Tuesday, May 20, 2008

God of the non-gaps

Evolved and Rational's latest post is another delightful snark, with which I am nevertheless going to take issue.

Perhaps uncharacteristically, Evolved is being far too kind this time, I'm afraid.

She says: "Behe's theology is one where god resides in the gaps of human knowledge [...] his criteria for detecting design is merely what has not been explained by science at the time. "

I think the first part of that quote is what Behe was aiming for. Unfortunately, he missed - Behe's examples of gaps, his cases of "irreducible complexity", his examples of non-evolution, are wrong.

On HIV, Behe was wrong. He was thoroughly spanked by erv (erv is now at scienceblogs), pursued at Panda's Thumb (e.g. ), and eventually forced to admit that he was wrong. A sucky admission, but still, he finally noticed he'd been pwned.
On the bacterial flagellum, Behe was wrong. Epically wrong.
On the immune system and much else besides, Behe was wrong

These are just examples, there are lots of others.

I'm not aware of a single instance where Behe managed to pick an actual legitimate gap.

[It's not like it's hard. As the cryptotheist evolution-denialists are so fond of pointing out, just like building a drystone wall, every time a gap is filled in, there are more (but much tinier) gaps around it - so these days there are plenty of little gaps to go around, if you have even the slightest clue about where to look. Of course the big problem for the cryptotheist is that to actually find the genuine gaps you have to know enough science to be able to read a few papers - that is, to display a basic competence one might expect from a beginning science postgrad.]

While trying to construct a God-of-the-gaps (a trivial exercise for even the barely competent), Behe - doubtless inspired by God - constructed a God-of-the-non-gaps, a God-of-the-reducibly-complex, a God-of-the-already-explained-by-science.

Behe's work is a masterpiece of epic fail. Perhaps God is trying to tell you something, Michael. Like how much you suck at science. (As Abbie pointed out, you also suck at Google.)

(I won't even bother with Dembski. His work is more incompetent, contentless and pathetic than that of Behe. And he's an unrepentant - and incompetent - thief. Why pussyfoot about, let's just go the whole hog. Dembski just generally sucks.)


Anonymous said...

Five years ago when I was applying to colleges, I almost decided to go to Lehigh. I know, I know, the rest of the biology department there is perfectly sane, but I shudder to think how close I came to getting my education at a university so tainted with idiocy.

Efrique said...

I can respect a department that has room for the occasional kook. They basically denounced his views in a public statement (at least as near as they could), and I would only further ask that they keep him away from classes that would give him much opportunity to promote ID; I presume they do that as far as they can.

Anyway, without Lehigh, we wouldn't have Smith numbers!