Thursday, October 20, 2005


Behe's Black Box

Here's a little tidbit from Michael Behe's defense of intelligent design "theory" in Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School Board on Monday. Mr. Muise is an attorney representing the board:

DIRECT BY MR. MUISE: Sir, is it accurate to say that, in this book, [Darwin’s Black Box, RSR] you coined the term irreducible complexity?


Q. Had you used that term previous to the publication of this book?

A. Not in any publication that I can remember.

Q. Through the writing of this book, did you become familiar with the scientific evidence as it relates to the Darwin's theory of evolution?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Sir, was this book peer reviewed before it was published?

A. Yes, it was.

Q. By whom?

A. Well, the publisher of the book, Free Press, sent it out to be -- sent the manuscript out to be read prior to publication by five scientists.

Q. What were the backgrounds of some of these scientists?

A. One is a man named Robert Shapiro, who is a professor in the chemistry department at New York University and an expert in origin of life studies. Another man was named Michael Atchinson, I believe, and he's a biochemistry professor, I think, in the vet school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Another man, whose name escapes me, I think it's Morrow, who was a biochemistry professor at Texas Tech University. Another biochemist, I think, at Washington University, but his name still escapes me. And I have forgotten the fifth person.

Q. Now did you suggest any names of reviewers for the publisher?

A. Yes, I suggested names, uh-huh.

Q. From your years as a scientist, is that a standing practice?

A. It's pretty common, yes. A number of journals, a number of science journals require an author, when submitting a manuscript, to submit names of potential reviewers simply to help the editors select reviewers. Oftentimes, the editor is not really up-to-date with who's working in which field.

Q. Dr. Padian, if my recollection is correct, testified on Friday that it wasn't a standard practice to identify potential reviewers for your work. How do you respond to that?

A. Well, Professor Padian is a paleontologist. Maybe I'm not familiar with paleontology journals. Perhaps in those, it's not common. But it certainly is common in biochemistry and molecular biology journals.

Q. Now after this book was published, was it reviewed by scientists?

A. Yes, it was reviewed pretty widely.

Q. And some criticisms were offered, is that correct?

A. Yes, that's fair to say.


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