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Charles Darwin, Michael Behe — Two Revolutionary Scientists

David Klinghoffer

Michael Behe

Here’s a great insight and juxtaposition by historian and philosopher of science Michael Keas, a Fellow of the Center for Science & Culture. Biochemist Michael Behe, writes Dr. Keas for CNS News, is not merely a critic of Darwinian theory. He is instead a revolutionary whose momentous insight — the concept of irreducible complexity — rightly sits on the same shelf as Darwin’s signature notion of evolution by natural selection.

The two ideas have something in common: both are easy to explain, and cut to the core of what was previously thought about how species originate.

Referring to the new online documentary Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines, Keas points out that Darwin set a very crisp and simple challenge for anyone who would upset his theory. Behe took up the challenge and no Darwin partisan has yet found a way to satisfactorily answer him.

Behe’s discovery was spurred by Darwin’s challenge in “Origin of Species”: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Thousands of irreducibly complex molecular machines in living cells seem to break down neo-Darwinism beyond credible belief. 

What has become of Behe’s argument in the last few decades? Although some say irreducible complexity has been refuted, here’s a list of essays that show otherwise. In some respects the irreducible complexity argument against neo-Darwinism and for intelligent design is more robust than ever before.

One of the critics of the theory of intelligent design who has sought to displace Behe’s argument for ID from irreducible complexity, Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller, was recently elevated to president of the board of directors of the Darwin-lobbying National Center for Science Education. That’s fitting. Miller is celebrated for his clash with Behe in the 2005 Kitzmiller trial.

In the years since, though, it is Miller’s challenge to Behe that has been refuted, not Behe’s to Darwin. That is amply and powerfully documented in Revolutionary.

Image at top: Kenneth Miller in a scene from Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines, via YouTube.