Michael Behe had a great reception this evening to a packed house at Seattle Center for his book Darwin Devolves. We broadcast it live on Facebook, but the livestream is fortunately archived via the Center for Science & Culture. So you can see it now if you missed it! (You have to advance forward to 59:23.)
John West appropriately introduced Dr. Behe as the “archetypal mild-mannered professor” who “helped provoke a revolutionary debate.” Referring to the new Science Uprising episode in which Behe stars, Dr. West noted, “If you ever wondered what Dr. Behe has in common with the X-Men films, you will want to watch this new episode of Science Uprising.” Does that imply Michael Behe, the gentle biochemist, is a superhero? Well, in an intellectual sense, he is.
The crowd at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center.
John West and Michael Behe field questions from the audience.
His book argues, in brief, that “It’s easy to break things, and often it gives a benefit.” Building new things, wonderful things, through an unintelligent process like Darwinian evolution is another matter entirely.
A Hit Job and a Rant
He discussed some grumpy critics of his book, including the trio from Science Magazine (a “hit job”) and Jerry Coyne (a “rant”). Of the critics, he said in a charming summary, “Let me just say they can’t lay a glove on me.” And that is true.
A slide from Dr. Behe’s presentation.
The control room at McCaw Hall.
In the Q&A, he responded to friendly and critical questions including, “Can we breed a chihuahua back to a wolf?” “What would be a good area of research to move into based on this hypothesis that Darwinian evolution can’t create change past the genera level?” “How does your hypothesis relate to intelligent design?” And “Who are you passing the mantle to and how are you facilitating this?”
Dr. Behe signs books after the event.
In answer to that last one, John West pointed out that the Summer Seminar on Intelligent Design, in which Dr. Behe is teaching now, seeks in part to find and train young scientists worthy to receive that mantle someday!
Photo: By Robert Crowther and via Center for Science & Culture’s Facebook page.