Faizal Ali: Thoughts on Mike Behe, Joshua Swamidass and Dover

Let me draw attention to one point in the first interview, with Pat Flynn. At around the 8:00 mark, Behe disparages the presiding judge at the trial, John E. Jones III, for, among other things, the fact that Jones’s written decision consisted largely of verbatim quotes from material provided by the plaintiffs. … I was surprised that Behe was not yet aware of this but, as it happens, Swamidass was able to clarify Behe’s confusion (having himself recently learned this legal fact through an interview with Eugenie Scott). So, fine. Behe made an incorrect claim, and was corrected.

But now listen to the 4:30 point of the second interview, which was recorded only a few weeks later. Behe makes exactly the same claim about the written decision and, this time, Swamidass does not take the opportunity to correct him. …

I have a hard time believing this was accidental.

There is an unintentionally ironic moment at 49 minutes of the second video where Swamidass cites a paper that claimed all the proteins of the infamous bacterial flagellum are variants descended from a single ancestral protein. Behe takes him to task for this, saying that other researchers soon contradicted this paper and, in the 12 years following its publication, neither its authors nor any other scientists have followed up on it. If I were sitting in Swamidass’s chair, I would have responded, “And, remind us: In the quarter century you’ve been writing about evolution, how many scientists have followed up on your ideas?” I don’t really think that is Swamidass’s style, but nonetheless, it remains a valid question: If Behe’s ideas are so persuasively supported by scientific evidence, then why have they had less than negligible acknowledgement from scientists outside the ID Creationist movement? Behe suggests that this is due to an a priori commitment to philosophical materialism. But it is difficult to sustain such a claim when he is sharing the screen with a critic who is not only a Christian but who believes that a literal Adam and Eve were created supernaturally by God.


Thanks for the article @Faizal_Ali.

It was @Puck_Mendelssohn that helped me with this.

Yes, that is difficult to claim.

Though, I haven’t actually stated where I stand personally on a de novo Adam and Eve. More broadly, it does not seem most scientists have a problem with the idea, because it is not in conflict with the evidence.


Thanks, I’ll edit the post to reflect that.

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I’ll just point out that I did not choose the excerpts quoted in the OP and while I have no problem with quotes being excerpted, I think the editing of the following passage might give the impression that I am accusing @swamidass of being in cahoots with Behe. :slight_smile:

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