Over on Ed Brayton’s “Dispatches from the Culture Wars”, Ed comments on NOVA’s attention paid to Behe saying that astrology qualifies as science under his definition of science. This is a comment I left there:
At the time when astrology was of a similar status to other live theories, it wasn’t called “science”, it was just a branch of philosophy. The philosophy of science has changed over time, which means that the things that once qualified as fitting within science may not do so at a later time.
It is within this understanding of science that Behe’s re-definition of science itself and the discussion of astrology can be usefully approached. Whether astrology might have been considered a live option historically doesn’t change the basic facts: a modern definition of science has no place for a mechanism-less “theory”, and Behe’s re-definition of science essentially reverts us back to a pre-19th century natural philosophy that can’t distinguish between explanations with testable mechanisms and those without.
IMO, that’s the real problem with the Behe/astrology issue, and I don’t think that it is readily amenable to sound-bite presentation on TV. It certainly wasn’t explained adequately in the program, judging by the commentary that has resulted.