Argument to Design: Reviews/Critiques
Behe’s Empty Box [ Index ] (Off Site)
An index of articles, both pro and con, on Michael Behe’s argument from irreducible complexity and his recent book, Darwin’s Black Box.
Critiques of Michael Behe [ Index ]
A collection of critical reviews of Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.
“Denton’s attempts to make an adequate challenge to evolutionary biology fail – neither does Denton manage to undermine the evidence for evolution, nor does he succeed in demonstrating that macroevolutionary mechanisms are inherently implausible.”
An Extended Review of Phillip E. Johnson’s Darwin On Trial (1999) by Wesley R. Elsberry (Off Site)
“Johnson’s work has been viewed quite differently by those who seek anti-evolutionary apologetics, and those who have long opposed the intrusion of creationism into science classrooms. To the credulous, Johnson’s easy command of rhetoric and impressive credentials produce an immensely favorable impression . . . To those who oppose the teaching of creationism as if it were science, Johnson’s Darwin On Trial looks just like more of the same stuff . . . ”
The “book is a logically deft and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of religion. It should be useful for undergraduate courses, though parts, such as the discussion of the modal ontological argument, are quite complex and certain to confuse beginners. The book is also a brief for atheism. In general, it serves both of its functions well. However, the three parts of the book are unequal in value. I found part 3, in which Le Poidevin examines the possibility of religion without God, to be of less interest than the earlier sections. Further, though I regard part 1, ‘The Limits of Theistic Explanation,’ as a nearly complete success, I have some reservations about the treatment of the problem of evil in part 2.”
In an earlier critique of Orthodox rabbi Moshe Averick’s Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused World of Modern Atheism, Michael D. Reynolds pointed out that Averick’s book is typical of recent popular works attacking “atheism” in leaning on various informal logical fallacies. In this follow-up critique Reynolds focuses specifically on what Averick has to say about the “failure” of naturalistic accounts of the origin of life, which comprise forty-eight percent of the text of Nonsense of a High Order. Reynolds finds that Averick is ignorant of the nature of science and its principles, that he either does not know, or else fails to understand, the standard scientific explanations of the topics that he addresses, that this ignorance or incomprehension causes him to invent odd notions that completely misrepresent the standard scientific view, that he arbitrarily rejects standard scientific explanations without providing any substantial argument against them, and that he repeatedly asserts that something is true without offering any argument for its truth, among other things.
Review of Darwin’s Black Box, The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (1999) by Don Lindsay (Off Site)
Lindsay criticizes Behe for his “fuzzy thinking” and weak grasp of evolutionary science.
Chance, Necessity, and the New Holy War Against Science (1999) (Off Site) by Massimo Pigliucci
A review of William A. Dembski’s The Design Inference. Pigliucci explains that scientists should care about this book because it “is part of a large, well-planned, and not at all secret conspiracy whose objective is nothing less than the destruction of modern science and its substitution with a religious system of belief.”
Vuletic replies to Pigliucci’s review. He writes, “Pigliucci’s ‘review’ reads for the most part like an extended diatribe against the intelligent design (i.e., creationist) movement.” Note: Pigliucci has revised his review since Vuletic published his reply.
Moreland’s book is a “better than run-of-the-mill” attack on evolutionary theory, Oppy remarks. However, ” . . .[i]t’s hard to see how claims about what ‘theistic science’ can explain can be justified unless someone, somewhere, has a well-worked-out theory of this kind. It’s time for creationists to give us their positive views in the same kind of textbook format in which evolutionary theory is often presented, so that these views can be subject to proper criticism.”