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Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Gain a good understanding of Intelligent Design

If you are reading this then you are interested in Intelligent Design and Evolution. Darwin's Black Box is an excellent read to learn about Intelligent Design theory.

What surprises me most about the Evolution/Intelligent Design debate is how ignorant and threatened ...
If you are reading this then you are interested in Intelligent Design and Evolution. Darwin's Black Box is an excellent read to learn about Intelligent Design theory.

What surprises me most about the Evolution/Intelligent Design debate is how ignorant and threatened each side is about and by the other. Most people on both sides of the issue issue seem to want to remain blissfully unaware of what the other side actually believes. It seems that they have gone to school and gained all their education in the media where they have learned sound bites and cliches about what the other side believes. There is much anger but little open minded learning and research. Seems that as long as both sides can "shout the other down" with these the cliches, sound bites and hostility than they feel everything will be alright and we won't have to do the dirty business of thinking deeply about our assumptions and what we were taught.

Darwin's Black Box is an excellent book to read if you actually want to learn what the theory of Intelligent Design is all about. Michael Behe is a respected biochemist with many academic papers to his credit. I will say that there is quite a bit of poor science out there that starts with a believe and bolsters that believe with "facts" that in many cases turn out wrong. This book is not one of those. In this book Behe does an excellent job of laying out in plain language what ID is all about and the concept of "Irreducible Complexity". Since Behe is a biochemist he uses examples from the field of biochemistry. When you are finished with this book you will have a better understanding of the basic ideas of Intelligent Design.

One last word...ID has been attacked by evolutionists and science using much emotion and rhetoric. I often wonder if any of these people have actually read this material for themselves? If true Intelligent Design does indeed have some pretty grand implications. These things are certain...

(1) Behe is not a raving lunatic

(2) this book has far more reason and science meat in it that the evolutionists want to give credit

(3) this is not a book that was written by a person that started with a belief and then collected "facts" around the belief.

Read this book if you are interested in challenging what you understanding as truth and becoming better educated about Intelligent Design.

posted by Flycast on August 8, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

Intelligent design

I was struck by the basic dishonesty of the book. His quotes were partial and when you looked up the original, they meant the opposite of what Behe said they did. His three examples of irreducible complexity had been shown to be quite reducible by the time the book ca...
I was struck by the basic dishonesty of the book. His quotes were partial and when you looked up the original, they meant the opposite of what Behe said they did. His three examples of irreducible complexity had been shown to be quite reducible by the time the book came into print. He neglected to point out that all the proteins that he was saying were unique were actually members of large families and that it would have been relatively simple to evolve something satisfactory from one of the relatives followed by refining mutations. He tried to make it seem as if the eye, bacteria flagellum and the clotting sequence would totally fall apart if even one part were missing when he should have known that it just wasn't so. After all, there are numerous types of bacteria flagella that are of various stages of complexity and the organelles making up the flagella have counterparts that have other functions, various light sensitive organs from simple to complex in different animals exist, and even people with hemophilia often survive to reproduce so lack of some of the clotting factors isn't always a death sentence.

When someone uses deceit to advance an argument, it is a strong signal that the argument is false.

posted by Texas_Aggie on April 17, 2009

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  • Posted April 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Intelligent design

    I was struck by the basic dishonesty of the book. His quotes were partial and when you looked up the original, they meant the opposite of what Behe said they did. His three examples of irreducible complexity had been shown to be quite reducible by the time the book came into print. He neglected to point out that all the proteins that he was saying were unique were actually members of large families and that it would have been relatively simple to evolve something satisfactory from one of the relatives followed by refining mutations. He tried to make it seem as if the eye, bacteria flagellum and the clotting sequence would totally fall apart if even one part were missing when he should have known that it just wasn't so. After all, there are numerous types of bacteria flagella that are of various stages of complexity and the organelles making up the flagella have counterparts that have other functions, various light sensitive organs from simple to complex in different animals exist, and even people with hemophilia often survive to reproduce so lack of some of the clotting factors isn't always a death sentence.

    When someone uses deceit to advance an argument, it is a strong signal that the argument is false.

    9 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2009

    Gain a good understanding of Intelligent Design

    If you are reading this then you are interested in Intelligent Design and Evolution. Darwin's Black Box is an excellent read to learn about Intelligent Design theory.

    What surprises me most about the Evolution/Intelligent Design debate is how ignorant and threatened each side is about and by the other. Most people on both sides of the issue issue seem to want to remain blissfully unaware of what the other side actually believes. It seems that they have gone to school and gained all their education in the media where they have learned sound bites and cliches about what the other side believes. There is much anger but little open minded learning and research. Seems that as long as both sides can "shout the other down" with these the cliches, sound bites and hostility than they feel everything will be alright and we won't have to do the dirty business of thinking deeply about our assumptions and what we were taught.

    Darwin's Black Box is an excellent book to read if you actually want to learn what the theory of Intelligent Design is all about. Michael Behe is a respected biochemist with many academic papers to his credit. I will say that there is quite a bit of poor science out there that starts with a believe and bolsters that believe with "facts" that in many cases turn out wrong. This book is not one of those. In this book Behe does an excellent job of laying out in plain language what ID is all about and the concept of "Irreducible Complexity". Since Behe is a biochemist he uses examples from the field of biochemistry. When you are finished with this book you will have a better understanding of the basic ideas of Intelligent Design.

    One last word...ID has been attacked by evolutionists and science using much emotion and rhetoric. I often wonder if any of these people have actually read this material for themselves? If true Intelligent Design does indeed have some pretty grand implications. These things are certain...

    (1) Behe is not a raving lunatic

    (2) this book has far more reason and science meat in it that the evolutionists want to give credit

    (3) this is not a book that was written by a person that started with a belief and then collected "facts" around the belief.

    Read this book if you are interested in challenging what you understanding as truth and becoming better educated about Intelligent Design.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    A credible challenge to the status quo

    This is an excellent book. If nothing else it is worth while for the short, but adequate for a mildly interested reader, introduction to how life works at the most basic biochemical level. The book then goes on to make a very strong argument, that while there may be plenty of testable evidence for evolution at the macro level, there is none that can explain how the basic functions of life got started in the first place. In this respect, the origin of life, Darwin¿s theory breaks down. The book shows convincingly that the necessary functions of a cell are so complex and interdependent, that numerous, successive, slight modifications could not possibly be the driving force in the initial creation of life¿s basic functions. Given the often irrational rabid response from those on the pure Darwinian side of the argument, I think this book exposes an embarrassing hole in what most of the scientific community would like to consider as the unassailable theory of life.

    6 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2008

    Science, this book ain't.

    This book makes sense to people who don't understand what he's talking about and take his arguments to be both accurate and true. But in truth, any structure that is "irreducibly complex" probably has another function, which he hasn't bothered to learn. In short, the book explains the difference between a philosopher and a scientist, which appears to be the conception of an idea, and researching whether or not the idea has merit.

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2007

    Now I can sleep at night

    Intelligent design is a theory any 6-year-old can conjure up as a means to believe in a supernatural being. Amazing that this book is written by a scholar since it is based on deductive reasoning that wholly lacks substance. It's a good book for skeptics and a good means to prevent people from thinking logically by just fabricating a story that is not based on fact or reason. If you are a scientist, scholar, or even a thinking person, this book provides a means to stop you in your tracks. Shame!

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2005

    A Ph.D doesn't make you smart.

    Despite Behe's best efforts, he cannot put together an argument that can stand up to a slightest challange. He proposes this notion of irreducible complexity, but cannot support the idea with anything solid. The author uses complexity to confuse the reader, so that they will follow his religous ideology, since its easier to understand. I found this work to be very dissappointing when I first read it several years ago. Even as an undergraduate, I could easily propose alternative hypotheses to explain the complex mechanisms that Behe uses to bolster intelligent design. Just because one lacks the creativity or intelligence to see complex mechanisms as a product of evolution, does not mean that a superior being must have been responsible.

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    If you're curious about the origins of life...

    This book is the perfect non religious contradiction to evolution. If you have a hard time believing that the planet and all its inhabitance fabricated out of nothing, but you don't want to read a bunch of religious based books, this is the book for you. It quite simply uses science to logically and scientifically contradict evolution and the very foundation it is built upon.
    Fantastic book for all you curious people out there. Highly recommend it.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    Well Said

    Behe puts together quite a compelling argument against Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Darwin admitted that his theory would not hold up if living organisms could be proven to have irreducibly complex components. Behe presents several examples of irreducibly complex systems in animals, insects and humans.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2007

    Accessible Presentation

    As a pioneering work, Darwin's Black Box does a highly credible job of stating some of the problems intrinsic to neo-Darwinian theory. For a more recent and more erudite coverage of many of the same arguments, you might want to look at The Design Revolution by William Dembski.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2006

    Dismissal of evolution w/out Testable Alternative

    The theme of this entire book is this: In Mike Behe's opinion, science has not yet explained how some biological structures/pathways, which he defines to be irreducibly complex have developed. He further demands that the scientific community must demonstrate in the lab the evolution of each and every functionary intermediate of these systems in order to satisfy his grandiose expectations. It is unfortunate that he doesn't understand the nature of historical sciences. Furthermore, with such a strong criticism of failures of evolutionary theory, the reader is led to believe that Dr. Behe will at some point present a revolutionary testable theory that is well-defined with groundbreaking experimental data. If you expected this as I did by the tone, you will also be disappointed. His whole argument is based on stating the obvious: a complex, highly specialized structure/pathway will not work if it's parts are removed. His misunderstanding of how natural selection works, and omission of molecular genetic mechanism/data from genomics lead him to state as fact that such structures could not ever be made by a natural mechanism without help from a creative intelligent designer. Dr. Behe claims the designer could be an organic being, but his own definition of irreducible complexity precludes intelligent multicellular life creating life before life was present (it doesn't make sense). So whether he is invoking elves, Santa Claus, God, Primer mover(s), fairies (including but not limited to tooth fairies), or any other unobservable supernatural creator is immaterial because science is limited to what can be explained through observation and experimentation. This is not to say that intelligent design as a philosophy is unacceptable. There is certainly a possibility that the universe was created by God (Behe's version of the designer), this is just not a question science can answer. The only saving grace is the accurate description of the biochemical systems. The complexity of which baffles Dr. Behe to the point of intellectual submission.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    Behe is wrong and he ought to know that

    It is unfortunate that too many will assume that there is some validity to the claims made in this book. Repeatedly h has been shown to be wrong as biology develops additional understanding and research continues.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2012

    GOD ROCKS!!! screw darwinism! Creation alllllllll the way.:)

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lies for fools

    Behe's pseudoscientific claptrap has all been thoroughly discredited by legitimate researchers, Federal judges, and the reading public. Reading this book to gain knowledge of biology would be akin to consulting an astrologer for help in astronomy. Spend your money elsewhere.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    creation

    Behe's book is written in a way that someone who is not a scientist can understand his concepts. Many science books like this are not only dry to read, but write as if their audience is the scientific community. Behe keeps the reader interested and use humor to keep the book fun. Because of Behe's style,his ideas are easily remembered and can be used intelligently by a layman in evolutionary debate.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    Feel Better, Not Sounder

    If you aren't scientific, but are a proponent of ID or an antagonist of evolution - then this book will make you feel better. You won't have a scientifically sounder basis for this affirmation, but you'll feel better. The science and supposed backing behind Behe's arguments are decrepit so much so that even fellow colleagues at LeHigh U (were Behe sits) release statements like 'Finally, it seems to me that the central claim of intelligent design proponents such as my colleague, Michael Behe -- namely, that Darwinian evolution cannot explain the emergence of systems - is weak, if not wrong.' - Steve Goldman, PhD. That is also my view of Behe's arguments - he pounds on assertions about how genes and proteins evolve, interact, etc, yet completely ignores a huge amount of data that directly contradicts these premises. Modern and more knowledgeable (or perhaps honest) scientists and authors have discredited many of the claims and questions. Google them if you are interested. In short, if you want to make yourself feel better about your faiths or your distaste for evolution then read this - but it'll be a false sense of security and confidence built on far stretched and negligent scholarship and half-baked science.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2000

    magnificent

    i , personally feel that Behe did a great job on explaining how evelution could possibly never occur. i am only fifteen, and with the help of older friends i understood. (and a college dictionary!)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2000

    Behe's Black Box

    I have recently read this book and was impressed by Behe's lucidity of thought and his persuasive style of argument. He makes a convincing case for 'argument by design,' and an intelligent stab at the heart of Darwinism. Behe's use of analogy, similar to Darwin's in The Origin of Species, is creative; but Behe's analogies have not withstood the trial of time, as have Darwin's. Behe's suggestion for scientists to let God fill the gaps proves nothing save his own ignorance regarding scientific discovery. People started scientific experimentation with very few explanations. Science, at one time, scoffed at the notion of a heliocentric universe. This scientific laughter showed a gap in the then current scientific base of knowledge. As of right now, science cannot explain what events preceded the big bang. Since scientific discoveries are being made every day, and our knowledge of the universe has grown exponentially, my simple reply to the many skeptics, is just give us time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    A good book

    Very interesting and facinating it's a shame that curriculum hasn't been clued in to that truth that isproven in it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2013

    Highly recommended for those interested in the debate concerning the validity of the neo-Darwinian paradigm of evolution.

    Michael J. Behe's work is a necessity for those who wish to understand the objections to orthodox evolutionary theory. If one is truly to believe something, it is important to know not only the basic tenets and foundational ideas, but also the challenges to those ideas. Behe, in this very controversial work, presents a healthy scientific skepticism to the often-overlooked challenges of relating Darwinian macroevolution to microbiological mechanisms and processes. Whether or not one agrees with his conclusions, it can be beneficial to see through what can become all-too-often mere assumption. Dissent is as important in the war of ideas as is the presenting of ideas themselves. If the accepted ideas are found to be wrong, it is only right that they should be removed. If the accepted ideas remain intact after the siege of opposition, then they can only have been strengthened. Whether Behe's work is heresy or fact, it can do naught but add to the healthy flow of ideas.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    Find out - Excellent book

    Provides great info about the science of evolution. Helps you to understand what schools aren't allowed to teach - that there are many facts which do not support evolution. This is a great book no matter what your belief is about evolution. This tells you the facts.

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