Sunday, June 03, 2007

Mark Chu-Carroll at "Good Math, Bad Math" has posted a review of Michael Behe's new book "The Edge of Evolution" under the heading "Behe's Dreadful New Book: A Review of 'The Edge of Evolution'". Mark makes the claim that Behe's book is based on bad math - "a mathematical argument that I've specifically refuted on this blog numerous times", as he says. Personally, I'm not brilliant at math and I haven't read Behe's book, so I can't really comment on the mathematics on said book. What I would like to comment on, however, is the comments that have been put forth at uncommondescent (June 2nd, 2007) regarding Mark's critique/review. William Dembski starts it all, by posting:

Mark Chu-Carroll* goes after Behe’s new book here. Judge for yourself whether this deserves to be called a review (Chu-Carroll thinks it does). Nick Matzke endorses Chu-Carroll’s blog post against Behe here. Are there any anti-ID writings, no matter how ill-conceived or mean-spirited, that PT won’t endorse? It might be an interesting exercise to attempt a Sokal-style hoax to see what exactly PT is prepared to believe about ID. I herewith offer a prize, worth up to $200, to anyone who can pull this off and afterward reveal that it was all a hoax (the precise amount to be determined by how cleverly it is pulled off).
The last thing Dembski writes is:

Perhaps I’m missing something, but Chu-Carroll’s expertise is in computer programming, where he has a Ph.D. How much math does he actually know?
And this is actually the biggest (and almost only rebuttal) that is made to Mark's review by both Dembski and subsequent commenters. No one attempts to defend Behe's math and no one attempts to rebut Mark's rebuttal. Almost unanimously, people critique Mark's authority as a mathematician. Complaints that Mark's PhD was in Computer Science, not math; DaveScot feels it is important to point out that Mark only managed to get two patents in 10 years; various ad hominems; his review should not be called a review since Mark does not work as a book reviewer and the review was posted on a blog. All in all, nothing that matters.

I have no idea how much math Mark knows. I have no idea how much math Behe knows either. And no one at uncommondescent seems to know either. All we are given is mere rhetoric.


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