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Rebuttal to Paul Gross’ Review of The Edge of Evolution – Error #2: Failing to Stay Positive

[This four part series responding to Paul Gross can be seen in: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.]

In Paul Gross’ review of The Edge of Evolution he wrongly claims Behe’s argument for design is merely a negative argument against evolution. Gross asserts that Behe argues for ID by “offer[ing] some claim that Darwinism is wrong, with the (unwarranted) conclusion that life is therefore the work of an intelligent agent.” (emphasis in original) This misrepresents Behe’s argument. Behe does not say that because Darwinian evolution has flaws, therefore intelligent design is proven correct. As Behe writes in the afterward to the new edition of Darwin’s Black Box:

[I]rreducibly complex systems such as mousetraps and flagella serve both as negative arguments against gradualistic explanations like Darwin’s and as positive arguments for design. The negative argument is that such interactive systems resist explanation by the tiny steps that a Darwinian path would be expected to take. The positive argument is that their parts appear arranged to serve a purpose, which is exactly how we detect design.

(Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, Afterward, pgs. 263-264 (Free Press, Reprint, 2006), emphasis added.)

ID plainly has a positive argument, and ID therefore inferred based upon positive evidence that intelligent agents generate recognizable complex patterns that allow us to detect their prior action.