Dave Ussery Ruminates about The Edge of Evolution

The first part of Professor Ussery’s review of The Edge of Evolution on the website BioLogos is mainly an exercise in throat clearing, where he describes his “philosophical and personal perspective,” notes that he and I agree on common descent, and correctly points out that my book concerns the mechanism of evolution. In the second installment Dave begins to show that he somehow just doesn’t get the big points of the book. In writing of the sickle cell and other antimalarial mutations which degrade the genome, I had said that they were “hurtful.” He misunderstands this, writing, “the example [Behe] gives us is not a ‘good mutation.’” But the sickle cell and other antimalarial mutations most certainly are “good” mutations Read More ›

BioLogos Voices Sing the Same Old Tune

I normally do not respond to criticisms and reviews of my work that are simply posted on the internet. Rather, I engage reviews, comments, and articles that appear in journals or prominent newspapers and magazines. The reason is that those printed venues usually ask noted scientists or philosophers to review books, so that they are very likely to contain the most pertinent and insightful comments. After all, if a book challenging Darwinian evolution is reviewed separately by the likes of Sean Carroll, Jerry Coyne, Michael Ruse, and Richard Dawkins, then the odds are good that they would have discovered any major errors, if such there be. However, if upon considering their criticisms, we see huffing and puffing instead of reasoned Read More ›

A Malodorous Argument for Darwinian Evolution

University of California evolutionary biologist John Avise has penned a book, Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design, and gotten it published by a top academic publishing house, Oxford University Press. Avise, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has for decades been a leading researcher in evolutionary and ecological genetics. He has written hundreds of research articles and over a dozen books. Clearly he has an impressive scientific mind. Which makes it all the more astonishing that his new book shows all the intellectual savvy of a typical late-night college dormroom bull session. As his subtitle announces, Avise is anxious to show that, despite the claims of certain renegade biochemists, the molecular features of the human Read More ›

Misusing Protistan Examples to Propagate Myths About Intelligent Design

The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology recently published several papers from a workshop sponsored by the International Society of Protistologists titled “Horizontal Gene Transfer and Phylogenetic Evolution Debunk Intelligent Design.” So here we have a respected scientific society, presumably planning a workshop months in advance, and finally laying out their considered case for why intelligent design fails. As you might imagine, I was most anxious to read about it. Unfortunately, rather than scholarly papers, the manuscripts read like press releases from the National Center for (Darwinian) Science Education. So the introductory essay1 by Avelina Espinosa tells us that ID has “creationist beginnings,” claims that I say “evolution” is “impossible,” and places in my mouth the phrase “design creationism” (I have never Read More ›

God, Design, and Contingency in Nature

I recently received an email asking if the correspondent correctly understood my views about intelligent design and God. Since I sometimes get similar questions, I’m posting this correspondence for anyone who is interested. Q: I understand your current position to be that design is detectable in nature, and that design detection is not merely a theological gloss upon the scientific facts, but is actually an activity appropriate for science. I further understand you to be saying that design detection in itself is neutral regarding the way that the design found its way into nature. Thus, if the bacterial flagellum is designed, it *could* be that God took a regular bacterium and miraculously “tweaked” it, or it *could* be that God Read More ›