A man from a primitive culture who sees an automobile might guess that it was powered by the wind or by an antelope hidden under the car, but when he opens up the hood and sees the engine he immediately realizes that it was designed.— Michael Behe
The most blissful Michael Behe quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual
Proteins are the machinery of living tissue that builds the structures and carries out the chemical reactions necessary for life.
In private many scientists admit that science has no explanation for the beginning of life... Darwin never imagined the exquisitely profound complexity that exists even at the most basic levels of life.
There is no publication in the scientific literature - in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books - that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred.
Since natural selection requires a function to select, an irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would have to arise as an integrated unit for natural selection to have anything to act on.
We can look high or we can look low in books or in journals, but the result is the same. The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system.
In the abstract, it might be tempting to imagine that irreducible complexity simply requires multiple simultaneous mutations - that evolution might be far chancier than we thought, but still possible. Such an appeal to brute luck can never be refuted... Luck is metaphysical speculation; scientific explanations invoke causes.
The strong appearance of design [in nature] allows a disarmingly simple argument: if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck, then, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrant to conclude it's a duck. Design should not be overlooked simply because it's so obvious.
Science is not a game in which arbitrary rules are used to decide what explanations are to be permitted.
In Darwin's time all of biology was a black box: not only the cell, or the eye, or digestion, or immunity, but every biological structure and function because, ultimately, no one could explain how biological processes occurred.
I believe the evidence strongly supports common descent.
But the root question remains unanswered: What has caused complex systems to form?
I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it.
As the number of unexplained, irreducibly complex biological systems increases, our confidence that Darwin's criterion of failure has been met skyrockets toward the maximum that science allows.
We are not inferring design to account for a black box, but to account for an open box.
In the 19th century the anatomy of the eye was known in great detail and the sophisticated mechanisms it employs to deliver an accurate picture of the outside world astounded everyone who was familiar with them.
The basic structure of proteins is quite simple: they are formed by hooking together in a chain discrete subunits called amino acids.
It was only about sixty years ago that the expansion of the universe was first observed.
Biology has progressed tremendously due to the model that Darwin put forth.
But the black boxes Darwin accepted are now being opened, and our view of the world is again being shaken.
In order to say that some function is understood, every relevant step in the process must be elucidated.
As can be seen even by this limited number of examples proteins carry out amazingly diverse functions.
Thus it seemed to Haeckel that such simple life could easily be produced from inanimate material.
It was a shock to people of the nineteenth century when they discovered, from observations science had made, that many features of the biological world could be ascribed to the elegant principle of natural selection.
It is often said that science must avoid any conclusions which smack of the supernatural.
Skin is made in large measure of a protein called collagen.
Many people, including many important and well-respected scientists, just don't want there to be anything beyond nature. They don't want a supernatural being to affect nature.
Throughout history there have been many other examples, similar to that of Haeckel, Huxley and the cell, where a key piece of a particular scientific puzzle was beyond the understanding of the age.
Although Darwin was able to persuade much of the world that a modern eye could be produced gradually from a much simpler structure, he did not even attempt to explain how the simple light sensitive spot that was his starting point actually worked.
The question of how the eye works - that is, what happens when a photon of light first impinges on the retina - simply could not be answered at that time.
Despite some remaining puzzles, there's no reason to doubt that Darwin had this point right, that all creatures on earth are biological relatives
The conclusion of design flows naturally from the data;
we should not shrink from it; we should embrace it and build on it.
Irreducible complexity is a problem for Darwinian evolution.
Whenever we see these complex functional systems we realise that they have to be designed.
By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.
Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority.
. . . There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations. Since no one knows molecular evolution by direct experience, and since there is no authority on which to base claims of knowledge, it can truly be said that . . . the assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.
This fact immediately suggested a singular event - that at some time in the distant past the universe began expanding from an extremely small size. To many people this inference was loaded with overtones of a supernatural event - the creation, the beginning of the universe.
The trap does not work until all the parts were there.
The system itself doesn't work until you fit all of them together.
The theory of undirected evolution is already dead, but the work of science continues.
It is a shock to us in the twentieth century to discover, from observations science has made, that the fundamental mechanisms of life cannot be ascribed to natural selection, and therefore were designed. But we must deal with our shock as best we can and go on.
The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself - not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years, combined with consideration of the way in which we reach conclusions of design every day.
The first point one has to get straight in discussions like this, is that ID is not the opposite of evolution. Rather, it is the opposite of Darwinism, which says life evolved by an utterly unguided, undirected mechanism. If god directed the process of evolution, or rigged the universe to produce complex life, then that is not Darwinism - it is intelligent design.
But sequence comparisons simply can't account for the development of complex biochemical systems any more than Darwin's comparison of simple and complex eyes told him how vision worked.
If you take away a rock from a pile of rocks you haven't changed much.
It's still a heap of rocks - just a rock or two smaller. Take away a component from the mousetrap and it isn't a mousetrap any more.
The point here is that physics followed the data where it seemed to lead, even though some thought the model gave aid and comfort to religion.
As commonly understood, creationism involves belief in an earth formed only about ten thousand years ago, an interpretation of the Bible that is still very popular. For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it.
If you search the scientific literature on evolution, and if you focus your search on the question of how molecular machines - the basis of life - developed, you find an eerie and complete silence. The complexity of life's foundation has paralyzed science's attempt to account for it; molecular machines raise an as-yet-impenetrable barrier to Darwinism's universal reach.
Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one.
For example, both humans and chimps have a broken copy of a gene that in other mammals helps make vitamin C. ... It's hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans. ... Despite some remaining puzzles, there's no reason to doubt that Darwin had this point right, that all creatures on earth are biological relatives.
In many biological structures proteins are simply components of larger molecular machines.