The Evolution of Beheʼs Views: Francis S. Collins, the head of the Human genome project (who is both a Christian and an evolutionist), critiqued Beheʼs earlier hypothesis (that Behe has since dropped), namely of a “super cell” in the beginning thatʼs frontloaded with excess DNA to be put into use much later as the world evolves. Collins pointed out such a hypothesis did not make sense because if a super cell was indeed filled with tons of information to be used “much later” that information would have to be supernaturally preserved over long periods of time because unused portions of the genome are known to undergo continual mutations.
Behe once wrote, “If random evolution is true, there must have been a large number of transitional forms between the Mesonychid [a whale ancestor] and the ancient whale. Where are they?” Behe assumed such forms would not or could not be found, but three transitional species were identified by paleontologists within a year of that statement.
In Darwinʼs Black Box, Behe posited that genes for modern complex biochemical systems, such as blood clotting, might have been “designed billions of years ago and have been passed down to the present… but not ‘turned on’.” This is known to be genetically impossible because genes that arenʼt used will degenerate, but there it was in print. And Beheʼs argument against the evolution of flagella and the immune system have been dismantled in detail and new evidence continues to emerge, yet the same old assertions for design reappear here as if they were uncontested.
Behe now admits in his latest book, The Edge of Evolution, that almost the entire edifice of evolutionary theory is true: evolution, natural selection, common ancestry. His one novel claim is that the genetic variation that fuels natural selection–mutation–is produced not by random changes in DNA, as evolutionists maintain, but by an Intelligent Designer, The Great Mutator.
Beheʼs current situation reminds me of a similar situation in the past that the true father of the I.D. movement, Michael Denton, got himself into. After he wrote his first anti-evolutionary book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, he was praised by the folks at Access Research Network (editors of the flagstaff I.D. publication, Origins & Design), and became a member of the Discovery Institute. Then Denton admitted in an interview that he had not even known about the fossil evidence of inbetween species, like mammal-like reptiles. He also wrote his book before the various genome identification projects had taken off. Dentonʼs views were altered significantly by the time he wrote his second book, Natureʼs Destiny, in which he admitted that the genetic distance between species even between humans and chimpanzees was relatively small (as I like to point out, that genetic distance between humans and chimps is smaller than the genetic distance between near identical sibling species of fruit flies), and so Denton now accepts that evolution has taken place. He also had his name removed as a member of the Discovery Institute.
The continuing dismemberment of Behe (Links to reviews of his new book)
We don’t have an intelligent designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE). Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC). In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution.
—Lisa Randall, physicist
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