Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
by Michael J. Behe
Michael J. Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh
University, presents here a scientific argument for the existence of God.
Examining the evolutionary theory of the origins of life, he can go part
of the way with Darwin - he accepts the idea that species have been differentiated
by the mechanism of natural selection from a common ancestor. But he thinks
that the essential randomness of this process can explain evolutionary
development only at the macro level, not at the micro level of his expertise.
Within the biochemistry of living cells, he argues, life is "irreducibly
complex." This is the last black box to be opened, the end of the road
for science. Faced with complexity at this level, Behe suggests that it
can only be the product of "intelligent design."
Booknews, Inc., December 1, 1996
Behe (biochemistry, Lehigh U.) looks at
evidence in biochemistry pointing toward the limits of evolutionary theory,
arguing that the complexity and interdependence of biochemical systems
make it harder to envision Darwin's gradual changes. He asserts that biochemical
machines must have been designed by some type of higher intelligence. Includes
an appendix explaining basic concepts in the chemistry of life. For general
readers. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1996
Behe (Biochemistry/Lehigh Univ.) offers
the thesis that biochemistry provides so many examples of "irreducible
complexity" in nature that not even Darwinian gradualism can explain their
evolution and existence. Intelligent design alone, he says, provides an
answer. He then presents a modern-day version of the kinds of anti-Darwin
arguments adduced a century ago: How could so intricate an organ as the
vertebrate eye evolve through step-by-step chance mutations? Clearly there
must be a designer at work, an eye-maker of an eye, just as there is a
watchmaker for a watch. Behe's contemporary examples are a biochemistry
student's nightmare: How do you make a cilium? Cilia are those fine hairs
that stick out from cells lining the lungs and sweep out debris or, when
attached to a bacterium, allow the bug to swim. The fine structure and
molecular motors that power a cilium are awesome. And what Behe does for
the cilium he does in spades in describing the biochemical events that
occur when you cut yourself and a clot forms, or when your immune system
takes arms against an invader. He emphasizes how each molecular actor must
come on stage and go off in precise order or else the process won't work.
Allusions to Rube Goldberg inventions pale by comparison. But where is
it written that because science can't explain the origins of complex phenomena,
the only answer is design? The history of science is replete with enigmas
that have succumbed to new concepts, new tools, new paradigms. Complexity
theory is in its infancy; Darwinian theory undergoes revisions departing
from gradualism. Nonlinear system theory, self-organizing systems, newly
discovered developmental and regulatory genes are contributing profound
insights into the development of complex organs and systems. Belief that
"irreducible complexity" implies design may comfort the faithful (Behe
is a Roman Catholic), but it is neither necessary nor sufficient for many
other practicing scientists. - Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates,
LP. All rights reserved.
A reader from Chicago, IL,
November 8, 1999
Unmasks Evolution for the Fallacy That
In succinct language, Behe unmasks the sterility
of materialistic philosophies, of which organic evolution is at the head.
A reader from Chicago, IL,
November 5, 1999
Clearly Shows the Design of Living Things
Behe presents evidence of irreducible complexity.
Critics can argue all they want about less complex molecular systems evolving
into more complex ones, but they have not a shred of evidence to support
their materialistic preconceptions. They might as well suggest that: "Well,
just because we don't at present understand how a watch on the beach could
originate spontaneously from sand and water is not evidence that a watch
was purposefully designed." Such is the materialists' pseudo-logic, which
Behe demolishes powerfully.
A reader from USA, October
Behe makes a good case against materialism.
Materialists have still failed to provide
evidence to show that Behe's examples of bio-chemical machines have arisen
naturally. Materialists' only defense so far is rhetoric and emotional
hopes, which is way out of line for scientific refutations. Additionally,
Behe's examples are only part of the story. Materialists are also in the
position to explain how bio-chemical machines made of atoms can experience
emotions, thoughts and awareness, (i.e. the ultimate 'machine' - the brain).
People can start rating Behe's book validly
with 1 star if and when science finally discovers how Behe's examples of
biological machines arose naturally. So far, the mechanisms of natural
selection does not bode well for materialists. Too much rhetoric and emotional
verbiage has been involved in the anti-Behe comments so far. Science is
all about tangible evidence - not emotional hopes and sentimental rhetoric.
Contemporary evolutionary theories like those from Stuart Kauffman and
the Santa Fe Institute are gaining more and more credibility, while the
'blind' forces of natural selection are proving to be futile. This is bad
news for materialists, as it becomes more and more improbable that we got
here by "accident".
Behe's work and observations have been invaluable,
because it shows how immensely improbable it would be that living systems
have arisen 'accidentally'.