Chat with Michael Behe
Chat with Michael Behe

Chat with Michael Behe

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In our cover story, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe ​​takes us into a semi-secret conference that questions the holy grail of secular science—the theory of evolution. I asked Behe ​​what had happened since 1996, when he sparked controversy in secular circles with his book Darwin’s Black Boxscientific abolition of Darwin’s theory:

Since black box, we have seen advocates of intelligent design systematically silenced. Any good news on that front? We can share the news from then on to both disappointing and overwhelming. The disappointing news is that the scientific community remains against smart design. The great news is that, as the actual progress of science accelerates, the case for intelligent design is getting stronger while the case for Darwin is getting weaker (if that’s possible). That’s exactly what you expect when your theory is right—new results confirm it.

In black box, you coined the term “irreducible complexity” to describe biological systems that cannot function without a minimum number of components, and therefore cannot “evolve” from simpler systems. What is the most common evolutionist response to your proposition? The most common overall response is to question my ancestry. The most common serious response was to turn the question into the future: Give us more time, they wrote. But, of course, it’s now over 25 years old, and a total of zero of the examples in this book have been explained in a Darwinian way.

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What is the most promising new area of ​​scientific inquiry for advancing intelligent design theory? In biology, almost everything. The cell has a much more elegant engine than was thought a decade ago. It has a more sophisticated control system, doing more things that no one ever expected. Another such study has just been published. The researchers were able to make films of the molecular machinery that handles the tangles that appear in DNA during cell replication. Meanwhile, nearly every new study voicing how natural selection helps species survive finds that the underlying mutation breaks pre-existing genes. That’s de-volution, not e-volution.

Tell me about your faith and family. Both of my grandfathers worked for the Altoona railway. My father joined the Navy since graduating from high school during the Second World War. He was the first of his family to go to college, on the GI Bill. I was born in 1952 into a large Catholic family and attended a parish school. I always get confused when asked by other Christians to share my conversion story because I don’t have one! I was blessed to be taught the faith by my parents and never doubted its veracity. My wife and I decided to continue that tradition with our own extended Catholic family. Like all families, we have had our ups and downs, but God has blessed us so much.

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What types of hobbies or sports might you enjoy on the weekends? I’m the proverbial couch potato. I love watching football and cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles. Much of my wife and I’s time is spent at family get-togethers with one or more of our nine children, all of whom still live in the area.

If you could take a year off to study a subject outside your career field, what would it be? I’ve always wanted to learn carpentry, work with my hands in making things. I am one of the most useless people you will ever meet. If I had a free year, I think I’d be apprenticed to a very patient carpenter.

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