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Darwin's Black Box: Biochemical Challenge to…
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Darwin's Black Box: Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (original 1996; udgave 1998)

af Michael J. Behe (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,846187,003 (3.56)9
"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 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? As Behe engagingly demonstrates, using the examples of vision, blood-clotting, 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." "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."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (mere)
Medlem:WW2Karla
Titel:Darwin's Black Box: Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
Forfattere:Michael J. Behe (Forfatter)
Info:Simon & Schuster (1998), Edition: New edition, 320 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Detaljer om værket

Darwin's Black Box af Michael J. Behe (1996)

  1. 14
    Darwins teori: Om evolution, videnskab og sandhed af Richard Dawkins (Anonym bruger)
  2. 04
    The Sacred Journey af Charles Foster (StephenBarkley)
    StephenBarkley: Selfless Gene challenges Darwin's Black Box. They're both interesting reads on a similar topic.
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These are my criticisms of Darwin’s Black Box:

1) It turns out that many of the systems the author uses as examples of irreducible complexity are not, in fact, irreducibly complex, and have been proven so by numerous scientists. This is the most prolific avenue of criticism against the book in the years since it was published.

2) The author assumes that the current function of a given complex system must also be the original function of that system in its preceding iterations. But that isn’t always true. For example: We know from the fossil record and the anatomy of other animals that our vocal chords didn’t originally evolve as a system for generating modulated sound. Their original purpose– and a function that they still fulfill – was to anchor and coordinate the work of the musculature of our necks, shoulders, and upper torso. Sound-generation was a secondary characteristic that came into being at some point as the system evolved that ended up superseding the original function. Simplify a complex eye, and it may not function as an eye anymore – but that doesn’t mean it might not function perfectly well as something else. Systems gain additional functionality as complexity increases. We can’t always discern with certainty what, of all a complex system’s current functions, was its original. Therefore, the entire premise of "irreducible complexity" as it's put forth in this book becomes meaningless. Simpler antecedent versions of systems don't have to possess the same function as their more complex descendents at all.

3) The author doesn’t do nearly enough to account for the synergistic effects of formerly discrete systems co-evolving and combining together into new systems. As the newly combined system evolves, it eventually reaches a level of such cohesion that we can no longer discern the original discrete systems that combined to create it. Such a system will appear irreducibly complex to us, even though it did, in fact, evolve from preceding systems.

4) The author’s entire understanding of evolution is premised on the belief that simple systems must precede complex systems in evolutionary processes. This is generally the way things go – but it’s not an inviolate rule. It’s not, in fact, a necessary requisite for evolution. Surprisingly complex systems can spontaneously generate (for that matter, the author doesn’t seem to acknowledge that spontaneous generation happens). Not all preceding systems are necessarily simpler, just as not all evolved systems are necessarily more complex. His argument loses significant leverage when we recognize that the process of evolution isn’t nearly as regular and predicable as he makes it out to be.

One of the biggest misunderstandings of Darwin’s theory is the role of random mutation in the process. It’s not possible to systematically observe random mutation, nor to test it through controlled scientific experimentation, and so we don’t really talk about it. But Darwin himself acknowledged random mutation as one of the main ways that characteristics come into being in a species. Irreducible complexity really only works as a criticism of evolution if we exist in a world where all factors can be known and accounted for. The world simply doesn't work that way.

As I read this book, I got tired of the same old attitude I see in too many of the arguments that people make against the Theory of Evolution – namely, the belief that the theory as a whole must be wrong simply because it doesn’t explain everything.

Darwin’s theory of evolution never claimed to explain everything. Darwin himself never shied away from pointing out that his theory needed more development, that it fails to explain some key issues. There have always been questions left unanswered by it – there’s absolutely nothing insightful about pointing that out. It’s legitimate and important to ask those unanswered questions, and to seek for answers to them, but the mere presence of those unanswered questions isn’t enough to disprove the whole theory.

If Darwin’s Black Box had simply raised some of those unanswered questions and explored them, I would consider it one of the most important popular science books written in the past few decades. But that’s not what the book turns out to be – in the end, the author falls into the intellectually lax pitfall of unsupported logic that allows him to leap from the statement, “There are some things that evolution doesn’t explain” to, “The Theory of Evolution fails!” You need a whole lot more than a few unanswered questions to support a conclusion that big.

If you believe in Intelligent Design, in any of its many forms, that’s fine. Argue for it on its own merits. You can’t claim to have proven it simply by pointing out that our current understanding of evolution leaves some questions unanswered. ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
The creation/evolution debate is one I find interesting, but not that interesting. I've said in the past that I'd like to read more on evolution, but the truth is, I haven't. And this book, well, I've heard about it for years, but it wasn't until I picked up a copy of it at a book sale that I actually got around to reading it. At one point I checked the copyright date and saw that it was first published in 1996. Oy! I am a master of procrastination! Anyway, I digress. In Darwin's Black Box, Professor Behe examines Darwin's theory of evolution via natural selection in light of the findings of (then) current biochemistry. He offers a number of examples showing that biological systems are incredibly complex mechanisms and could not have developed piecemeal from random mutations. I found it an fascinating read. Oh, not his arguments about evolution. This book has been in print so long that I've heard most of them before in other media. What I really enjoyed was his examples--descriptions of some natural wonders that are happening all around us. It took me back to childhood days when I'd pore over science books from the library.
--J. ( )
  Hamburgerclan | Mar 3, 2020 |
Great book, challenging evolution - but written by a secular scientist not just Biblical creationist. ( )
  matthewgray | Oct 3, 2019 |
Interesting and had to be answered but by now discredited. He did evolution a favor though by making it stronger and we should appreciate him for that. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
I think my review of this excellent and solidly researched book is most easily adduced by the complete opposite of the review written by miketroll in this collection. It is fascinating that a book which puts forward a hypothesis based on experiment (rather than Darwinian evolution which is not) can create so much posturing and bigotry amongst scientists and the faithful alike.
I am a scientist; I have always found any religion an indicator of personal inadequacy but I realise that scientists can also treat ideas as a matter of faith independent of the evidence for or against (cf global warming, global cooling, the Piltdown Man, phrenology, phlogiston and so on back to the dawn of thinking). Behe manages to make the astoundingly complex biochemical interactions which power the body at least accessible if not understandable. In the process he presents a solidly researched body of evidence which suggests that these molecules and their interactions could not have been the result of "gradual evolution" because it is not possible to show any intermediate steps which might have led to the function. Indeed, in many of his examples, any intermediate steps which could be imagined would have been counter evolutionary in that they would have selected against the target process.
And now back to miketroll. He says that the "true spirit of science is argument in search of truth". This is a common mistake made by the scientifically naive. Without even dipping into concepts regarding the philosophy of truth or the existential nature of reality, he and some other reviewers entirely miss the point. Science is about hypothesis - proposing a theory which matches observational data and can be tested by experiment and, most importantly, being prepared to modify or discard that theory if a better match comes along. Behe devotes a well reasoned book to the suggestion that Darwinian evolution may not be the (whole) answer and, in the process, puts forward some ideas about what might have happened. Just because these may not be very palatable doesn't mean that they are "cheap debating points" I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have ( )
2 stem reimann | Jun 25, 2014 |
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Michael J. Beheprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Bolte, CarlaDesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Stvan, TomOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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"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 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? As Behe engagingly demonstrates, using the examples of vision, blood-clotting, 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." "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."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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