Monday, December 11, 2006


ID's Age of Aquarius

Intelligent design activists are burning up a lot of pixels just now explaining what Michael Behe really meant when he testified at the Dover intelligent design trial that his definition of the words "scientific theory" would include astrology. Behe himself tried -- a little less than successfully -- to explain it himself when he spoke at KU recently.

Over at the intelligent design blog, Telic Thoughts, they say the notion that Behe believes astrology is a scientific theory is "obviously false... for anybody who read the actual transcript of what Behe said."

Well, here's an excerpt from the actual transcript of what Behe said and a link:

Q Under that same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your definition, correct?

A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that -- which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one, and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and many other -- many other theories as well.

Q The ether theory of light has been discarded, correct?

A That is correct.

Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?

A Yes, that's correct. And let me explain under my definition of the word "theory," it is -- a sense of the word "theory" does not include the theory being true, it means a proposition based on physical evidence to explain some facts by logical inferences. There have been many theories throughout the history of science which looked good at the time which further progress has shown to be incorrect. Nonetheless, we can't go back and say that because they were incorrect they were not theories. So many many things that we now realized to be incorrect, incorrect theories, are nonetheless theories.

Sounds to us as though Behe said quite plainly that his redefinition of the words -- not so intelligently designed to welcome ID to the realm of science -- also admit astrology.

And that's a damning admission if there ever was one.

RSR's question is this: If redefining the words "scientific theory" opens the door to astrology, why do it?

The word has a perfectly good definition now: a set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

If ID activists like Behe can't come up with definition for scientific theory that doesn't admit pseudosciences such as astrology, perhaps they ought keep quiet about it until they do.


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