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Michael Behe: Astrology is a Scientific Theory

By October 21, 2005

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A leading proponent of Intelligent Design, Michael Behe has been testifying in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial over whether Intelligent Design should be taught in public school. It's not uncommon for critics of Intelligent Design to compare it to astrology - should astrology be taught in science classes alongside astronomy? Behe may not think think that's a bad idea.

New Scientist reports:

Under cross examination, ID proponent Michael Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, admitted his definition of “theory” was so broad it would also include astrology.

Now, either this means that his definition of “theory” is too broad because the conclusion that astrology is a “science” that perhaps should be taught is absurd, or his definition of “theory” is just fine and we should deal with the conflict between astrology and astronomy. Perhaps we should have disclaimers in science texts about it. Perhaps we should secondary texts that explain and defend astrology.

Which do creationists want? They can’t exclude astrology when one of their own leading lights has accepted that astrology is every bit the scientific theory that Intelligent Design is.

In The York Daily Record, Mike Argento:

In order to call intelligent design a “scientific theory,” he had to change the definition of the term. It seemed the definition offered by the National Academy of Science, the largest and most prestigious organization of scientists in the Western world, was inadequate to contain the scope and splendor and just plain gee-willigerness of intelligent design.

So he devised his own definition of theory, expanding upon the definition of those stuck-in-the-21st-century scientists, those scientists who ridicule him and call his “theory” creationism in a cheap suit. [...]

Eric Rothschild, attorney for the plaintiffs, asked Behe about whether astrology was science. And Behe, after hemming and hawing and launching into an abbreviated history of astrology and science, said, under his definition, it is. He said he wasn’t a science historian, but the definition of astrology in the dictionary referred to its 15th-century roots, when it was equated with astronomy, which, according to the National Academy of Science, is a science.

So, taking a short logical leap, something Behe would certainly endorse since he does it a lot himself, you could say that intelligent design is on par with 15th-century science.

Sounds about right.

Argento’s description of Behe’s testimony is very, very entertaining. Apparently Behe was confronted with all sorts of statements made by Intelligent Design supporters — including himself! — and in an effort to preserve some semblance of credibility for the movement Behe was forced to engage in all sorts of linguistic contortions to deny that the statements said what they plainly said. Yes, according to Argento he was even forced to deny that he said what he said and insist that he “really” meant something entirely different.

What a buffoon. This is the best that the Intelligent Design movement can do, too.


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