and we all do it to some extent. Behe is just a very remarkable example of it: his mask of rationality is stretched so thin that we can see the gears underneath.

  43. #43 gingerbeard
    April 2, 2008

    sometimes as I read these ongoing tribulations, I don’t know if I should pity or envy the US. I find these debates exciting and challenging as they force me to use my scientific training, but at the same time fill me with dread. That these arguments and challenges are even happening; can only be examples of piss poor education that leads to these debates and challenges in the first place.
    I’m thankful I don’t yet face these debates very often here in Canada, but as the father of 2 children who will be heading off to school in a few years, it scares me that I now have to be vigilant in watching out for it, because wanted or not it is spreading to my country too.

    At least I will be forearmed and forewarned thanks to your experiences.

  44. #44 John Bode
    April 2, 2008

    He’s like the fire ship of the creationist fleet, always being launched into a headwind.

    That deserves to be framed somewhere.

  45. #45 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Whoops, I got the bird—>fish thing backwards:

    I rather liked it.

    now just keep going…

    mammals—>fish

    all—->fish

    muhahahahahah!

  46. #46 Sastra
    April 2, 2008

    Jason Failes #15 wrote:

    Leaving the floor open, does anyone else feel that they can “get into Behe’s head” and explain why he’s so insistent on defending a position that’s so untenable while, at the same time, having at least the bare minimum of intellectual honesty to admit that position’s absurdities, at least twice now in court?

    There is a theory on religion which links religious belief to hypnosis and psychopathology, in that all 3 are examples of the human brain’s capacity to process information along multiple pathways. This can lead to a person accepting contradictory beliefs without any self-corrective cognitive dissonance. A simple example is the anorexic, who both knows rationally that they are dangerously underweight AND “knows” on a more compelling level that they are fat, and must lose weight. The distortion of reality often wins out.

    I’m not saying that’s what is happening with Behe here, but the ability of otherwise ordinary people to compartmentalize beliefs and believe in contradictions has been especially studied in more extreme cases (like what’s going on in the brain during hypnosis, under certain drugs, or with those forms of brain damage where the patient denies they’re paralyzed.) There may be some application to much more common, ‘benign’ cases — like normal and semi-pathological religious belief. The rationalization process may be going on at a deep, more automatic level in the brain.

    Not an expert on this at all, but at least it’s an explanation which literally tries to “get into Behe’s head.”

  47. #47 Leon
    April 2, 2008

    I almost feel sorry for Behe, unlike Dembski and the rest, in that he is a real biologist who did good work before he joined the bonkers ID camp. His public association with that particular circus has (probably permanently) tarnished whatever reputation he might have had, and his repeated appearances have just dug him deeper in the hole.

  48. #48 Rey Fox
    April 2, 2008

    “Not an expert on this at all, but at least it’s an explanation which literally tries to “get into Behe’s head.””

    Unless you had a very sharp knife, you could not literally get into Behe’s head.

  49. #49 Greg Esres
    April 2, 2008

    amphiox wrote:

    they are conceding that the only worldview credible with the majority of people is the scientific one.

    Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. Their only concern is to get by the courts; most of the people would be fine with a pure creationist story.

  50. #50 Jonathon
    April 2, 2008

    In re: DanioPhD @ #35, I’d like to say that the story of the student struggling with his beliefs and evolution makes me very sad. Sad for him as an individual who has been taught to place his religious “truth” over the real truth. Also sad for the institution from which he will graduate, since his degree will lend him credibility that he doesn’t merit. The very fact that he has chosen to use a “very specific developmental genetics question without any overt evo-devo implications” as his doctoral thesis should be a clue to him that something is wrong with his belief system!

    Scientists (and rational people) base their assertions on evidence. If the evidence changes, so does what we believe.

    With creationists however, this is not the case. Their belief remains the same regardless of the evidence. They always have an “out” like “Satan put those fossils there to confuse us.” There is no reasoning with someone with such a position. You simply cannot argue with someone like that.

  51. #51 Onkel Bob
    April 2, 2008

    [A]ccept courses taught with Christianist literalist creationist textbooks as legitimate, college-level science credit…

    A correction is appropriate here. The lawsuit was over accepting these home-schooled pupils into the UC system. The problem these applicants ran into was that their course content didn’t meet entrance requirements for the UC system. That means they are denied credit at the High School level, not at the college level. The admissions departments argued that these students were unprepared for freshman level science if their home-school curriculum was based on these books. While, the UC system has slipped over the years, it hasn’t slipped that much!

  52. #52 MikeM
    April 2, 2008

    Is there a link here between this case and California’s recent ruling (being appealed) regarding home-schooling?

    I think there could be.

    All that ruling did was interpret a 50+ year old law that requires those who are home-schooling to be qualified to teach. In the California case, and I hate to stereotype, we had a mother of 8 who had dropped out of high school, who was following the curriculum of a local Christian school, and I’d bet that local Christian school would heavily utilize Bob Jones (or similar) textbooks. Is a high school dropout qualified to teach? Will her primary goal be to teach, or indoctrinate? How many thousands of times does this same situation play out in, say, San Diego County alone?

    The best part was Behe shooting at the other team’s basket and nailing a 3. Good job, Michael.

  53. #53 Bureaucratus Minimis
    April 2, 2008

    [Creationists'] belief remains the same regardless of the evidence. They always have an “out” like “Satan put those fossils there to confuse us.” There is no reasoning with someone with such a position. You simply cannot argue with someone like that.

    And therein lies the rub. A very small number of these people may someday listen to reason, but I suspect most of these will be young people raised in that intellectual vacuum. The most we can do is highlight the unreasonableness and intransigence of those people, and try to appeal to the winnable middle.

  54. #54 SteveM
    April 2, 2008

    Unless you had a very sharp knife, you could not literally get into Behe’s head.

    “literally” is misused so often that it has acquired the common meaning of “figuratively”.

    – in a literal sense; “literally translated”; “he said so literally”
    – (intensifier before a figurative expression) without exaggeration; “our eyes were literally pinned to TV during the Gulf War”
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

  55. #55 DanioPhD
    April 2, 2008

    Jonathon@#50: I agree, it is really sad for all involved. In spite of his being a rather sanctimonious ass at times, it genuinely pains me to realize how much cool stuff he literally cannot appreciate, let alone apply to his research, due to his chosen beliefs.

    Ichthyic @#45: Trust you to find an upside to this :)

  56. #56 James F
    April 2, 2008

    Little known fact: Behe was once a goalkeeper.

  57. #57 Carlie
    April 2, 2008

    We’re overlooking the most obvious explanation for Behe’s behavior in this:
    PZ snuck into the trial disguised as Behe, and no one noticed until it was too late.

  58. #58 Phoenix Woman
    April 2, 2008

    See, the creationists were counting on their buddies in the Federalist Society and at the legal Christian Right diploma-mill known as Regent University to get the courts systems stuffed with clowns like John Yoo and Monica Goodling. But they weren’t able to stuff fast enough.

  59. #59 raven
    April 2, 2008

    A very small number of these people may someday listen to reason, but I suspect most of these will be young people raised in that intellectual vacuum.

    I will quibble on my soap box with that. After much thought (about an hour), it seems more like about half of their kids will eventually realize they’ve been fed a bunch of nonsense lies and wake up.

    Or maybe it is a quarter. And it won’t be random. The best and brightest who value truth will be the ones.

    The rest will just flounder around in the 21st century, lost, working low paying unskilled jobs, and getting increasingly angry, belligerent, and drunk.

    Repeat as needed.

    A lot of people on science and atheist boards were fundies at one time.

  60. #60 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    PZ snuck into the trial disguised as Behe, and no one noticed until it was too late.

    PZ is really Darkman?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkman

    that would explain a lot.

    :p

  61. #61 Shar
    April 2, 2008

    Come on now, SteveM, you know language never changes and that words can’t contain multiple, even possibly contradictory, meanings. I mean, that’s against the principles of prescriptivism! (shock and horror)

    Can’t say I like a lot of them, as they come from ignorance, but that doesn’t make language change any less real (and, well, I do use “like” as a filler and intensifier in casual speech on occasion, so who am I to talk?). As long as we don’t start publishing academic papers in chat speak, I think I’ll be able to manage.

    On topic, I somewhat feel bad for these people. They don’t even know what science is, let alone how to use it to understand the world to our betterment. Talk about missing the point.

  62. #62 Siamang
    April 2, 2008

    I think it’s telling that although Behe subscribes to common descent, deep time and the facts of the fossil record, he has no problem whatsoever with this YEC text as a scientific text.

    Does he actually hold to any scientific principle at all? Or is he up for backing whatever proposition you’re peddling so long as it mentions Jesus?

  63. #63 Captain Kyl
    April 2, 2008

    Two comments:

    $20k for a couple days worth of work? I think it’s painfully simple to see where Behe’s motives are.

    …and…

    “…”abusive” to ask students to subscribe to an idea like evolution with which they disagree.” Indeed. In that case, I had some very abusive math teachers! Of course, in the long run, my “disagree”-ment with calculus has little bearing on it’s factualness…

  64. #64 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Does he actually hold to any scientific principle at all? Or is he up for backing whatever proposition you’re peddling so long as it mentions Jesus?

    they have a VERY large tent at this point.

    http://www.harunyahya.com/

    those guys were invited to testify on creationism’s behalf in Kansas.

  65. #65 DavidONE
    April 2, 2008

    “He’s like the fire ship of the creationist fleet, always being launched into a headwind.”

    [chuckling]

    Oh, that’s a wonderful turn of phrase / analogy and going in to the war chest.

  66. #66 Carlie
    April 2, 2008

    I’d really like to know, given that their religion supposedly teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil, why they feel it necessary to pay Behe 20k for a couple of days’ work. Aren’t there a lot more charitable uses for that kind of scratch?

  67. #67 Crudely Wrott
    April 2, 2008

    I was following this story on Dispatches from the Culture Wars yesterday and recognized a familiar cachet in Behe’s testimony in this case. One that I recognized from the transcripts from the Dover trial. Also, there is something about “earning” twenty thousand dollars. So I made a little rhyme. Hope you like it.

    Clap, clap, claptrap. Hip-hip, and hidey ho!
    There goes Michael Behe, boys! Man just look at him go!
    Playing both ends against his own middle,
    With any old claim he’ll fiddle and diddle.
    Truths of all sorts turn to puddles of piddle;
    Whether they’re yours or even worse, mine!
    To him they’re the same when the check clears on time.

    Clap, clap, claptrap. Hip-hip, and hidey ho!
    There goes Michael Behe boys! Man just look at him go!
    If you didn’t know better you’d likely conclude
    He tackles all notions however construed.
    How seldom we’re blessed with a master so shrewd;
    He must be a wonderful, wonderful dude!
    So tell me, how come all my rhymes come out rude?

    Like those who watch the Lone Ranger ride away I find myself wondering, “Who was that masked man?”

    The “clap, clap” part alludes to the round of polite applause that some may feel obliged to offer in appreciation of his testimonies.

  68. #68 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    those guys were invited to testify on creationism’s behalf in Kansas.

    :-o

  69. #69 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    those guys were invited to testify on creationism’s behalf in Kansas.

    :-o

  70. #70 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    :-o

    yup.

    I kid you not. They invited a representative from Harun Yahya to testify at the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt. Funny, it hardly even drew a note from the media at the time, but it was mentioned here, and on PT, and just about every other blog that was following that travesty at the time.

    It wasn’t the last time they relied on contributions from them, either.

  71. #71 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    btw, this is the guy primarily responsible:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harun_Yahya

    the Islamic equivalent of Howard Ahmanson.

  72. #72 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    … or maybe Ken Ham?

  73. #73 mothra
    April 2, 2008

    Excerpt from the introduction of a Bob Jones University approved Biology book posted at PZ’s link:

    “Biology for Christian Schools is a textbook for Bible-believing high-school students. Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling. This book was not written for them.”

    Makes the disclaimer some states require in Biology texts seem mild by comparison. I wonder if gravity ceases to exist as one steps into a Bob Jones’ physics classroom.

  74. #74 Kieran
    April 2, 2008

    “He’s like the fire ship of the creationist fleet, always being launched into a headwind.”

    Amazing.

  75. #75 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    I wonder if gravity ceases to exist as one steps into a Bob Jones’ physics classroom.

    oh, most assuredly. Moreover, the first thing that happens is their brains float out of their heads.

  76. #76 DM
    April 2, 2008

    “man-whore”

    PZ,
    I think you should be able to describe creationists, IDers, and their views without using such language. You just open yourself up to attack and give them ammunition when you do this. I thought this was a professional science blog about evolution. Was I wrong?

  77. #77 Quidam
    April 2, 2008

    Come on, it’s obvious PZ IS Behe with Harry Potter glasses and a silly grin.

    http://img292.imageshack.us/img292/4420/pzisbehefa9.gif

    No real person could be as inept unless they were trying

  78. #78 rimpal
    April 2, 2008

    More Behe, please!

    Since Monty Python isn’t putting out anything new in the vein of “Upper Class Twit”, Behe more than satisfies my craving. Try David Berlinski, he makes Behe look intellectual!

  79. #79 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    I thought this was a professional science blog about evolution. Was I wrong?

    the blog subtitle:

    Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal

    yup. This is one of those “random ejaculation” threads.

    now go away, tiny concern troll, and come back on a thread where PZ is actually talking about something wrt to evolution or development.

    THEN see if your misplaced criticism still applies.

  80. #80 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    I always wondered about those random biological ejaculations. Sounds… messy…

    I vote we send Behe a gift basket, or at the very least a thank-you note.

  81. #81 gingerbeard
    April 2, 2008

    In my smug confidence about not having this close to home I wrote:

    “I’m thankful I don’t yet face these debates very often here in Canada, but as the father of 2 children who will be heading off to school in a few years, it scares me that I now have to be vigilant in watching out for it, because wanted or not it is spreading to my country too”

    And then sandwalk points out that at my former university and in the town I currently live we have three and likely four creationists teaching, several of whom are members of http://www.iscid.org/fellows.php with Behe, Dembski, GG, and other members of the discovery institute.

    so I’m eating crow and not happy about it.

  82. #82 Stanton
    April 2, 2008

    “man-whore”

    PZ,
    I think you should be able to describe creationists, IDers, and their views without using such language. You just open yourself up to attack and give them ammunition when you do this. I thought this was a professional science blog about evolution. Was I wrong?

    Among other things, I’d prefer that Professor Myers use the term “man-pony,” rather than “man-whore,” to describe a pandering ex-scientist as unctuous as Michael Behe, given as how Mr Behe gleefully rents himself to the highest bidding twit without the least care to what pandering to rabid anti-intellectuals does to his academic reputation among other scientists.

  83. #83 Shelama
    April 2, 2008

    We should all praise god, or at the least be very grateful, that Behe is among the foremost favorite “authorities” of the creationists: he is the gift that keeps on giving. Can anyone, really, imagine having anyone better, from the view point of defending legitimate science education, than Behe (and Dembski) leading their “expert witness” charge? With a combined batting average of 0.000? And that’s as good as it gets or ever will.

    I mean, I personally find them and their assertions and pronouncements to be, at best, embarrassing. But you have to admit that it’s a huge blessing for science, and for courtroom prospects, to have them as the very best that creationism can produce. Like lambs to the slaughter, albeit not silently.

  84. #84 Autumn
    April 3, 2008

    I vote we send Behe a random biological ejaculation.

  85. #85 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    Behe’s presence significantly reduces probability of random biological ejaculations

    y’know, in case he misinterprets them.

  86. #86 rpenner
    April 3, 2008

    PZ Myers, armed with the Theory That Didn’t Die, does battle with the forces of the Designer Who Must Not Be Named.

  87. #87 rpenner
    April 3, 2008

    Sorry. “Theory That Lived.”

    Man, parody is hard, I had better switch to creationism in my old age. :)

  88. #88 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    If you can’t do a parody of the scientific position, you won’t be able to keep up with creationism…

  89. #89 paulh
    April 3, 2008

    One is reminded of the joke about the regiment of Irishmen in WWI – they threw their grenades at the Germans and the Germans pulled out the pins and threw them all back.

  90. #90 Lilly de Lure
    April 3, 2008

    Stanton said:

    Mr Behe gleefully rents himself to the highest bidding twit without the least care to what pandering to rabid anti-intellectuals does to his academic reputation among other scientists.

    I think he might be made to care before too long – after all his reputation as a “real scientist” is why the creotards keep hiring him as an “expert witness”.

    Too many more debacles like this one and no matter how much he panders to them he’ll find the cheque books firmly closed to him. Who wants an expert witness whose most spectacular talent is for handing victory to the other side?

  91. #91 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    An inexpert witness is better than no witness at all, methinks

  92. #92 Ian
    April 3, 2008

    According to Behe’s philosophy, should we be teaching that the Nazis won World War 2 just so’s we don’t upset white supremacists?! Or should we be teaching that no one won so’s not to upset either PoV? But then that would upset the Binarians, who simply must have it go one way or the other. What’s a teacher to do?

  93. #93 hermit
    April 3, 2008

    I took this from the comments on Questionable Authority

    Actually Behe IS on our side. And he doesn’t hide it. Whenever he’s pushed, he affirms that evolution is an accurate statement of reality and that he agrees with an ancient earth, common ancestry and evolution. In the meantime he milks the creationists every decade with another book that recycles tired old arguments. When he gets pulled in front of a judge, he make a token effort and either takes a dive or carefully points out the flaws in his own token argument.

    His faint support is brilliant. He manages to make a career and good money from creationists while subtly castrating them. If he didn’t show up someone else might.

    Posted by: Quidam | April 1, 2008 4:39 PM

    hmmmmmmmm

    he may have a point

    I think this is worth discussion

    Could Behe be playing EVERYBODY?

  94. #94 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    As I said earlier: GIFT BASKET

  95. #95 quester
    April 5, 2008

    Creationists are afraid of students learning about evolution, because then they’ll learn that what creationists say about evolution is a bunch of baloney, and then maybe they’ll question other things the creationists say.

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