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FW: [at Dover trial] Scientist: Design is science -- Dover school district's defense began Monday with the definition of intelligent design.

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@Ohio.edu] Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 9:37 PM To: Science Education Subject: [at Dover trial]
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 19 12:29 PM
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 9:37 PM
      To: Science Education
      Subject: [at Dover trial] Scientist: Design is science -- Dover school
      district's defense began Monday with the definition of intelligent
      design.

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      The news from the York Daily Record at: <http://ydr.com>


      Scientist: Design is science
      Dover school district's defense began Monday with the definition of
      intelligent
      design.
      By LAURI LEBO
      Daily Record/Sunday News
      Tuesday, October 18, 2005

      HARRISBURG ? Among scientists, it's an unresolved debate: Which came
      first, the
      bacterial flagellum or the type III protein secretion system?

      One is an argument for evolutionary theory.

      The other supports intelligent design, a science expert said Monday.

      For the first time since the trial began in a U.S. Middle District
      courtroom
      three weeks ago, a scientist testified that intelligent design is
      science, one
      based on a fully testable, falsifiable theory.

      Attorneys for Dover Area School District started presenting their case
      with
      Michael Behe, the Lehigh University biochemistry professor who came up
      with the
      term "irreducible complexity."

      In the first nine days of testimony, science experts for the plaintiffs
      argued
      that intelligent design was just revamped creationism based on an old
      premise
      that life is so complex, it couldn't have evolved without a guiding
      hand.

      But Behe, one of the intelligent design movement's most prominent
      voices, said
      they're wrong.

      Just as a mouse trap's working parts reveal a designer, design can also
      be
      determined in nature by the "purposeful arrangement of parts," Behe
      said.

      "Not being able to explain something is not design," he said.

      Behe pointed to the writings of numerous scientists supporting the
      appearance
      of design in the universe.

      As an example, he referred to Oxford University's Richard Dawkins, who
      wrote in
      his book, "The Blind Watchmaker," that "Biology is the study of
      complicated
      things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose."
      But
      Dawkins was writing about what he considers to be a fallacy in the
      intelligent
      design argument. While living creatures may appear designed, most
      scientists
      agree they are actually the products of evolution through natural
      selection and
      genetic mutation.

      Behe spent much of the day trying to refute previous testimony of Brown
      University biology professor Ken Miller, leadoff hitter for plaintiffs'
      attorneys on the first day of the trial Sept. 26.

      Miller and Behe have debated each other numerous times in public forums.
      And in
      his book, "Finding Darwin's God," Miller takes Behe to task for his idea
      of
      irreducible complexity.

      Behe coined the term for the idea that in order for many organisms to
      evolve at
      the cellular level, multiple systems would have had to arise
      simultaneously. In
      many cases, he argues, this is a mathematical impossibility.

      He uses the bacterial flagellum as an example, arguing that for the
      propeller-like appendage to move, between 30 and 40 protein parts are
      needed.
      Removal of any one of those parts causes the system to stop working ?
      just as a
      mousetrap depends on all its pieces to operate.

      Darwinism's theory of intermediate and incremental evolutionary steps
      can't
      explain this, Behe said.

      Miller had testified that if 10 of the protein parts were removed, the
      flagellum would take on a different function, one allowing bacteria to
      inject
      poisons into other cells.

      Behe disputed Miller's assertion Monday, saying it mischaracterizes his
      idea.

      Essentially, Dover's attorney Richard Muise asked, Miller takes
      irreducible
      complexity, applies a different definition, "then claims your concept is
      incorrect?"

      Behe agreed and said that the protein group's different function ? in
      this case
      a "type III secretion system" ? does not discount irreducible
      complexity.

      Miller says the separate purpose is an explanation for how a complex
      system
      might have evolved through genetic mutation and natural selection. To
      illustrate his side of the argument, Miller showed up the first day of
      the
      trial wearing a partially disassembled mousetrap as a tie clip. He took
      it off
      before taking the stand.

      Behe also testified that some scientists question which came first ? the
      bacterial flagellum or the type III secretion system. Behe pointed to
      references in which some scientists wrote that they believe the
      flagellum
      evolved first ? which would still leave open the argument that the
      flagellum
      needed all its working parts in order before it could function.

      "Darwinian theory can live with any results," Behe said. "Then it goes
      back and
      tries to rationalize the results post hoc."


      Please see the Ohio Citizens for Science's web page at:


      http://OhioScience.org



      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---
      Steven A. Edinger, Physiology Lab Instructor

      064 Irvine Hall
      Department of Biological Sciences
      steven.edinger.1@...
      Ohio University Office: (740) 593-9484
      Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 Fax: (740) 593-0300
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---

      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************




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      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************
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