Sunday, May 24, 2009

Behe immune to data

From The Panda's Thumb:
Apparently, Michael Behe just doesn't know when to pack it in. In reply to Travis's essay in Science, "On the Origin of The Immune System" (see previous PT posts: 1, 2), Behe has posted a letter he sent to Science. Instead of just sucking it up and admitting that his statements in Darwin's Black Box
... were wrong, or at the very least became wrong in the time between 1996 and 2005, Behe is still expressing proud, Kierkagaardian-esque defiance. In this (rejected) letter to the editor of Science, Behe reiterates his proud stand that the work of an entire field, the life's achievements of hundreds of immunologists, complete with surprising experimental support for a surprising hypothesis (the transposon hypothesis), still has "no answers" to the question of how it evolved, and that Darwinian explanations are "doom[ed]."

Well, actually, he doesn't quite say that, because somewhere along the line Behe retreated from his bold rhetoric, without ever admitting that he made an error (this is, I think, the key to understanding Behe: he will never, ever, admit a significant error). What Behe does now, as in his letter, is nitpick on subsidiary points, and conclude that because scientists don't agree on everything, he is still justified in ignoring everything they have all come to agree on.

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