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.
On today’s ID the Future Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe addresses what Philosophy for the People host Pat Flynn considers some of the best objections to Behe’s central intelligent design argument. As far back as the 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box, Behe has argued that certain features in biology are irreducibly complex. That is, they require numerous essential parts, each carefully fitted to its task and integrated with the other parts, in order for the molecular machine or system to function at all. Two examples are the bacterial flagellum motor and the blood clotting cascade. Such systems are, in Behe’s words, irreducibly complex and could not have arisen through any blind and gradual evolution process. The better explanation for their origin: intelligent design. Since Darwin’s Black Box became a bestseller a generation ago, Behe has attracted opponents in places high and low. Following the philosopher Alvin Plantinga, Flynn says that some of the attacks on Behe have been hysterical, but some have been more thoughtful. In this series Flynn focuses the discussion on what he regards as some of the more substantive and interesting objections, beginning with one from a noted philosopher who is partly sympathetic to Behe’s work, Plantinga himself. Behe gamely responds. This episode is used by permission of Pat Flynn. To see Behe’s responses to common and key objections collected in a single book book, get your copy of his newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics.
Today’s ID the Future wraps up a debate over evolution and intelligent design between Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe and Benedictine College theologian Michael Ramage. Both Behe and Ramage are Catholic, and they carry on their conversation in the context of Catholic thinking about nature and creation, in particular the work of Thomas Aquinas and contemporary Thomist philosophers. Ramage seeks to integrate his Thomistic/personalist framework with modern evolutionary theory’s commitment to macroevolution and common descent. Behe doesn’t discount the possibility of common descent but lays out a case that any evolution beyond the level of genus (for instance, the separate families containing cats and dogs) cannot be achieved through mindless Darwinian mechanisms and, instead, would require the contributions of a designing intelligence. Behe then summarizes both the negative evidence against the Darwinian mechanism of change and the positive evidence in nature for intelligent design. This debate was hosted by Pat Flynn on his Philosophy for the People podcast, and is reposted here by his permission.
Today’s ID the Future continues the conversation between Catholic intelligent design biologist Michael Behe and Catholic theologian Matthew Ramage. Both agree that nature points to a cosmic designer, but Ramage says he prefers, on aesthetic grounds, the idea that the biological realm has the capacity, gifted by God, to evolve on its own without the need for intervention by God. Behe notes that people have different aesthetic predilections, but it’s the scientist’s job not to figure out how he would have preferred things to have happened in nature, but to discover how they actually did come about. Behe also says that while the sun, moon, and stars do move according to fixed natural laws, it doesn’t follow from this that the many complex forms we find in biology arose purely through natural laws. The question of how they arose requires scientific investigation. Philosophy for the People Podcast host Pat Flynn leads the discussion, which is reposted here by his permission.
On today’s ID the Future, Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe argues that Darwinism was built on a foundation of ignorance. Through no fault of Darwin’s, neither he nor anyone else in his day had a clue about the nature of cellular life and biological information, says Behe. Even the biologists of the Neo-Darwinian synthesis in the first half of the twentieth century were fairly clueless about the foundation of life, Behe says. When researchers did finally begin to unravel the sophisticated foundations of life, earlier notions of how evolutionary processes might have invented the great diversity of life forms on earth were exposed as causally inadequate. Behe says that in fact all the attempts to rescue the idea of mindless macroevolution have been exposed as inadequate by our growing understanding of molecular biology, but evolutionary theory blithely sails along anyway, thanks to institutional inertia. A key defeater of the theory, Behe says, is captured by his concept of irreducible complexity. He explains the idea with a simple illustration, a mousetrap, and then applies it to a marvelous molecular machine that researchers have only recently come to appreciate, the Escherichia virus T4 bacteriophage. As he argues, this bacteriophage powerfully bespeaks the purposeful arrangement of parts, rather than mindless evolutionary processes. The occasion for his conversation with host Casey Luskin is his contribution to the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Image Credit: Dr. Victor Padilla-Sanchez: Atomic structural model of bacteriophage T4 in UCSF Chimera software using pdbs of the individual proteins.
On today’s ID the Future, Casey Luskin further discusses his recent essay, “What Is Intelligent Design and How Should We Defend It,” in the new book The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. In his conversation with host Eric Anderson, Luskin rebuts the claims that intelligent design isn’t science (it is), doesn’t produce peer-reviewed research (it does), and is just a negative argument against evolution. He also offers advice on handling personal attacks and objections that you’ve never encountered before. To consider supporting the work of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and its brave scientists, click here for options.
On this ID the Future, ID biologist Michael Behe continues fielding tough questions from philosophers Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. Here in Part 3 of 3, Behe responds to the claim that some designs in biology are bad designs and to criticisms leveled at ID from some Thomists. Also in the mix, the issue of academic pressure to distance oneself from ID, even before those involved understand what the theory of intelligent design actually is. Madden also asks Behe what reforms he’d pursue if he suddenly found himself in charge of the National Academy of Sciences. Tune in to hear Behe’s response, and much more. This three-part series is borrowed, with permission, from Flynn’s podcast, which can be found on his YouTube channel.
In today’s ID the Future, intelligent design pioneer Michael Behe continues his conversation with philosophers Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. Here in Part 2 of a three-part series, Behe offers an illustration from language and Madden presses him, noting that meaning detection in language is not parts to whole. A lively exchange ensues and then Behe turns the discussion back to his primary focus, detecting design in molecular biological machines by recognizing the purposeful arrangement of parts. From there the conversation turns to everything from epigenetics, systems biology, and autopoiesis to co-option, mousetraps, tie clips, biologist Kenneth Miller, and the philosophers Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. For Behe’s newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin, go here. This discussion is presented here with permission of philosopher and podcaster Pat Flynn.
Today’s ID the Future features Darwin Devolves author and Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe speaking about the logic and evidence of intelligent design with two philosophers, Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. In a friendly, stimulating exchange, Flynn and Madden press Behe with objections — some philosophic, others scientific — to see how well his position stands up to scrutiny from experts who have engaged the subject. Here in Part 1 of a three-part series, Behe counters the charge that ID is an argument from ignorance, and then the three men compare the contemporary design argument to philosopher Thomas Aquinas’s fifth way. For Behe’s newest book, A Mousetrap for Darwin, go here. This discussion is presented here with permission of philosopher and podcaster Pat Flynn.