The courtroom was abuzz today as Dr. Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, fellow of the Discovery Institute, and the public face of intelligent design, took the stand. The defense started its case this morning.
A full gallery observed as opposing counsel Robert Muise questioned Dr. Behe on the scientific aspects of intelligent design. Dr. Behe answered in the affirmative when Muise asked him if ID is “scientific,” “testable,” and “not a religious belief.”
Quoting from his book Darwin’s Black Box, the professor stated that “the appearance of design in aspects of biology is overwhelming.”
During his testimony at the opening of the trial, Dr. Kenneth Miller of Brown University testified that ID is a negative argument. But in court this morning, Dr. Behe insisted otherwise.
“This argument is an entirely positive argument,” he stated. “Dr. Miller is looking at things through his own theoretical perspective.”
Dr. Behe attempted to illustrate this point through an analysis of the bacterial flagellum. Using a diagram of the b.f., he noted that it looks and operates like a machine built by humans. (Nothing gets my motor running, to use a phrase, like talk of the bacterial flagellum.)
The professor noted numerous journal articles in which biological processes are referred to as “machines.” When asked by Muise if this is intended in a metaphorical sense, Behe insisted that the use of the word “machine” is, in fact, a reference to the fact that these processes actually operate like machines.
Muise and Behe spent some time exhibiting quotes from Richard Dawkin’s book The Blind Watchmaker that mentioned “the appearance of design.”
Behe also compared the emerging ID debate with the initial debates around the Big Bang theory, which we’ll go into with the next posting after the day’s session ends.
Submitted by Andy Hoover, community education organizer, ACLU of PA