DNA Origin of Life

Dr. Michael J. Behe on how the science of DNA challenges Darwinian evolution

On the weekend, I watched a nice interview of Michael Behe conducted by Eric Metaxas about Behe’s latest book “Darwin Devolves”. Behe is a genial man, but very direct about where he thinks the scientific evidence leads. He’s been challenging evolution from the scientific evidence since 1996, and the emergence of new evidence has only strengthened his opposition.

Here’s the interview:

(61 minutes)

Here’s a good summary of the book from Tom Gilson, writing for Evolution News, that captures the main argument well.

Gilson writes:

Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, has been keeping committed Darwinists awake nights for years. His 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution asked a long-ignored question: If Darwin’s theory explains everything so well, why hasn’t anyone shown how it works at the minutest level, biochemistry? If it doesn’t work there, it doesn’t work anywhere.

Now Behe has released a new book, based on new science, showing once again that it doesn’t work there. Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution is going to cause a lot more sleepless nights.

The new science he covers in this book shows that Darwin’s theory can explain some changes, but quickly breaks down. DNA sequencing has only been available in the past decade or two. Its findings show that when organisms change, they do it almost always by breaking genes, not by making new ones. So in general, the evidence shows that when species evolve, they’re really devolving. And that devolution prevents future evolution.

This car example really helps you understand the point, and it came up in the interview, too:

Experiments show that even adaptive changes — changes that seem like improvements — almost always come by way of breaking genes. In a recent podcast, Behe likened it to a car for which gas mileage suddenly became its most important feature… The mileage problem is easy for a car, actually. Just remove some of its seats. In organisms this principle works, for example, when a gene that’s been holding back an existing capability gets damaged. That capability then shows up. It’s not a new capability, just newly expressed.

[…]Not only that, but once nature finds a way to improve a function by degrading a gene, nature is happy with that. It will spread that new answer throughout a population just as fast as Darwin ever supposed. That’s what natural selection does: It preserves helpful (adaptive) changes and spreads them around while letting less lucky populations die off. Once nature is happy with one quick answer produced by breaking things, though, it’s not going to hang around waiting for another, more elaborate answer produced by making things.

There were a lot of critical responses to the book, but Behe replied to all of them.

If you haven’t read the book, and have an hour to spare for the interview, take a look. He’s easy to listen to.

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