Meeting Darwin's Wager (Part I)

How biochemist Michael Behe uses a mousetrap to challenge evolutionary theory.

Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
By Michael J. Behe
Free Press
307 pp.; $25, hardcover

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.
—Charles Darwin, in The Origin of Species
To Darwin, the cell was a "black box"—its inner workings were utterly mysterious to him. Now, the black box has been opened up and we know how it works. Applying Darwin's test to the ultra-complex world of molecular machinery and cellular systems that have been discovered over the past 40 years, we can say that Darwin's theory has "absolutely broken down."
—Michael Behe, biochemist and author of Darwin's Black Box

During the fall of 1996, a series of cultural earthquakes shook the secular world with the publication of a revolutionary new book, Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. The reviewer in the New York Times Book Review praised Behe's deft analogies and delightfully whimsical style, and took sober note of the book's radical challenge to Darwinism. Newspapers and magazines from Vancouver to London, including Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and several of the world's leading scientific journals, reported strange tremors in the world of evolutionary biology. The Chronicle of Higher Education, a weekly newspaper read primarily by university professors and administrators, did a feature story on the author two months after his book appeared. The eye-catching headline read, "A Biochemist Urges Darwinists to Acknowledge the Role Played by an 'Intelligent Designer.' "

Now reporters are making their pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, ...

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