Darwin’s Black Box: the Biochemical Challenge to Evolution – Michael J. Behe

Evolutionists outwitted by a cilium.

This is an non-hysterical book presenting some evidence from biochemistry to show that Darwinism doesn’t have all the answers. in fact, Mr Behe’s position is that Darwin’s theory was amazingly forward thinking for its time, but that scientific discoveries have now shown that Darwin’s theory was an important scientific building bblock, but that it is now no more than that. Darwin needed the building blocks of life to be simple, and there isn’t anything simple about life at the cellular level, they are systems of irreducible complexity. Instead of lumps of matter, cells are little biochemical machines that preform a function, reproduce and fix themselves. Amazing. He says: ‘The need for minimal function reinforces the irreducible complexity of the system… Even if a complex system functions, the system is a failure if the level of performance is not up to snuff.’  Mr Behe uses examples of blood clotting and production and deployment of antibodies to show that systems in place are already complex, and could not have evolved through small steps, they had to either be there from the start, fully intact, or appear at the same time.

Mr Behe shows also that despite scientists claiming to be ‘scientific’ in their approach, frequently they adhere rather too tenaciously and unscientifically to theories such as Darwinism just so that creationism doesn’t get a look in. Behe says: ‘if a poll were taken of all the scientists in the world, the great majority would say they believed Darwinism to be true. but scientists, like everybody else, base most of their opinions on the world of other people. of the great majority who accept Darwinism, most (though not all) do so based on authority. Also, and unfortunately, too often criticisms have been dismissed by the scientific community for feat of giving ammunition to creaitonists. it is ironic that in the name of protecting science, trenchant scientific criticism of natural selection has been brushed aside.’

Mr Behe sympathises though, with other scientists on a quest for discovering the origin of life, and expresses the sense of being cheated if it all turns out to be created by an intelligent mind. ‘To an active participant in the search, however, a conclusion of design can be deeply unsatisfying. The thought that knowledge of the mechanisms used to produce life might be forever beyond their reach is admittedly frustrating to many scientists. Nonetheless, we must be careful not to allow distaste for a theory to prejudice us against a fair reading of the data. loyalty to an institution is fine, but bare loyalty is not an argument. ‘

An excellent book, clearly written and containing strong explanations. There is a wealth of detail regarding the three systems he chooses to use as examples – perhaps this would have been better employed if they were spread thoughout the book – although the structure of the book is clear and progresses logically.

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