Virtually all serious scientists accept the truth of Darwin's theory of evolution. While the fight for its acceptance has been a long and difficult one, after a century of struggle among the cognoscenti the battle is over. Biologists are now confident that their remaining questions, such as how life on Earth began, or how the Cambrian explosion could have produced so many new species in such a short time, will be found to have Darwinian answers. They, like most of the rest of us, accept Darwin's theory to be true.

But should we? What would happen if we found something that radically challenged the now accepted wisdom? In Darwin's Black Box, Michael Behe argues that evidence of evolution's limits has been right under our noses-but it is so small that we have only recently been able to see it. The field of biochemistry, begun when Watson and Crick discovered the doublehelical shape of DNA, has unlocked the secrets of the cell. There, biochemists have unexpectedly discovered a world of Lilliputian complexity. As Behe engagingly demonstrates, using the examples of vision, bloodclotting, cellular transport, and more, the biochemical world comprises an arsenal of chemical machines, made up of finely calibrated, interdependent parts. For Darwinian evolution to be true, there must have been a series of mutations, each of which produced its own working machine, that led to the complexity we can now see. The more complex and interdependent each machine's parts are shown to be, the harder it is to envision Darwin's gradualistic paths. Behe surveys the professional science literature and shows that it is completely silent on the subject, stymied by the elegance of the foundation of life. Could it be that there is some greater force at work?

Michael Behe is not a creationist. He believes in the scientific method, and he does not look to religious dogma for answers to these questions. But he argues persuasively that biochemical machines must have been designed-either by God, or by some other higher intelligence. For decades science has been frustrated, trying to reconcile the astonishing discoveries of modern biochemistry to a nineteenth century theory that cannot accommodate them. With the publication of Darwin's Black Box, it is time for scientists to allow themselves to consider exciting new possibilities, and for the rest of us to watch closely.

"Michael Behe has done a top notch job of explaining and illuminating one of the most vexing problems in biology: the origin of the complexity that permeates all of life on this planet. Professor Behe selects an answer that falls outside of science: the original creation of life by an intelligent designer. Many scientists, myself included, will prefer to continue the search for an answer within science. Nonetheless, this book should be on the essential reading list of all those who are interested in the question of where we came from, as it presents the most thorough and clever presentation of the design argument that I have seen."

Robert Shapiro
Author of Origins: A Skeptics Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth

"This book will do much to correct the common misapprehension that anyone who questions the Darwinian theory of evolution must be a "young earth creationist" whose motivation is to preserve the literal truth of the stories told in the first three books of Genesis against the encroachments of science and reason. If Darwinians respond to this important book by ignoring it, misrepresenting it, or ridiculing it, that will be evidence in favor of the widespread suspicion that Darwinism today functions more as an ideology than as a scientific theory. If they can successfully answer Behe's arguments, that will be important evidence in favor of Darwinism."

Peter van Inwagen
Professor of Philosophy, Notre Dame University

Michael Behe is Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University.



Michael J. Behe

The Free Press
A Division of Simon and Schuster Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Copyright 1996

ISBN 0-684-82754-9


MOLECULAR MACHINES: Experimental Support for the Design Inference


A New Beginning

Darwin revisionism goes mainstream

By Tom Bethell

The American Spectator September, 1996