Monday, October 24, 2005

From the Times' coverage of Michael's Behe's cross examination in the Dover Case:
Under sharp cross-examination by a lawyer for parents who have sued the school district, he said he was untroubled by the broadness of his definition of science and likened intelligent design to the Big Bang theory of the origins of the universe because both initially faced rejection from scientists who objected for religious and philosophical reasons.
I've been told by people who know and have debated him that Michael Behe is a nice guy. One cannot resist, however, feeling he must have an ego the size of Jupiter to compare Intelligent Design to the Big Bang theory.

The Big Bang is science. Intelligent Design is smoke and mirrors.

Indeed, from the outset the whole ID movement has been about rhetoric, not science. Behe's position just proves it. There were specifically scientific reasons for the development of the Big Bang theory back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, ones that can be referenced and looked up to this day in any good library. To summarize, Georges Lemaitre convinced Einstein and his contemporaries in 1930, that the universe had to be expanding. He did this by essentially showing that Einstein's 'static' model, a temporally infinite, 4-dimensional model of the universe, and Dutch astronomer Willem De Sitter's essentially flat, empty model of the universe, were two bookends of a larger, dynamic model of the universe.

Shortly after this, Lemaitre realized that an initial static Einstein state could not be sustained indefinitely. The laws of physics couldn't support it. The expansion therefore had to wind back to some temporal, spatial origin, a point he liked to call the Day Without Yesterday. While this bothered Arthur Stanley Eddington and others because of the implications (the world began with a bang), no one dismissed Lemaitre's work the way Michael Behe's work has been dismissed by his own contemporaries, because the physics and mathematics behind Lemaitre's paper were so solid. And one can see by the number of papers by colleagues his own work generated. Indeed, in the 1960s Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking showed that any relativistic model of the cosmos has to have its origin in a singularity.

Such scientific fecundity cannot be attributed in any way, shape or form to the patchwork pseudo-philosophizing that goes by the name of "Intelligent Design." The "theory" has not inspired a single scientific paper or experiment.

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