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Mike Behe’s son becomes “young humanist”, says father has no religious agenda

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Here. Ryan Schaffer interviews Leo Behe, who hopes to study philosophy in the fall term:

I’m going to a university this fall to study philosophy. In the future, I hope to write on the subject of religion and why I believe it is both harmful and false.

– (“The Humanist Interview: The son of intelligent design heavyweight Michael Behe discusses his journey to atheism” The Humanist, September/October 2011)

That said, he does not claim that his father forced religion on him. Rather,

I would like everyone to realize that he doesn’t have any sort of religious agenda and he’s not trying to denigrate science in any way.

And so …

Long-held beliefs, especially beliefs developed during childhood, operate on a very deep and basic level of thought—almost subconsciously. These beliefs can exist independently in a perfectly honest and intelligent scientist who is simply doing his part to further theories or ideas that he believes are supported by the scientific data. The best way to progress is through respectful and thoughtful discussion and debate, as it has always been.


If one says religion is harmful and false then surely he means the people who are religious are the agents of harmfulness etc since religion is only made up by people. I don't think young people have a lot to add or subtract from the great story of mankind and religion. I say the true religion is the origin for all positive results in the modern world. By the way does he mean all realigions? Judaism, Islam, Buddism, , Wican!!! Is this guty being used by the media to hopefully derail Father Behe??? I smell something here. I don't think this boy otherwise would get attention. Robert Byers
I am a former Marxist-Leninist atheist, and I came to a theistic position very young in life like Leo Behe. I know of other former atheists, but one that came to my mind right now is Peter Hitchens, who wrote The Rage against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith http://www.amazon.com/Rage-Against-God-Atheism-Faith/dp/0310320313 His brother Christopher Hitchens is a famous atheist. QED: not all have faith. Enezio E. De Almeida Filho
According to his blog, he is 20. NZer
"He appears to be fairly typical of the bulk of the youth of today, in particular the scholarly who seek a glimmer of reality, but based on reason rather than indoctrination. Who can argue with that?" Except that there is no neutral ground. He will either be indoctrinated by the ID people (or his father), or by the writings of the other side (he cites Dawkins). "Also, I’m an avowed Christian...John Calvin would say it’s either in the cards or it ain’t. BS." If you are an avowed Christian Lee, then why are you using such language (in contrast to the Biblical teaching)? Needless to say that I have experienced several smart young people recently that have turned away from Christ to embrace atheism. Funny how in each case they are not eager to ask for answers to their questions, but instead chose to go their own way almost as a lifestyle choice. What strikes me is how irrational this is. I wonder about your son Lee. Did he just embrace atheism, or did he do it with clear thinking and reasoned arguments? Leo Behe sure sounds to me like he just chose to be different, and is not looking for evidence to back up his position. From the Humanist interview, it would appear the beliefs of Leo's father really has/had nothing to offer him. Of course this is not Michael teaching Leo from a neutral position, but rather telling him that neutral is ok. So he leaves, and who should be surprised? NZer
Young Behe appears to be of no consequence at this point other than being the offspring of someone famous who is strongly disliked by a faction. The faction will use him as needed, and then drop him like a rock when no longer needed. Not a good place to be Leo. StuartHarris
"Why is it, these days especially, that very young people (early 20?s) seem to think they know it all, have all the answers?" Exactly. At the ripe old age of 19 these people think they have all the answers to the vast mysteries of the Universe. bbigej
-"Why is it, these days especially, that very young people (early 20?s) seem to think they know it all, have all the answers?" 'Cause we do. ;-) It's been like that since the dawn of man though, hasn't it? The transition between needing your parents and being on your own sort of requires a level of self assurance bordering on arrogance. Course my rebellion is/was just not going to church. I'm thinking Leo had a bunch of Atheist friends growing up that helped shape his opinions. - Sonfaro Sonfaro
William Franklin disagreed with his dad as well. tribune7
"It’s hardly surprising that at least one of Mike Behe’s kids would rebel against his father and what the latter stands for."
Rebellion? I disagree, having read his comments in the interview and elsewhere. He appears to be fairly typical of the bulk of the youth of today, in particular the scholarly who seek a glimmer of reality, but based on reason rather than indoctrination. Who can argue with that? We raise our kids by setting examples, but not to achieve ultimate indoctrination. And while we may draw valid lines in the sand, religious views are well outside of that providence.
"That’s what I think – at least in part – the unconscious motivation of this Behe Jr’s atheism and anti-religious worldview is a rebellion against the father."
We’ve all seen or heard of cases where children rebel based on abuses and indoctrinations, but that is not the case here. Instead, Leo is merely pursuing a scholarly and reasoned approach, and as most non-theists will admit, is subject to revision based on new data. Also, I’m an avowed Christian, and by choice rather than dictate, and chose that pathway after leaving home. I used to read all of Issac Asimov's works, which filled boxes under my bed, and detected his atheistic leanings. But skeptic that I am (small ‘s’), I’m a hard sell on logical arguments for the reasons I’ve mentioned. I’ve always had a theistic leaning, based on the world around me, and from an engineering and aesthetic perspective. John Calvin would say it’s either in the cards or it ain’t. BS. We are free agents to choose, rather than puppets on a rotating stage. Part (if not most) of the problem I see today with a rejection of religion, is based on man’s intervention in setting its conditions, interpretations, and even some of its 'ground rules'. The Bible is God's word, but seen via the man-filter, with its cultural, semantical and metaphoric corruptions. And with today's tools, they stand out. Unavoidable, due to our nature, but a large part of the problem with rejection of it in today’s Internet world. Never before were the means available to dissect and to denigrate God’s words as they are today. Couple that with the politics of science studies and unwarranted political restraints and impositions on academia, and what we are seeing is simply [again] ‘in the cards’. By the way, my son Sean, with a birthday one day off from Leo’s, is an avowed atheist as well, based largely on the way he sees the evidence(s), for and against. He knows that I blog for ID using what he may consider to be a skewed assessment of the data, although we still occasionally have our friendly exchanges. But the way I see it, we’re only in game one of a kind of ongoing ‘world series’, and one that might just last for eternity. leebowman
"I hope to write on the subject of religion and why I believe it is both harmful and false." Sounds like he wants to be the next C Hitchens. Yes, it does seem like he is rebelling against his father. Why is it, these days especially, that very young people (early 20's) seem to think they know it all, have all the answers? melvinvines
Having attended a boarding school in Austria for my last 2 years of high school in the late 1970s, I came across many foreign students from Europe and the Middle East. One such student from Italy had learned the English language over the summer in order to attend our school, which was run by Americans. Not surprising, after finally making contact with her on Facebook a few years ago, I learned that she's become a language expert and educator in France and Italy. So I'm not at all surprised that a person (especially a young person) can learn a language through emersion in a relatively short period of time. She had no accent either. But what surprises me is that a person can learn all there is to know about the arguments for the existence of God in order to have the ability to refute them, in a six month period. Granted, this young man is quite intelligent as I was able to determine just from a cursory reading of his blog: www.thejoyfulatheist.blogspot.com. But I don't think intelligence is enough to be able to get a full handle on all there is to know regarding Christian theology and apologetic arguments. I don't think people like William Lane Craig or CS Lewis came upon their learning that quickly. So I think Zephyr above has it right; it's rebellion, but the young man apparently has been careful not to upset his father too much. My early "experimenting" in Christianity around the age of 19 was pretty much a rebellion - one that's has lasted some 30 years now. But I had an advantage, in that what I committed to ended up being true. CannuckianYankee
It's hardly surprising that at least one of Mike Behe's kids would rebel against his father and what the latter stands for. That's what I think - at least in part - the unconscious motivation of this Behe Jr's atheism and anti-religious worldview is a rebellion against the father. I say it isn't surprising that at least one of Behe's kids would rebel, since Mike Behe has so many, like ten or eleven kids or something like that! Yes and all with the same wife. It's not conceivable that all his progeny would follow the father's outlook on life, the universe and everything; especially given that Behe has practically fathered enough kids for a whole new tribe! zephyr
Clyde I assume you actually intended to aim the "why so many diatribes about gradualism" remark towards the Dept. of education? lamarck
Yes, indeed if Mike Behe has no religious agenda, then THAT is his religious agenda. There is no neutral ground. Consider apologist Greg Koukl's take on (teaching moral) neutrality:
Values Clarification in Hawaii My youngest brother raised his children in Hawaii. At the time, the public school system there conducted exercises in values clarification in which the students were encouraged to develop their own beliefs about morality. The teacher was "neutral," explaining to the students that it was up to them to formulate their own moral conclusions to these ethical dilemmas. The children were asked to solve this problem. An aged man had taken the life of his seriously ailing wife to put her out of her misery. He was being tried for murder. Should he be punished for his "mercy killing," or should he go free? My brother made a visit to the school to register his concern, but the teacher defended the practice. "We're not pushing our views or imposing our values," he said. "We're careful to let the students know that it's up to them to decide what to do. This is 'value free' instruction. We're neutral." My brother pointed out that the teacher's approach was anything but neutral. "You're telling my children that when they face the hard questions of right or wrong, when they're confronted with the most difficult problems of morality, there are no guidelines. There are no absolutes. There are no rules. You're teaching my kids that when they must decide critical issues of right and wrong, it's simply up to them."
http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6223 NZer
Oops that was supposed to be a comment under "Wasted Lives". Clyde_Colirrufo
I agree that this kind of post is lacking in substance. And why so many diatribes about gradualism? Is that horse really still twitching? Over the past 20 years or so many evolutionary biologists have come to doubt gradualism--so criticizing Darwin's original intent is nothing the evolutionists aren't also doing on their blogs. What I would like to see discussed more on this site are issues that are actually current in the field: things like Evo Devo, hox genes, epigenetics, and cladistic analyses of new fossils. These are the topics I am obliged to discuss with my students and it would be great to have some intelligent discussion of them with other ID folks. Clyde_Colirrufo
Is materialism/atheism even taken seriously in philosophy anymore??? Save only by those for which it must be true??? "Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning. . ." CS Lewis – Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis - Quotes http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/cs-lewis-quotes.htm ============= Brooke Fraser - C.S. Lewis Music Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo-e2BjICCY ========= C.S. Lewis - Evolution and The Christian Experience - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7060815/ bornagain77
Sorry about the partial double-up. First comment in the new format! MedsRex
Yes, pursuing a career in the exciting world of pre-suppositional atheist apologetics. MedsRex
pre-suppositional atheist apologetics. MedsRex
What's of note about this guy other than being the son of an ID proponent? Oh, nothing? Well, good luck in his bright future career and... wait, philosophy major? Alright then. nullasalus
Apparently, though, the son has a religious agenda... bbigej

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