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And God Said: Let There Be Cilia

— Before the Beginning God created God
At nine o' clock in the morning of the first day God Created Irreducible Complexity —


Philosophical postscript to Behe's Darwin's Black Box
by Gert Korthof
updated: 24 Oct 2003

'Design' does not explain a thing
'Design' begs the question. Theists feel it explains everything, because they identify 'designer' with the 'Bible-God' and the 'Bible-God' told so much about himself in the Bible. However, that's religion, not science.
First: scientifically 'design' begs the question, because the designer must exist and be at least as irreducibly complex as the created things. We gain nothing. See the paradox of self-creation: "Before The Beginning God created God".
Second: scientifically 'designer' is an empty concept. It does say nothing more than 'something with the power to create, created those designed objects'. Neither the 3-letter word 'XYZ' nor the 3-letter word 'GOD' explain design. That empty concept can only be filled from religious sources.
Behe's worldview
In a very illuminating interview (1) Behe tells us that he used to think that "God made life by Darwinian evolution". So in fact Behe was a theistic evolutionist. That means before reading Denton he saw no contradiction between Darwinian evolution and belief in God. What about the contradiction now? What he does say is this:
"When I read [Denton's 2] book, I got mad; I was upset because I realized much of my world view was not based on science."
My criticism is this:
Belief in God is obviously not based on science.
The theistic world view is not based on science. Otherwise religion and the Bible could completely be replaced by science; divine revelation and the Bible would be unnecessary.
Behe rejects the evolution part of the world view and NOT the theistic part.
Belief in God is obviously not based on science. I have to suppose that God was part of his world view because Behe is a Roman Catholic. Now realise what happened: a theist got mad, because he realised that his theistic-evolutionist world view was not based on science ! He blames the Darwinist part of his world view, NOT the theistic part ! He never got mad because his belief in God wasn't based on science! No, he continues to believe in God.
Behe implicitly equals 'designer' with the 'Bible-God'.
That he does follows from the quote:
"This conclusion may have theological implications" (3).
[by this conclusion he means 'design']. How could any scientific statement have well defined theological implications? What has the Bible-God to do with 'intelligent design'? When Behe talks about 'an intelligent agent' all the time he has the 'Bible-God' in mind. But his Irreducible Complexity does not support the 'Bible-God' and does not support a theistic world-view. Behe did not show how to infer the Christian Bible-God from the Irreducible–Complexity–Designer. Furthermore Behe neither attempted to demonstrate that an Irreducible–Complexity–Designer listens to and answers prayers, nor demonstrated the logical relation between the Irreducible-Complexity-Designer and personal immortality of humans (4).
Please Michael, give us some evidence for this.
Behe's scientific integrity.
It would be a demonstration of his scientific and personal integrity when Behe publicly states whether he accepts or rejects that:
  1. there exists something like a soul, which can survive outside a human body
  2. there exists a Unembodied designer
  3. a man can walk on water
  4. a man dead and buried for 3 days can return to life
  5. a virgin gives birth to a child.
If he accepts these claims, intellectual honesty demands evidence for these claims, just as Behe demands evidence for evolution and neo-Darwinism.
As long as he does not reject these claims he is not an 'Intelligent Design Theorist', but a creationist or a literalist.Therefore, Michael stop believing in unproven miracles if you want to be a 100% scientist and be honest about it.
"If the members of a church really believe in a life after death, why do they not conduct sound experiments to establish it?" (5).

If intelligent design theorists want scientific respect they need to reject explicitly and openly some deeply rooted ideas such as the belief that humans are radically distinct from the rest of nature, since they were made in God's image and are the only creatures possessing souls (6). They need either to reject the existence of a separate soul on scientific grounds or come up with good evidence. Wouldn't it be hypocrite to criticise evolution on scientific grounds and at the same time accept the existence of God, souls and heaven without sufficient evidence? .


Notes

  1. "The Evolution of a Skeptic", An Interview with Dr. Michael Behe.
  2. Behe is referring to Michael Denton (1986) Evolution A Theory is Crisis. Behe's madness is understandable, however, as later appeared, unnecessary because Michael Denton ignored almost anything of that book in his Nature's Destiny.
  3. "The Sterility of Darwinism" by Michael J. Behe.
  4. I found those criteria in: Edward Larson and Larry Witham(1999): "Scientists and Religion in America", Scientific American, Sept 1999 pp89-93.
  5. Francis Crick (1995) "The Astonishing Hypothesis. The Scientific Search for the Soul", Simon & Schuster, p.258.
  6. Mary Midgley (1999) "Apes and their place in our world", Nature 399, 537, 10 June 1999

Links:

  1. My review of Darwin's Black Box on this site.


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Copyright © 1997-2004 G.Korthof First published: Apr 26 1997 Updated: 24 Oct 2003