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“Practical as Potatoes” — Eric Metaxas on Behe, ID, and Revolutionary

David Klinghoffer


Eric Metaxas is a treasure, commenting on an impressive range of subjects, all with smarts, wit, and uncommon common sense. In a BreakPoint broadcast today he reflects on the twentieth anniversary of biochemist Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box and highlights our new documentary Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines, written and directed by John West.

Metaxas offers a new encomium for scientific arguments for design in nature. Behe’s case for ID is “practical as potatoes.”

As scientists gain ever more detailed access to the inner workings of cells, the case against Darwinism from irreducible complexity only becomes stronger. And the intelligent design movement — a community that considers Behe a founding father — continues to question the viability of materialistic evolution on the basis of his reasoning.

To make Behe’s meticulous arguments more accessible to the public, the folks at the Discovery Institute have just produced a documentary summarizing “Darwin’s Black Box.” It’s called “Revolutionary,” a tribute to the fact that Behe’s book forever changed the way we think about evolution. It also documents how, as David Klinghoffer writes at Evolution News and Views, “Black Box” sparked a public debate that rages to this day.

Why is it so critical to understand this stuff? Well, as Ben Stein documented in his 2008 film, “Expelled,” it’s not scientific reasoning that’s keeping intelligent design on the fringe. Rather, it’s a campaign of misinformation and bullying by the Darwinist establishment, many of whom are keen on painting critics as “creationists,” whose theory is “religion masquerading as science.”

But “design,” insists Behe, “is not some mystical conclusion.” It’s a reasoned scientific argument that’s practical as potatoes.

Yes, it would be hard to get more practical than that. Isn’t it interesting, though, that while “the case against Darwinism from irreducible complexity only becomes stronger” as science peers further inside the cell’s black box, resistance and denial of the meaning of it all stubbornly persist.

There’s the objective evidence of purpose in the workings of molecular machines and other wonders of life. That is, per Eric Metaxas, the potatoes. But then, let’s be frank, there is the emotional investment that design deniers have in their resistance to that evidence. The reasons for this investment are complicated and go deep. They are a cause for compassion. I’m less sympathetic to efforts by adults to deliberately manipulate children to deny their natural design intuitions. Frankly, those efforts are despicable.

It’s a fascinating case of mass psychology at work, anyway, and more proof that many very smart people think far more with their heart than with their head.

Photo: Potatoes, by United States Department of Agriculture via Wikipedia.

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