Sunday, January 22, 2012

#279: Scott Minnich

Minnich is an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho, and a fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Together with Behe (and Ralph Seelke) he must count as creationism’s biological alibi. In fact, Minnich is the biologist who wholeheartedly swallowed Behe’s idea of “irreducible complexity” in bacterial flagella, which supposedly is evidence of intelligent design (although since ID remains unfalsifiable (partially because Behe and his accomplices counter all counterevidence by moving the goal posts), it couldn’t have been, but that’s another story). Minnich was thus an obvious choice for the defense in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. Part of his contribution to the defense was the fact that the previous year, Minnich and Stephen Meyer had presented a paper to an engineering conference entitled “Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits” and the Discovery Institute lists this as one of its “Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design”. The paper was, however, only reviewed for a conference presentation in engineering. I don’t think that counts insofar as scientific rigor is hardly the only (or even main) criterion for a conference presentation (more on the significance of Minnich’s testimony here). His actual publication record doesn’t show much sign of any support for creationism.

Minnich is also the co-author or “Explore Evolution” with Stephen Meyer (discussed under Meyer).

Diagnosis: Minnich tends to shy away from public debates and it’s hard to say how hard he rides his creationist hobbyhorse (most of his actual work seems to have nothing to do with it). Still, he does lend his credibility to the crazies, and must be denounced for that.

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