Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Michael Behe as a propagandist: Robbie's Week 9 New and Hot (and review)

I just read Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box, in which he tries to use the argument of irreducible complexity as evidence of design. I wrote a pretty scathing review of the book on Amazon; I think the Behe was wrong or actually unfounded in making a lot of his claims.

I decided to do a little research on Behe, who's listed as a senior fellow on the Discovery Institute Website. It says that "Behe's current research involves delineation of design and natural selection in protein structures," which basically means that Behe has been doing whatever he can to show that proteins could not have evolved.

One of the peer reviewed articles in favor of design on the DI website was wirten by Behe in the journal Protein Science in 2004. It was called "Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues," with the conclusion that the mutations required for evolution to produce functioning proteins are so improbable that proteins could have not evolved. This was an irreducible complexity argument without the use of the word irreducible complexity.

This article was pretty controversial; in an editorial in Protein Science, the editor concludes:

"Prof. Lynch’s approach of testing the problem raised by Drs. Behe and Snoke within the modern framework of evolutionary biology represents the desirable scientific approach (Lynch 2005, this issue; Behe and Snoke 2005, this issue). As Bruce Alberts wrote in a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times (Feb. 12, 2005): "In evolution, as in all areas of science, our knowledge is incomplete. But the entire success of the scientific enterprise has depended on an insistence that these gaps be filled by natural explanations, logically derived from confirmable evidence."

I guess this is true; this may be part of the desirable scientific approach because other scientists pretty much killed Behe's claim. Still, I think Dawkins has a better point in "The God Delusion:" Behe has devoted his career to developing confusing propaganda rather than finding truth.

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