DARWIN\'S BLACK BOX: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
Заглавие:      DARWIN\'S BLACK BOX: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
ID на Книгата:      672
Автори:      Michael J. Behe
ISBN:      0684827549
Издател:      Free Press
Дата на публикуване:      1996.08.02
Брой страници:      0
Език:      Английски
Рейтинг:      3 
Корица:      cover

Amazon.com Review

Michael J. Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University, presents here a scientific argument for the existence of God. Examining the evolutionary theory of the origins of life, he can go part of the way with Darwin--he accepts the idea that species have been differentiated by the mechanism of natural selection from a common ancestor. But he thinks that the essential randomness of this process can explain evolutionary development only at the macro level, not at the micro level of his expertise. Within the biochemistry of living cells, he argues, life is "irreducibly complex." This is the last black box to be opened, the end of the road for science. Faced with complexity at this level, Behe suggests that it can only be the product of "intelligent design."

From Publishers Weekly

Charles Darwin's theory of life's evolution through natural selection and random mutation fails to account for the origin of astonishingly complex biomolecular systems, argues Behe, associate professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. In this spirited, witty critique of neo-Darwinian thinking, he focuses on five phenomena: blood clotting; cilia, oar-like bundles of fibers; the human immune system; transport of materials within the cell; and the synthesis of nucleotides, building blocks of DNA. In each case, he finds systems that are irreducibly complex?no gradual, step-by-step, Darwinian route led to their creation. As an alternative explanation, Behe infers that complex biochemical systems (i.e., life) were designed by an intelligent agent, whether God, extraterrestrials or a universal force. He notes that Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA's double-helix structure, proposed that life began when aliens from another planet sent a rocket ship containing spores to seed Earth. Perhaps Behe's plea for incorporating a "theory of intelligent design" into mainstream biology will spark interest. Illustrated. Translation and U.K. rights: Simon & Schuster. 
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Behe (biochemistry, Lehigh) argues that the biochemical basis of complex life could not have developed through gradual evolutionary change because too many dependent variables would have had to have been altered simultaneously. Through explanations of the functions of the eye, blood clotting, and the immune system, he sets out to argue against evolution as a sole explanation for their existence. Behe doesn't call on religion to support his thesis. Rather, he explores the scientific literature for some of the alternatives to evolution and includes his own support for life by design at the end of the text. The importance of this controversial work is in the questions it raises about the primacy of evolution as the sole creator of life. Recommended for all libraries concerned with evolution.?Eric D. Albright, Galter Health Sciences Lib., Northwestern Univ., Chicago
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Behe (Biochemistry/Lehigh Univ.) offers the thesis that biochemistry provides so many examples of ``irreducible complexity'' in nature that not even Darwinian gradualism can explain their evolution and existence. Intelligent design alone, he says, provides an answer. He then presents a modern-day version of the kinds of anti- Darwin arguments adduced a century ago: How could so intricate an organ as the vertebrate eye evolve through step-by-step chance mutations? Clearly there must be a designer at work, an eye-maker of an eye, just as there is a watchmaker for a watch. Behe's contemporary examples are a biochemistry student's nightmare: How do you make a cilium? Cilia are those fine hairs that stick out from cells lining the lungs and sweep out debris or, when attached to a bacterium, allow the bug to swim. The fine structure and molecular motors that power a cilium are awesome. And what Behe does for the cilium he does in spades in describing the biochemical events that occur when you cut yourself and a clot forms, or when your immune system takes arms against an invader. He emphasizes how each molecular actor must come on stage and go off in precise order or else the process won't work. Allusions to Rube Goldberg inventions pale by comparison. But where is it written that because science can't explain the origins of complex phenomena, the only answer is design? The history of science is replete with enigmas that have succumbed to new concepts, new tools, new paradigms. Complexity theory is in its infancy; Darwinian theory undergoes revisions departing from gradualism. Nonlinear system theory, self- organizing systems, newly discovered developmental and regulatory genes are contributing profound insights into the development of complex organs and systems. Belief that ``irreducible complexity'' implies design may comfort the faithful (Behe is a Roman Catholic), but it is neither necessary nor sufficient for many other practicing scientists. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


Coming from a working scientist ... (Mr Behe's) proposition is close to heretical ... His best weapon is a talent for lively exposition. -- The New York Times Book Review, James Shreeve


Robert Shapiro

Author of Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth

Michael Behe has done a top notch job of explaining and illuminating one of the most vexing problems in biology: the origin of the complexity that permeates all of life on this planet. Professor Behe selects an answer that falls outside of science: the original creation of life by an intelligent designer. Many scientists, myself included, will prefer to continue the search for an answer within science. Nonetheless, this book should be on the essential reading list of all those who are interested in the question of where we came from, as it presents the most thorough and clever presentation of the design argument that I have seen.

Peter Van Inwagen

Professor of Philosophy, Notre Dame University

This book will do much to correct the common misapprehension that anyone who questions the Darwinian theory of evolution must be a "young earth creationist" whose motivation is to preserve the literal truth of the stories told in the first three books of Genesis against the encroachments of science and reason. If Darwinians respond to this important book by ignoring it, misrepresenting it, or ridiculing it, that will be evidence in favor of the widespread suspicion that Darwinism today functions more as an ideology than as a scientific theory. If they can successfully answer Behe's arguments, that will be important evidence in favor of Darwinism.


Product Description

Virtually all serious scientists accept the truth of Darwin's theory of evolution. While the fight for its acceptance has been a long and difficult one, after a century of struggle among the cognoscenti the battle is over. Biologists are now confident that their remaining questions, such as how life on Earth began, or how the Cambrian explosion could have produced so many new species in such a short time, will be found to have Darwinian answers. They, like most of the rest of us, accept Darwin's theory to be true.

But should we? What would happen if we found something that radically challenged the now-accepted wisdom? In Darwin's Black Box, Michael Behe argues that evidence of evolution's limits has been right under our noses -- but it is so small that we have only recently been able to see it. The field of biochemistry, begun when Watson and Crick discovered the double-helical shape of DNA, has unlocked the secrets of the cell. There, biochemists have unexpectedly discovered a world of Lilliputian complexity. As Behe engagingly demonstrates, using the examples of vision, bloodclotting, cellular transport, and more, the biochemical world comprises an arsenal of chemical machines, made up of finely calibrated, interdependent parts. For Darwinian evolution to be true, there must have been a series of mutations, each of which produced its own working machine, that led to the complexity we can now see. The more complex and interdependent each machine's parts are shown to be, the harder it is to envision Darwin's gradualistic paths, Behe surveys the professional science literature and shows that it is completely silent on the subject, stymied by the elegance of the foundation of life. Could it be that there is some greater force at work?

Michael Behe is not a creationist. He believes in the scientific method, and he does not look to religious dogma for answers to these questions. But he argues persuasively that biochemical machines must have been designed -- either by God, or by some other higher intelligence. For decades science has been frustrated, trying to reconcile the astonishing discoveries of modern biochemistry to a nineteenth-century theory that cannot accommodate them. With the publication of Darwin's Black Box, it is time for scientists to allow themselves to consider exciting new possibilities, and for the rest of us to watch closely.

About the Author

Michael J. Behe is Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.



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