Intelligent Design

Mike Behe on The Dennis Prager Show

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Tuesday Aug 05, 2008
Ultimate Issues Hr: The edge of Evolution

Dennis Prager talks to Micheal Behe, professor of biology at Lehigh University and author The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism. Originally broadcast on July 03, 2007

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Don’t miss the last several minutes where Dennis goes ballistic when someone claims that you can’t be a doctor or medical researcher if you don’t believe that random genetic accidents turned bacteria into bananas. It’s hilarious.

I wish either Dennis or Mike would have informed the caller of the fact that no medical school in the world requires medical students to take a course in evolutionary biology. That serves to underscore in no uncertain terms just how important evolutionary biology is to modern medicine.

HT to Gil Dodgen for finding this gem.

16 Replies to “Mike Behe on The Dennis Prager Show

  1. 1
    PaV says:

    Thanks for posting the podcast, Dave. I heard just the beginning this morning, but couldn’t listen to the rest.

    Dennis Praeger almost never gets that upset. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him get so upset. But, he is a logician, and the logic that Darwinist use is a completely empty kind of logic that works only with the already besmitten. I think Dennis was expecting some really damning criticism of Behe, and, instead, got nothing more than a dose of Darwinian illogic. So, he just blew a fuse.

    I like what he said at the end: “Dr. Behe, you can be sure that I will invite you back on my show.” This can’t be anything but bad news for the Darwinistas being that Praeger is a master logician, and will blow holes the size of U.S.S. Constitution in their attempts at opposing Behe’s arguments. Should be fun to watch—or, should I say, “hear”?

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    Dave,

    Thanks for making a new UD topic out of this. I should have thought of that, because it really deserves the exposure. I’ve been a Dennis Prager fan for many years, because he really cuts to the heart of an issue in a no-nonsense kind of way. Note his comments about how he is not qualified as a biologist, but is qualified to evaluate basic logic. Also note his comments about the anti-ID folks, and how he has not detected much of anything in the way substantive arguments or refutations, just blustering and indignation.

  3. 3
    pvoce says:

    WOW! I don’t think I ever heard Prager get that riled up!

    Its refreshing to hear sound minds react so strongly!

    Thanks for the post!

  4. 4
    DaveScot says:

    Gil,

    I meant to give you credit in the article when writing it but forgot by the time I was finished. Fixed it just now.

    I found it rather interesting that Prager, with little specific knowledge of biology, medicine, or theories of evolution, could so quickly figure out that belief in the power of random events to turn bacteria into bipeds finds no practical employment in science & technology. Phil Skell and I have talked about this in emails several times. Phil is very frustrated by the casual acceptance of something that is so totally and obviously wrong as the notion that modern biology is beholden to evolutionary biology. It was a transcript of an interview with Phil a few years ago which first made me really aware of how useless evolutionary biology is to any practical field of science or engineering. Macro-evolution by neo-Darwinian principles simply works too slowly, if it works at all, to have any practical consequence in timeframes of human concern.

  5. 5
    Larry Fafarman says:

    The caller’s comments were very much along the same line as the new Florida science standards’ statement that “evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology” and claims that US technological competitiveness would be damaged by not teaching Darwinism dogmatically.

    A lot of people have beliefs that are similar to the caller’s, though most of those people would not be so blunt as to say that medical schools would have to close down if Darwinism were not completely accepted.

    I really liked the way that Dennis Prager got carried away with statements like, “you can believe in witchcraft and make an antibiotic, you can believe that the earth is on the back of a turtle and make an antibiotic . . .”

    For those who don’t want to listen to the whole show, this particular caller’s comments begin at about 27:20.

  6. 6
    Larry Fafarman says:

    This broadcast is over a year old and it took us this long to find it (better late than never).

    This broadcast ranks up there with Bill Greene’s broadcast about the Wickedpedian control-freak administrators who use arcane Wickedpedia rules to “lawyer to death” people who try to make politically incorrect contributions to Wickedpedia articles (example — expressing your opinion on a Wickedpedia discussion page might be called a violation of the rule against “self-promotion”).

  7. 7
    Rude says:

    Yes, it’s wonderful to see a little indignation at the inane “logic” of the Darwinists.

    We’re constantly told that until ID produces great wonders—break-throughs in science, technology, medicine—as if Darwinism ever contributed anything like that!—that we should just keep our mouths shut. Since when has Darwinism ever given us anything other than grandstanding, obfuscation and materialist bullying?

    Yes, it’s high time that logical souls react with the indignation this nonsense deserves.

  8. 8
    GilDodgen says:

    I thought I remembered Prager mentioning in the past that his brother was an M.D., so I googled it. This might partly explain why Dennis went ballistic about the caller’s comments that one must be a Darwinist to do anything of significance in medicine. Since Dennis and his brother are seriously religious Jews (and can think logically), they undoubtedly don’t buy mud-to-Mozart-by-chance Darwinism.

    Kenneth Prager (b. January 3, 1943) is an American physician. He is Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Director, Clinical Ethics and Chairman of the Medical Ethics Committee at the Columbia University Medical Center.

    Prager is a 1964 graduate of Columbia College and a 1968 graduate of Harvard Medical School.

    Prager is the brother of radio commentator Dennis Prager and the father of Wall Street Journal reporter Joshua Prager.

    Prager has occasionally written newspaper op-eds on medical ethics.

  9. 9
    Larry Fafarman says:

    Dennis Prager’s tirade should have been replayed by someone at the hearings on the proposed new Florida science standards that included the outrageous statement that “evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology.” The sole purpose of that statement was to make what Kansas Univ. professor Paul Mirecki called “a nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies” (“fundy” of course meaning here anyone who questions evolution). Unfortunately, that statement was included in the final version of the standards. The controversy over that statement was completely overshadowed by the controversy over whether to call evolution a “theory” in the standards. Evolution as well as other theories were finally called “theories” in the standards, but the standards also included the non-standard meaning of “scientific theory” as something “well-supported and widely accepted.” That meaning was concocted solely for the purpose of promoting evolution — under the standard definitions of “scientific theory,” there can be weak theories as well as strong theories.

  10. 10
    todd says:

    Here’s a link to the original broadcast mp3 of this Prager interview

  11. 11
    Paul Giem says:

    Larry (5) and Gil (8),

    I agree with your analysis of why Dennis Prager blew a fuse at the assertion that medicine would crumble if Darwinian evolution were discarded. Dennis, for one who confessed his relative ignorance on the subject, was much more (1) upset and (2) confident in his assessment than I was expecting.

    Basically, the caller was insulting Dennis’ brother, and here Dennis had more information than usual. DE may or may not be true, but one can certainly not believe it and still be a good physician. Dennis knows this. He has a perfect counterexample.

    Many of you may not know this, but a (IMO hysterical) editorial got into the New England Journal of Medicine, and the NEJM was overwhelmed with comments to the point where they refused to publish any of them. For a link to the NEJM article, my comment, and a link to a web discussion, go here.

  12. 12
    Larry Fafarman says:

    GilDodgen said (#8) —

    Since Dennis and his brother are seriously religious Jews (and can think logically), they undoubtedly don’t buy mud-to-Mozart-by-chance Darwinism.

    Funny, I didn’t even think of Dennis Prager as being Jewish, but I now find that Judaism has long been central to his career. [1][2].

    You should not automatically assume that all Jews are skeptical of Darwinism — Jews are deeply divided on the issue, as shown in several articles in my blog. The articles are listed under the following “Darwin-to-Hitler” post label lists because the issues are closely related (there are two “Darwin-to-Hitler” post labels because I am limited to a maximum of 20 articles per label) —

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....-to-Hitler

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....%20%231%29

  13. 13
    CannuckianYankee says:

    I too listen to Prager on a local conservative radio station. Don’t know why I bother to listen to most of their programming, but Prager’s show stands out as well researched and well reasoned.

    Dave Scott Stated: “I found it rather interesting that Prager, with little specific knowledge of biology, medicine, or theories of evolution, could so quickly figure out that belief in the power of random events to turn bacteria into bipeds finds no practical employment in science & technology.”

    Well Prager has had Behe on his show before, and I sense that while not a scientist, is well read in this area, so he knows the issues well. I think that he tends to feign ignorance in order to give more explanatory apportunities to the interviewee. I think Prager understands Behe more than he showed in the interview. It is somewhat revealing, though, that nothing was mentioned about Behe’s concept of “irreducible complexity.” Perhaps because of time constraints.

    I also believe that it is somewhat intuitive among theists to pick out the logical flaws of Darwinian random mutation as a mechanism for complexity, and therefore to infer that this mechanism really has no explanatory power in dealing with the research and application of modern medicine. I mean, I’m no scientist, and I figured it out.

    I have never heard Prager get so upset though, and he seemed somewhat apologetic after the commercial break, but still a bit miffed.

    I was going to suggest that he might have been a little less emotional with the caller, but having read the comments here, I can see how the nature of his stance was appropriate to the nature of the caller’s argument. I believe he used the word “stupid” at one point, which surprised me. The only thing I find that could have been handled differently for a more decisive effect, is to have specified an invite to “reasoned” challenges to Behe, as opposed to vitriolic ones.

    And Behe seems to have just sat there gracefully through it all.

  14. 14
    GilDodgen says:

    And Behe seems to have just sat there gracefully through it all.

    Mike Behe is a real saint. He always remains calm, polite and rational, no matter how much hysterical irrationality and abuse he is subjected to. I don’t know how he does it.

  15. 15
    Barb says:

    One question: it’s stated that Dr. Behe is a professor of biology at Lehigh, but I thought he was a professor of biochemistry. Does he teach both subjects?

    Also, on the subject of medicine, I took a university-level anatomy and physiology course in 2006 and one textbook (by Saladin) had points highlighting evolutionary medicine in each chapter. One of the first chapters even had the “parade of hominids” in it.

    See for yourself, under the topic “evolutionary flavor”: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.co.....la_1010777

  16. 16

    Hi Gil,

    Mike Behe is a real saint.

    I agree. I have enormous respect for Mike Behe. ID is very lucky to have him IMO.

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