Re: Fw: Mere Creation conference

by way of Terry M. Gray (
Fri, 29 Nov 1996 11:11:58 -0500

Terry Gray wrote on Nov. 23 regarding Mike Behe's book, _Darwin's Black Box_
and the inference of intelligent design from irreducible complexity:

"I don't think Mike Behe's arguments hold a biochemist I am not
the least bit pursuaded by them...My own initial ideas have been expressed at
my debate with Mike at the ASA meeting in 1994 (see the manuscript from the
debate at"

In this paper Terry summarizes Mike's arguments and then responds to them.
First, he takes up the case of the evolution of the hemoglobin molecule and
spends about one quarter of his paper describing the biochemistry of the
molecule using Darwinian mechsnisms, such as, gene duplication followed by
mutations, pre-adaptation, and selection in tracing its evolutionary
pathway. Good and well. The point is, however, that Behe does not consider
the hemoglobin molecule to be a case of irreducible design and does not use
it as such. Mike wrote, "I would say that hemoglobin shows the same
evidence for design as does the man in the moon: intriguing but far from
convincing." So Terry's use of it as an argument against him is irrelevant.

Second, Terry employs the concepts of self-assembly proposed by Stuart
Kauffman as an argument against irreducible design. As Terry himself says,
Kauffman is not a Darwinian, yet he claims that Kauffman's mechanisms are
evolutionary mechanisms, evolution presumably meaning any _change_ over time
in organic life. While Behe accepts this meaning of evolution his real
argument is with gradualistic natural selection, Darwin's operational
mechanism of how such change comes about. For this reason using Kauffman's
self-assembly mechanism does not touch on Behe's thesis. His argument is
with Darwin, not Kauffman.

Terry also deals with the cilium as a swimming structure and with the process
of vision, leaning heavily on pre-adapation and selection as his Darwinian
mechanisms. He has some question, however, that pre-adaptation can carry the
whole load of explaining complexity. His argument for Darwinian mechanisms
is given in broad outline, but he claims that given the present data the
evolutionary explanation is not only plausible but likely. This critique of
intelligent design needs much further development before it can be considered
plausible to say nothing of likely.

TErry's paper contain his initial ideas. I believe his paper needs to be
further developed and focused on Behe's real examples.

Terry also introduces some theological considerations. Theologians might
wish to critique them. For myself, I was intrigued with a couple of his
assertions, such as, "Every fact of creation drips with evidence of God as
the creator" and "Every time we think or speak about a fact of creation it is
either acknowledging God as the creator or denying him." As I read his
description of the biochemistry of the hemoglobin molecule, I did not find
explicit evidence of God as the creator. Just how is God involved with his
creation at the moleulcar level? Much more work needs to be done on relating
God to his creation in detail before these assertions can be taken seriously.

The most important statement in Terry's paper, in my opinion, comes at the
end where he states that "real gains in the fight against an atheistic
naturalistic world view only when we see the battle is not concerning the
details of some theory in biology, but is conerning the deeply rooted
anti-Christian religious convictions that take the glorious truths of God's
creation and twist them into an anti-Christian apologetic." Right on! Is it
not possible for those who hold to Terry's view, and the intelligent design
people to forge a common strategy to engage in this battle? Rather than
attacking each other over perceived differences, how about joining each other
in taking the battle to those who "take the glorious truths of God's creation
and twist them into an anti-Christian apologetic"?

In Christ,

Bob DeHaan