On this episode of ID the Future, Jonathan Witt caught up with Darwin’s Black Box author and biochemist Michael Behe at the 2020 Dallas Science and Faith conference, where the two discuss an idea that many wish would just go away, but hasn’t. Charles Darwin himself told us how his evolutionary theory could be overturned: identify a biological system that couldn’t possibly have evolved by “numerous success successive slight modifications.” It’s to Darwin’s credit that he put his theory in “empirical harm’s way,” to quote philosopher Del Ratzsch, but as Witt and Behe note, Darwin also cleverly placed the burden of proof on his opponents, an arguably dubious maneuver given that his proposed evolutionary mechanism has never once been observed to generate a fundamentally new biological form or molecular machine. Still, Behe has taken up the challenge. Listen in as he discusses how his “irreducible complexity” arguments against Darwinism have fared, and for a teaser about an upcoming anthology where Behe directly engages his critics.
On this episode of ID the Future, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe discusses the closing sections of his new book Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. He compares evolutionary biology in Darwin’s time and today to the world of astronomy before and after the telescope was invented. The cell was a black box to Darwin and his contemporaries. Today we can explore that black box like never before, much better even than even two decades ago, allowing us to observe what evolution can actually do at the molecular level. According to Behe, the answer is, not much. Evolution can create niche advantages by breaking certain things, but it doesn’t build fundamentally new structures or new machines. That’s because it can’t do what mind can do. It can’t purposefully arrange things. Behe and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss what it might mean for origins science to again recognize, and allow room in its explanatory toolkit for, the unique causal powers of mind. Finally, Behe reflects on his critics’ confident predictions that they’d have the evidence to refute his groundbreaking book Darwin’s Black Box within 20 years. It’s now been 20 years, so where does the score stand? Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his series with Michael Behe about Behe’s new book Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. Here Behe explains the “Revenge of the Principle of Comparative Difficulty,” According to this principle, evolution it is much easier for evolution to create a new adaptive niche by damaging one or more genes than even the simplest new genes and irreducibly complex structures. Along the way, Behe also explores how biology got enamored of mathematical theory built on “hopeful ignorance” regarding the nature of genes.