Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Blog 2: Darwin's Black Box

It has been recommended to me that I read the book called Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.  I plan to do just that, and blog through it until I'm finished.

The book was written by Michael J. Behe, a professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University.  He is an Intelligent Design Theory advocate, and has popularized an argument for this theory from irreducible complexity

He is not a young-earth creationist.  Instead, he believes the earth and universe are billions of years old, and also that all biological life shares a common ancestor.


In chapter 8, Behe shows the results of his examination of the scientific literature that deals specifically with the processes of molecular evolution.

Though there are some journals and textbooks that have attempted to explain the details of molecular evolution, Behe's conclusion is that there is little, if any, published scientific evidence that Darwinian evolution has produced molecular processes.

I imagine that saying this has gotten him a lot of flack. 


Perhaps contrary to Darwin's statement about the falsification of his own theory, Behe says that,
"there is no magic point of irreducible complexity at which Darwinism is logically impossible."
This idea reminds me of an accusation I heard by an ID proponent against a Darwinist, i.e. that whenever there is some genuine scientific ignorance about a specific evolutionary process a Darwinist can always give their fall-back explanation, Darwinism.  This has been called the "Darwinism of the Gaps" argument, which is meant to bring to mind the fallacious argument called the "God of the Gaps."


To close out the book, Behe gives a defense of the theory of Intelligent Design against specific arguments against it.

In my opinion, what was crucial in this part of the book was that it came after Behe had actually made a positive argument for design, rather than only a negative argument against Darwinism.  As I've said before, this is necessary in order to convince people of a theory.  It is not enough to only argue against competing theories.

Therefore, I commend Dr. Behe for putting forth a positive argument rather than expecting that negative arguments against Darwinism should count as positive evidence for his own theory.

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