Today, the much-anticipated review of Behe’s book is out and available for viewing. It appears at the website of Science: A biochemist’s crusade to overturn evolution misrepresents theory and ignores evidence, written by no less than three competent reviewers: Nathan H. Lents, S. Joshua Swamidass, and Richard E. Lenski.
We know you’re going to read it for yourself, so we’ll only give you a few excerpts — with bold font added by us for emphasis:
In 1996, biochemist Michael Behe introduced the notion of “irreducible complexity,” arguing that some biomolecular structures could not have evolved because their functionality requires interacting parts, the removal of any one of which renders the entire apparatus defective. This claim excited creationists and remains a central plank of the “intelligent design” movement, despite being rightly rejected by a U.S. federal judge in 2005 in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. In Darwin Devolves, Behe continues his quixotic efforts to overturn modern evolutionary theory.
Great start. Huh? Then they talk about Behe’s “theory”:
In the grand scheme of evolution, mutations serve only to break structures and degrade functions, Behe argues. He allows that mutation and natural selection can explain species- and genus-level diversification, but only through the degradation of genes. Something else, he insists, is required for meaningful innovation. Here, Behe invokes a “purposeful design” by an “intelligent agent.”
The reviewers then give several examples that rebut Behe, including:
Behe is skeptical that gene duplication followed by random mutation and selection can contribute to evolutionary innovation. Yet there is overwhelming evidence that this underlies trichromatic vision in primates, olfaction in mammals, and developmental innovations in all metazoans through the diversification of HOX genes. … Behe acknowledges none of these studies, declaring an absence of evidence for the role of duplications in innovation. [Footnote references omitted]
The review ends with this:
Ultimately, Darwin Devolves fails to challenge modern evolutionary science because, once again, Behe does not fully engage with it. He misrepresents theory and avoids evidence that challenges him.
It’s utterly devastating, but the Discoveroids are in full denial mode. At their creationist blog they just posted Early Science Review of Darwin Devolves — A Panic Attack?, by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, which need none of our bold font for emphasis:
The review of this forthcoming book has three authors — Richard Lenski, Joshua Swamidass, and Nathan Lents. They say that “Darwin Devolves fails to challenge modern evolutionary science” but they have no answer to the main challenge that the book lays down.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:
Why was it written and published in this way? It’s odd to review a book that hasn’t been publicly released yet. For a review of a book that’s presumably of trifling importance, why is one author not enough?
It feels like a panic.
These three are hustled out to critique Behe, but when they get up on the stage they find they have no reply to the main point of Behe’s book.
Whatever else was going on here, the editors of Science clearly wanted to cut off this threat before it got any further along.
Okay, that’s enough. If Behe’s book is the best that creationists can do, we think Darwin’s theory is likely to survive
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