on July 25, 2003
I picked up this thinking it was a careful discussion of some unsolved problems in the study of evolution (I saw all those biochemical digrams), but if you've been reading some of the other reviews, you know that it is a book arguing the case for "intelligent design." Behe's argument rests on the notion of "irreducible complexity," the idea that many complex biochemical processes could have no evolutionarily adaptive, simpler precursors. However, he gives no objective guidelines for deciding when something is irreducibly complex; effectively, he says you'll recognize irreducible complexity when you see it.
To help develop this subjective ability to be shocked and awed by the complexity of living systems, he discusses several biochemical processes in great detail. For this part, I give the book three stars. I never cared much for the wet and squishy sciences of biology and chemistry, but his treatment of biochemical processes makes me now see molecular interactions as a bunch of little machines. I can relate to that! And---indeed---we should be awed by the magnificence of these mechanisms. But his statement that these are irreducibly complex involves a leap of faith that those in the intelligent design camp will only be too glad to take and those in the evolution camp will not.
Early in the book I thought he would be making an argument for the weak anthropic principle. That is, living systems are so complex that they could only come about in a universe where the physical laws were set up automatically form complex systems (that eventually can become self-aware and come to marvel at their own complexity). But he gives short shrift to the weak anthropic principle. In fact, he dismisses it in a paragraph or so with the comment that people would probably find the concept silly.
The idea that the universe is set up to self-organize is behind the work of Stuart Kaufmann, whom Behe also discusses. But there is no real substantial discussion of the body of work on self-organization. Rather, he lets Kaufmann represent this body of work, then shoots him down with arguments bordering on ad hominem (e.g., mentioning that Kaufmann's former graduate advisor lambasted him in review of Kaufmann's book).
In short, I don't have any a priori interest in intelligent design, but I would be happy to listen to any carefully reasoned arguments for it where the conclusions followed convincingly from the premises. This book is not such an argument.
on July 13, 2003
This is an excellent book. And it does not have to be a home run in order to make its point. I think the point was well made.
A recent review by Magellan tries to point out some chinks in the book. Here are my responses to his chinks.
I read your review of Michael Behe's book and I must make a few comments to your comments
1.The 'scientific' is not always so scientific. I am a physician and I remember in medical school one of our great professors telling us how much of science needs to be carefully read for it is often full of misrepresentation. One can gaze through the literature and find 'proof' of positions that contradict each other. So Dr Behe did not misrepresent the scientific process.
There are many 'facts' passed down from 'great authorities' that are taken as fact by their 'young turks.' One fact that has been passed down over the years was the thought that the 'brain' cannot recover. There was an Italian scientist who passed this down in the early 20th century and I went to a conference in Italy on Brain Injury at Turin in May 2001 where this was discussed. It made all your young turks squirm in their seats to see such 'bias' passed on as fact.
2. No the argument is not new but just because one side performed poorly in the past does not alter what will be found out as the ultimate truth.Even if Behe does not hit a home run that does not change that he has planted seeds of doubt in a theory quite riddled in circuitous thought-I know therefore I will prove.
2a Dr Behe is not being a philosopher, he is being a scientist.(Perhaps it is others who have this backwards.)
3. I don't think anyone knows what will ultimately be proven about evolution but doubt has been placed. Enough doubt that perhaps the evolutionists may actually have to prove it is not true and that just may not be possible. I used to accept evolution at face value because it was an accepted teaching in every science class I took. Dr Behe's book does bring up a great point about the impossibility of, not the evolution of existing living creatures, but of how life was created in the first place. Do you not cringe at what is passed in the newspaper by scientists on how the human is so similar to the ape by looking at the DNA? The fact that they are 99.999% similar still does not make them the same. An apple is an apple and orange is an orange. Unless something is 100% similar it is not the same and never will be. That such things are sent by the scientific community to the public points to non-scientific circuitous thought.
5. The Bible is the Bible. We are talking about a scientific theory.
6.Being a physician and seeing managed care, perhaps you might be safer if you went to see that Sumerian physician.
7.It is not a book proving God's existence. It is a book that is questioning a theory that is often not open to question by scientists and perhaps it should be.
8. Dr Behe is not a 'Christian Scientist' he is a Biochemist who happens to be a Catholic. I don't think such a contadiction has never happened before. In fact did not questioning of false information once start with a discerning scientist by the name of Galileo who also happened to be a Catholic and is buried in a beautiful crypt in a Catholic church in Florence Italy.
9. This is my close. Doubt is not evil even if it challenges our most closely kept concepts. This will not be the only hard and fast theory that will be rocked with doubt. Let us see what happens....
Anyone and everyone from either side should read this book and make sure that what they argue is not coming from belief but from true true science which is often very hard to do especially in such a field fraught with personal beliefs...
on June 24, 2003
I'm not going to use a bunch of scientific and philosophical mumbo jumbo to impress my readers that I'm qualified to disagree (or agree) with Behe. Behe's valid argument is beautifully simple. It boils down to this: Which came first? The heart or the blood which the heart pumps? Without blood, there is no reason for the heart to have evolved into existence. But without the heart, how could blood have "evolved" into existence. Further, the heart needs the brain in order to function. Which came first, the heart or the brain? Without the brain the heart could not function. But without the heart pumping blood to the brain, the brain would have never had a chance to "evolve" into existence. These organs need oxygen. So which came first? The heart, the brain or the lungs? There are so many other organs and systems that I can go on and on with this. OK. Behe's point is that no matter how "complex" or "simple" the organism is that we are talking about, ALL living organisms are composed of PARTS. Furthermore, these parts are DEPENDENT ON EACH OTHER FOR EACH OTHER'S EXISTENCE. Even the very simplist living organism is composed of multiple parts which had to be PUT TOGETHER INSTANEOUSLY in order to have the living organism. The theory of evolution has been an attempt to explain the existence of living organisms on earth by natural means. But using shrewd common sense and honest science, we know and understand that living organisms are a "design" which had to be INSTANTANEOUSLY put together in order to exist at all. It is therefore no surprise that science supports the fact that human beings suddenly appeared on earth. "Irreducible complexity" is simply a convention for this simple and common sense point.
on June 18, 2003
Michael Behe' Darwin's Black Box is part of a list of recent books that have been causing great damage in evolutionary theory, not to mention the damage that have been caused by evolutionists themselves in the darwinan battles on topics such as gradualism v. saltationism, arboreal v. cursorial or out of Africa v. multi-regional.
Other books in that list are the ones from William Dembski (v.g. The Design Inference, No Free Lunch), Jonathan Wells (Icons of Evolution), Werner Gitt (In the Begining was Information) and Lee Spetner (Not by Chance), Michael Denton (Evolution, a Theory in Crisis) and Richard Milton (Shattering the Myths of Darwinism). To this we might add authors such as the Hugh Ross, three Morris, Gish, Ham, Sarfati, etc.
Michael Behe studies molecular machines (cilium and flagellum) and concludes for the existence of irreducible complexity that is a sign of intelligent design. He goes on to show that this evidence is generally denied on the basis of naturalistic assumptions, both metaphysical and methodological, and not on the basis of the weight of empirical evidence in itself.
Will Darwinian rethoric save darwinism from its present crises? No it won't, because, as even Richard Dawkins would admit, "designoids" are everywhere and they surpass in complexity everything that the human inteligence (including that of all the Nobel Prize winning scientists together) can produce. Appearence of design is overwhelming in nature and evolutionist's just-so stories, algorithms, and computational simulations just can't account for them. Evidence of design just won't go away.
Complex specified information and irreducible complexity, generally recognized as signs of intelligence, are an integral part of nature. You cannot really understand all the features of nature without postulating an intelligence. As you cannot understand the existence, character and functioning of a Ferrari without considering the work and influence of Enzo Ferrari.
As a purely materalistic account of Shakespear, based on monkeys and typewriters, could not account for the literary meaning and purpose of Hamlet, so a purely materialistic account of nature cannot understand some of its most important features, functions and purposes, much less account for the personal, moral and ethical conscience of human beings, as well as for their intelligence, creativity and desire to know and understand the world.
Will intelligent design theorists offer a satisfactory alternative to darwinism? I doubt, because there are many other things that need explaining for which intelligent design simply has no answer, or is not bold enough to suggest one.
The only plausible alternative view to darwinism that really works both scientifically, historically, anthopologically, morally and theologically is biblical creationism, based on a model of special creation, fall, curse, global flood, Babel, dispersion and rapid speciation, etc. Just like the Bible says. Will this view ever be acceptded? I doubt (even considering its powerful arguments). That is because this view contains an element that is totally scandalous to the rational humanistic mind: the need for an unconditional trust in God's Word, as being the begining of all true wisdom and knowledge.
By definition, a sinful mind will alawys engage in God-avoidance and God-evasion. In dealing with operational science, it doesn't really matter much whether you accept God's word or not, because you are dealing with observation. But in origins science, when one is dealing to a great extent with facts that only God could have observed, (no man has ever seen particles to people evolution!) believing or not believing in Gods word makes all the difference.
Apart from Biblical creationism, what we will get is an endless debate between evolutionism and intelligent design on topics such as bad and good design, the generation of information, the fossil record, the origins of man, ultimately inconclusive.
on June 4, 2003
If this was just a book on molecular biology it would be a well-written book. I learned some things from it, and Behe knows the subject better than I do (my background is more in neurobiology), and he writes well and interestingly, when he sticks to that subject.
However, the book has so many other problems that it's difficult to know where to start, but I'll try. As others have already pointed out Behe's lack of expertise in evolution and even some errors in biochemistry, I'll stick to other things.
The first problem is his argument from design. There are actually several problems with this.
1. First, Behe misrepresents the scientists' attitude. They are not, as Behe writes, hiding in fear that the massive evidence for design will get out and embarrass them someday. Unlike religion, science is more a field of up-and-coming young turks rather than vested, old interests, and if there were something there, every young buck would be climbing on the bandwagon and twitting his seniors with it. Trust me on this, having been a hopeful young turk once myself.
2. The second thing is that Behe obviously sees himself as the path-breaking bringer of this message to a fearful scientific community which is conspiring to keep it a secret. Hardly. In fact, religion has never recovered from the triple blow that evoution, historical geology, and cosmology have dealt it--since all three sciences conflict with the Bible's view of things.
Also, if Behe were as good a philosoper as he is a biochemist, he'd know this argument isn't new. If fact, it goes back about 800 years to Thomistic philosophy, or the "teleological argument." Here it is: "The world exhibits order. Where there is order there must be an orderer, hence, God." If one subtitutes "designer" for "orderer" you have Behe's argument. Not a big deal, but nevertheless, Behe was hardly the first to notice this.
3. But the biggest problem is the idea of "irreducible complexity" being an argument for intelligent design. As another perceptive reviewer here noted, something that is ridiculously complex is hardly evidence of intelligent design, such as the extremely complicated and Rube Goldberg-like blood-clotting mechanism Behe discusses. This revewer points out that as inventions, the AK-47 and the Uzi are examples of very simple, but elegant mechanical designs which are still among the best.
Therefore, a similarly elegant-in-its-simplicity blood-clotting mechanism would be better evidence for "intelligent design." The blood-clotting mechanism is so Byzantine that it seems more likely a product of the typical evolutionary process of many false starts and dead ends, with old mechanisms that weren't totally obsolete being preserved, and new developments just being added on as needed. Evolution is conservative, after all--again, not a quality associated with Godlike, intelligent design.
4. Which brings up another problem. Creationists complain that evolution seems capricious and random. Well, it is in many ways, which is why the blood-clotting mechanism is the way it is--needlessly complex--again, hardly evidence of intelligent design. But you can't have it both ways.
5. The Bible may be a great book, but it contains nothing special in the way of scientific knowlege that wouldn't have been known by illiterate sheep herders thousands of years ago, which is what the Hebrews were initially, from the foothills of the Zagros Mountains in southwestern Iran, from where they migrated south to the ancient Cities of the Plain about 4000 years ago. Obviously there's been a lot of progress since, in everything from medicine and biology to chemistry to physics and cosmology. If there was one statement in the Bible that seemed like it might be from a more advanced being in terms of the knowlege, you'd have something, but there isn't. It's all very low-level stuff, as you might expect.
6. Which leads to another similar issue. If you were going to a doctor, would you want a Sumerian one from 4000 years ago, or a modern, scientifically advanced physician? The same goes for something like a horse-drawn chariot vs. a modern car. Which would you prefer? What I'm saying here is that it seems hypocritical for Christians and Creationists especially to be willing to accept all of science and technology's many advances and then to complain when one area, evolution, conflicts with their beliefs. I'd be more impressed if they rejected everything from science and lived very primitively. At least they'd be consistent in their beliefs, rather than taking such a sour grapes attitude toward one science that they don't like, when they're perfectly willing to accept the many benefits from all the others.
7. Creationists obviously like this book as it seems to propose a scientific basis for believing in God. As we've seen, Behe failed in that attempt. However, there was no need for Behe, anyway. Einstein believed in God. And Behe's reputation is so much less than Einstein's that I see no need for Behe at all. If one needs an authority who was a believer, you can't do better than Einstein. So why not just believe because of Einstein and be done with it?
8. My final problem with Behe is that, although I don't know his beliefs personally, it seems pretty obvious that he's a Christian scientist. No problem with that, as long as one keeps one's science separate from one's religion. Otherwise there's the temptation to filter and distort the scientific facts in order to support one's own preconceived view of reality, which is exactly what happened in Darwin's Black Box.
9. Finally, I'd like to close this discussion with something from one of Paul Tillich's books. (Yes neurobiologists occasionally read Tillich. At least this one does). Tillich was one of the most brilliant theologians and philosophers of the 20th century. His little book, The Dynamics of Faith (which is only about 140 pages) is packed with much of the best that Tillich's subtle and profound mind had to offer. The chapter, "The Truth of Faith," is probably the greatest essay on the attempt to reconcile faith with reason, and how an intelligent man can be religious ever written, a subject which goes back at least to St. Augustine's The City of God over 1500 years ago.
Tillich understood implicitly that faith that needs or attempts to justify itself isn't true faith. Tillich understood that science and faith are inherently different and can't be reconciled. In that sense, Tillich is smarter than Behe, who does faith an injustice by trying, however ingeniously (more like disingenuously), to put it on a rational or scientific basis.
Tillich's other important idea in this chapter was that faith can become a transformative and even transcendent force in people's lives. As another reviewer of the book put it so perceptively, "Faith is creative precisely because we act even though we cannot be entirely sure of the outcome. This is the Faith that creates science and art, and produces miracles in everyday life. When that Faith is attached to life's ultimate concern, it becomes sacred and holy."
Anyway, just a few comments on a book that has sparked much unnecessary controversy, since there's nothing especially controversial about it. But I give Behe 3 stars (which is being generous) for overall writing well and for providing some diverting although ultimately fallacious arguments for the existence of God.
on June 2, 2003
Some months ago, I wrote a previous review of Behe's book. The review was long and technical because of the molecular biology involved, and so probably very few people actually read it. So I thought I'd take a dfferent tack with this one, discussing the philosophical aspects of Behe's idea, which are easier to present.
However, there's some technical philosophy here, too, so I apologize in advance for that--but at least it's easier than the molecular biology.
Behe's basic idea comes down to asserting that molecular biology is "irreducibly complex," and that this is evidence of Divine design and intervention. The question is, is this argument valid? If you're already a believer, then Behe is just preaching to the choir, and there's no need to convince anybody. If one is not, then the argument has some interest. So the question remains, is it valid? So let's take a look at that.
This argument, although interesting, isn't new, and in fact is quite old, going back 800 years or so to Thomistic philosophy. Actually, there are two such related arguments, but Behe's idea is really a variation of one of them. The first is the "teleological argument," which can be summarized as follows, "The world exhibits order. Where there is order, there must be an orderer--hence God." If one substitutes the word "order" with "designer," then you have Behe's argument in a nutshell, and you don't need to read all the technical molecular biology to understand it all. It's basically quite simple.
For completeness' sake, I'll mention a second classical argument that has some relevance here: the cosmological argument. "Neither the world nor any part of itself can be the cause of itself. Hence, there must be a cause not identical with the world, or God." But Behe's idea is really more a variation on the teleological argument, because if one grants that molecular biology is irreducibly complex, it's understood that it can't be the cause of itself, and that God is involved. So the cosmological argument is also implicit in Behe's idea.
Behe's idea is interesting in that it attempts to put this argument for the existence of God on more of a scientific, rather than a philosophical basis. Behe's wish to do that is understandable, since religion has never really recovered from the blow that the three areas of science, Darwinian evolution, historical geology, and cosmology, have dealt it, and so it's interesting to see if science can somehow come to its aid finally.
However, there are problems with that. The first problem is that what counts as irreducibly complex is very subjective. For example, I am a neurobiologist by training, and although molecular biology is indeed complicated and impressive, having studied both areas, I can tell you that molecular biology is not very complex compared to the brain. In fact, it's practical simple. There have been 1000-page books written on very small brain areas (having had to read some of them), and the human brain is composed of more than 14,000 major and minor brain centers and pathways. So although molecular biology is no doubt an impressive and interesting area on its own, it still can't hold a candle to the brain, and I know of no neurobiologists who think that the brain is evidence that God exists.
Hence, Behe's argument is really a relative, subjective one in terms of the complexity criterion, which lands him on sort of a slippery slope--which isn't where he wants to be.
The second problem with Behe's idea is that even if we grant that molecular biology has come to the aid of religion here, the three other sciences of evolution, geology, and cosmology all conflict with the Bible's version of things. The theory of evolution, the historical geology of the earth's past, and the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe all conflict with the Bible's story. So if we just tally the votes here, it's still 3 to 1, with molecular biology the only science throwing its weight on the side of religion.
Well, this is already a long review too, just like my molecular biology one. So I will stop here and just say I hope you enjoyed my review on the philosophical aspects of Behe's book.
on May 29, 2003
The most unfortunate thing about this whole debate over Anti-Evolution or Intelligent Design Theory is its irrelevance. Sure, many people love a good argument, but the future of science isn't going to be determined by websites, debates, or magazine reviews of IDT tracts. The lab is the crucible of scientific progress.
Michael Behe has said that IDT ranks as one of the most significant discoveries in the history of science. The opposition that IDT receives from the scientific establishment, then, can be characterized as the last gasp of an outmoded paradigm. Whether I agree with IDT or not, I know that Materialism and Naturalism aren't going to roll over and die unless IDT delivers a fatal blow where it counts: in the lab. If the supporters of IDT want to win over the public, the school system, and the scientific community, they really need to show the evidence in support of their theory that they claim is missing from the naturalist Darwinian paradigm.
Galileo, Kepler and Copernicus didn't replace the prevailing model of the geocentric solar system simply by publishing controversial books and engaging in public debates. They predicted planetary motion and the evidence proved them right. Heliocentrism works, and every amateur astronomer now knows when to expect his next view of Mars or Venus. Okay, it wasn't until three hundred years after Galileo was cowed into recanting his testimony that the Vatican admitted its mistake, but progress doesn't always happen overnight. Behe might not live to receive his Nobel Prize, but if his theory is correct, history will vindicate him.
Pasteur brought biology out of the Dark Ages not by making public attacks against the mistaken notion of spontaneous generation, but by conducting strictly controlled experiments that supported germ theory. Fermentation and vaccination work, that's why Pasteur's ideas are still important today. Behe claims his ideas are important, but if they could be proved to be life-saving or used to support billion-dollar industries, the claim would be self-evident.
IDT supporters claim that Naturalism will go the way of geocentrism and spontaneous generation, and they could very well be correct. The IDT people say that Darwinism is an outmoded paradigm that lacks evidence, and that they should be applauded for trying to further scientific progress against the objections of dogmatists. However, having people like Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe write books in support of IDT isn't enough. Having people like William Dembski concoct mathematical refutations of Darwinism isn't enough. What they need is people like Galileo and Pasteur to deliver evidence that can't be ignored, research that sooner or later has to be confronted, and facts that clearly show how useful their work is. In other words, shut up and prove it.
on May 14, 2003
It seems that Michael Behe is trotting out the oldest horse in the stable of anti-evolutionary arguments, namely the century-old idea of the watchmaker. Here's the way the argument goes: you see a watch sitting in the middle of a field, and exclaim that something must have made it, since the watch is far too complex to have been created on its own. There is no way that the watch could have simply evolved there, so you conclude that a watchmaker must have made it. The only way to disprove this would be to say that there is some way for the watch to evolve.
Behe claims that he respects Darwinian theory, and even that Darwinian processes can account for all of the diversity on the planet that we see today, including the evolution of humans. He draws the line in the sand at molecular machines, however, saying that they are "irreducibly complex", that they cannot be broken down into simpler parts. He proposes that since these machines (such as cilia and blood-clotting mechanisms) are too complex to be formed by evolution, that they must have been designed by an intelligent-designer.
The problem with this argument is that if you draw a line in the sand and say "science can't figure this out", and then science figures it out, you look a little silly. This is exactly what has happened. Since Behe's book has come out, many of these mechanisms have been explained by evolutionary pathways, and those which have not yet been discovered show no signs of being special enough to escape the prying eyes of science.
My main issue with Behe is that he seems to give Christianity a bad name. Not because he makes Christians look stupid (he is obviously quite intelligent), but because he claims that God can only function in arenas outside of man's understanding. This is called "God of the gaps", and it reduces God to smaller and smaller areas which are yet uncovered by science. It is my personal opinion that we shouldn't have to relegate God to those narrow places that we do not yet understand, but instead celebrate the fact that a universe has been created where life was able to emerge. One of my professors told me that "I worship a God who is as present in nature as He is in miracles". I think I agree with him.
on May 1, 2003
It is truly remarkable that the ardent evolutionists often seem to try to categorize those who don't believe in spontaneous
generation (from inorganic material yet) as being non-scientists or non-scientific. This mindset can easily be demonstrated by simply reading some of the one star reviews given for this book and others that are raising some big red flags over what evolutionists are trying to pass of as "scientific".
What fuels evolution is not the "facts" but rather the idea that all things must come about as the result of natural (therefore
non-supernatural) causes. This idea precludes the existence of
any metaphysical creator who willed things into being using
supernatural methods. Therefore, evolution must be true, not because the "facts" support it, but because it is arguably the only seemingly plausible method for explaining the existence of life apart from a designer. This is why an intelligent, well
educated adult will freely admit that a space shuttle is too complex to ever make itself or be produced by random processes (let alone without any starting raw materials for construction), not even if given billions of years; yet they will turn right around and say that a living human body is in fact the result of purely random processes governed by time and chance (as if chance is some kind of governing force rather than a powerless concept). If everything requires a natural cause, then naturalistic evolution or something like it must be true.
What Behe does in this book (and others have argued) is to aptly demonstrate that the idea of irreducible complexity poses a huge problem for the theory of naturalistic evolution (all one star reviewers aside who like to talk about how "unscientific" Behe is yet can't counter his arguments). Although evolutionists always like to throw the term "creationist" at people with all of the baggage that goes along with religion, this book has nothing to do with espousing religious doctrine other than implying that an intelligent designer/creator of some sort is the source of life on earth and not random chance and processes . Behe simply and forcefully argues that organisms have complex components that require interdependency and simultaneous existence for them to function. Without this complex interdependency, the organism will not function as observed. There is a point of irreducible complexity at which all components must be in place for the organism to function. There is no way apart from some form of intelligent design that a number of very complex components (by the way, components many times more complex than the space shuttle) would or could ever all develop simultaneously in order for the organism to funtion.
Certain components could possibly be removed for the organism to function, but at some point nothing more can be reduced for the
organism to function. You can take a wiper blade off of a car, you can remove a headlight, you can remove the windows, you can take off the hood and trunk, you can do all of this and more and the car will still be able to perform its primary function; it will still be able to move under it's own power and be under your control, and it will still get you from A to B. However, if you remove the transmission, the pistons, connecting rods, lifters, camshaft, crankshaft, spark plugs, electrical system, fuel pump, axles, tire rims, etc, if any of these components are not there, the car will cease to function. All of these components must be in place or the car will not work. If the car evolved without intelligent design or input, all of these required complex components would have to have come into existence at the same time by purely random chance otherwise the car wouldn't work. Now, compared to the complexity of even the simplest living organisms (which are more complex than the space shuttle), the components of an automobile are incredibly simple. There is no way that even given billions of years that the multitude of incredibly complex components would ever or could ever simultaneoulsy come into existence without intelligence in order to create a funtional whole. Since
evolutionists still want to cling to their naturalistic mindset,
they just wont't budge. To them man is the be all and end all,
and that's all. The belief that all of these complex components would or could come into simultaneuous self existence takes a great deal more faith than believing that an intelligent designer was the source.
Take the time to read Behe's book and the works of other learned men. Many scientists don't believe that naturalistic evolution is supported by the given "evidence" (yes, there really are scientists who don't believe in evolutionary spontaneous generation). Many recent discoveries such as studies on DNA are showing design at every level and are challenging evolutionary
on April 29, 2003
This book is a bit of a joke. The Intelligent Design Antievolutionists (or Neo Creationists) are a bunch of people who have little knowledge of their own disciplines and none at all of others'. Behe is probably a good biochemist or is he not even that? Because Behe doesn't seem to have any idea about the work done on RNA over the last 35 years or for that matter on blood clotting, protein synthesis and other areas of research. Har Gobind Khorana the 1968 Nobel Laureate who worked on protein synthesis today works on the protein sequences in the development of vision. He is only one among literally 1000s of scientists the world over working on protein synthesis. And this is just a small part of the work underway on evolution. One would think a (putative?) scientist like Behe knows these developments unlike his pseudoscietific colleagues - Dembski, Wells and Johnson. Unfortunately Behe shows himself to be ignorant of any modern developments and instead piles on analogy upon analogy in an attempt to prove his hollow theory of irreducible complexity. Behe has fared very poorly in debates with other scientists and can do little else but trot out his by now refuted and discredited arguments. Instead of trying to convince us of a harebrained theory like Creationism Behe is better off producing some serious research. It is not surprising that some unscientific popular magazines have found this one of the most significant books of the 20th century. It is entirely in keeping with the pseudoscience that this book trots out.