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Author Topic:   A Skeptic Reviews Michael Behe's 3rd Book
Posts: 2460
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 6.9

Message 1 of 2 (849346)
03-06-2019 9:52 PM

Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again, by Nathan H. Lents.

He has now written his third book in attack of modern evolutionary theory: Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution (2019, HarperOne). Although his views are well outside the scientific mainstream, this will not stop the efforts of the creationist and ID communities to use Behe’s work to convince school boards that ID is a valid scientific theory.

At several points in Darwin Devolves, Behe makes clear his acceptance of the fact that life has evolved over billions of years and that all living things are related by universal common descent. He also acknowledges how mutation and natural selection have shaped organisms and achieved fitness gains in specific cases. Where he disagrees is the mechanism of how genetic change drives evolution of anything other than the smallest tweaks. Where science has shown that mutation and recombination provide the raw material for all of life’s diversity, Behe maintains that mutations can only break things and an intelligent intervention is required for innovation or even simple gains-of-function.

As is his calling card, Behe holds modern evolutionary theory to an impossible standard, declaring it “insufficient” if we cannot pinpoint every point mutation, every intermediate genetic step, in what order, and in which ancient organisms.

Meanwhile, Behe’s own theory is held to no standard whatsoever, enjoying a vaulted default status as any gaps in knowledge are simply filled by the designer.

First, regarding the title, I had never heard the word “devolve” or “devolution” used in a scientific context until I read this book. Behe means it as the opposite of evolution, which doesn’t make much sense in biology. Outside of science, evolution can indeed mean an increase in complexity or some other form of progress or improvement. PokémonTM can evolve from a lower to a higher form, and so forth. In biology, evolution merely means change in a population over time. This is not a pedantic distinction. […]

Biological evolution does not imply increasing complexity or any kind of progress. Evolution is not directional or goal-oriented whatsoever. It is sloppy, meandering, reverses itself, and favors simplicity just as often as complexity, if not more so.

This review is quite good, and points out numerous flaws and errors in Behe's reasoning and understanding of evolution.

Intelligent Design please.

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq

Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003

Message 2 of 2 (849348)
03-06-2019 9:55 PM

Thread Copied to Intelligent Design Forum
Thread copied to the A Skeptic Reviews Michael Behe's 3rd Book thread in the Intelligent Design forum, this copy of the thread has been closed.

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