Michael Behe Is Absolutely Triumphant

The impression one gets after reading the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog over the years is that Michael Behe is one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, albeit with a few fools who are his critics.

He’s a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, where he has tenure so he’s never been Expelled. His colleagues at Lehigh are so impressed by his brilliance that they publicly disassociated themselves from him by issuing this statement: Department Position on Evolution and “Intelligent Design”.

Most of you know about Behe’s performance in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, where he was the Discoveroids’ star witness. Judge John E. Jones wrote a splendid opinion for all to see, and utterly shredded Behe’s evidence — see Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony.

If you’re a Behe admirer, you’ll be thrilled to know that he has a new book out. The Discoveroids have been posting about it recently, and they’ve done so today. The new post at their creationist blog is titled Vacuous Attacks from Brilliant Scientists: Behe Will Discuss in a Webinar, Saturday, November 21. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Darwin’s Black Box thrust Michael Behe to the forefront of the intelligent design movement. The Lehigh University biochemist has haunted the dreams of Darwinists ever since.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Does Behe haunt your dreams, dear reader? Same here. In case you never heard of it, this is the Wikipedia article on that book: Darwin’s Black Box. But that’s not what the Discoveroids are blogging about today. They say:

Each of his three books sparked a firestorm of criticism, in everything from the New York Times and the journal Science to the private blogs of professional atheists. Over the years, Behe has had a delightful time rebutting each attack, and now his responses are collected in a single volume entitled A Mousetrap for Darwin. [Amazon link.]

If you go to the Amazon listing, the first thing you’ll notice is that the publisher is the Discovery Institute. To us, that means it’s essentially a vanity press book. The thing is 556 pages long and it costs only — get this! — $25.95 in paperback. Wowie! And Amazon has a “Look inside” feature. Okay, let’s get back to the Discoveroids. They tell us:

We are excited to celebrate the official release of the book this weekend with a webinar featuring Dr. Behe himself [Ooooooooooooh! The great man himself!], who will speak about the content of this new volume and answer audience questions. Register here to join us online on Saturday, November 21, 10:00 am Pacific time. [Link omitted!]

The Discoveroids are excited. So are we. They continue:

The book’s title alludes to Behe’s homey illustration for his idea of irreducible complexity. A mousetrap with a missing part doesn’t work just a little worse. It doesn’t work at all. The same goes for the bacterial flagellum pictured on the cover of the new collection. … Rather, Darwin’s mechanism works principally by breaking things for short term benefit. It doesn’t build anything fundamentally new.

We’ve blogged about that stuff before — for example: Behe Says Dogs Are ‘Broken Wolves’. Very well then, if evolution can’t do it, then what does create new stuff? The Discoveroids ask and then answer that question:

What does? Intelligent design. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] According to Behe, one of the most powerful arguments that he is on the right track is the sheer vacuity of the attacks leveled against him, many offered by undeniably brilliant scientists. But are those criticisms really as empty as he thinks, or has Behe met his match? Look for A Mousetrap for Darwin on Amazon now and decide for yourself!

There’s not much left except a promotional link about Behe and another link about the the webinar. You’re not missing anything if we leave them here — so that’s what we’re doing.

One question remains: Are you gonna buy Behe’s new book?

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

25 responses to “Michael Behe Is Absolutely Triumphant

  1. Puck Mendelssohn

    Y’know, I buy a lot of DI books, but there is such a thick pile of ’em nailed up in the outhouse now and the paper is, to be honest, not the softest.

    I’ll probably give this one a miss. Why? I enjoy writing Amazon reviews of these monstrous compendia of lies, but somehow, 556 pages of Behe repeatedly yelling “nuh-UHHHH!” just doesn’t appeal. And no reasonably compact review of such a book can be written — it is the sort of thing one can respond to only with (a) the merest grunt, as in the outhouse, or (b) ten thousand pages of detailed response.

    Now, if The Great Man had deigned to respond to the review of a man whose name combines a great Shakespearean character’s name with a great composer’s name, I’d be all over it. But while the DI has responded to my reviews specifically on three separate occasions now, it appears from the table of contents that this will not be the fourth.

  2. “… Darwin’s mechanism works principally by breaking things for short term benefit. It doesn’t build anything fundamentally new. What does? Intelligent design.”
    Off stage one hears “cue God!”

  3. What struck me most from Behe’s testimony at the trial is that he admitted that according to his definition astrology is science too. For some reason that isn’t defended at that IDiot blog.

    “Are you gonna buy Behe’s new book?”
    No, but a free look at Amazon doesn’t hurt anything and may result in a few good laughs. Lo and behold! The first sentence of the intro already is a classic.

    “Since the turn of the Millennium a raft of distinguished biologists have written books critically evaluating evolutionary theory.”
    The second sentence is almost as good:

    None [Italics by Behe] of them think that Darwin’s mechanism is the main driver of life.”
    Contemplate that, dear fellow commenters. Have you a good answer to that brilliant, fundamental question: what the heck is the main driver of life?
    Actually you can stop here. What follows is an extended version of “evolution theory can’t explain, hence a Grand Old Designer [blessed be MOFO!]”, aka God of the Gaps. Of course that’s what Irreducible Complexity also is about.

    The next step is a typical Argument from Ignorance:

    “That’s the problem for Darwin: the molecular foundation of life has turned out to be astoundingly, gobsmackingly sophisticated, elegant beyond words.”
    Yup – we humans don’t even have words to formulate an answer, let alone that we can understand it.

    Everybody now can answer for him/herself it this crap is worth wasting 26 bucks.

  4. Theodore J Lawry

    From the “Look inside” feature on Amazon, the book consists of 108 essays, mainly rebuttals to various criticisms made over the years. In other words, very little of the book is new, it’s just old stuff repackaged. Not a good sign if we are supposed to believe that ID has such a good case, not to mention awesome new evidence

  5. “… elegant beyond words …”?
    If that is so, why do the words “intelligent design” have any place in description?

  6. Does anyone remember who first came up with the “incomplete mousetrap” rebuttal of Behe, since used to such good effect by Ken Miller? Behe, It would seem, still thinks he won that argument, and I fear that that is very much in character for him.

    “None [Italics by Behe] of them think that Darwin’s mechanism is the main driver of life.”

    Sometimes even total idiots say the right thing by accident, and this is one of those times. According to the neutral drift theory, which attracted notice when put forward by Mooto Kimura in 1968(!), the main driver is a random mutation followed by statistical drift. But of course, like Darwinism, that would never do, because it provides a route to Complex Specified Information without the intervention of a designer

  7. chris schilling

    If Behe and co. propose Intelligent Design as the “main driver of life”, then what are all those extinct species doing in the fossil record (After all, they can’t fall back on a global Flood, unlike their Bible literalist cousins).

    Evolution explains extinctions, too — at the local level — in the sense of adaptive fitness as a cycle of newer forms or variations replacing older, obsolescent ones.

  8. Michael Fugate

    My first impression of the cover is of multiple middle finger salutes – “Hey Darwinist, this is what I think of you”. Just me?

    Beheism is just straight-up Genesis – perfect creation followed by a fall – made modern sciency sounding. Like all creationism, it is mostly cherry-picked anecdotes devoid of context. There could only be a perfect genome or a perfect enzyme/protein, if there were an unchanging environment. Either all organisms would now be dead from lack of function genes or God spends weekends upgrading genomes by manufacturing new genes – no doubt inserting them when we are sleeping… (think Adam and the rib)

  9. Michael Fugate

    “Wow, what a book!… perhaps the most comprehensive and incisive critiques of Neo-Darwinism currently in print.”
    Michael Denton (ID peer review in action)

  10. Does anyone address the variations of Irreducible Complexity before Behe?
    Nicolas Malebranche. 18th century
    Herbert Spencer. 19th century.
    Thomas H. Frazzetta. 20th century.

  11. I doubt Behe will recount the takedown Abbie Smith gave him over his VPU blunder! That was a classic.

  12. @TomS, also Paley himslef, as I just learnt in another group:
    https://quod.lib.umich.edu/g/genpub/PaleyNatur/1:11?rgn=div1;view=fulltext pp182-3: For the sake of method, we have considered
    animal bodies under three divisions; their
    bones, their muscles, and their vessels: and
    we have stated our observations upon these
    parts separately. But this is to diminish the
    strength of the argument. The wisdom of
    the Creator is seen, not in their separate but
    their collective action; in their mutual subserviency
    and dependence;
    in their contributing
    together to one effect, and one use. [emphasis added]

  13. Regarding Behe. His religious faith is very strong. Bizarrely expressed for sure. He should have become an engineer. He could have helped mankind by designing widgets and screwing around with spreadsheets.His unfortunate choice to study and write on biology have presented the world of science with a circulate sideshow featuring a gigantic carbuncle of errant ,unconstrained, engineering like creationist trash that publishes a new science fiction attack on actual science every few years. He is nothing if not persistent in his madness. Enjoy all you LeHigh students !

  14. @och will:

    Actually Behe is a Biochemist, and came to that field from Chemistry (his undergraduate major). It’s unclear whether he has any extensive background in Biology.

  15. Behe’s books are extra fun because the people who read them will often memorize entire passages and quote them back verbatim as a way of “proving” Intelligent Design.

    I’ve had several wonderful interactions with people who’ve talked about the “magnificent complexity”* of the blood clotting cascade, and even when I point out that hemophiliacs exist and don’t need to, and I, personally have my own personal failure in the blood clotting cascade**, they maniacally cling to their script.

    * Whenever someone uses this term, I know exactly what arguments I’ll be getting.
    ** It’s relatively minor – my platelets tend to jump the gun in the clotting cascade, which means that I get giant, gnarly scabs, but actually heal up super-fast. It’ll be an issue for me in my later years as it means I’m GOING to have a serious clot at some point, but currently it’s not a big deal.

  16. Eddie Janssen

    Maybe someone should ask Behe what the INS gene is doing in muscle cells or in blood cells

  17. Michael Fugate

    That there are trillions of ways to get a functioning organism – variation at every level – makes Behe’s view full of crap. There is no one perfect organism or ideal organism in some god’s mind nor cell nor protein. There are even given a single genome different developmental paths with either the same or different ends. Teleology is dead in biology; there is no way to determine the “true end” – no matter how badly people want one. Which is why Ham’s gender determinism is BS.

  18. A friend of mine told me that he was not particularly interested in evolution, but tended to doubt it. When he read Behe’s “Black Box”, it convinced him of the truth of evolution.

  19. Michael Fugate

    This from this week’s Nature on presenting evidence
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03189-1

  20. Thanks, MichaelF.

  21. @Paul B

    Imagine that, my Xfinity has been down for over a day. Probably backhoe fade.

    Anyway, I did find a link to a summary by Abbie Smith at the Panda’s Thumb from 2007.

    The original exchange was on Behe’s Amazon comment thread for his book. There he demeaned now Dr. Smith as a “girl and mere graduate student,” along those lines from memory, arrogance we appreciate from creationists. Abbie served him a dish of cold cajones.

    I believe we call what Behe does as a “systemic failure of scholarship.”

  22. @Docbill, ” Michael Behe, if you don’t understand the epidemiological and clinical significance of this ‘pathetic’ evolution, well, that might explain why you aren’t doing HIV research.”

    But I think that Behe and is simply incapable of realising when he has been handed his arse on a plate

  23. If there was a movie, The Graduate Student, it would star Abbie Smith. Totally on top of her game, taking guff from no one, or in the case of Behe, a nobody. I worship the ground she walks. Abbie will do work that benefits mankind, unlike Behe who will disappear into the tar pit of history.