Re: [asa] Atheist finds God thru Behe's books....

From: Cameron Wybrow <>
Date: Sat Oct 10 2009 - 16:31:16 EDT

Bernie, you wrote:

"I admit I also haven't read his books".

Within the normal conventions of conversation and the English language, this
sentence has only one possible meaning. It means that you have read
neither *Darwin's Black Box* nor *The Edge of Evolution*.

You now say, as if in contradiction to what you wrote earlier:

"I wasn't clear when I said I didn't read Behe; I meant I didn't read his
latest. I saw much of his earlier stuff."

This is muddy. *Darwin's Black Box* was part of Behe's "earlier stuff". So
is that what you "saw"? Does "saw" mean "read"? And if so, "read in its
entirety"? (Including all the detailed biochemical argument?) Or does it
mean only "skimmed"? Or does it mean only "looked at the cover of"? (Which
would be the normal meaning of "saw".) And if not *Darwin's Black Box*,
what "earlier stuff" did you read?

This sounds evasive, Bernie. Either you've read Behe's books all the way
through or you haven't. First you admitted you hadn't, and now you are
clouding the issue. The issue is: what have you read, and how thoroughly
did you read it?

On another point: You do not seem to understand why Behe is very careful to
use the word "Darwinian". He is not against "evolution". By speaking
against "Darwinian evolution" he is speaking against a model of evolution
entirely dependent on unguided and unplanned processes. In contrast, Behe
has praised the evolutionary writing of Michael Denton, who is not a
Darwinian and asserts that the universe was fine-tuned in advance for
biological evolution.

With you, Bernie, Behe can't win. If he criticized "evolution" by itself,
without the adjective "Darwinian", you'd be all over him for being a YEC,
for denying the genetic evidence for common descent, etc. But when he puts
the adjective "Darwinian" in, precisely so that he won't be misunderstood,
you're all over him for that.

On another point: Behe agrees that features of the human genome tend to
indicate our descent (on the physical as opposed to the spiritual side) from
an apelike creature. It does not follow that he would agree with you about
the *causes* of this process. Lipstick on the husband's collar doesn't
prove which woman he was kissing, or where the tryst took place, or what the
husband's motives were for straying. There is a great deal still to be

There is no God-of-the-gaps argument in Behe. The accusation of
"God-of-the-gaps" arguments always presumes that science has built up a very
tight structure of explanation, with only a few "gaps" remaining to be
filled. Thus, if someone were to argue that the erratic orbit of Pluto
disproves the nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system, and
infers that God personally placed each planet (or at the very least, Pluto)
in a unique orbit, that would be an example of "God of the gaps", because it
would rest entirely on a temporary failure of explanation of a model which
can explain everything but Pluto very well, and might be able to be adjusted
to account even for the orbit of Pluto. But if you understand Behe's
argument, you will know that he rejects the premise that Darwinian
explanation is tight and virtually complete, with just a few holes here and
there. Biochemically speaking, he argues, Darwinian explanation is
virtually *all* gaps. There are no satisfying biochemical explanations for
how *any* of the necessary evolutionary distances were traversed by
Darwinian means. The fact that you speak of "God of the gaps" indicates
that you accept (from Behe's point of view) a massive overestimation, and
hence false description, of our state of knowledge.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dehler, Bernie" <>
To: "asa" <>
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2009 1:33 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] Atheist finds God thru Behe's books....

> Hi John-
> When I listened to Behe, I thought the opposite of you. I thought "If he
> has a point, the truth, then the rest of the world will eventually
> catch-up with him. He'll go down in history as a first-rate scientist
> making this breakthrough, probably as big as Darwin, since his new theory
> significantly either breaks evolution or adds to it in some major new
> way."
> I know his university and peers give him trouble. However, they could
> also go down in history if they gave him support, if Behe turned out to be
> right.
> However, they should only give him support if there's at least some hope
> or possibility for him being right. If there is a possibility, it seems
> like it should be a good thing to be creating alternate hypotheses, even
> radical (the more radical, the better, like Darwin).
> So really, I disagree about even looking at consequences. I say follow
> the truth, regardless of consequences. There's nothing wrong at all with
> making waves, if you have a possibility of being right.
> So for me, the bottom line is, "does he have a chance at being right?"
> I asked for a concise statement for the ID hypothesis. Mike (Nucacids)
> gave it, thanks. I realized after writing that, what I really meant is
> "what evidence is there to test the hypothesis." (BTW- sorry Cameron, I
> wasn't clear when I said I didn't read Behe; I meant I didn't read his
> latest. I saw much of his earlier stuff. You seem to pick-up on some of
> the most trivial points sometimes.)
> After listening to the 40 min. video- it is clear that Behe thinks, and
> says many times, that his examples demonstrate "it is impossible for
> Darwinian mechanisms to produce them." It seemed like he never says
> "evolution" without the adjective "Darwinian." That is what seems so
> stupid to me, for people to only look to natural selection and random
> mutation as if that is the only mechanisms for evolution... there are many
> more (discovered since Darwin), and more to be discovered, I'm sure. So
> basically what evidence does Behe have for his hypothesis? It is "Look at
> this (insert mouse-trap type object). There is no way that it could
> evolve by Darwinian evolution. Therefore God did it." Why is it not so
> obvious to everyone that the theory jumps right from "Darwinian evolution
> can't do it" -> "we don't know how it could evolve" -> "therefore God did
> it all at once by speaking it into existence."
> It looks exactly like a 'science-stopper' to me.
> In Paley's day, he could have said the same (probably did). "Look at the
> complexity of humans. We are too far above animals. We had to be made by
> fiat... God's spoken word, directly, uniquely." Now pseudogenes show
> beyond a reasonable doubt that humans descended from an apelike creature.
> His logic was proven false in the same way, which was "Isn't it amazing
> and wonderful" -> "We don't know how it could happen" -> "God did it by
> special creation."
> A rush to "god of the gaps" is very unhealthy for science (even fatal).
> In this way, when confronted with a scientific mystery, the answer is "God
> did it! You'll never find the answer because God just did it!" Maybe God
> did "just do it." But the job of science is to strive to figure out how
> nature might do it, and by looking into this over the centuries, mankind
> has been shocked as to what can be found out, and discarded "God did it"
> many times already.
> ...Bernie

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Received on Sat Oct 10 16:32:57 2009

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