Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution Paperback – 13 Mar 2006
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"A persuasive book. It will speak to the layman and perhaps even to professional evolutionists as well, if they are able to suspend for a little while their own judgment about origins, the ultimate black box." -- The Washington Times
"An argument of great originality, elegance, and intellectual power. . . . No one can propose to defend Darwin without meeting the challenges set out in this superbly written and compelling book." -- David Berlinski, author of A Tour of the Calculus
"Overthrows Darwin at the end of the twentieth century in the same way that quantum theory overthrew Newton at the beginning." -- George Gilder in National Review
"[Behe] is the most prominent of the small circle of scientists working on intelligent design, and his arguments are by far the best known." -- H. Allen Orr in The New Yorker
"When examined with the powerful tools of modern biology, but not with its modern prejudices, life on a biochemical level can be a product, Behe says, only of intelligent design. Coming from a practicing biologist. . . this proposition is close to heretical." -- The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Michael J. Behe is a Professor of Biological Science at Lehigh University, where he has worked since 1985. From 1978 to 1982 he did postdoctoral work on DNA structure at the National Institutes of Health. From 1982 to 1985 he was Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Queens College in New York City. He has authored more than forty technical papers, but he is best known as the author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. He lives near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his wife and nine children.
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Behe spends too much time noting the pitfalls of evolution at a molecular level without explaining why "Intelligent Design" is a credible alternative. Indeed, like fellow creationists such as his friend Phil Johnson, Duane Gish and Henry Morris, Behe gleefully points out that distinguished evolutionary biologists such as Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould have problems with a strictly gradualist interpretation of natural selection; obviously there must be a serious problem with Darwin's Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection. Yet Behe doesn't demonstrate how "Intelligent Design" would be a credible alternative, asking his readers to accept his judgement, without recourse to logical, scientific explanations.
Scientific theories must explain natural phenomena and create testable hypotheses. Their success is judged on three key criteria. Scientific theories must be falsifiable. If a scientific theory is successful, it should have great explanatory power to account for the natural phenomena it explains. Furthermore, it must produce testable hypotheses - and a successful theory will yield many - for further scientific research. However, "Intelligent Design" fails to meet these criteria. Indeed, Behe doesn't make a case at all explaining why "Intelligent Design" is a scientific theory, or even suggest how it could yield additional testable hypotheses for scientists to ponder.
Instead of reading Michael Behe's book, I'd strongly recommend reading either Philip Kitcher's ABUSING SCIENCE or Kenneth Miller's FINDING DARWIN'S GOD (Chapter 5 contains a very effective critique of "Intelligent Design".). Potential readers of Behe's book should wonder why any credible scientific research on "Intelligent Design" has not been published in reputable scientific journals or discussed at mainstream scientific meetings. Could it be that "Intelligent Design" isn't credible science, but instead, yet another episode in abusing science? For me the answer is obvious, which is why DARWIN'S BLACK BOX has been described correctly by its critics as Behe's Black Box.
(Reposted from my Amazon USA review)
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