Behe, Biochemistry, and the Invisible Hand (2001) (Off Site) by Niall Shanks and Karl Joplin
Published in Philo Vol. 4 No. 1, this essay takes creationist biochemist Michael Behe to task for failing to make an evidentially grounded case for the supernatural intelligent design of biochemical systems. In Shanks’ and Joplin’s earlier work on Behe they showed that there were dimensions to biochemical complexity (redundant complexity) that he appeared to have ignored. Behe has recently replied to that work. Shanks and Joplin show here that his latest arguments contain fundamental flaws.
American Scientist‘s Review of Darwin’s Black Box (1997) (Off Site) by Robert Dorit
“Behe’s argument for intelligent design ultimately fails because it is a belief and not a potential explanation. The hand of God may well be all around us, but it is not, nor can it be, the task of science to dust for fingerprints.”
“In this essay we take creationist biochemist Michael Behe to task for failing to make an evidentially grounded case for the supernatural intelligent design of biochemical systems. In our earlier work on Behe we showed that there were dimensions to biochemical complexity–redundant complexity–that he appeared to have ignored. Behe has recently replied to that work. We show here that his latest arguments contain fundamental flaws.”
Behe and the Blood Clotting Cascade (1997) (Off Site) by George Acton
A critical response to Behe’s claim that “nobody” knows how blood clotting could have arisen naturalistically.
Behe’s Empty Box (Off Site) by John Catalano
An index of articles, both pro and con, on Michael Behe’s argument from irreducible complexity and his recent book, Darwin’s Black Box.
Irreducible Complexity and the Evolutionary Literature: Response to Critics (2000) (Off Site) by Michael J. Behe
Behe responds to his critics and maintains that there are “very few” scientific papers that attempt to explain the Darwinian details of irreducibly complex systems.
A Biochemist’s Response to ‘The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution’ (1999) (Off Site) by David W. Ussery
A fellow biochemist provides a detailed critique of Michael Behe’s ‘biochemical challenge to evolution.’
Complexity–Yes! Irreducible–Maybe! Unexplainable–No!: A Creationist Criticism of Irreducible Complexity (Off Site) by Terry M. Gray
A critique of Behe’s claim that biochemical systems are irreducibly complex.
Darwin v. Intelligent Design (Again) (1996) (Off Site) by H. Allen Orr
“The latest attack on evolution is cleverly argued, biologically informed–and wrong.”
The Sterility of Darwinism (1996) (Off Site) by Michael Behe
Behe’s response to Orr’s review of Darwin’s Black Box.
H. Allen Orr Responds (1996) (Off Site) by H. Allen Orr
Orr’s rebuttal to Behe.
Darwin’s Black Box Irreducible Complexity or Irreproducible Irreducibility? (1996) (Off Site) by Keith Robison
“Most science books for popular audiences focus on the frontiers of knowledge: what do we know, what does it suggest, and where is it likely to take us. In contrast, I would characterize Behe’s book as an exposition of the Frontiers of Ignorance: what do we not know, and how can we blind ourselves with that lack of knowledge.”
Behe’s Response to Robison (1996) (Off Site)
A Delicate Balance (1996) (Off Site) by Russell F. Doolittle
Doolittle responds to Behe’s quotation of himself, arguing that “an enormous amount of evidence has been accumulated about the evolution of blood clotting.”
How Can Evolution Cause Irreducibly Complex Systems? (1999) (Off Site) by Don Lindsay
“Behe said that certain biochemical systems could not be the result of evolution, and his proof was that he couldn’t imagine the necessary steps. However, evolutionary biologists solved this problem more than half a century ago. I have presented their understanding as three simple scenarios, and I gave real world examples of each one. Each example shows that step-by-step evolution can arrive at an ‘Irreducibly Complex’ system. The scenarios explain why this can happen easily.”
Miracles and Molecules (1996) (Off Site) by Douglas J. Futuyma
“Unfortunately for Michael Behe’s argument, molecular biology has only strengthened neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory by providing abundant evidence not only on the history of evolution, but on the mechanisms of evolutionary change.”
Review of Darwin’s Black Box (1996) (Off Site) by Ken Miller
“The real news in Darwin’s Black Box is that a contemporary scientist has dipped back into the past and wrapped the remains of the argument from design in a shiny cloth of biochemistry.”
More Crank Science (1996) (Off Site) by Jerry A. Coyne
Coyne accuses Behe of deliberately misquoting Allen Orr and himself.
Review of Darwin’s Black Box (1996) (Off Site) by Andrew Pomiankowski
“I think that Darwin’s Black Box is a missed opportunity. You can read it to tell you what is wrong with biochemistry. Behe is also very good at making biochemistry easy to understand. But don’t be fooled by his claim that molecular systems are irreducibly complex, or that a supernatural designer is needed. Biochemistry is yet another area of biology still awaiting its Darwinian revolution.”
Publish or Perish: Some Published Works on Biochemical Evolution (1998) (Off Site) by John Catalano
This list of papers has been collected in response to Michael Behe’s claim that the scientific literature is virtually silent on the topic of molecular evolution.
The Real Scoop on Michael Behe (1998) (Off Site) by Barry A. Palevitz
“Behe falls flat. He offers no positive scientific evidence in favor of purposeful design, other than ‘gee ma, ain’t complexity grand,’ because there is none. In contrast, all of biology is now firmly founded on evolutionary principles, which in turn are supported by a mountain of hard data. Complexity itself isn’t evidence for design. I can think of many examples of complexity that are neither supernatural nor purposeful, starting with the chance oilslick on a rain puddle. In the end, all Behe can do is suggest several experiments of dubious premise.”
Redundant Complexity: A Critical Analysis of Intelligent Design in Biochemistry (1999) (Off Site) by Niall Shanks and Karl H. Joplin
Biological systems exhibit complexity at all levels of organization. It has recently been argued by Michael Behe that at the biochemical level a type of complexity exists — irreducible complexity — that cannot possibly have arisen as the result of natural, evolutionary processes, and must instead be the product of (supernatural) intelligent design. Recent work on self-organizing chemical reactions calls into question Behe’s analysis of the origins of biochemical complexity. His central interpretative metaphor for biochemical complexity, that of the well-designed mousetrap that ceases to function if critical parts are absent, is undermined by the observation that typical biochemical systems exhibit considerable redundancy and overlap of function. Real biochemical systems, we argue, manifest redundant complexity – a characteristic result of evolutionary processes.
Peter Atkins argues that “the danger of this — and why it receives so much attention — is partly that it is so well written (or so some find; I among them, I must confess). I learned a huge amount from it (I think), and it was only my wary eye that held me back from slipping along with the argument. Moreover, here we have a real, and very competent (but deeply misguided) scientist purveying some very good science and pointing up some very important omissions in our current understanding. Dr. Behe and his book must be as gold-dust among the dross of the general run of creationists and their so-called literature. The general reader will not know the limitations of his argument, or be aware of his misrepresentations of the facts, and will easily be seduced by his arguments. After all, it seems so very much easier, and certainly avoids a lot of intellectual effort, to accept that God did it all, even though we have to interpret the carefully coded allusions to this incompetent figment of impoverished imaginations.”
Richard Dawkins on Evolution and Religion (1996) (Off Site)
A transcript of Richard Dawkin’s 1996 appearance on Think Tank. Includes some comments on Behe’s irreducible complexity argument.