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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
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Published on 27 Nov 2010 by Virginia Lynes-lumsden

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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disingenuous, but thought-provoking
Gosh, what a funny old book. Subtitled 'The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution', Behe's work starts as an intelligent dig at some apparent holes in the Darwinist literature and ends as a not-quite-overt Creationist tract.

Behe is a biochemist, and also, as we learn 15 pages from the book's close, a Roman Catholic. His argument is a compelling one: that...
Published on 11 Oct 2011 by Mark Hurst


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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written with valid, strong and convincing scientific data ..., 15 July 2014
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Well written with valid, strong and convincing scientific data as evidence for his theory. It is just a shame he stopped short of identifying The Designer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Darwin's riders re the theory of evolution - riveting!!, 13 July 2014
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This review is from: Darwin's Black Box (Paperback)
Interesting read… bearing in mind what is thought and taught today.. even Darwin had his provisos!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Nov 2010
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Dogma is Challenged: A Different Perspective, 8 Dec 2012
This review is from: Darwin's Black Box (Paperback)
I recommend Behe's book not because he offers a knock-down refutation of Darwinian evolution (he may or may not have done that), nor because he makes a great case for design as an alternative (this is probably the weakest part of the book), but because his book provides a fascinating insight into what happens when someone challenges scientific orthodoxy. That this is the tenth anniversary edition is helpful because, in a new afterword, Behe examines some of the criticisms that have been offered against the book's main idea: irreducible complexity. This is particularly interesting because one can see first-hand (by reference to the original text, and the voluminous online "rebuttals") the way in which Behe's ideas have been systematically misrepresented by the scientific community, and even within the US legal system. Thus for anyone interested in the way ideas can come to be dogma, and how such dogma is defended by fair means and foul, Behe's book provides the staring point for a fascinating case study. It is also a fairly clear and well written introduction to some of the extraordinary discoveries of molecular biology and, when all is said and done, does seem to present a challenge to the current evolutionary paradigm which, I think, has not yet been fully addressed.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disingenuous, but thought-provoking, 11 Oct 2011
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Mark Hurst (Bedfordshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Darwin's Black Box (Paperback)
Gosh, what a funny old book. Subtitled 'The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution', Behe's work starts as an intelligent dig at some apparent holes in the Darwinist literature and ends as a not-quite-overt Creationist tract.

Behe is a biochemist, and also, as we learn 15 pages from the book's close, a Roman Catholic. His argument is a compelling one: that Darwinists focus almost exclusively on gross anatomy, yet the kinds of changes they invoke on the road to, say, the human eye, are never elucidated at the detailed molecular level. This, says Behe, is a gigantic con trick since the smallest phenotypic effect can require intricate and massive changes at the level of biochemistry and hence would not be attainable by natural selection.

It's a good idea, and somewhat convincing in the context of Behe's examples. His argument centres on 'irreducible complexity', which suggests that there are systems in biology that simply could not have evolved gradually, and he eventually (on page 193) comes clean and states that the systems he's described (cilia, blood clotting, etc.) were 'clearly' designed by an intelligent being.

The examples Behe considers are deliberately complex, yet his assertion that such systems are irreducibly complex is undermined by his own attack on the 'argument from personal incredulity' - just because he considers such system irreducible doesn't necessarily mean that they are so. His mousetrap example is particularly unconvincing, although we shouldn't let this obscure his basic point, which is that if natural selection can't explain an irreducibly complex system, we must, on Darwin's own admission, discard it as a natural philosophy.

Behe certainly has some interesting things to say about questioning our beliefs and why we hold such beliefs in the first place, but ultimately his message will stand or fall on details that we laymen must take on trust. His suggestion that science must explain the actual detailed route by which any evolutionary step took place seems ill-founded, and it all goes a bit pear-shaped towards the end, when he reveals his Creationist agenda.

For all that, it's a thought-provoking read.
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18 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Behe's empty box, 12 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Darwin's Black Box (Paperback)
Consider the lottery :- 1 in 10,068,347,520 chance of winning. Millions of people enter every week and there are many winners to prove that long odds are not the same as impossible.

Consider the concepts of eternity and infinity ( the first is accepted by creationists / ID Apologists to explain why the creator does not have a creator ) :- for example Michael Behe and his ID cohort suggest the chance of the eye evolving is 1 in a number larger than all the atoms in our universe. But this lottery has played out for an eternity and therefore the evolution of our universe from its Big Bang to its final big Crunch is just one throw in the universal lottery that accepting eternity must have taken place an infinite number of times. Therefore the occurence of highly improbable events such as the evolution of the eye will have happened not just once , twice or even many times, it will have occured on an infinite number of occasions. It will also not have happened on an infinite number of occasions. If the concept of infinity is added to eternity do we have a multiverse containing an infinite number of universes all playing the eternal big bang big crunch lottery.

We will never be able to fully comprehend eternity / infinity. I find the ideas of the ID apologists including Michael Behe in this book to arrive at their creationist theory totally incomprehensible. They totally ignore the concept of eternity until it is necessary to explain the creation of their supernatural creator. The work of Darwin, Dawkins and all their colleagues to understand how our finite world has come about is to be applauded. To take the puzzle they are assembling cover it with a cloth labelled the work of God - no more enquiry required is a total insult to the nature of humanity. As with all puzzles some pieces may well be in the wrong place, some may well be lost but our scientists must continue and not be held back by the ID movement.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Darwin's Black Box (Paperback)
great book
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31 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to think about what we've been taught, 19 Mar 2006
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This review is from: Darwin's Black Box (Paperback)
This book is, quite simply, compelling. I've checked out Behe's credentials, and they are sound. The scientific basis of his theories is sound.
And this is the heart of the matter. "ID" is getting a lot of press at the moment, and a lot of bad press. It is being put down, as one reviewer noted, as being unscientific and unprovable. For this reason scientists and educationalists are trying to burn the theory at the stake. Big problem...
Because evolution is unscientific and unprovable too.
This is the point, ultimately, of this book and of the endorsement for it. Behe may not have all the answers, and he may indeed be wrong, but the fact is that this is a more-than-equal and opposite theory to evolution. The evidence for evolution is the same evidence as exists for 'creationism', and only the interpretation differs. This is not, then, conclusive proof by means of evidence for evolution. The only reason evolution prevails, in spite of it's lack of evidence and profound violations of the observable laws of science, is because it is taught dogmatically, and we have a term for beliefs which are taught dogmatically... religion.
Evolution is religion. Without doubt. Cut through the mythology, and it was founded, heralded, and promoted amongst profoundly atheistic gnostic circles which themselves promoted the 'God is dead' movement. Scientific 'discovery' should never be rooted, according to evolutionists, in religious or philosophical predisposition, because we can indeed all make assertions and then set about making interpretations of data to support.
Fact: Darwin was qualified only as a theologian. He was a third rate botanist, a self-declared naturalist by hobby, and his theories formed the basis of the foundation of 'modern science' pitting him (and the theory) at odds with scientific minds far greater than his both before his time and after it.
Now evolution is on intellectual life-support, and is bolstered only by it's compulsory and exclusive teaching in schools, over-exposure in the media, and the selective exclusion of dissenting scientists from commentary on the subject.
Time to get informed? 'Darwin's Black Box' is a great, if not exhaustive, initiation into exploring the world of 'irreducibly complex' biological life and the nature of genetics.
Quite amazing that the schools still teach a version of science that asserted pattern and process to genetics before ever understanding or examining genetics, and that in the light of the fact that genetics do NOT agree with evolution, evolution is STILL taught.
No one is asking you to believe in God by reading this book. Don't be fooled by criticism. Science like this can adequately affirm the existence of a creative intelligent designer as a logical and inevitable conclusion. It does not attempt to define the identity of the designer. Religion can do that job adequately, and is a whole other subject.
Don't be put off by anti-religious commentary. There is, intellectually, no such thing as a non-religious person. We all have a religion of some kind. To 'scientific' atheists, evolution is the religion... the dogma of origins and explanations, irrespective of proof.
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16 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sadly not science, 6 July 2009
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This book fills all the criteria of bad science. In a nut shell, it looks at where the edge of science is and then claims that there is nothing more out there so there's no need to look any further. Many of the claims in the book have since been disproved. It even turns out that the author was in court over a topic relating to this book and admitted under oath that the actively disregarded evidence which contradicted his assertions. Further than this it is wholely disrespectful to the achievements of past scientists.
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14 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disgrace!, 8 Dec 2010
By 
J. R. Smith (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin's Black Box (Paperback)
Christian creationist propaganda material.... Don't waste your cash! Behe was proven wrong in a court of law!

This quote says it all...

Dover testimony

In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the first direct challenge brought in United States federal courts to an attempt to mandate the teaching of intelligent design on First Amendment grounds, Behe was called as a primary witness for the defense and asked to support the idea that intelligent design was legitimate science. Behe's critics have pointed to a number of key exchanges that they say further undermine his statements about irreducible complexity and intelligent design. Under cross examination, Behe conceded that "there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred."[45] During cross-examination Behe even stated that the definition of 'theory' as he applied it to intelligent design was so loose that astrology would qualify as a theory by definition as well.[46] Also while under oath, Behe admitted that his simulation modeling of evolution with Snoke had, in fact, shown that complex biochemical systems requiring multiple interacting parts for the system to function and requiring multiple, consecutive and unpreserved mutations to be fixed in a population could evolve within 20,000 years. This would happen even if the parameters of the simulation were rigged to make that outcome as unlikely as possible.[47][48]

John E. Jones III, the judge of the case, in his final ruling relied heavily upon Behe's testimony for the defense in his judgment for the plaintiffs, citing:

* "Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God."[49]
* "As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition's validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe's assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition."[49]
* "First, defense expert Professor Fuller agreed that ID aspires to 'change the ground rules' of science and lead defense expert Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology. Moreover, defense expert Professor Minnich acknowledged that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened to allow consideration of supernatural forces."[50]
* "What is more, defense experts concede that ID is not a theory as that term is defined by the NAS and admit that ID is at best 'fringe science' which has achieved no acceptance in the scientific community."[51]
* "We therefore find that Professor Behe's claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large."[52]
* "ID proponents primarily argue for design through negative arguments against evolution, as illustrated by Professor Behe's argument that 'irreducibly complex' systems cannot be produced through Darwinian, or any natural, mechanisms. However, ... arguments against evolution are not arguments for design. Expert testimony revealed that just because scientists cannot explain today how biological systems evolved does not mean that they cannot, and will not, be able to explain them tomorrow. As Dr. Padian aptly noted, 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.'... Irreducible complexity is a negative argument against evolution, not proof of design, a point conceded by defense expert Professor Minnich."[53]
* "Professor Behe's concept of irreducible complexity depends on ignoring ways in which evolution is known to occur. Although Professor Behe is adamant in his definition of irreducible complexity when he says a precursor 'missing a part is by definition nonfunctional,' what he obviously means is that it will not function in the same way the system functions when all the parts are present. For example in the case of the bacterial flagellum, removal of a part may prevent it from acting as a rotary motor. However, Professor Behe excludes, by definition, the possibility that a precursor to the bacterial flagellum functioned not as a rotary motor, but in some other way, for example as a secretory system."[54]
* "Professor Behe has applied the concept of irreducible complexity to only a few select systems: (1) the bacterial flagellum; (2) the blood-clotting cascade; and (3) the immune system. Contrary to Professor Behe's assertions with respect to these few biochemical systems among the myriad existing in nature, however, Dr. Miller presented evidence, based upon peer-reviewed studies, that they are not, in fact, irreducibly complex."[55]
* "With ID, proponents assert that they refuse to propose hypotheses on the designer's identity, do not propose a mechanism, and the designer, he/she/it/they, has never been seen. ... In addition, Professor Behe agreed that for the design of human artifacts, we know the designer and its attributes and we have a baseline for human design that does not exist for design of biological systems. Professor Behe's only response to these seemingly insurmountable points of disanalogy was that the inference still works in science fiction movies."[56]
"
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Darwin's Black Box by Michael J. Behe (Paperback - 19 Jun 2006)
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