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Light-Hearted Monkey Trial


  03:36:20 am, by Nimble   , 441 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Religion, Science

Light-Hearted Monkey Trial

I'm always interested in things that go on south (or, perish the thought, north) of the border here, to see what the latest shenanigans of creationism, or its smartly-dressed, smooth-talking brother, Intelligent Design.

So, the goings-on in the case where the Dover, Pennsylvania school district decided to put Intelligent Design into the curriculum (causing some science teachers to ask that their names be withdrawn as authors of the rest of the curriculum that they designed), has me most intrigued.

When I'm up late at night, flipping through channels, I see the ads for the injury lawyers and the like, and I cringe. Judges seem like they might be a mixed bag. Reading the transcripts of trials like this, though, are a refreshing change from whatever conceptions and misconceptions I have about the professions. Seeing a lawyer in a transcript saying things to Michael Behe like, "And to say this very colloquially, you conclude that it will take a large population a long time to evolve a particular function at a disulfide bond, right?" is utterly surreal.

I took some time to read the whole transcript of the morning of the 12th day of the bench trial, and it's pretty fascinating reading. Well, unless you have no interest in this stuff. There's a lot of interesting whittling away at Intelligent Design concepts. Michael Behe, as the most 'respectable' face of the movement, seems to end up espousing a version of Intelligent Design much reduced in scope from the original party line. Eric Rothschild, the cross-examining lawyer, keeps up much more interesting and varied lines of questioning than I would have expected.

There a fair number of light-hearted diversions in the questioning. Talking about the appearance of design... (Q is the lawyer, A is Behe):

Q. Fair enough. The entire human body, that's an amazing biological structure?
A. I'm thinking of examples.
Q. Hopefully, not mine.
A. Rest assured. Sure. Yes.

Considering the seeming quality of the lawyering, I'm a little surprised that it is being done pro bono (the link has some interesting comments by and about the lawyers).

I'm pleased that two of the lawyers on the side of keeping Intelligent Design out are religious. Much as I may rag on religion from time to time, keeping religion out of schools is not a matter of being "anti-religion". There are good reasons that the state should not mandate religion. The running current of thought of "oh, it will be fine if it's our religion" in some localities may be predictable, but we should not have to put up with it.

I will be interested to see what comes of the trial.

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