Ken Miller: “Blame the BBC’s bad editing”
|March 25, 2007||Posted by William Dembski under Darwinism, Evolution, Intelligent Design|
Two days ago I commented on a post at evolutionnews.org that seemed to catch Ken Miller red-handed in misrepresenting my work on specified complexity (go here for my post). Specifically, on a BBC program titled THE WAR ON SCIENCE, Miller is seen, right after I was shown speaking on probabilities, commenting on the use of probabilities by ID proponents to underwrite ID. Given what I’ve written on this topic and given what Miller said on the program, if he were commenting on my work, there’s no question it would be a blatant misrepresentation.
Now Miller is claiming that he was not commenting on my work at all. Rather, this was all the BBC’s fault. Miller claims that through bad editing, it only appeared as though he was commenting on my work. Here is his letter to Jeremy Mohn at the Panda’s Thumb explaining why he wasn’t really addressing my work at all (SOURCE: go here):
Thanks very much for your note. I apologize for the day long delay in answering. I spent much of today debating ID with John West of the Discovery Institute (at a conference in New Hampshire), and that slowed me down a bit. Also, before replying I wanted to look at the portion of the BBC documentary in which these comments were made to refresh my memory. I also reviewed the transcript of my testimony in the Dover trial.
If you take care to read my actual words, you will discover that the name Ã¢â‚¬Å“DembskiÃ¢â‚¬Â does not appear in them. I was not referring to any specific argument made by Bill Dembski when I made those comments, so the notion that I was Ã¢â‚¬Å“distortingÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“misrepresentingÃ¢â‚¬Â him is absurd. How can you misrepresent someone if you never refer to them?
I was interviewed by the BBC Horizons series more than a year ago, and I do not remember the exact question that prompted my response on the issue of probability. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clear, however, that all I was addressing was a general argument one hears from many ID supporters in which one takes something like a particular amino acid sequence, and then calculates the probability of the exact same sequence arising again through mere chance. I generally decline to answer questions about DembskiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“complex specified information,Ã¢â‚¬Â and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exactly what I did at the Dover trial (see end of message for part of the trial transcript demonstrating that point).
Unfortunately, the narration in the BBC program implies that I addressed DembskiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ideas in my trial testimony (which I did not), and then offers my general response as an apparent example of how I handled those ideas. This does mislead the viewer, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unfortunate that the BBC chose to imply I had testified on something I did not. This, however, is a fault in the editing of the program, something over which neither I nor Bill Dembski (who also appears in the program) had any control.
However, the Discovery InstituteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s claim that I had misrepresented Dembski is absolutely false, and they should know better.
PS: Please note how I actually reacted to questions regarding DembskiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ideas when Richard Muise (attorney representing the Dover Board) brought them up in my cross examination:
Apologies are therefore in order. Miller, far from blatantly misrepresenting me, was merely setting up a strawman. Way to go.