Michael J. Behe

Michael J.

American Biochemist, Author and Intelligent Design Advocate, Professor Of Biochemistry at Lehigh University and Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture

Author Quotes

During the formation of antibodies from heavy and light chains, there are thus about a million different combinations of heavy chain sequences and about ten thousand different light chains combinations, giving ten billion different antibodies from just 400 genes.

If you search the scientific literature on evolution, and if you focus your search on the question of how molecular machines?the basis of life?developed, you find an eerie and complete silence. The complexity of life?s foundation has paralyzed science?s attempt to account for it; molecular machines raise an as-yet-impenetrable barrier to Darwinism?s universal reach.

Intolerance does not arise when I think that I have found the truth. Rather it comes about only when I think that because I have found it, everyone else should agree with me.. Richard Dawkins has written that anyone who denies evolution is either " ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked - but I'd rather not consider that)". Philosopher Daniel Dennett compares religious belief to wild animals and he says that parents should be prevented from misinforming their children about the truth of evolution which is so evident to him. As the weight of scientific evidence shifts dramatically, this point should be kept prominently in mind. Richard Dawkins has said that Darwin made it possible to be an "intellectually fulfilled atheist". The failure of Darwin's theory on the molecular scale may cause him to feel less fulfilled, but no one should try to stop him from continuing his search.

Like the comet theory for the extinction of dinosaurs, hypotheses for the involvement of an intelligent agent in the development of life or other historical events have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Paley's example of a watch is excellent because the watch was not a black box, its components and their roles were known.

Skin is made in large measure of a protein called collagen.

The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself - not from sacred books. It requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the last 40 years.

The question of whether a given biochemical system was designed boils down simply to adducting the evidence to support design.

There are laws of biological reproduction, mutation and natural selection. If a biological structure can be explained in terms of those natural laws, then we cannot conclude that it was designed. (but it still may have been).

Undirected chemical reactions overwhelmingly produce undesired products and shapeless goop on the bottom of the test tube.

Each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were simple actually involve staggeringly complicated biochemical processes that cannot be papered over with rhetoric. That is not to say that random mutation is a myth or that Darwinism fails to explain anything (it explains microevolution very nicely).

In addition to requiring eight different raw materials) the synthesis of AMP takes thirteen steps and involves twelve enzymes, one of which catalyzes two steps. All 13 steps occur to produce just one kind of molecule. (Intermediate chemicals produced along the way play no other independent role in the cell.

Is the conclusion that the universe was designed - and that the design extends deeply into life - science, philosophy, religion, or what? In a sense it hardly matters. By far the most important question is not what category we place it in, but whether a conclusion is true. A true philosophical or religious conclusion is no less true than a true scientific one. Although universities might divide their faculty and courses into academic categories, reality is not obliged to respect such boundaries.

Many people assume that somebody must know how the cilium evolved, but a search of the professional literature proves them wrong. Nobody knows.

Papers concerning molecular evolution can pretty easily be divided into three separate categories: Chemical synthesis of molecules thought necessary to life (15%), comparisons of DNA or protein sequences (80%), and abstract mathematical models (5%).

Some evolutionary biologists - like Richard Dawkins - have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get any biological structure you wish. They also tend to ignore details and road blocks that would trip up their scenarios. Science however cannot ultimately ignore relevant details, and at the molecular level, details become critical.

The conclusion of intelligent design for physically interacting systems rests on the observation of highly specified, irreducible complexity - the ordering of separate, well fitted components to achieve a function that is beyond any of the components themselves.

The question we must ask of... indirect scenario(s) is one for which many evolutionary biologists have little patience: but how exactly?

There has been virtually no attempt to account for the origin of specific, complex biomolecular systems.

Until Darwin, the argument that the world was designed was commonplace. The strength of the argument reached its zenith with William Paley who brought a wide scientific scholarship to bear in his writings, but, ironically set himself up for refutation by overreaching.

Even though we are told that all biology must be seen through the lens of evolution, no scientist has ever produced a model to account for the gradual evolution of this extraordinary molecular machine.

In Darwin's time all of biology was a black box: not only the cell, or the eye, or digestion, or immunity, but every biological structure and function because, ultimately, no one could explain how biological processes occurred.

It is a shock to us in the twentieth century to discover, from observations science has made, that the fundamental mechanisms of life cannot be ascribed to natural selection, and therefore were designed. But we must deal with our shock as best we can and go on.

Many people have followed Darwin in proposing that huge changes can be broken down into plausible, small steps over great periods of time. Persuasive evidence to support that position, however has not been forthcoming.

Proteins are the machines that build the structures and carry out the chemical reactions necessary for life. A typical cell contains thousands of different kinds of proteins to perform the many tasks of life.

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American Biochemist, Author and Intelligent Design Advocate, Professor Of Biochemistry at Lehigh University and Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture