Thursday, April 08, 2010

Dr. Michael Behe: Darwin's Black Box

Michael Behe is the bad boy of the scientific community, maybe worse -- perhaps he's the dracula, or even the antiDar! For he has taken on the darwinian community and challenged the consensus science. And, despite withering criticism, he isn't backing down.

This is a report from the recent Science & Faith: Friend or Foes? Conference held at Westminster Theological Seminary and sponsored by the Discovery Institute. Square brackets indicate my comments.

Speaker introduction: Most refutations of Dr. Behe's argument amount to refutation of straw men arguments coupled with hand-waving. His premise is that intelligent design is at the foundation of life [surely something all Christians would agree with?].

Dr. Behe:

Go here for Dr. Behe's NYT one-page op-ed piece "Design For Living".

Five points we will cover:

1. Design is not mystical. It is deduced from the physical structure of a system.
2. Everyone agrees aspects of biology appear designed.
3. There are structural obstacles to darwinian evolution.
4. Grand darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination.
5. Bottom line: 2010 strong physical evidence for design, little for darwinian evolution.

One: We infer design wherever we see parts arranged to perform a function. Recognizing design is not a religious conclusion. The strength of the design inference is quantitative -- two rocks in a row vs. 200 - Old Man of the mountain (a natural phenomenon) vs. Mt. Rushmore.

Two: Dawkins - admits the "appearance of having been designed for a purpose" -- the appearance of design is overwhelming. But this is dismissed as maya - the illusion of design.

Three: Darwin's challenge - "if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly be formed by numerous successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down".

Behe: "Let's take Darwin at his word". [Note: I think this is the Achilles' heel of Behe's approach (not his science). All darwinists need to do to counter Behe is present speculative "could haves", while utterly failing to show that the "could haves" were either a) actual, or b), even remotely likely. As long as it is not "impossible", darwinism stands]

Behe coined the phrase "irreducible complexity", and uses the mouse-trap as an illustration in everyday life, and the bacterial flagellum in biology. "This is a real molecular machine -- not [merely] 'like a machine'."

Cell - cells are viewed by molecular biologists as complex macromolecular machines.

All machines are designed.

Four: Oxford University Press, The Way of the Cell: Molecules, Organisms, and the Order of Life. Franklin M. Harold. p. 205

Franklin Harold wrote: "We should reject as a matter of principle the substitution of Intelligent Design for the dialog of chance and necessity," and he cites my book, "but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations."

Science follows the evidence wherever it leads -- unless it leads to God.

Five: Inductive (In-duck-tive) argument. (If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...). This is the kind of logic normally used in the sciences.

A conclusion of intelligent design is rationally justified.

* * *

Darwinism is a multi-part theory -- parts may be right, others wrong:
* Common descent -- "interesting, but trivial"
* Natural selection -- "interesting, but trivial -- who can doubt that stronger overcome weaker?
* Random mutation - critical claim -- accidents caused by nobody

Malaria parasite -- single-celled parasite -- infects red blood cells, multiplies - 20 becomes 400 becomes 8000 etc. Little draculas -- human genome shaped by battle with malaria -- much darwinian evolution proceeds by breaking old genes.

The much-maligned, thoroughly likeable Dr. Behe is author of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism.

Next up: Stephen Meyer.


Human Ape said...

Michael Behe is the bad boy of the scientific community, maybe worse -- perhaps he's the dracula, or even the antiDar! For he has taken on the darwinian community and challenged the consensus science. And, despite withering criticism, he isn't backing down.

Michael Behe is the laughing stock of the scientific community. Behe invokes supernatural magic (he calls magic 'design' as if that makes it less childish) to solve scientific problems. It's pathetic that I have to tell you real scientists do not invoke magic.

Behe isn't backing down because he's a professional liar for Jeebus. He knows he a liar and he laughs at his gullible Christian customers all the way to the bank.

Behe works for the Christian creationist organization called the Discovery Institute, which has never discovered anything, and which exists to try to dumb down science education to accommodate their uneducated Christian customers.

Behe has tenure at Lehigh University so they can't get rid of him, even though he has disgraced his university. The biology department at Lehigh wrote this about Behe on their website. If you read between the lines you will notice their biology department is calling Behe a liar.

Lehigh University Department of Biological Sciences

Department Position on Evolution and “Intelligent Design”

The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function. This commitment carries with it unwavering support for academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also demands the utmost respect for the scientific method, integrity in the conduct of research, and recognition that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypothesis testing, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.

The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of “intelligent design.” While we respect Prof. Behe’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.


Intelligent design is a childish belief in magic, and you disgrace your Christian death cult when you pretend magic is real.

MgS said...

Behe's arguments are an atrocious example of 'argument by credulity' - and his work has holes in it you could drive a truck through.

Taking him seriously is up there with talking to Fred Flintstone for insight into prehistoric human lives.

Kevin Tunnicliff said...

Dear Evolutionists,

Please stop fling angery insults upon a intellectual equal of yourselves. Apparently, he was NOT a idiot before he realised the merit of intellectual design. Why do you think that is so? Hum???

Upon seeing the evidence, evolution sits on a mire of some angry scientists, who know that their THEORIES have no basis.

I enjoy all the hard work of both fields, physhics and biology. Thanks to all the hard scientists and Physicists have done, they have given me more evidence that I was designed and didn't come from a monkey.

Before Dr Behe released his finding on the molecular level evidence of creation, I believed in intelligent design, now though I have even more evidence to prove it. To my biased evolutionist friends out there, move on.

As to holes in evidence, the only holes I perceive, are the ones that are desperately cling on to by those who advocate the fruadulent claims of APE/MAN.
I have personally seen many frauduent examples at the natural history museum in London and others, trying desperately to make a round peg fit into a square hole. If, and emphasize the IF there is so much evidence of our evolving from lower life forms, why falsify evidence to fit???? When are you going to concede defeat, and live in the real world?

Dr Behe don't back down, because you're right!!!

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"