Friday, November 19, 2010

Darwin's Black Box, by Michael Behe

I read and was fascinated by Darwin's Black Box, by biochemist Michael Behe.

It was very intense and technical at times, but very readable throughout also. He put the really technical stuff in squares so you could easily skip through that part until it ended if you felt the need.  I felt the need a number of times, but got the point of how complex the cell is nonetheless.

He talked about how Darwin explained his ideas of evolution based on a 'black box'.
''Black Box' is a whimsical term for a device that does something, but whose innter workings are mysterious-sometimes because the workings can't be seen, and sometimes because they just aren't comprehensible.'  But since Darwin's time, many technological advances have been made and have 'opened' the black box that Darwin spoke of.  We now understand life down to the cellular level and realize that much of what Darwin thought can not be true. 

Having grown up in a 'fundamental' Christian home, I never doubted creation and always thought that evolutions was 'crazy'. :)  Ok, a bit simplistic, but the general gist is true.  I did hear some Answers in Genesis speakers on occasion and realized there was a lot more going on that I was not aware of, but I did not do much studying until this summer.  I really started just to get going on my science reading just as a way to start on my 'scholar phase' education.  But it really is a fascinating subject. Now, I have not gotten nearly technical, but instead have read a bunch of books on science versus evolution.  Long-age versus short-age, etc.  So I have not delved much into the hands-on science.  But I am enjoying this study very much.

I was a bit worried, that after doing some serious reading, I would come to the conclusion that science really is true and the Bible is not.  I knew better, but yet there was that little 'thing' in the back of my mind.  'What if?'  You hear all the time from intelligent people that creation is simply not possible and that Evolution is obvious and self-supporting.  But, after reading and seeing real, hard facts and numbers, it was a relief to come to the realization that it takes just as much imagination and faith to believe evolution as it does to believe Creation.

Behe is a Roman Catholic biochemist (genius) who believes that evolution of some sort happened.  However he also does not believe that it could have just 'happened'.  He does not share as much what he believes as he does what he does not believe.  After research and thinking things through, he came to the conclusion that there was no way for the cell, in all it's intricacy to have evolved without a designer of some sort.  He talked about a concept called 'irreducible complexity'.

And he went into great detail to explain how 5 facets of human biology were irreducible complex.  There was not one extra part that could be removed and still have it function properly.   Which makes evolution almost impossible.  He started with a mousetrap and used that example throughout the book.  He also explained the cilium and how they 'swim' around to help the cells work properly.  The second example was the coagulation of blood.  The third example is the complexity of the transport system for a piece of DNA to copy into an RNA.  The fourth is the way our immune system works to fight off invaders of all shapes and sizes.  The fifth and final example of irreducible complexity is how the cell builds itself from the various protein components.

That was a pathetic version of the 5 examples he gave of irreducible complexity. I confess much of it was above my head.  But I was able to grasp how it was impossible for any of those processes to work without all the components in place.  And without those processes, there is no way we humans could live. 

And because of that and many other examples, Behe, and many others, came to the conclusion that there MUST be a designer out there.  It is impossible to think otherwise.

He did not seem to think it was a Creator God.  He definitely did not think it was the God of the Bible.  But I found it refreshing and reassuring that intelligent people could believe that someone or something did design the earth.

I also really appreciate that Behe did not try to answer all the questions.  He acknowledged that there is just no way to know all the answers.  It's too complex.

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