Question: But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?
Behe: Yes, that's correct.
(pdf file, approx 200KB)
For the sake of completeness, here is the full context from the source. It's clear what Behe meant, sometime in the past astrology was considered a scientific theory, but has since been discarded as science, as a result of critical scrutiny as every theory should be.
I think the point that Blob wants to make is that we cannot look at a quote in isolation and determine the validity of the speakers position, that is called quote-mining.
"15 Q And using your definition, intelligent design is a
16 scientific theory, correct?
17 A Yes.
18 Q Under that same definition astrology is a
19 scientific theory under your definition, correct?
20 A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a
21 proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical,
22 observable data and logical inferences. There are many
23 things throughout the history of science which we now think
24 to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that -- which
25 would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one,
1 and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and
2 many other -- many other theories as well.
3 Q The ether theory of light has been discarded,
5 A That is correct.
6 Q But you are clear, under your definition, the
7 definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is
8 also a scientific theory, correct?
9 A Yes, that s correct. And let me explain under my
10 definition of the word "theory," it is -- a sense of the
11 word "theory" does not include the theory being true, it
12 means a proposition based on physical evidence to explain
13 some facts by logical inferences. There have been many
14 theories throughout the history of science which looked good
15 at the time which further progress has shown to be
16 incorrect. Nonetheless, we can t go back and say that
17 because they were incorrect they were not theories. So many
18 many things that we now realized to be incorrect, incorrect
19 theories, are nonetheless theories.
20 Q Has there ever been a time when astrology has been
21 accepted as a correct or valid scientific theory, Professor
23 A Well, I am not a historian of science. And
24 certainly nobody -- well, not nobody, but certainly the
25 educated community has not accepted astrology as a science
1 for a long long time. But if you go back, you know, Middle
2 Ages and before that, when people were struggling to
3 describe the natural world, some people might indeed think
4 that it is not a priori -- a priori ruled out that what
5 we -- that motions in the earth could affect things on the
6 earth, or motions in the sky could affect things on the
Q And just to be clear, why don t we pull up the
9 definition of astrology from Merriam-Webster.
10 MR. ROTHSCHILD: If you would highlight that.
11 BY MR. ROTHSCHILD:
12 Q And archaically it was astronomy; right, that s
13 what it says there?
14 A Yes.
15 Q And now the term is used, "The divination of the
16 supposed influences of the stars and planets on human
17 affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and
19 That s the scientific theory of astrology?
20 A That s what it says right there, but let me direct
21 your attention to the archaic definition, because the
22 archaic definition is the one which was in effect when
23 astrology was actually thought to perhaps describe real
24 events, at least by the educated community.
25 Astrology -- I think astronomy began in, and things
1 like astrology, and the history of science is replete with
2 ideas that we now think to be wrong headed, nonetheless
3 giving way to better ways or more accurate ways of
4 describing the world.
5 And simply because an idea is old, and simply
6 because in our time we see it to be foolish, does not mean
7 when it was being discussed as a live possibility, that it
8 was not actually a real scientific theory."