19 Replies to “Video: Evidence of Design from Biology. A Presentation by Dr. Michael Behe at the University of Toronto

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Think how proud his mom must be of him!

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    There is no evidence of design in biology, says the critic. But if there were, we could explain it as sequential accumulations of “useful bits” that “just happened.”

    But the mere appearance is not evidence, oh no.

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    Irreducible complexity kills Darwinian evolution dead, a million evolutionists citing God-of-the-gaps arguments notwithstanding. There are many solid arguments against Darwinian evolution. Michael Behe’s argument is or should be right at the top of the list.

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    Excellent talk about the fundamental point of ID.
    That creation is so complex AND that this complexity demands a conclusion of a origin of a complex first cause and endless causes of thoughtful creation.
    It is the great God that all men suspected and the bible clearly describes.

    To dismiss this complexity demands mechanism and that demanding evidence for it acting.
    Mankind will never agree that creation was not built by a thinking being(s).
    Researchers like Mr Behe will prevail with mankind id saying nature shows the fingerprints of the creator. All over everythjing.
    The struggle must go back to denying christ is the son of God and not denying a God.

    The ones who fight to say evolution etc etc created the world are always the ones desperate to deny God’s existence.
    As if they are under more sub-conscience influence to not see things as they are.
    iD/YEC will prevail , I think, before 15 years is over.

  5. 5
    ForJah says:

    As much as I love Behe’s books and him as a person. He really is not the best speaker. He said “uh” about 300,000 times, it got on my nerves. Anyway, I would say the best question at the end was the one that said couldn’t IC machines have been used for one purpose at one time and then inadvertently changed into a different purpose once a new item was added. Behe seems unconvinced by the papers but I would like to read papers on the subject. Can anyone point me to them?

  6. 6
    John W Kelly says:

    The “evidence” for design is easy to point to. It is the mechanism of intelligence itself, or of the “Intelligent Agent”, that needs to be understood and brought forth.

    When the time comes that specific sequences of numbers are shown to possess inherent predictive abilities, and then are able to react according to the shape of those predictions by actively influencing matter towards a specific goal or purposeful arrangement (Design), then maybe a working theory of “Intelligent” Design will arise to demonstrate the creation and growth of CSI within biological forms.

    “God is Light”!
    “The Word is God”!

  7. 7
    JGuy says:

    The only thing I didn’t like is that he didn’t have a lot of time. He has a great way of explaining the issues, imo. And his writing is outstanding.

    On IC machines being adopted from prior machines:
    First, you need to explain the origin of the prior machine (is it also IC).
    Second, you need to explain why we should in principle ever expect one machine that has a specific function, to be readily adaptable into an entirely new function by adding just a few fortuitous parts.

    For those extra parts to fortuitously combine with a pre-exiting machine to form a whole new function seems highly improbable.

    They would need to integrate. Suppose with intelligent intentions you aimed to make a combustion engine. You find something in the garage that you consider to be like a piston, then you find something that you consider to be very much like a cylinder to hold the piston. Do you think you would likely have a fit? No, they probably wouldn’t. Their physical diameters could be orders of magnitude different. Now, imagine random variation and natural selection, insofar as it even works, doing the same thing. So, we can likewise expect that any matchable aspect of pre-existing parts would be entirely fortuitous. To suppose that some multiple parts from different areas of a cell happen to arrange into a new part is equivalent to saltation events or hopeful monsters, imo.

    You not only need the protein parts, you need integrate them in a gradated functionality.
    The parts need to fortuitously be the correct size AND shape
    There needs to be integration. Which would require:
    Fortuitous correct amounts of the parts.
    Fortuitoous locality of the parts.
    Fortuitous timing of placing of the parts
    Fortuitous orientation of the parts into a useful configuration
    Fortuitous control/feedback signals (what good is any of it without controls?)

    …I’m sure there are other problems associated with such a plan. Not to mention the improbability of new proteins coming about in the first place (which alone would arguably make it impossible).

  8. 8
    alan says:

    A though re. big bang, age of universe etc.
    Finding that the universe is expanding may not require an extrapolation back to a infinitely small point because of the ability of God to “begin” at any point along such extrapolation. Type Adam if you will to get an example. He was created at an “age” of adulthood, not as a zygote or earlier. He “expanded/aged” from that point and a scientist would assume he was much older by naturalistic observation. Interesting to me and I think there are good reasons that can argue for apparent age regarding the universe.

  9. 9

    ForJah @5:

    There are two possible approaches to the question raised by the questioner: (i) an existing functional machine somehow becomes used for another purpose, or (ii) various parts that are already existing come together to form a new machine (this is the “co-option” approach).

    In the first case, we are dealing with two sub-possibilities:

    (i)(a) – The machine, as is, gets used in another context. This is certainly possible if the machine is able to function in different contexts, such as in response to changing environmental conditions.

    I’m trying to think of a good example offhand, but consider a shovel that is used for digging dirt. If the need arises, it can also be used to cut through small roots. Or even farther from its original function, if you were adrift in a life raft without an oar but you had a shovel, you would quickly put the shovel to use as a paddling device.

    Examples from the natural realm are a bit trickier, but consider the grapefruit tree in my backyard. Its leaves perform a vital function of photosynthesis and energy generation (as in most green-leafed trees). The leaves also provide shade. Now with most trees the shade might be interesting or nice for animals who nest there, but it is not really important for the tree itself. However, in the case of the grapefruit tree, the fruit must be shaded or it “burns” and quickly goes bad. Thus the leaves perform a vital function of protecting the growing fruit from direct sunlight.

    Now in this case (i)(a), it is often unclear in nature whether a machine was actually put to a new function through some change in the environment or whether the machine was designed to perform multiple functions from the outset. In either case, the machine itself hasn’t changed, so it is irrelevant to the question of the irreducible complexity Behe is discussing and is not an example of evolution in any meaningful sense.

    The second sub-possibility is:

    (i)(b) The machine is itself changed, either by adding parts or removing parts. The former is really a sub-category of the “co-option” situation (discussed below). The latter is not an issue for irreducible complexity. We all know that machines can break down. Indeed, in nearly all cases of alleged additional functional information being added to an existing structure, we are really dealing with the breaking of some part of an existing structure (for example, disabling a gene, etc.). We have seen several of these kinds of examples put forward by evolutionists as attempted demonstrations of the power of evolution to create new things (lactase enzyme persistence; “antifreeze” gene in cold water fish; malaria/sickle-cell changes). In all these cases, we are dealing with a break in an existing system. We all agree that evolutionary processes such as random mutations can break things; the question is to what extent in can build new things.

    Finally, we have approach (ii) in which new parts are “co-opted” into a new whole. After Behe published Darwin’s Black Box this was championed by Ken Miller, Nick Matzke and others as an answer to irreducible complexity. The co-option approach, however, is little more than handwaving and glossing over the real issues. JGuy has done a good job of outlining the challenges with co-option, so I won’t discuss those further.

    In addition to the critical issues JGuy raises, however, I should add that co-option is not only not an answer, it is really a ‘non-answer’ in the sense that every alleged change in a classical Darwinian paradigm, must be co-opted into the existing system to create a new whole. From the very molecular level on up this must be the case, by very definition.

    The reason co-option is seductive to people who don’t think very carefully about the issue is that they have this naive impression that if we already have a bunch of parts lying around they can just come together and viola, we have a new machine. But that is always the alleged approach for Darwin’s “slight, successive changes.” So co-option is not an explanation at all — it is just a new label attached to the idea that when you have new stuff come along it can get incorporated into the whole to create something new. Putting a fancy label on it certainly does not answer any questions about how the parts could come about or how they could be integrated into a functional whole.


    Incidentally, for a very brief discussion of Miller’s co-option idea, see:


    The whole paper may be a bit tedious, but read the short section on page 4 titled The Bacterial Flagellum, in particular Note 4.

  10. 10
    Collin says:

    It really bothers me when people say that design is a science-stopper because if design is true, then we need to know it. We should not rule it out, a priori.

    However, I do concede that perhaps if everyone was an ID person, then maybe no one would be as motivated to ask, “is there are natural explanation for this machine?” Perhaps a kind of laziness could come about in science where people just assume that God did it. I wouldn’t want that.

  11. 11
    JGuy says:

    Give an example of conditions and a machine one might find, whereby, it would be considered lazy to not pursue seeking a naturalistic explanation for said machine.

    If design is apparent, imo, it’s not lazy…but more efficient and hence likely more fruitful to travel the ID route instead of looking for answers where they are least unlikely.

  12. 12
    ForJah says:

    So basically what you guys are saying is that unless an evolutionist comes up with some kind of pathway that shows it’s possible to go from a old machine with a certain function to a new machine, through the addition of one or more components, with a different purpose, they don’t really have much ground to stand on.

  13. 13
    JGuy says:

    correction. should read, “where they are least likely.”

  14. 14
    William J Murray says:

    So basically what you guys are saying is that unless an evolutionist comes up with some kind of pathway that shows it’s possible to go from a old machine with a certain function to a new machine, through the addition of one or more components, with a different purpose, they don’t really have much ground to stand on.

    They must not only show that such a path exists, but that their operatives (chance and necessity) are sufficient to realistically traverse the path. Just because there is a pathway from raw materials to finished battleship doesn’t mean that chance and necessity are sufficient explanatory operatives.

  15. 15
    Joe says:

    This just in:

    Irreducible Complexity is flawed because humans can design and build irreducibly complex structures!

    Read it for yourself here:

    Irreducible complexity is an Intelligent Design buzz phrase. Basically the claim is that there are some things in biochemistry that are so complex that no intermediate steps would be functional. Because of that, they could not have evolved naturally and therefore must be designed.

    A very simple analogy will serve to show how this is flawed. Having recently spent a lot of time watching my new home being built, I observed an example of irreducible complexity being formed. Obviously, a single wall will not stand up by itself. At least one other wall is required to support it and act as a brace against falling motion. Obviously, the roof cannot be built without all four walls in place.

    By this logic, no roof can ever be built because the roof can’t be built until all four walls are built and no wall can be built until at least one other wall is present to support it. Obviously, no houses or buildings actually exist.

    That is from a moron who was once a science teacher and now works at a scholastic standards place.

  16. 16
    Upright BiPed says:

    I responded to that article, Joe.

    I got a strawman reponse.

    I then responded in detail… and waited.

    Then they removed my post.

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Nice try UB. Unfortunately Kevin is clueless and wouldn’t know what evidence is if it was sitting in front of him. He actually thinks that a two gene “system” is IC and that if blind and undirected processes can produce a two part IC system then all of IC falls.

    The guy has absolutely no sense at all.

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    And it is nice to see tat Kevin is still posting his bogus “challenge”. Unfortunately for him it “proves” that both archaeology and forensic science is “useless” because they both rely on design detection and no one from eiether field could respond to that “challenge”.

    Kevin has no clue what ID is and he is even more ignorant of the “theory” of evolution- he thinks nature really selects and denies it posits blind and undirected chemical processes as a mechanism.

  19. 19
    gainesma says:

    Joe’s roof & wall analogy is just silly. I’ve seen walls stand on their own when properly constructed. A roof can be supported by pillars or collusion or even suspension.

    ID is clear and observable even by great atheists minds such as Dawkins. They don’t reject obvious design– they reject the idea that anything other than happen stance or accident is behind all the designs obvious in all living things. They reject it’s perceived purposeful implications.

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