Behe Called on His Bluff

Over on Uncommon Descent, “BarryA” expresses his disappointment in Judge Jones. Specifically, “BarryA” thinks that Michael Behe got a raw deal during the Kitzmiller v. DASD trial last year when the topic of the immune system came up. Jones, according to “BarryA”, should not have permitted the plaintiffs’ attorneys to present the stack of papers and textbooks containing discussion of the evolution of the immune system, at least not without reading the contents of each item into the record.

Here is the passage from Jones’s decision that seems to have upset “BarryA”:

The immune system is the third system to which Professor Behe has applied the definition of irreducible complexity. Although in Darwin’s Black Box, Professor Behe wrote that not only were there no natural explanations for the immune system at the time, but that natural explanations were impossible regarding its origin. (P-647 at 139; [128]2:26-27 (Miller)). However, Dr. Miller presented peer-reviewed studies refuting Professor Behe’s claim that the immune system was irreducibly complex. Between 1996 and 2002, various studies confirmed each element of the evolutionary hypothesis explaining the origin of the immune system. ([129]2:31 (Miller)). In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty- eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” ([130]23:19 (Behe)).

Tom English pointed out in comments that Behe’s unfamiliarity with the material seemed to be the point of the exercize. Here’s how “BarryA” responded to that:

Thank you for your quotations from the record. It now seems that I gave Judge Jones too much credit. If no expert testified that the books and articles were authoritative that should have been the end of it. The judge should have stopped them right there. In other words, the plaintiffs did not even make it through the first Rule 803(18) hoop, much less the second. Maybe I also gave the defendants’ lawyers too much credit. Once Behe testified that he was unfamiliar with a particular book or article they should have objected to any further reference to it or use of it.

Excuse me? “BarryA” had already in his main post stipulated that Behe had admitted that the materials presented met that hurdle:

Based on the quotes from Behe’s testimony, it is fairly clear that this step was met. Behe admitted the books and articles were learned treatises.

As to how the articles came into the record, and how familiar Behe was with them, let’s look at the trial transcript.

[63]Q. We’ll return to that in a little while. Let’s turn back to Darwin’s Black Box and continue discussing the immune system. If you could turn to page 138? Matt, if you could highlight the second full paragraph on page 138? What you say is, “We can look high or we can look low in books or in journals, but the result is the same. The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system.” That’s what you wrote, correct?

[64]A. And in the context that means that the scientific literature has no detailed testable answers to the question of how the immune system could have arisen by random mutation and natural selection.

[65]Q. Now, you were here when Professor Miller testified?

[66]A. Yes.

[67]Q. And he discussed a number of articles on the immune system, correct?

[68]A. Yes, he did.

[...]

[113]Q. And these are not the only articles on the evolution of vertebrate immune system?

[114]A. There are many articles.

[115]Q. May I approach?

[116]THE COURT: You may.

[117]Q. Professor Behe, what I have given you has been marked Plaintiff’s Exhibit 743. It actually has a title, “Behe immune system articles,” but I think we can agree you didn’t write these?

[118]A. I’ll have to look through. No, I did not.

[119]Q. And there are fifty-eight articles in here on the evolution of the immune system?

[120]A. Yes. That’s what it seems to say.

[...]

[147]Q. I’m going to read some titles here. We have Evolution of Immune Reactions by Sima and Vetvicka, are you familiar with that?

[148]A. No, I’m not.

[...]

[167]Q. You haven’t read those chapters?

[168]A. No, I haven’t.

[169]Q. You haven’t read the books that I gave you?

[170]A. No, I haven’t. I have read those papers that I presented though yesterday on the immune system.

[171]Q. And the fifty-eight articles, some yes, some no?

[172]A. Well, the nice thing about science is that often times when you read the latest articles, or a sampling of the latest articles, they certainly include earlier results. So you get up to speed pretty quickly. You don’t have to go back and read every article on a particular topic for the last fifty years or so.

[173]Q. And all of these materials I gave you and, you know, those, including those you’ve read, none of them in your view meet the standard you set for literature on the evolution of the immune system? No scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system?

[174]A. Again in the context of that chapter, I meant no answers, no detailed rigorous answers to the question of how the immune system could arise by random mutation and natural selection, and yes, in my, in the reading I have done I have not found any such studies.

What Eric Rothschild was going after in the cross-examination was Behe’s claim that the scientific literature didn’t discuss the evolution of the immune system. Here at the trial, Behe hedged on his earlier years of going around the country and popping up a slide with a big numeral zero on it, saying that’s how many articles in the scientific literature dealt with the evolution of any irreducibly complex system Behe listed in “Darwin’s Black Box”.

Now, impeaching a witness apparently can take many forms, but it seems obvious that the sort of thinking “BarryA” brings to this just cannot work in real life. If someone were presented as an expert witness who actually was completely ignorant of some relevant sub-field of knowledge, “BarryA”‘s approach would completely insulate that person from the bad consequences of being ignorant: ‘I’m sorry, I have no knowledge of this textbook that is basic to this field.’ ‘Your honor, move to exclude this on the grounds that my expert doesn’t know a thing about it.’ ‘Granted.’ If that were actually the case, I think I’d rely on Dickens: “[T]he law is an ass.” Ignorant experts should be impeached, not the materials that demonstrate their ignorance.

And this is what shows “BarryA”‘s commentary to be emanating from some bizarro world, for it is Behe who has been bluffing all these years, trying to say that the scientific literature doesn’t include stuff, when Behe actually couldn’t even be bothered to go and read the material that was there and was relevant to his claims. It is Behe whose bluff was called by Eric Rothschild, and who was shown to be holding… nothing. Behe’s only defense was his ignorance, and “BarryA” seems to think that ignorance should be made the ultimate arbiter of what can or cannot be admitted in impeaching a witness, such that only knowledgeable witnesses need fear impeachment, and only ignoramuses — like Michael Behe in this context — should have their testimony accorded the full respect of the court.

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42 thoughts on “Behe Called on His Bluff

  1. matthew

    “Ignorant experts should be impeached, not the materials that demonstrate their ignorance.”

    Excellent. Great point.

  2. steve s

    This trial really got to the poor IDers. Watching them fantasize about how they wish it had gone is pathetic.

  3. Jeremy Henty

    “BarryA” seems to think that ignorance should be made the ultimate arbiter of what can or cannot be admitted in impeaching a witness

    True, but not nearly true enough. “BarryA” and friends actually think that nothing is true unless they say it is. Seriously. “BarryA”, Behe and company really want to create a world where no idea is to be allowed into any discussion unless they deem it acceptable. If they don’t know about it, it ain’t true.

  4. Jeremy Henty

    Bleuchhh!

    In my previous comment (#3), substitute:

    Replace thisBy this
    create increate
    discussdiscussion
    know aboutknow about it

  5. Jeremy Henty

    Double Bleuchhh! Your blogging software unilaterally stripped the table markup from my previous post.

  6. Austringer Post author

    Yeah, commenters are treated as second-class citizens when it comes to HTML markup more nifty than italics and bold. On the other hand, I think that you can do $x^2$ math.

  7. Kenneth Fair

    Actually, BarryA is wrong on another count. The books and articles weren’t inadmissible because they were not hearsay. All of his discussion about learned treatises and the parameters of Federal Rule of Evidence 803(18) is meaningless. The books and articles weren’t offered to prove the truth of any statement contained in them. They were offered instead to contradict Behe’s claim that there were no peer-reviewed articles discussing the evolution of the immune system. That being the case, they’re not hearsay and there’s no reason to exclude them from evidence. Fed. R. Evid. 801(c).

  8. Gary Hurd

    This is exactly why who I was, or what my background could have been was ruled as irrelevant, yet Behe could be questioned on the contents of my chapter in “Why Intelligent Design Fails.”

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day12pm2.html#day12pm475

    The truth of the contents of the chapter were not at issue, but Behe’s knowledge and ability to refute my work was at issue.

    He got nailed there too!

  9. Gary Hurd

    Opps, I forgot to post the relevant bit.

    THE COURT: Do you object to the, any mention to the, of the substance of the book?

    MR. MUISE: That he — I’m sorry, Your Honor?

    THE COURT: He gets into the substance, if he gets into the, setting aside an objection to the author’s credentials –

    MR. MUISE: I think in a sense where we’ve discussed some of these other articles with similar problems, if he has specific sections he wants to go to to try to use for impeachment purposes, then I don’t have an objection to that. But again it’s not offered for the substance of what’s in here. It’s just to apparently test whatever claims that Dr. Behe has made.

    THE COURT: If you’re using the book not for the truth, which I suspect you’re not, but for the purpose of cross examination, why should I hear the qualifications of the author?

    MR. ROTHSCHILD: I think this is just background. You know, we’re reading some passages from this section about archaeology and just simply putting on the record that the person who wrote this has a background in archaeology. I think this is something that Your Honor could take judicial notice of after inspection.

    THE COURT: Well, but the only reason I need to do that is if it goes to the truth. You’re using it as I think an appropriate mechanism for cross examination, but I don’t think it’s relevant or necessary for me to hear the qualifications of the author. So I’ll sustain the objection as it relates to the qualifications of the author. However, you can use the text itself consistent with my prior rulings for the purpose of cross examination.

  10. Michael Hopkins

    BarryA wrote:

    In order for the contradicting portion of the learned treatise to get into evidence, the lawyer has to actually read it into the record and give the witness a chance to respond.

    Okay lets play his game. There is nothing that would have stopped the both Behe, his lawyers, and anyone one on staff from taking some of those papers and reading them. If these papers lacked discussion of how the immune system evolved then Behe could have easily shown that in open court during redirect testimony. The defense could have ask for for Behe to have a few days to read what was being presented to him. Judge Jones would almost certainly allowed that judging from how he ran his courtroom.

    But I am still rather surprised at the defense’s and Behe’s lack of preparation against this sort of attack. Shocked until one realizes that Behe really has no defense against it. This line of attack was obvious. It should have been a no-brainer that the plaintiffs would try to refute Behe by presenting him such articles. Behe should have prepared for it. He knew he would be testifying months in advance. What makes it even worse that eight of the article had previously been discussed by Miller earlier in the trial which was well before Behe got presented with the list of articles. So why did not Behe ready for those articles? One would have to been brain dead not to know that those were coming.

    Of course it would seem shocking if the “expert” Behe had never actually encountered any of those papers before if he he is such a good expert. I can understand Behe not being familiar with every such article, but he should have been ready to debunk at least some of them (if they could be debunked).

    And to this add the points that Wesley and Kenneth have already made.

  11. shiva

    Isn’t it interesting to see how the creationists are always defending themselves with quotes mined out of scientific books and never actual results from journals and conference reports? H. Allen Orr’s review of Behe’s blackbox concludes that Behe knows nothing about evolution apart from what he has picked up from the popular press and paperbacks. Behe’s unpreparedness seems deliberate and reckless, as if he takes himself too seriously. Dembski got the message early on after Shallit, Woplert and others took apart his pathetic attempts at mathematical proofs. Dembski may have weaseled out of KvD once he found that he would have to take on a plaintiff advised by Shallit. Wells made the mistake of taking on everything from abiogenesis to primate evolution and saw his puny raft blown away. Behe probably thought that his area of ‘expertise’ is narrow enough to be defended. Tough luck!

  12. Ichthyic

    Hi Wes,

    totally OT, but PT has been experiencing an inordinate amount of moveable type errors of late:

    >>>

    Rebuild failed: Renaming tempfile ‘/usr/local/www/vhosts/pandasthumb/public_html/archives/2006/08/06-week/index.html.new’ failed: Renaming ‘/usr/local/www/vhosts/pandasthumb/public_html/archives/2006/08/06-week/index.html.new’ to ‘/usr/local/www/vhosts/pandasthumb/public_html/archives/2006/08/06-week/index.html’ failed: No such file or directory

    just thought you should know.

    cheers

    t

  13. Derick Ovenall

    Re the Dicken’s quotation: This is spoken by the beadle in “Oliver Twist” who, when accused of having been involved in a conspiracy against Oliver, states that his wife had put him up to it. He is then told that the Law takes no account of that and replies, “Then the law is a ass and a idiot”, not “an ass (and an idiot)”. It’s always a good idea to check the literature!

  14. shiva

    Larry,

    Cheer up my friend! Your side was well and truly ‘found against’ in Court. Now go thru the trial x’scripts once again and read what comes before and after those lines you have mined. And it will make sense. You have a problem in distinguishing between labels and contents; of course that is one of teh lesser ones.

  15. KL

    I tried to make this point over at UD and got nowhere. This is not a legal issue at its center, but a scientific issue. If one tries to shift the existing paradigm without going through peer review, one deserves to be labeled a poor scholar. If you want to be taken seriously by the scientific community, don’t present an explanation outside the existing paradigm using a popular literature format. However, I get the impression that arguments for logic and proper procedures in science don’t work when there is a perceived “conspiracy”. There is not much one can do but allow the scientific process to sift it out. I was looking for scientific explanations for my observations at UD, but I feel I was either getting claims that Behe has issued responses to these papers since DBB came out or (where?) or legal arguments. I am even more amazed to read here that Behe was not “ambushed” by these documents-he could have read any of them in advance and responded to them. That he didn’t is telling.

  16. MYOB

    This is the advantage that testimony under oath provides. Those who think they can lie for the lord out here in internet land can always deny, obfuscate, reject, pull a strawman, etc, all in the effort to avoid either telling the truth or acknowledging the truth.
    But put them into a court of law where what you say is being judged then they don’t have the ability to duck and dodge. They will have to either tell the truth as they know it and have to refute the truth as the other side says it. How they perform in doing so will decide the outcome.
    By the Dover case they had been so used to appearing before either staged events with sympathetic crowds or at debates where they could duck and dodge questions that when they actually got into a court of law they had no clue that the rules of the game were not going to let them get away with it. They were actually going to have to prove the merits of their case and they failed.

    I think we can be confident that these people, like republicans, will never allow that scenario to happen again. They will probably start to pick their fights in areas where should they have to go to court they will know the specific judge in question that the case will be heard by allowing them to stack the deck in their favor. They will also probably make sure there is enough press coverage to guarantee that judge will be under constant pressure to decide things in their favor. They will also do everything they can to make sure the daily events in the court are kept secret and closed from public consumption so that bad days are not allowed to seep out and hurt their cause.
    In other words, expect a presidential styled campaign of lifes, smeering and setups to precede any such case.

    Be on your guard.

    MYOB’
    .

  17. Austringer Post author

    Behe should have prepared for it. He knew he would be testifying months in advance. What makes it even worse that eight of the article had previously been discussed by Miller earlier in the trial which was well before Behe got presented with the list of articles.

    Worse yet, for both Behe and Minnich, they had been questioned about specific papers during their depositions, and neither of them took the time to study those papers between the depositions and the trial.

  18. Alien Being 315R8

    Well done, as always, Wesley.

    The scientific cluelessness of the creationis peddlers was always so obvious, we should not be surprised that they are clueless about basic legal rules and principles as well.

    BarryA is probably Casey Luskin’s sock puppet.

  19. Michael Hubl

    shiva wrote

    Dembski got the message early on after Shallit, Woplert and others took apart his pathetic attempts at mathematical proofs. Dembski may have weaseled out of KvD once he found that he would have to take on a plaintiff advised by Shallit. Wells made the mistake of taking on everything from abiogenesis to primate evolution and saw his puny raft blown away. Behe probably thought that his area of ‘expertise’ is narrow enough to be defended. Tough luck!

    Indeed. Backing out of KvD shows that Dembski is not a complete moron.

    By the way, shiva, you’re comment re “stockholm syndrome” over at Kornell’s “Evolution&Design” blog made me laugh for a week. Allen McNeill banned me the second time I asked his lady friend Hannah to apply Dembski’s creation math to FtzK.

  20. Pingback: Uncommon Descent » BarryA Responds to His Critics at Panda’s Thumb

  21. Donald M

    Wesley writes:

    It is Behe whose bluff was called by Eric Rothschild, and who was shown to be holding… nothing. Behe’s only defense was his ignorance, and “BarryA” seems to think that ignorance should be made the ultimate arbiter of what can or cannot be admitted in impeaching a witness, such that only knowledgeable witnesses need fear impeachment, and only ignoramuses — like Michael Behe in this context — should have their testimony accorded the full respect of the court.

    The only bluffing being done here is by Wesley Elsberry. Surely he is aware that Behe himself has addressed this issue in his response to the Kitzmiller case (see here: http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3218&program=CSC%20Responses)

    In this article Behe writes:

    -6-
    (11) In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996
    claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was
    presented with fifty eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology
    textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that
    this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” (23:19
    (Behe)).
    Several points:
    1) Although the opinion’s phrasing makes it seem to come from my mouth, the remark
    about the studies being “not good enough” was the cross-examining attorney’s, not mine.
    2) I was given no chance to read them, and at the time considered the dumping of a stack of
    papers and books on the witness stand to be just a stunt, simply bad courtroom theater. Yet the
    Court treats it seriously.
    3) The Court here speaks of “evidence for evolution”. Throughout the trial I carefully
    distinguished between the various meanings of the word “evolution”, and I made it abundantly
    clear that I was challenging Darwin’s proposed mechanism of random mutation coupled to natural
    selection. Unfortunately, the Court here, as in many other places in its opinion, ignores the
    distinction between evolution and Darwinism.
    Whether Intelligent Design is Science: Behe’s Response to Kitzmiller
    I said in my testimony that the studies may have been fine as far as they went, but that they
    certainly did not present detailed, rigorous explanations for the evolution of the immune system by
    random mutation and natural selection — if they had, that knowledge would be reflected in more
    recent studies that I had had a chance to read (see below).
    4) This is the most blatant example of the Court’s simply accepting the Plaintiffs’ say-so on
    the state of the science and disregarding the opinions of the defendants’ experts. I strongly suspect
    the Court did not itself read the “fifty eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several
    immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system” and determine from its
    own expertise that they demonstrated Darwinian claims. How can the Court declare that a stack of
    publications shows anything at all if the defense expert disputes it and the Court has not itself read
    and understood them?
    In my own direct testimony I went through the papers referenced by Professor Miller in his
    testimony and showed they didn’t even contain the phrase “random mutation”; that is, they
    assumed Darwinian evolution by random mutation and natural selection was true — they did not
    even try to demonstrate it. I further showed in particular that several very recent immunology
    papers cited by Miller were highly speculative, in other words, that there is no current rigorous
    Darwinian explanation for the immune system. The Court does not mention this testimony.

    Furthermore, Elsberry himself, along with his cohorts, Alan Gishlick and Nick Matzke, engaged in super bluffing themselves in their critique of the now famous Stephen Meyer published in the peer reviewed Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. In that “critique” (and I use the term loosely — ‘attack’ would be more accurate), GM&E toss out a long list of articles that supposedly Meyer had overlooked. But, it was all all a bluff, as was very correctly pointed out by some of the fellows at the Discovery Institute in at least 2, if not more, follow-up articles.

    THe facts here are real simple: its been 10 years since Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box was published and there was not then, nor is there now a single, solitary peer reviewed research study that provides the detailed, teatable model of how Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms produced any of the IC systems Behe described in his book. Zip, zero, nada. Behe’s claim 10 years ago stands un-refuted and the 80 articles shoved in his face at Kitzmiller didn’t change that. WHich part of “detailed, testable model” is so difficult to grasp, WEsley?

    But you can change all that, Wesley, in a NEw YOrk minute. Just provide one citation of any peer reviewed researched study that does that (that is provides the detailed, testable model for Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms) for any one of the IC systems Behe discussed in his book. Just one. (Oh, and AVIDA doesn’t count because there’s no non-question begging way for you to show that it maps to biological reality!). Good luck!

  22. Austringer Post author

    Behe’s text makes it abundantly clear that he had, as I already said, nothing. It is a series of excuses for not taking notice of what was in the scientific literature. Evolutionary biology has long since met the burden of reasonable doubt; all Behe offers is that evolutionary biology doesn’t convince those with unreasonable doubts.

    As for Meyer, there’s no bluffing here:

    4. Meyer makes the false claim that genetic algorithms require a “target sequence” to work. Meyer cites two of his own articles as the relevant authority in this matter. However, when one examines these sources, one finds that what is cited in both of these earlier essays is a block of three paragraphs, the content of which is almost identical in the two essays. Meyer bases his denunciation of genetic algorithms as a field upon a superficial examination of two cases. While some genetic algorithm simulations for pedagogy do incorporate a “target sequence”, it is utterly false to say that all genetic algorithms do so. Meyer was in attendance at the NTSE in 1997 when one of us [WRE] brought up a genetic algorithm to solve the Traveling Salesman Problem, which was an example where no “target sequence” was available. Whole fields of evolutionary computation are completely overlooked by Meyer. Two citations relevant to Meyer’s claims are Chellapilla and Fogel (2001) and Stanley and Miikkulainen (2002). (That Meyer overlooks Chelapilla and Fogel 2001 is even more baffling given that Dembski 2002 discussed the work.) Bibliographies for the entirely neglected fields of artificial life and genetic programming are available at these sites:

    http://users.ox.ac.uk/~econec/alife.html
    http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~wbl/biblio/gp-bibliography.html.

    A bibliography of genetic algorithms and artificial neural networks is available here.

    Meyer was flat-out wrong in his claim. He wasn’t even close. No amount of denial via repeating “literature bluffing!” while wearing earplugs and blinders will change the rock-solid fact that a “target sequence” is not necessary for genetic algorithms.

  23. Smokey

    Donald M wrote:
    “THe facts here are real simple:…”

    This is a sign that a spectacularly ignorant claim is to follow…

    “… its been 10 years since Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box was published and there was not then, nor is there now a single, solitary peer reviewed research study that provides the detailed, teatable model of how Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms produced any of the IC systems Behe described in his book.”

    Donald, you didn’t read any of them. Here, for example, is a PLoS paper that has always had free access. It gives a detailed, testable (and tested) model for the origins of the Rag recombinases, which Behe claimed were impossible to explain by MET:

    http://tinyurl.com/hg8um

    “Zip, zero, nada.”

    Lie, lie, lie.

    ” Behe’s claim 10 years ago stands un-refuted and the 80 articles shoved in his face at Kitzmiller didn’t change that.”

    Behe claimed that those articles could not be found. Their existence shows that he was lying in his book. Then he moved the goalposts.

    ” WHich part of “detailed, testable model” is so difficult to grasp, WEsley?”

    You seem to be the one having trouble with the concept, Don.

    “But you can change all that, Wesley, in a NEw YOrk minute. Just provide one citation of any peer reviewed researched study that does that (that is provides the detailed, testable model for Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms) for any one of the IC systems Behe discussed in his book.”

    http://tinyurl.com/hg8um

    How does that taste?

  24. Smokey

    Larry quoted Behe:
    “How can the Court declare that a stack of publications shows anything at all if the defense expert disputes it and the Court has not itself read and understood them?”

    1) Behe isn’t an expert in immunology.
    2) Behe claimed that the papers could not be found.
    3) The mere existence of the papers shows that Behe was lying.
    4) EVEN IF EVERY ONE OF THE PAPERS WAS WRONG, Behe was still lying, because he claimed that they did not exist.

    It’s about their mere existence. All the goalpost-lugging in the world won’t change that.

    As to their content, Behe has no relevant expertise, and the fact that his defenders can’t be bothered to read any of the papers says everything anyone needs to know about their honesty and sincerity.

  25. Don Baccus

    Larry quoted Behe:
    “How can the Court declare that a stack of publications shows anything at all if the defense expert disputes it and the Court has not itself read and understood them?”

    And Smokey’s right. As the transcripts of the various sidebars show, these weren’t being entered “for the truth” of their contents, but simply to refute Behe’s claims that such work does not exist.

    Anyone who reads the entire transcript and understands it knows this. It’s crystal clear.

    Larry’s probably just too dumb to understand.

    BarryA, being a lawyer, is without doubt simply Lying For Jesus.

  26. Don Baccus

    And regarding Behe’s whining that he was given no time to read the papers and articles.

    It had been MONTHS since he’d been deposed. The lawyers for both sides and the judge were all aware that Behe had plenty of time to study up if he were interested in doing so. Behe’s claims are based on willful ignorance of the scientific research done into the evolution of the immune system. Exposing that willful ignorance was the goal of the cross-examination, and Rothschild did a great job.

  27. Ichthyic

    It had been MONTHS since he’d been deposed

    …and of course many of those papers were already in the literature when he first published the book Donald Duck refers to. He had 10 years, not months, to read them.

    obviously, just like Donald, Behe doesn’t like to read things he already “knows” are wrong…

    *snicker*

  28. Gary Hurd

    An important point has been mentioned several times, creationists do not read their critics, and do not make the honest attempt to stay current with the scientific fields they presume to reject. Whether this is lazy, arrogant or stupid is left to the reader’s opinion.

    “Why Intelligent Design Fails” had been in print for quite some time before Behe’s testamony, the immunology papers had been in print for years, and Behe had never bothered to learn anything about his socaled “evidences.”

    In Behe’s expert witness statement, and his deposition, he left himself wide open for the cross examination that he so miserably failed.

    Behe was not asked to refute the immunology books and papers, he was asked if he was aware of them, and this was in direct response to his public statements as an “expert.” The questioning was directed to his status as an “expert” and he failed.

  29. Lee Bowman

    re: Don Baccus:
    “And Smokey’s right. As the transcripts of the various sidebars show, these weren’t being entered “for the truth” of their contents, but simply to refute Behe’s claims that such work does not exist.”

    Behe’s Testimony:
    Q. Now, you were here when Professor Miller testified?
    A. Yes.
    Q. And he discussed a number of articles on the immune system, correct?
    A. Yes, he did. . . .
    Q. And these are not the only articles on the evolution of vertebrate immune system?
    A. There are many articles.

    Behe did say that no detailed works existed that established evolutionary causation, rather than the way you characterized his claim above.

    By the way, anyone want to cite a particular study that does in fact detail the evolution of the immune system?

    Lee Bowman

  30. Ichthyic

    Whether this is lazy, arrogant or stupid is left to the reader’s opinion.

    er, why must I be forced to choose? I vote all of the above.

  31. Ichthyic

    Lee, I would ask you that if we did, would you actually read them, or even be able to understand and critically evaluate the methods used and conclusions reached?

    I would note that your request has been asked and answered innumerable times since Behe first published his book, and yet you idiots keep asking the same question over and over again… almost as if you were reading from a script..

    hmmm.

  32. Don Baccus

    “Behe did say that no detailed works existed that established evolutionary causation, rather than the way you characterized his claim above.”

    Since he hadn’t read the literature, he had no basis for making that claim. He has no idea how detailed the studies are. In essence he said “it doesn’t matter how detailed they are, it’s not good enough, and I know that without reading the source material”.

    That may work in your world. It doesn’t work when one is testifying as an EXPERT WITNESS in our legal system.

    Maybe in the Taliban’s, but not ours.

  33. Ichthyic

    Larry’s just insane. his own brother testified to the fact, so don’t take him all that seriously.

    that said:

    [quote]A (from Behe). And in the context that means that [b]the scientific literature has no detailed testable answers to the question of how the immune system could have arisen by random mutation and natural selection.[/b][/quote]

    Yes this IS exactly what Behe said, and paraphrasing as him saying that none of that literature exists is quite valid, as those 58 references (and many more besides) that do in fact experimentally examine the evolution of the immune system were extant when he said this.

    so, while larry quibbles over pedantics, he ends up simply reinforcing the point that Behe was singularly (like Larry) undeducated on the subject when he wrote his book, and no less so when he testified on the stand.

    congrats, larry, your own selective quotation makes the case for the prosecution.

    you should stop while your behind.

  34. JohnK

    I wish Behe had been asked under oath how he would determine to his satisfaction whether a given mutation was “random” (in whatever sense he means).

  35. Smokey

    Larry wrote:
    “Behe did say that no detailed works existed that established evolutionary causation, rather than the way you characterized his claim above.”

    Sure he did. AFTER he moved the goalposts, because the papers were about exposing the lie in his book.

    “By the way, anyone want to cite a particular study that does in fact detail the evolution of the immune system?”

    What sort of ignorant idiot would think that a detailed description of the immune system would fit in a single paper? Oh, I know…an idiot who’s never bothered to read any of the primary immunology literature, right, Larry?

    “Behe never said under oath that the papers did not exist.”

    So what? He said in his book that they didn’t exist, and he was lying. He also moved the goalposts rather than admit that his claim in the book was false.

    “And you are too dumb to understand that what really counts is not what the trial transcripts say but what the judge’s final opinion says. ”

    What really counts, Larry, is what the DATA SAY. Both you and Behe are afraid to look at the actual data, because you have no real faith in your assertions.

    “The final opinion treated the publications as though the ultimate issue was not their existence but was the truth of their contents.”

    Gee, maybe unlike you and Behe, the judge actually read some of them!

    “The opinion says later, ‘We therefore find that Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.’”

    Behe’s claims that certain sytems are IC is a different matter, and EVERY ONE of those systems has been shown NOT to be IC, by Behe’s own definition. Yet another matter is Behe’s boneheaded claim that evolution cannot produce IC systems.

    Why not look at the data, Larry? Afraid?

  36. Austringer Post author

    “We can look high or we can look low in books or in journals, but the result is the same. The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system.”

    Not ‘no answers of this very restricted, particular type that I get to decide whether some paper fits or not, and I never will decide one fits’, but “no answers” period.

  37. Austringer Post author

    “BarryA” has a response up.

    [Behe’s answer here is critical to the analysis. His assertion is obviously NOT that there are no books or articles that generally discuss the evolution of the immune system. Of course there are. His assertion is that none of the books and articles provide detailed testable answers about how the immune system could have arisen through Neo-Darwinian mechanisms. If he were to be impeached by the 58 books and records, the material impeaching him must go to what he said, not something he did not say.]

    It is critical, but not in the way “BarryA” means. Behe doesn’t get to rely upon an Infinitely Plastic Past in order to recast everything he said into something else.

    [Behe concedes there are “many” articles that generally discuss the evolution of the immune system. If that were the issue to which the 58 books and articles went, plaintiffs were impeaching him on a point he had conceded, which was strange indeed.]

    It is one thing for an expert to make a concession, and another to find out just how egregious a mismatch there was between reality and what the expert claimed.

    About Behe admitting that the materials were authoritative, “BarryA” says:

    I wrote my second post after reading Behe’s testimony.

    It seems that there is an epidemic of ID advocates willing to state with certainty what is — or is not — in particular sources without bothering to become familiar with them. Behe and the scientific literature, and now “BarryA” and the trial transcripts. As a lawyer might put it, were you lying to us then, “BarryA”, or are you lying to us now?

    I assume the answer is the latter, because I did find Behe admitting just that in the transcript:

    [134]Q. Is that your position today that these articles aren’t good enough, you need to see a step-by-step description?

    [135]A. These articles are excellent articles I assume. However, they do not address the question that I am posing. So it’s not that they aren’t good enough. It’s simply that they are addressed to a different subject.

    And Behe was asked directly about the status of the books, also contrary to “BarryA”‘s report of his reading of the transcript:

    Can you confirm these are books about the evolution of the immune system?

    Just because Behe didn’t have a good answer doesn’t mean that he wasn’t asked.

  38. Austringer Post author

    Here’s another, different take on Behe’s claim, one that “critically” differs from what “BarryA” is trying to sell. Again, Behe answering questions in the KvD case:

    [476]Q Journal papers are valuable.

    [477]A They sure are.

    [478]Q And they’re just referring to the findings accumulated over 140 years, correct?

    [479]A Well, as I tried to make clear in my testimony, findings accumulated over 140 years that support the contention that Darwinian processes could explain complex molecular systems total a number of zero.

    And so they — this is another example of confusing the various aspects of evolutionary theory. It’s a very difficult problem, which is why I think students should have it clearly explained to them that evolution is a complex idea, and support for change over time, or support for common descent does not run into supporting natural selection and random mutation.

    [480]Q Zero papers, Professor Behe?

    [481]A That’s correct.

    On the one hand, papers are supposed to “support” ID even if they don’t mention ID or even make a positive argument for it. Yet when it comes to supporting evolutionary biology, the bar switches from limbo to pole vault levels.

  39. shiva

    [480]Q Zero papers, Professor Behe?

    [481]A That’s correct.

    Behe walked into a trap of his own making. Confronted with the evidence, journals, books, and all he faced a tough choice – be called a for denying the evidence or ignorance? Behe chose right it seems.

  40. shiva

    “By the way, shiva, you’re comment re “stockholm syndrome” over at Kornell’s “Evolution&Design” blog made me laugh for a week.”

    Mike, thank you!

  41. m.j. bakeland

    All these arguments may, or may not, have legal merit, but they don’t address the questions that matter. It’s easy enough to invent evolutionary scenarios, but the awful truth is that no one can say with the slightest conviction that any particular one has more validity than any other (much less whether it actually occurred or not). I recall reading a book of “scientific” explanations of how flight evolved, not once, but three different times. It contained so many scenarios, it became clear to all but the author how incredibly easy it must be to fabricate such things. There are no constraints. It’s like conjuring up interpretations to a dream; who could ever prove that you were wrong? Something exploited with great alacrity by deep-thinking Darwinist, Sigmund Freud. Face it, boys and girls, placing your confidence in evolutionary story-telling, as though it had something to do with science, is embarrassing. The person who thinks the bugs will one day be worked out of abiogenesis, is like the person believing the riddle of quantum mechanics will be “solved” in the future.

  42. Austringer Post author

    What we know about evolutionary science is that it works — because of our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution, we have tangible improvments in medicine, agriculture, and technology. This can’t be argued away by amateur armchair philosophy that at no point bothers to learn what is actually in the content of evolutionary science.

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