Dr. Michael Behe: Irreducible Complexity

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I confess, absurd in the highest degree…The difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection , though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered subversive of the theory.

Charles Darwin

Some people listening to this broadcast were alive before the discovery of DNA. When the cell theory was first imagined in the 19th century nothing was known about cell membranes. It was only in the 1970s that the fluid mosaic model came into popular usage by scientists. The scientists of the 19th and early 20th century thought that cells were composed of protoplasm, gelatine or a “mass of bubbles”. Cell walls appeared to be made of fibres woven together, giving rise to the term “tissue” in biology. Darwin was looking at life from at the biological, cellular level and just as those of his time that couldn’t imagine a world of electricity, automobiles and flying machines he could never have envisioned the complexity of the cell. 

While Darwin’s theory has never been proven, even before the changes in molecular biology, Michael Behe’s Wikipedia entry includes the loaded adjective “pseudoscience” when discussing his work as a biochemist and professor. This speaks volumes when it comes to present day science which, rather than following the evidence wherever it leads, appears to be buoying up ideas through a belief system that rivals that of any religion. Yet Behe’s contribution to the scientific community is profound and may be proven to be one of the most important discoveries of our time when it comes to refuting the ideas that Darwin proposes.

The very fact that people vehemently defend Darwin when a simple meme, quoting the man himself, is posted on Facebook, is a testament to the dogma that shuns work of scientists like Behe who coined the phrase “irreducible complexity”. This idea, after all, infers a designer, and idea that Darwinists had hoped was long buried because of it’s implications. Those who see science itself as a religion with no need to attribute phenomena to anything other than natural causes are loathe to entertain the idea that any external forces may be at work, let alone that there may be a Creator after all. True science, however, looks at evidence and simply follows where it leads rather than making assumptions or forcing it to fit into a neat mould. After all, that’s exactly what the religious zealots of old were accused of having done. Galileo is often cited as a man who was persecuted by the church for going against the beliefs of his era. What is not as widely reported, however, is that the church got it’s understanding of the world from the scientists  who presented their findings to those in authority, whether secular or religious.  Those leaders, in turn, adopted the information as true until otherwise informed and it was the natural philosophers, or scientists as they became known in 1831, that had their noses out of joint when Galileo dared to confront them with facts that contradicted their world view.

In that way, Behe can be likened to Galileo, yet it is not the religious community that is shunning him, but the scientists who have built their careers on what is now found to be shifting sand.

If scientists themselves are not open to following the neon signs that point the way toward exploring the complexity, and thus the implications, of cellular biology, Darwin would have had no other choice based on his own standards. His ideas about variations, for example, became known as “mutations” a decade or two later and it’s now know that this is a process of degradation, not evolution. The vast complexities of the eye are only now becoming clear. It’s impossible for science or medicine even to begin replicating an organ that was once thought to have simply put itself together randomly through a serious of mutations.

Here’s what Darwin said of his own findings, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.” The scientists of the 20th and 21st century have found many such cases. This is an interview done for Socrates in the City, hosted by Eric Metaxas. Regardless of what you may think before listening to Michael Behe I can only trust that your critical thinking caps are on and that you may be inclined to do your own research into the subject.

Post Author: characterdriven

Media producer and host

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