Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In a paper dating back a few days, John Derbyshire remarks on Tom Bethell's paper about the AEI conference on Darwinism. Derbyshire recalls the exchange as follows:

If a graduate student came to you and said: 'You know, I've got this great idea for a possible evolutionary pathway for the bacterial flagellum. I think I could figure it out and I've got an idea for some experiments that would test this. Would you recommend me to go along with that?' And Michael said no. Which left me stunned. This is obscurantist.

Bethell responded thusly:

I sent Behe an e-mail. Could he verify this account? No, he could not. "John Derbyshire is imagining things," he wrote back. "I would never have said such a thing. I welcome experiments into evolutionary pathways. It has been my experience that the more we know, and the more experimental work is done, the less and less plausible Darwinian mechanisms become."

Chapman, also present, recalls no such exchange with Behe.

Derbyshire then responded:

So far as my exchange with Michael Behe is concerned, I reported it as I recall it. I distinctly recall his answering "No" to my question, as the answer startled me. I had not expected him to be so blunt. It is possible, I suppose, that he mis-apprehended my question -- there was some crosstalk going on at the time. I know what I asked, though, and I know what he answered. If anything got lost there, I don't feel at fault, though I should be sorry to think that anyone -- even a creationist -- believed himself traduced by something I said in good faith. I should be especially sorry in the case of Professor Behe, who strikes me as the least shifty of a very shifty bunch. At least he had the guts to show up and give evidence at Kitzmiller.

Mr. Bethell responds (in the same article):

Mr. Derbyshire's bitter hostility to intelligent design is so great that he is unable to think straight on the subject. Now he tells us that Michael Behe may have "misapprehended" his question. It is certain that he did, for no intelligent-design theorist is opposed to any scientific research. That research is all tending to support, not weaken the claims of intelligent design. It is convenient for JD to think otherwise, for he is determined to represent intelligent design as another name for "creationism." He has fixed that idea firmly in his head, because he believes that it is the best way to discredit intelligent design.

Here's the problem: where is the research? One paper doesn't do it. I have the paper. Time to see what it says.

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