Friday, June 29, 2007


No Way Out

"I had expected to be as irritated by Michael Behe’s second book as by his first," writes Richard Dawkins, the Charles Simonyi chair for the public understanding of science at Oxford. "I had not expected to feel sorry for him. The first — “Darwin’s Black Box” (1996), which purported to make the scientific case for “intelligent design” — was enlivened by a spark of conviction, however misguided. The second is the book of a man who has given up. Trapped along a false path of his own rather unintelligent design, Behe has left himself no escape."

As Dawkins observes, the weight of evidence has forced Behe, however grudgingly, since writing "Darwin's Black Box" to accept both natural selection and common descent -- both anathema to biblical literalists and intelligent design activists.

In "The Edge of Evolution" Behe hangs his hat on the slender hook that random mutation is incapable of producing the wide range of life forms we observe on the planet. As you might imagine, Dawkins makes short work of that -- as have Ken Miller and Jerry Coyne.

Like Dover, the verdict for "The Edge of Evolution" is now in.

As you might imagine, the Discovery Institute's Logan Gage doesn't like Dawkin's review (they don't like Miller or Coyne's either). In a long howl of anguish posted on the Evolution News and Views blog, Gage denies that Behe has stepped back, but never bothers to mention Behe's acceptance of natural selection and common descent.

The shill tone of Gage's response is an solid indication there isn't enough oxygen in Behe's last, little gap to support a whole belief tank and all its out-of-work fellows.


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