Behe's Darwin's Black Box
Evolutionists, who pretend entropy doesn't bother them, must now pretend Michael Behe doesn't either ["Meeting Darwin's Wager," Apr. 28]. They assume improbable events happen given eons of time, touting those eons rather than credible detail. Behe's chemical challenge turns the tables, putting time on his side mathematically: If the events evolution requires have very nearly zero probability, then more time passing makes evolution less likely. (Churning Behe's mousetrap parts in a washing machine doesn't make them more nearly assembled the longer you do it.) Truly "irreducibly complex" events by definition have zero chance of happening with any frequency that matters, prompting Crick, the DNA discoverer, to conclude the necessity of intelligent design. The genius of both Behe's and Phillip Johnson's arguments is that they require Darwinists (and theistic evolutionists) to put up or shut up. Too bad the pope's writers weren't as lucid as Behe.

Howard J. Bartlett
Casselberry, Fla.

* Though I appreciate men like Behe and Phillip Johnson (whose book I recently studied), I sometimes wonder about the goal of research attempting to validate God. Should any converts be made to the "Intelligent Design" side, you still have not invited anyone into the kingdom. How ironic that all of this research could be encapsulated in 34 words by the apostle Paul: "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" [Rom. 1:20, NASB].

Edward Dolan
Greeley, Colo.

I applaud CT for selecting Michael Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box, as its Book of the Year. I also see a danger in an uncritical embrace of the apparent attack on the Darwinian paradigm.

My impression is that Christian publications have been so heartened to find such unlikely allies against crude Darwinian atheism as Phillip Johnson, David Berlinski, and now Michael Behe, that they have overlooked the wide panorama of possible responses which do not necessarily lead to an Intelligent Designer. The intent of Christian apologists should not be the advance of science but the intellectually acceptable defense of the faith. Identifying that cause too closely with the vagaries of current cosmologies or the biochemical critique of Darwinian leaps of faith is too much like the largely discredited "God-of-the-gaps" arguments.

But in spite of this mild disclaimer, I am certain that Christian thinkers need to remain engaged with this extraordinary debate in science about origins.

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Pastor Les Borsay
The Community Church of Hudson
Hudson, Iowa

It is not an overstatement to say that Michael Behe's book will prove to be one of the most influential books of this generation. But courageous, logical, and innovative as he is, even Behe has sidestepped an important problem. In his book he stated that he accepts Darwin's concept of common ancestry as "a working hypothesis." But how is it supposed to work? Behe has shown very clearly that complex systems such as human vision, blood coagulation, and humoral immunity could not have arisen by chance. Thus organisms that possess these systems cannot be descended from organisms that do not. A dog may be descended from a wolf, but it is certainly not descended from a trilobite.

Michael Denton, Behe's intellectual inspiration, showed in his book (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis) that smaller gaps are insurmountable. The amniotic egg cannot arise from an amphibian one, an avian respiratory system cannot arise from a reptilian one, a feather cannot arise from a reptilian scale, and so on. What line of descent then does Behe envision that would have led to, say, modern mammals? How can common descent be a working hypothesis after the damage that Behe and Denton have done to it?

There is a massive paradigm shift in the making in evolutionary biology, and Behe and Denton will someday be recognized as early pioneers. Perhaps when the movement is under way with more momentum Behe will have the courage to proclaim the truth that "God made … all the creatures … according to their kinds."

Preston R. Simpson, M.D.
Fresno, Calif.

One aspect of the issue is totally (and perhaps purposefully) ignored. If the "young Earth" creationists had not been in the very forefront of the creation/evolution battle for more than forty years, making it a major issue in society today—all the time being ridiculed both by evolutionists and our "old Earth" creationist brothers and sisters—the "intelligent design" concept folks would still be persona non grata.

Marvin L. Lubenow
Fort Collins, Colo.

I hate to be a pest on the intelligent design (ID) issue, but I think CT is doing its readers a disservice by continuing to publish only one-sided essays and editorials (news articles excepted) on the debate. Such complex, science-related issues are contentious at best, and can quickly lead to divisiveness if one particular perspective is raised to the level of being the Christian perspective. This seems to me to be the direction CT is moving on ID: trying to define some kind of "official" evangelical position. As a scientist, I am most disappointed by your apparent lack of interest in presenting the views of the scientists themselves.

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If publications like CT put a little more effort into really grappling with the complexities of issues like ID, the church would be better equipped to deal with complex, science-related issues generally. At a minimum, I suggest that one of CT's major roles should be a demonstration of the diversity of views within the church on controversial issues.

Raymond E. Grizzle, Ph.D.
Taylor University
Upland, Ind.

While CT's editors find the Intelligent Design movement more promising than traditional Darwinian thought, the magazine is not trying to proclaim an official position on anything scientific for evangelicalism—a movement that, though united by the gospel, seems blessedly unable to find agreement on much else. —Eds.

* Following your excellent review, it looks like Darwin's Black Box will be the ultimate answer to my prayers for something scientifically credible, easily understandable, and honest. I'm eagerly awaiting my ordered copy and the opportunity to use it in teaching and preaching.

As an aside, are the figures behind Darwin and Behe on pages 14-15 real people? Can you identify them in order, please?

Rev. Dan Werning
Grace Lutheran Church
Oak Creek, Wis.

Those pictured (left to right) are: Michael Behe and Charles Darwin in front; Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, the artist's father, the artist, and Phillip Johnson standing in back.—Eds.

Figuring out God
Thank you for Christopher Hall's well-written article "Adding Up the Trinity" [Apr. 28]. It is a part of our fallenness to want to "figure out" God, for what we can rationalize we can control, and what we can control we can rule over. We are rather hurt at the idea that we cannot calculate God.

Another part of our fallenness is our isolation; we cannot naturally envision three personalities (diversity) working in perfect unity. Further, our models of authority in this world have been hierarchical and patriarchal. And then Jesus comes along and invites us into relationship with this mother of all authority models, the triune God himself. The Father, knowing that such perfect diversity within unity is alien to our fallen natures and therefore our understanding, has given us Jesus, his Spokesman and revelator of God's true nature; "for in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in him" (Col. 2:9-10). So it is probably OK at this time regarding the Trinity that we don't "get it."

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The concept of community with full self-disclosure scares us, because deep down we know just how despicable we are: our "public self" just doesn't cut it with God. But in the "trinity" of God is expressed the hope that we may someday merge in wonderful, symbiotic relationship with him.

Bob Day
Boring, Oreg.

A modern-day tower of Babel?
In "Culture for Dummies" [Apr. 28], Johnny Seel advocates that we all need to develop our own "cultural radar" that "touches on all aspects of cultural information." His synopsis of ten "essential resources" includes words whose meaning I have but a foggy notion of: postmodern, 'zines, alternative, progressive, libertarian, cyberhood, cyberspace, virtual reality, techno-utopia. Wouldn't the Bible call these cultural phenomena simply "the world"? By promoting all these "resources," aren't you contributing to a modern-day tower of Babel where people can no longer understand each other?

Bradford E. Lurvey
Nantucket, Mass.

* Let me see if I have this right: According to Mr. Seel, lay Christians who want to qualify as "thoughtful" should subscribe to nine different journals, from Rolling Stone to the Utne Reader, totaling some $260 in annual subscription costs. Most laypersons, I suspect, have work, family, and church concerns (not to mention budgets) that make spending hours poring over the literature of modern culture an impossible luxury.

Rick Ostrander
Grand Canyon University
Phoenix, Ariz.

Reagan and cultural conservatism
There is some merit to David Neff's allegation in "Outsiders No More" [Apr. 28] that "Though the economy grew, Reagan delivered little but rhetoric to his conservative Christian constituency. (But, ah, what rhetoric!)" Although substantive public policy changes in the cultural realm were limited, the rhetoric, admittedly admired by Neff, did have consequences. The words of Reagan did inspire cultural conservatives, especially the Christian Right, and they did establish an environment in which they were more influential and therefore capable of laying a foundation on which real change could be built. Sadly, Reagan was succeeded by Bush, who, as stated by Neff, "Could not even manage the rhetoric," and by Clinton, who has accelerated the move away from cultural conservatism in Washington.

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The battle, though, continues. It is incumbent on Christians to keep before them the teaching of Christ in Matthew 28:18 that "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." This includes politics and government, sectors of human activity resistant to Christian principles but deeply in need of what Christians can contribute if they are sufficiently determined. It is our duty to pray, to serve God actively, and to know that in the end his love and justice will triumph.

John M. Pafford
Midland, Mich.

A fundamental problem of justice
Ron Sider's analysis of why people are poor ["The Rich Christian," Apr. 28] is very accurate, with the exception of one significant omission: some people are poor because God made them that way. According to his wisdom and sovereignty, God places each person at different points on the economic spectrum. In some cases, we might do things differently, and we might not understand, for example, the poverty that exists in society.

Sider is absolutely correct—there is a fundamental problem of justice (or injustice) when Michael Jordan earns as much promoting Nike shoes as 18,000 Indonesian workers make collectively in a year. But before we rush to try to "fix" this and a host of other problems caused by what appear to be financial inequities, let's remember that according to 1 Corinthians 4:7, none of us has anything that did not originate with God, who is the owner of all things. But avoiding personal involvement with the poor and demonstrating benign neglect should be relatively easy to do, especially since we're among those whom God has blessed with great abundance.

Kenneth L. Williams
Belleville, Ill.

Three times Sider mentioned "empowering the poor" as something individual Christians as well as churches should be doing along with evangelism. However, he gives no explanation as to what he means by "empowering the poor" and no methodology as to how individuals and churches are to carry it out in daily living. Could you please ask him to expand on his statement for me?

Pastor William R. Carne
Sun City Bible Church
Sun City, Calif.

Chapters 9 and 10 of the 20th anniversary edition of Rich Christians (Word) explain Sider's concept of empowering the poor; his book Cup of Water, Bread of Life (Zondervan) provides stories of local ministries working to empower the poor. —Eds.

The most powerful judgment
* In Charles Colson's "Can We Still Pledge Allegiance?" [Apr. 28] I sense a feeling of entitlement. Some of us can only pledge a very qualified allegiance to the state, because Christ is the only one who deserves that without reservation. I am a conscientious objector to many things that conflict with my loyalty to Christ. It should not surprise us that a human government does not support all our beliefs, although we are thankful when we have freedom to live our faith. Scripture teaches us not to expect that as a right but to remain faithful even in adversity or suffering. That may include noncooperation. Colson's previous article, "Victory over Napalm" [Mar. 3], dramatically described the power of powerlessness and forgiveness. I believe the apostle Paul, who said "the powers that be are established by God," would also have forgiven Nero, who cut off his head and killed many weak and vulnerable Christians with that sword that "he beareth not … in vain." Doesn't the Cross teach us that is the most powerful judgment we can proclaim?

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Chester I. Kurtz
Lancaster, Pa.

* Colson rightly notes the distinction of the City of God and the City of Man. Regrettably, he then proceeds in his conclusion to confuse the two. "We must proclaim God's judgment on a state that denies protection to the weak and the vulnerable," Colson declares. And, of course, he is right. That is our prophetic calling in this fallen world in which no government has ever governed with justice and every government, including our own, falls under God's judgment. But then Colson adds, "We [Christians] must proclaim God's judgment on a state that … denies the right of citizens to redress the injustice." There he is mistaken. The Scripture never speaks of our rights within a political system. The only right Scripture affirms is our right to obey God personally.

In reality, Colson's protest is over the "right" of Christians to impose their beliefs and ethic upon others. That is neither a right we have by reason of our being Christians nor a right we have by reason of being citizens of the United States. At best, it is a privilege we conferred upon ourselves when we held the majority in our more or less democratic society.

Our society is becoming less democratic; the majority no longer makes the rules. And it is becoming less Christian. But that affords no license to Christians to rebel or to resist the claim their government might have upon their submission, a claim supported by Scripture. Colson is wrong: we have no right as Christians to withhold our submission simply because our Court "enshrined its own opinions as constitutional liberties." What we do have as Christians is the personal responsibility to do right.

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Pastor Don R. Camp
Calvary Baptist Church
Cove, Oreg.

Colson states: "When Christians are barred from the public square, inevitably laws will be passed that contravene biblical morality—forcing on us questions of allegiance." I would like to rephrase that statement: "When ultra-conservative Christians control the public square, inevitably laws will be passed that dictate biblical morality as they see it—forcing on us questions of allegiance."

Don Hawley
Gospel Ministries
Portland, Oreg.

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