For the science consumer, following the debate about Michael Behe’s latest, Darwin Devolves, is an education in itself. In the book, he discusses the “pretense of knowledge” (the phrase is economist Friedrich Hayek’s) that lies behind not just economics but, even more so, evolutionary biology. Just from reading his critics, it may sound to the uninitiated as if Behe is surely wrong — evolution has got everything figured out, after all — that is, until you read Behe’s replies. Exposing the pretense of understanding is one of his great gifts.
On a new episode of ID the Future, Behe talks with host Andrew McDiarmid about the backstory behind his realizing just how much evolutionary biology pretends to know. While Darwin defenders prefer to insinuate it’s all because he’s such a “pious Catholic,” the truth is that Behe was perfectly comfortable with evolution — until he read a book by Michael Denton.
Talking with McDiarmid, Behe describes his own intellectual evolution, which coincided with major advances in science that pointed the way to a new, far more modest assessment of Darwinism’s explanatory power. Evolution’s deficits had been masked, he realized, by a combination of groupthink and the haziness of what biology could say about the molecular basis of life. Scientists assumed that if they personally could not explain, for example, the conundrum of how life originated, then certainly someone else could. Why worry?
Enjoy the podcast as I did. Download the episode or listen to it here. And be certain that in engaging his critics, Professor Behe is just warming up. You can follow his writing at Evolution News by going here.
Photo: Michael Behe, a scene from Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines, via Discovery Institute.