Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Blog 3: 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 share a common ancestor.
Positive Argument 

Behe's positive (inductive) argument for intelligent design goes something like the following:

1. Certain molecular processes exist that are irreducibly complex.
2. Certain mechanical devices (e.g. mousetrap) exist that are irreducibly complex.
3. Those mechanical devices are a product of intelligent design.
4. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that certain complex molecular processes that are irreducibly complex are a product of intelligent design.

The bulk of Behe's book was spent on supporting point 1 because it is the crux of his argument.  Points 2 and 3 are probably undisputed by proponents of Darwinism, but I'm sure point 1 is disputed.  So, if Behe can succeed in supporting point 1, then point 4 potentially is a reasonable conclusion.

My Conclusions

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  Granted, I'm not an expert in the field of biochemistry, so much of Behe's critique of Darwinism at the molecular level could be unfounded.  But, as far as I could tell his claims are supported enough to be scientifically considered.

Speaking of scientific, I was very pleased to hear that his claims were scientific, rather than of faith.  In fact, issues of faith were only mentioned toward the end of the book when Behe was listing some potential implications of intelligent design theory.


If Behe's argument succeeds, then there is established scientific evidence for intelligence that designed some molecular processes.  This conclusion, I think, is one that Behe could agree with.

What one might notice are the limits of the conclusion.  That there was intelligence behind the design of some molecular processes doesn't say much about the nature of that intelligence.  Therefore, many questions are left for us.  Is the intelligence supernatural or natural?  Omniscient? Omnipotent? Loving? Just? Eternal?

I don't know.  Let's continue to search.

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