Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The Edge of Evolution: The Obvious, Presented With Details


I’ve read Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution. Michael offers hard evidence for what most people recognize. (Those who have been blinded by Darwinist indoctrination are obviously excluded.)

Mutations break things. However, on occasion, with huge probabilistic resources, a broken thing can promote survival in a specific environment (e.g., bacterial antibiotic resistance).

But broken things represent a downhill process, informationally, and cannot account for an uphill, information-creating process, not to mention the machinery required to process that information.

Understanding this is not difficult, unless one has a nearly pathological commitment to the notion that design in the universe and living systems cannot possibly exist.

The similarities between the hope of inventing a perpetual-motion machine and the hope of explaining biologically significant information and machinery in Darwinian terms are obvious. They were both (I use the past tense advisedly) based on the hope that something (energy in the case of a perpetual-motion machine, and informational complexity in the case of living systems) could be had for nothing. But the universe is rigged so that none of this is possible. Perhaps these aspects of the rigging of the universe supply a hint about something much more important: One can't ultimately cheat, even if in the short term it appears that you got something for nothing. Accountability is inevitable, in the ultimate scheme of things. GilDodgen
Now its up to the Darwinists to come up with concrete evidence (something they are not very familiar with)
Haha, you hit the nail on the head. Atom
I'm on Appendix A. Almost done! I, too, saw some similarities with Lee Spetner's Not By Chance. However, I think Behe is the better popular writer. So it is easier to grasp Behe's point. But Spetner makes a nearly identical point: Darwinism is incapable of adding new information to the genome. But I think Behe's book is also more profound. He certainly raises the stakes. He almost literally draws a line in the genome. He says: up to here, random mutation can sometimes have beneficial effects when circumstances are dire. Behe even leaves room for a little gray area. But beyond the gray area, Behe basically throws down the gauntlet and says, the only possible explanation is design. Now its up to the Darwinists to come up with concrete evidence (something they are not very familiar with) to counter Behe's very powerful arguments. From here on out it will be a battle of hard evidence. At least it will be for those who are not already pathologically committed to materialism. EndoplasmicMessenger
The book is a very strong rejection of the random mutation part of NDE. Essentially Behe says the mutations don't happen except in very rare and trivial cases. If they did, then natural selection and genetic drift would have something to work with but in reality there is nothing for them to select or drift toward. So Behe uses the term "non random mutation" to indicate the source of variation. This could be a support for a theistic view of evolution or something much less subtle. The term edge of evolution is meant to indicate how far design intrudes into the world and he has a chart in the front of the book and in chapter 10 on page 218. He claims the edge of random evolution/design is in the area of orders/families/genera. Above that it is design and below that it is NDE or contingency. jerry
"I’m waiting to receive the book overseas" Me too. gpuccio
I’m currently reading my way through the book.
I'm waiting to receive the book overseas kairos
Atom, "simple/lazy minds conflate common descent and RM+NS" A truism!! I am quite convinced of common descent, yet the more I study the question of origins, the more content I am with the necessity of intelligent causation. bFast
I'm currently reading my way through the book. Once thing that has struck me as odd is how so many "reviewers" have completely missed what the book is saying (or haven't read it). PTers and company seem to think that Behe somehow "backs off" a bit in this book, becoming less of an IDer. This couldn't be further from the truth. I got the impression that Behe is willing to grant even less to the powers of RM+NS this time around. He presents a radically ID front-loading case for almost everything biological, much like Lee Spetner's NREH. I guess since simple/lazy minds conflate common descent and RM+NS, the mistake can be made. But be warned, this book is a definite attack on Darwinism and strengthens the ID case. Atom
"unless one has a nearly pathological commitment to the notion that design in the universe and living systems cannot possibly exist." Darwinists/atheists do indeed have this pathological obsession. It's what cripples their minds against correct reasoning abilities - otherwise known as common sense. I used the common sense argument once in a evo/ID and the thread ended up in a useless debate over the proper definition of "common sense" and whether it has any meaning or not! No matter that common sense tells us that common sense is often the "Occam's razor" (principle of parsimony) test. ;-) In their minds it is, "design...does not exist, period." Dawkins says so. Also, I've yet to meet a 'pathological" Darwinist that understands the nature of information. If they could just get that right their pathology would be on the road to recovery. :-) Borne
Good post Gil. It needs at least one response :-) tribune7

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