Leading Intelligent Design Proponent Challenges Darwin

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By Michelle A. Vu, Christian Post Reporter
November 21, 2006|7:11 pm

MCLEAN, Va. – While intelligent design is a familiar term to many Americans, not many could say they heard first-hand a scientific explanation from the man who some call the “poster boy” of intelligent design.

Michael Behe, the author of Christianity Today’s 1996 Book of the year - Darwin’s Black Box - challenged Darwin’s theory of evolution by presenting his famed “irreducible complexity” argument at a recent apologetics conference at McLean Bible Church.

The argument says that there are some biological systems composed of multiple parts that are “irreducibly complex,” so that the removal of any one part of the system will cause it to cease functioning. Therefore, the system could not have evolved step by step.

This argument - which has been widely debated in academic circles following the release of Behe’s book– directly challenges Darwin’s theory of evolution which conceded that “if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” In other words, evolution required gradual, successive steps and can “never take a great and sudden leap” according to Darwin.

Behe used the mouse trap example to illustrate “irreducible complexity.” He said that a mousetrap is composed of five basic parts: the wood platform, hammer, catch, holding bar, and spring. All five parts are essential for the trap to work and the trap does not work half as well if one part is missing but it is simply broken.

“With ‘irreducible complex’ systems, the function appears, pretty much, when the system is completely put together,” explained Behe. “It doesn’t appear gradually. So things like this are a big problem for Darwinian theories.”

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The intelligent design proponent then pointed to biological, cellular, and biochemical system that have “irreducible complexity.” He showed a slide of the bacteria flagellum as an “irreducible complex” system and said that the removal of the drive shaft, propeller, or any parts would cause the system to not function.

“The bottom line is we have strong evidence for real design and little evidence for Darwinism,” concluded Behe.

He summarized his argument as:

• Design is not mystical but deduced from physical structure of a system
• Everyone agrees aspects of biology appear designed
• There are structural obstacles to Darwinian evolution
• Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination

 

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