Funny Moments from the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Trial

The Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial has some doozies in the cross-examination of Michael Behe, one of the proponents of intelligent design (from the transcripts:

Q Telling the readers of Pandas that you were a critical reviewer of that book is misleading, isn’t it?

A I disagree. As I said, that’s not the typical way that the term “critical reviewer” is used, but nonetheless, in my opinion I don’t think it is misleading.

And a little bit later

Q And Mr. Dembski, who is the author of Design of Life, described you as a co-author of the book, correct?

A That’s what he does, yes.

Q That’s false, isn’t it?

A Again, I am not an author of the book, but William Dembski, several years ago, asked if I would contribute. And I explained to him that I did not have the time to do so. And he says well, perhaps, you know, in the future he could solicit material from me and then I would be one of the authors of the book. So, that’s correct.

Q So that makes you a co-author right now, Professor Behe?

A I certainly would not have listed myself now as a co-author, however, I think that he was anticipating my future participation in the project.

Q So that’s a true statement, Professor Behe, that you’re a co-author?

A It is not now a true statement but it might be in the future.

Later:

Q The statement that you’re an author, and Mr. Dembski’s statement is false too, isn’t it?

A That’s not what it says on the screen, sir. It says, “Who are the authors of Design of Life as you understand it?” And the way I read that is that he’s seeing into the future and seeing when this actually will be published and anticipating that I will participate in the publication of the book at that point.

Q Seeing into the future is one of the powers of the intelligent design movement?

And another one:

Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?

A Yes, that’s correct.

From the next page:

Q Starts “Among Organisms,” and going to the second sentence it says, “Design proponents have a realistic and more cautious approach to the use of homologies. They regard organisms which show great structural differences, such as starfish and chimpanzees, as having no common ancestry.” Correct.

A Yes, that’s what it says, but again, I read that as the fact that while other theories such as Darwinisms might make a commitment to common ancestry, a theory of intelligent design can live with what the data shows on that respect, because a theory of intelligent design does not speak to that; it just speaks to the effects of intelligence. So I see this as an accommodating sentence rather than as something that is required.

Also, this gem:

Q. Now you selected some of your peer reviewers?

A. No, I did not. I gave my editor at the Free Press suggested names, and he contacted them. Some of them agreed to review. Some did not.

Then, later:

Q. Okay. And then you go on to say that you still think — well, I’ll leave that. Your argument is that, even if the type III secretory system is a pre-cursor to the bacterial flagellum, is a subset, the bacterial flagellum is still irreducibly complex because that subset does not function as a flagellum?

A. That’s correct, yes.

Q. And, therefore, the bacterial flagellum must have been intelligently designed?

A. Well, again, the argument is that, there is — that when you see a purposeful arrangement of parts, that bespeaks design, so, yes.

He calls himself a scientist?

Q. Okay. And you said again that the strength of the inference is quantitative, but again you haven’t quantified it.

A. I have not put numbers on it, but one can kind of do intuitive judgments about these things.

(This is mostly a note-to-self in case I ever need to refer to these things. But I hope my readership enjoys it!)

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One Response to Funny Moments from the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Trial

  1. Alex Rathbone says:

    Thanks for making that “note to self” publicly accessible. I definitely enjoyed it.
    It totally cracked me up!

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