Behe's Critics in Cahoots?
Michael Behe has a new blog series up responding to Nick Matzke's review of his book in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, in three parts:
As Behe notes, this review of Edge of Evolution is a real doozy, "a tediously disdainful review of The Edge of Evolution which revisits the blunders of previous reviews while adding new ones."
It's only when we get to Part 3 of his response that Behe reveals the identity of the reviewer to be none other than Nick Matzke, formerly of the NCSE. Behe thinks this is worth mentioning:
As its website proclaims, the NCSE "is a not-for-profit, membership organization ... working to keep evolution in public school science education." In other words, the NCSE is an organization dedicated to actively fighting concepts like ID. Folks who associate with the Center, both staff and volunteers, are self-selected to be antagonistic toward those who challenge evolutionary theory. Listed on its website as official "supporters" of the NCSE are Sean Carroll, who reviewed The Edge for Science; Kenneth Miller, who reviewed the book for Nature; and Michael Ruse, who reviewed it for the Globe and Mail. About the only reviewer for a major publication who isn't associated with the NCSE is Richard Dawkins!Remember that our friends at the NCSE are the same people who were caught red-handed by a congressional investigation spying on Dr. Sternberg for the government and working to remove him from his post at the National Museum of Natural History.
The negative reviews of Behe's book have a lot in common, but perhaps the most telling thing about them is the way they continually fail to engage Behe's argument. While Behe's Amazon blog documents his many responses to these reviews and the conversation his argument has provoked, his critics haven't given him much to work with. As he puts it,
in my estimation, the NCSE reviewers, true to the organization's aims of battling evolutionary unorthodoxy wherever it may be found, wrote hatchet jobs. Rather than engaging the book, they wanted it to just go away as quickly as possible. That's an intellectual shame, but doesn't affect the reality of life and the universe, both of which, we increasingly realize, are much more finely-tuned and much more elegantly arranged than previous generations of scientists ever knew.