Michael Behe: Darwin Devolves

July, 2019 David Read

Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, became one of the leaders in the Intelligent Design movement with his 1996 book, “Darwin’s Black Box,” which noted that for Darwin, the cell was a “black box,” thought to be full of “protoplasm,” a jelly-like substance. Nineteenth Century science did not know that the cell was full of fantastically complex biochemical machinery that could not have evolved in step-wise fashion, one genetic copying error at a time.

Since “Black Box,” Behe has published two more books, “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism” (2007) and now, “Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA that Challenges Evolution” (2019).

In “Darwin Devolves,” Behe points out that recent genomic studies are showing us that intra-generic evolution and speciation, which is the only kind there is, is not driven by new genetic information being created by DNA copying errors. Rather, the phenotypical variation—visible changes in gross morphology—is being caused by the loss of genetic information at the molecular level, which certainly can be caused by DNA copying errors. Hence, variation and speciation within basic types of living creatures is the result of devolution, not evolution.

In other words, genomic studies are confirming what creationists have always believed: that when God created the basic animal kinds—some creationists call them “baramins”—they had the full complement of genetic information, more than any of their descendants have today. The process of speciation within kinds has been attributable to the degeneration of the genetic code, which has made possible the manifestation of various forms that were always potential in the original genetic complement.

Here, Behe is interviewed by Eric Metaxas, a Christian author and radio host who has written biographies of William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Metaxas is an engaging and fun interviewer who keeps the proceedings light, on track, and layperson friendly. We never get lost in the weeds. My only complaint is that Metaxas glides over Behe’s core genetic argument too quickly, in order to move on to philosophical issues that are of more interest to Metaxas. I would have preferred more discussion and more examples in support of Behe’s thesis.

Nevertheless, this is well done interview. The hour passes quickly.

Eric Metaxas interviews biochemist Michael Behe on "the new science about DNA that challenges evolution" as told in Behe's book, DARWIN DEVOLVES.