On today’s ID the Future biologist Michael Behe and Philosophy for the People host Pat Flynn conclude their conversation (posted by permission here) about some of the best objections to Behe’s central case for intelligent design. One objection Behe and Flynn tackle in this episode: the idea of evolution overcoming the irreducible-complexity hurdle through co-option. That is, maybe the precursors to what would become one of today’s molecular machines, such as the bacterial flagellum motor, co-opted simpler machines being used for other purposes, allowing evolution to build a bacterial flagellum motor one small step at a time over thousands or millions of generations, even though the completed bacterial flagellum ceases to function at all when just one of its many key parts is removed. Behe has illustrated the idea of irreducible complexity with a mechanical mousetrap. Take away just one of its several key parts and it ceases to function even a little bit as a mousetrap. Evolutionist Kenneth Miller counters by noting that parts of the mousetrap could have served other purposes, such as a paper weight or a tie clip. Listen in to hear Behe’s explanation as to why such imaginative reasoning is no help to the evolution of irreducibly complex biological wonders like the bacterial flagellum. At the end of the conversation, Flynn points listeners to a web page where he has gathered his several conversations with Behe over the years, including two that involved debates with pro-evolution guests. That page is here. Flynn also calls attention to Behe’s four books, including his latest one, where he answers many objections posed by his critics, with many of the critiques appearing in high-level science journals. The book is A Mousetrap for Darwin. You can get it here and here in hardcover, paperback, or Kindle/eBook.
Today’s ID the Future concludes our series on A Mousetrap for Darwin, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe’s new book on evolution and intelligent design. Here Behe and host Eric Anderson tackle an objection to Behe’s work from evolutionary biologist Larry Moran. Moran says that while the Darwinian process may find it difficult to find any particular solution requiring evolutionary innovation, there are countless possible solutions to a given problem, not just the one solution that evolution did hit upon and that is under investigation. According to Moran, Behe failed to take this into account, a factor that greatly enhances the chances of blind evolution to engineer novel solutions to ecological challenges. Behe counters that Moran’s objection misses the force of the evidence gained from the study of evolution in the malaria parasite and in other microbes. That evidence shows that evolution is extremely limited in what it can achieve, no holds barred, no possible solutions disallowed. Behe also discusses recent research confirming Dollo’s Law, why that’s bad news for Darwinism, and why Behe’s time-symmetric Dollo’s Law spells even bigger trouble for Darwinism.
On this ID the Future, Michael Behe continues discussing his new book, A Mousetrap for Darwin, with host Eric Anderson. Here the focus is the blood clotting cascade. Behe has argued it’s irreducibly complex, like a mousetrap, and that blind evolution couldn’t build it one small functional step at a time. Behe says a better explanation is that it was intelligently designed. His critics have responded to his argument over the years. Here Behe returns the favor. His most prominent interlocutor on the matter is the recently deceased Russell Doolittle. Behe shows that Doolittle misread the paper he relied on to refute Behe. Professor Behe also responds to Kenneth Miller and Keith Robison. According to Behe, his critics have managed to provide little more than hand waving, smoke screens, and the sweeping of crucial problems under the rug. Tune in to catch some of the back and forth, and for a deeper dive into this challenge to modern evolutionary theory, pick up a copy of Behe’s new book.
On this ID the Future, Michael Behe responds to the attacks on … his mousetrap. Behe used the common mousetrap to illustrate the idea of irreducible complexity, showing how various mechanical contrivances need all of their main parts to function, and to show how irreducible complexity poses a major challenge to Darwinism’s idea of gradual, step-by-step evolution of some biological machines. Most of the attacks on Behe’s argument have focused on the irreducibly complex biological systems he spotlighted, such as the outboard motor known as the bacterial flagellum. But some of his critics fixated on the mousetrap itself, and argued that the mousetrap wasn’t actually irreducibly complex. Behe rebuts these counterarguments and explains why he’s convinced they fail. The discussion is just a brief sampling of the deeper dive Behe takes in his newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin.
On this ID the Future, Michael Behe continues discussing A Mousetrap for Darwin, his newest book. Understanding of the cell has grown “by leaps and bounds” since the 1990s, when Behe’s first book appeared. Fresh discoveries have revealed ever more complex structures inside the cell. As Behe explains, it isn’t just the bacterial flagellum that’s irreducibly complex; the “hook” region inside the flagellum is, too. Evolution’s proper place of study has moved from gross anatomy and population genetics to biochemistry. In his conversation with host Eric Anderson, Behe says that intelligent design theory’s predictions are coming true over time, while for every step of increasing knowledge, it gets “worse and worse” for the theory of evolution by undirected unintelligent processes. Purchase his latest book here.