Dawkins refutes Behe

The following piece of biased ignorance was written, you guessed it, by a self-proclaimed "Evangelical Presbyterian Church Planter":

"In the July 1 New York Times, evolutionist and atheist evangelist Richard Dawkins reviews Michael Behe’s new book, The Edge of Evolution. Behe is a professor of biological science at Lehigh University and the author of Darwin’s Black Box, one of the first and most influential works on intelligent design. Dawkins’ review is full of invective, ridicule, and ad hominem attack–in other words, the kind of stuff he’s good at, especially when he has nothing particularly substantive to say. Behe responds in a blog on Amazon.com that strikes me as pretty effective, as well as remarkably restrained considering the extraordinarily rude treatment he gets from the Oxford don. I don’t know enough biology to know who gets the better of the scientific argument (what little there is in Dawkin’s review, that is), but I still think it’s worth a read, as I’m sure Behe’s book is."

No surprise that the writer is an evangelical. No surprise that the writer admits to ignorance of science. (One wonders what a "planter" is. Someone who spreads seeds of creationism?)

Richard Dawkins can word the truth too strongly for religionist sensitivities, I admit, though he takes a measured stance by anyone else's standards, pariticularly in comparison to those who rant that he will burn in hell for eternity. Dawkins, like most rational scientists, is clearly tired of the stupid pseudoscience that is invented in an attempt to attack the fact of biological evolution.

Actually, contrary to the fundamentalists accusations, Dawkins does not resort to invectives in the New York Times review. To label Behe's ideas "moronic" would be to resort to invectives. Nor does Dawkins make any ad hominem attacks. To call Behe a "misguided idiot" would be to resort to a fallacious ad hominem, true or not.

The fact remains that Lehigh University has posted a disclaimer about Behe's views on its website. (One suspects that if Behe had not already achieved tenure, then he might well have been forced to knock on the doors of the so-called Discovery Institute for a job.) The fact remains that the intelligent design camp makes refuted pseudoscientific claims to promote religious views. The fact remains that Behe has been forced to retreat from his earlier "irreducible complexity" chicanery. The fact remains that Behe adds nothing to scientific understanding in this book and that he resorts to distortions.

Sensible Christians view science and religious belief as being compatible; only Biblical literalists invent pseudoscience to attack well established empirical facts. If you wish to decrease your ignorance of science, then Michael Behe will never be worth reading because his intention is to distort science in order to sell his religious convictions.

I find popular science, such as Dawkins writes, rather slow going because I am past requiring that level of explanation that is necessary for those without postsecondary education in biological sciences. However, anyone who wishes to understand reality would be well advised to read Dawkins. As a start, despite negative claims by the evangelical, there is a good scientific refutation of Behe's flimsy argument in Dawkin's review.




No comments: