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Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution [Paperback]

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Item Description...
Questioning how evolution can explain the complex chemical processes scientists are finding in humans using new technology, the author presents an argument for creation by either God or another higher intelligence, in a tenth anniversary edition of the study of Intelligent Design. Reissue. 25,000 first printing.

Publishers Description
"Darwin's Black Box" helped to launch the Intelligent Design movement: the argument that nature exhibits evidence of design, beyond Darwinian randomness. Today, with the movement stronger than ever, Michael J. Behe updates the book with an important new Afterword on the state of the debate.
Naming "Darwin's Black Box" to the National Review's list of the 100 most important nonfiction works of the twentieth century, George Gilder wrote that it "overthrows Darwin at the end of the twentieth century in the same way that quantum theory overthrew Newton at the beginning." Discussing the book in "The New Yorker" in May 2005, H. Allen Orr said of Behe, "he is the most prominent of the small circle of scientists working on intelligent design, and his arguments are by far the best known." From one end of the spectrum to the other, "Darwin's Black Box" has established itself as the key text in the Intelligent Design movement--the one argument that must be addressed in order to determine whether Darwinian evolution is sufficient to explain life as we know it, or not.
For this edition, Behe has written a major new Afterword tracing the state of the debate in the decade since it began. It is his first major new statement on the subject and will be welcomed by the thousands who wish to continue this intense debate.

Item Specifications...

Pages   329
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.84"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 13, 2006
Publisher   Simon & Schuster
ISBN  0743290313  
EAN  9780743290319  

Availability  10 units.
Availability accurate as of Feb 25, 2018 06:15.
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Must Have, Love Behe  Apr 26, 2008
Darwin's Black Box so pinpoints the mindset of evolutionists that it makes them almost laughable. Darwinians and Neo-Darwinians use such great faith and so little actual science that Behe's illustrations just blow them away. You know he struck a nerve by all their commotion and the great degree of criticism.
The overall formula is really quite simple once you encounter DNA. The DNA nucleotides form a chemical alphabet of triplets that an Intelligence used to compose complex and overlapping computer software programs which not only hold the structural and architectural information for all life forms but unbelievably also directs all the manufacture and timing for assembly of all parts.
Darwinians can shrug it off all they want to, but the irreducible complexity is based on information like that in your computer software programs. Information is one of the key words skipped over by evolutionists because they have no naturalistic way of explaining its origin. And intelligence is the prerequisite to information.
So the formula goes like this: Life does not exist without DNA (or RNA), and DNA equals nothing without information, and information has the prerequisite of intelligence. So, no intelligence, then no information, then no DNA, then no life. AT
Politically incorrect guide to the creationist  Mar 30, 2007
I have read three books thus far by creationist authors dedicated to toppling evolutionary science. This is one of them. My opinion of these books is, to be mild, not that good. The fact that these books have become so popular and apparently so convincing to many is indicative of one thing and one thing only: ignorance.

Do you really want to know what the problem is with evolution? It certainly isn't that it's false science. Like it or not, evolutions biggest (and probably only) enemy is ignorance. The theory of evolution is being beset on all sides by a very clever, well organized and spectacularly dishonest group of men that intentionally target a desperate and gullible audience too fearfull to check them on their claims and too ignorant of science anyway to realize how and where they are being bamboozled. The science behind evolution is not easy to grasp, particularly for the fragile psyche of the Christian fundamentalist who would wilfully ignore the nose on his face, let alone a two million year old fossil, if it meant keeping his belief system intact. That is the only conclusion I can draw from reading these books. Its arguments are clever, but anyone with a reasonable grasp of how science is done and a little knowledge of biology should be able to dismiss it with ease. This piece of garbage will never convince anyone who actually knows what evolution is that ID is a superior hypothesis for the origination of all life on earth. To be as blunt as possible, only a fool or someone hopped up on Jesus juice will find this book convincing, but then merely being a religious nut in the first place is a good indicator of low intelligence to begin with. Sure, that's not a nice thing to say, but practically every study that's ever been done on the issue of religiosity and intelligence supports that claim.

There can be no denying that certain types of people simply don't accept the claims of creationism and ID or become bible thumpers. These include people the likes of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and a plethora of other gifted and dedicated scientists world wide with not only (real) facts at their disposal, but a respect for and a superior grasp of logic and, more apropriately, the ability to use it without bias or a priori restrictions. The types of people that uncritically and blindly accept the creation myth of Genesis despite its obvious conflict with reality are typically found in... well the bible belt states of the good ol' US of A. They may also be found dancing with snakes, relating their latest alien abduction stories to friends, riding around with shotguns in pick ups while hatching new conspiracy theories about the dishonest motives behind science's desire to hide the evidence for bigfoot.

Seriously though folks, is it more logical to be a Christian? Is religion the natural choice of a smart person familiar with more of the evidence? Not according to a broad consensus of studies on IQ and religiosity. These studies have consistently found that the lower the IQ score, the more likely a person is to be religious. To place these studies in perspective, it is helpful to know the general religious attitudes of Americans today. According to a February 1995 Gallup poll, 96 percent of all Americans believe in God, and 88 percent affirm the importance of religion. However, the degree of religiosity within this group varies considerably. Only 35 percent can be classified as "religious," using a definition that requires them to consider religion important and attend religious services at least once a week. And a March 1994 Gallup poll found that only 20 percent of all Americans belong to that politically active group known as "Christian conservatives."

The following is a review of several studies of IQ and religiosity, paraphrased and summarized from Burnham Beckwith's article, "The Effect of Intelligence on Religious Faith," Free Inquiry, Spring 1986: (1)


1. Thomas Howells, 1927
Study of 461 students showed religiously conservative students "are, in general, relatively inferior in intellectual ability."

2. Hilding Carlsojn, 1933
Study of 215 students showed that "there is a tendency for the more intelligent undergraduate to be sympathetic toward... atheism."

3. Abraham Franzblau, 1934
Confirming Howells and Carlson, tested 354 Jewish children, aged 10-16. Found a negative correlation between religiosity and IQ as measured by the Terman intelligence test.

4. Thomas Symington, 1935
Tested 400 young people in colleges and church groups. He reported, "There is a constant positive relation in all the groups between liberal religious thinking and mental ability... There is also a constant positive relation between liberal scores and intelligence..."

5. Vernon Jones, 1938
Tested 381 students, concluding "a slight tendency for intelligence and liberal attitudes to go together."

6. A. R. Gilliland, 1940
At variance with all other studies, found "little or no relationship between intelligence and attitude toward god."

7. Donald Gragg, 1942
Reported an inverse correlation between 100 ACT freshman test scores and Thurstone "reality of god" scores.

8. Brown and Love, 1951
At the University of Denver, tested 613 male and female students. The mean test scores of non-believers was 119 points, and for believers it was 100. The non-believers ranked in the 80th percentile, and believers in the 50th. Their findings "strongly corroborate those of Howells."

9. Michael Argyle, 1958
Concluded that "although intelligent children grasp religious concepts earlier, they are also the first to doubt the truth of religion, and intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs."

10. Jeffrey Hadden, 1963
Found no correlation between intelligence and grades. This was an anomalous finding, since GPA corresponds closely with intelligence. Other factors may have influenced the results at the University of Wisconsin.

11. Young, Dustin and Holtzman, 1966
Average religiosity decreased as GPA rose.

12. James Trent, 1967
Polled 1400 college seniors. Found little difference, but high-ability students in his sample group were over-represented.

13. C. Plant and E. Minium, 1967
The more intelligent students were less religious, both before entering college and after 2 years of college.

14. Robert Wuthnow, 1978
Of 532 students, 37 percent of Christians, 58 percent of apostates, and 53 percent of non-religious scored above average on SATs.

15. Hastings and Hoge, 1967, 1974
Polled 200 college students and found no significant correlations between religiosity and intelligence.

16. Norman Poythress, 1975
Mean SATs for strongly anti-
religious (1148), moderately anti-religious (1119), slightly anti-religious (1108), and religious (1022).

17. Wiebe and Fleck, 1980
Studied 158 male and female Canadian university students. They reported "nonreligious S's tended to be strongly intelligent" and "more intelligent than religious S's."


1. Rose Goldsen, 1952
Percentage of students who believe in a divine god: Harvard 30; UCLA 32; Dartmouth 35; Yale 36; Cornell 42; Wayne 43; Weslyan 43; Michigan 45; Fisk 60; Texas 62; North Carolina 68.

2. National Review Study, 1970
Percentage of students who believe in a Spirit or Divine God: Reed 15; Brandeis 25; Sarah Lawrence 28; Williams 36; Stanford 41; Boston U. 41; Yale 42; Howard 47; Indiana 57; Davidson 59; S. Carolina 65; Marquette 77.

3. Caplovitz and Sherrow, 1977
Apostasy rates rose continuously from 5 percent in "low" ranked schools to 17 percent in "high" ranked schools.

4. Niemi, Ross, and Alexander, 1978
In elite schools, organized religion was judged important by only 26 percent of their students, compared with 44 percent of all students.


1. Terman, 1959
Studied group with IQ's over 140. Of men, 10 percent held strong religious belief, of women 18 percent. Sixty-two percent of men and 57 percent of women claimed "little religious inclination" while 28 percent of the men and 23 percent of the women claimed it was "not at all important."

2. Warren and Heist, 1960
Found no differences among National Merit Scholars. Results may have been effected by the fact that NM scholars are not selected on the basis of intelligence or grades alone, but also on "leadership" and such like.

3. Southern and Plant, 1968
Studied 42 male and 30 female members of Mensa. Mensa members were much less religious in belief than the typical American college alumnus or adult.


1. William S. Ament, 1927
C. C. Little, president of the University of Michigan, checked persons listed in Who's Who in America: "Unitarians, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Universalists, and Presbyterians [who are less religious] are... far more numerous in Who's Who than would be expected on the basis of the population which they form. Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics are distinctly less numerous."

Ament confirmed Little's conclusion. He noted that Unitarians, the least religious, were more than 40 times as numerous in Who's Who as in the U.S. population.

2. Lehman and Witty, 1931
Identified 1189 scientists found in both Who's Who (1927) and American Men of Science (1927). Only 25 percent of those listed in the latter and 50 percent of those in the former reported their religious denomination, despite the specific request to do so, under the heading of "religious denomination (if any)." Well over 90 percent of the general population claims religious affiliation. The figure of 25 percent suggests far less religiosity among scientists.

Unitarians were 81.4 times as numerous among eminent scientists as non-Unitarians.

3. Kelley and Fisk, 1951
Found a negative (-.39) correlation between the strength of religious values and research competence. [How these were measured is unknown.]

4. Ann Roe, 1953
Interviewed 64 "eminent scientists, nearly all members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences or the American Philosophical Society. She reported that, while nearly all of them had religious parents and had attended Sunday school, 'now only three of these men are seriously active in church. A few others attend upon occasion, or even give some financial support to a church which they do not attend... All the others have long since dismissed religion as any guide to them, and the church plays no part in their lives... A few are militantly atheistic, but most are just not interested.'"

5. Francis Bello, 1954
Interviewed or questionnaired 107 nonindustrial scientists under the age of 40 judged by senior colleagues to be outstanding. Of the 87 responses, 45 percent claimed to be "agnostic or atheistic" and an additional 22 percent claimed no religious affiliation. For 20 most eminent, "the proportion who are now a-religious is considerably higher than in the entire survey group."

6. Jack Chambers, 1964
Questionnaired 740 US psychologists and chemists. He reported, "The highly creative men... significantly more often show either no preference for a particular religion or little or no interest in religion." Found that the most eminent psychologists showed 40 percent no preference, 16 percent for the most eminent chemists.

7. Vaughan, Smith, and Sjoberg, 1965
Polled 850 US physicists, zoologists, chemical engineers, and geologists listed in American Men of Science (1955) on church membership, and attendance patterns, and belief in afterlife. Of the 642 replies, 38.5 percent did not believe in an afterlife, whereas 31.8 percent did. Belief in immortality was less common among major university staff than among those employed by business, government, or minor universities. The Gallup poll taken about this time showed that two-thirds of the U.S. population believed in an afterlife, so scientists were far less religious than the typical adult.


The consensus here is clear: more intelligent people tend not to believe in religion. And this observation is given added force when you consider that the above studies span a broad range of time, subjects and methodologies, and yet arrive at the same conclusion.

This is the result even when the researchers are Christian conservatives themselves. One such researcher is George Gallup.

Why does this correlation exist? The first answer that comes to mind is that religious beliefs tend to be more illogical or incoherent than secular beliefs, and intelligent people tend to recognize that more quickly. But this explanation will surely be rejected by religious people, who will seek other explanations and rationalizations.

A possible counter-argument is that intelligent people tend to be more successful than others. The lure of worldly success and materialism draws many of these intellectually gifted individuals away from God. After all, who needs God when you (apparently) are making it on your own?

However, this argument does not withstand closer scrutiny. Most of the studies outlined above describe the religious attitudes of students, who have yet to enter the working world, much less succeed in it. Some might then argue that the most intelligent students are nonetheless succeeding in school. But "success" in school (for those who may have forgotten!) is more measured in terms of popularity, sports, physical attractiveness, personality, clothes, etc. Grades are but one of many measures of success in a young person's life -- one that is increasingly becoming less important, as many social critics point out.

The simplest and most parsimonious explanation is that religion is a set of logical and factual claims, and those with the most logic and facts at their disposal are rejecting it largely on those grounds.
There is nothing to argue  Feb 13, 2007
I am a scientist (biochemist to be precise) and this is just ridiculous. There is no way to test Mr.Behe's intuitive ideas. the way science works is by proposing a hypothesis (or taking one that already exists) and doing experiments and testing it and re-testing it over and over again until you really know it is true. If one's hypothesis is not testable, then there is no way of doing science. If you just come up with explanations without testing, then it is pseudoscience. How can you make arguments based on something that you havent tested? In the words of physicist Richard Feynman - "you havent done the experiments necessary. you havent done the care necessary". you can just say that everything happens in the world because God made it that way and then there will be no science, no advancement in our knowledge. we will just stay the same and not make advancements in science such as curing diseases that we have made in the past.

I follow Richard Feynman when it comes to questions about life and where we are going, what is the purpose of life etc. - "I am comfortable with not knowing something than knowing something that is wrong." How do I do science? I can see if I can test my gut instinct that something might be happening by doing experiments but if I cant test it I will just say - I dont know what is happening. there is absolutely nothing wrong in that but I can also say, I think this is what might be happening but because there is no way to test it I dont believe very strongly in it. who knows somebody might come up with brilliant ideas in future that they can use to design experiments and see if it is really happening. NOW THAT IS SCIENCE. Now Mr.Behe's proposals have no way to be experimentally verified, now, in the near future nor in the long-distant future. I am not even sure if he really knows what exactly he is talking about.

The great geneticist, Dobhansky said "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution". People that decide to go into science at an early stage do so because of their fascination for learning more about life. some decide to become real specialists (masters,doctorates) and want to make their original contribution to science by working hard, spending time in labs, doing experiments etc. - this can take considerable chunk of their lifetime. Inspite of hardships in personal lives, they do this because of their passion and desire to "truly know something". They prepare their minds with very strong basics in physics, chemistry and biology to make productive use of their time and energy. If a young science aspirant reads books like these that refutes strong basics like evolution, there is no way they can become promising young scientists in the near future.

The greatest fear coming out of all this is that IDists might inculcate ideas into our children that can put an end to their creativity and imagination by saying "if you dont truly understand something then there must be a missing link in the form of intelligent design etc.." I am amazed that so many people are falling for this kind of pseudoscience, an easy explanation. No wonder scientists become condescending when dealing with people that promote such ideas and expect scientists to argue with them (IDists think that scientists are not open to controversy!!)

Insightful  Feb 6, 2007
Michael Behe has done a marvelous job of communicating to both the academic community and the average reader. His style is readable and contains just enough light humor to avoid becoming boring. His topic is crucial to the culture of the planet.

His argument for irreducible complexity inferring intelligent design seems inescapable in it's obvious simplicity, and when combined with William Dembski's conclusions about specified complexity develops a compelling argument for intelligent design. The scientific community has remorselessly overcome our political, legal and educational cultures with convictions of the non-value of life and the pointless existence of humanity, thereby obliterating hope and value in human reality. Behe's work does an about face and points to purpose and transcendental meaning for mankind. This is accomplished in a very learned and intellectual manner, paving the way (in concert with the works of William Dembski) for the reconciliation of science and spirituality.

One can only hope that this movement towards intelligent design as a viable intellectual pursuit, which has attracted a growing number of scholars (see also "Uncommon Dissent"), will persist to gain momentum and forestall the otherwise inevitable plunge of humanity into a black hole of materialistic despair. If the scientific community succeeds in convicting our global culture of the insignificance of human life, the eventual outcome will inevitably be the devaluation of being human to the point that civil rights and survival of the unfit will become history. Imagine population issues becoming directed by a remorseless materialistic imperative; the culture imagined in "Brave New World" would be the likely result.

I can only hope that Behe's arguments, and those of the other scholars in this controversy, reach enough ears to encourage a greater acceptance of spirituality within the ranks of our global and national leaders.
I hope Behe is cashing on being a writer because he is a failure as a scientist  Jan 1, 2007
When someone indites the 'Theory of Evolution' as a theory not a fact, it makes it sound as if theories and facts are opposite things, as if we are really sure of facts and not so sure of theories. In science theory is a higher level of understanding then facts, because what theories do is explain the facts by uniting them. Theory is a system of explanations that elucidate the observable facts of nature.

This book is a failure of the human desire for scientific understanding: it's been
peer reviewed and the response is unanimously negative. Don't waist your time with this waist of paper.
Devastating book  Dec 31, 2006
It is interesting to see the proponents of the faith of evolution react so defensive. I use the word "belief" on purpose, because it takes a leap of faith similar to a religion to believe this theory. As the years have gone on, this theory continues to crumble. But, be warned that your reaction after reading this book may be: "was I duped all those years in school?"

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