Darwin Devolves by Michael J. Behe News, Responses to Critics, Purchasing

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Peppered Moths and More: Intelligent Design Takes Ownership of Evolution Icons

Intelligent design is taking ownership of some of the characters in Jonathan Wells’s book Icons of Evolution. Darwinians never had a rightful claim to them.  Peppered Moths Rare is any article about peppered moths that does not celebrate them as supreme examples of Darwinian evolution by natural selection. An open-access paper in Nature Communications Biology breaks that mold by focusing on a new skill in this species: the ability to “feel” color. Before adult peppered moths can fly into the tops of trees and challenge Darwinism there (unless they are tacked onto the trunks), they have to live as caterpillars. The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology summarizes new findings about camouflage in the larval stage: It is difficult to distinguish caterpillars of the peppered

Molecular Motor Threads a Spiral Staircase

Let’s get acquainted with another irreducibly complex molecular motor. This one is a master at unfolding proteins, even the tough nuts that are hard to crack. Its method is ingenious. One shouldn’t think that icons of intelligent design in biochemistry are restricted to the few favorites, like the bacterial flagellum, kinesin, and ATP synthase. There are thousands of them — tens of thousands! Each one is fascinating in its own way. Today’s focus is on one, called the “Cdc48 ATPase complex,” or Cdc48 for short. It’s another ATPase (meaning, it uses ATP for energy) with an important job: unfolding proteins. Most proteins, you recall, are folded into globular shapes. Some of those can get pretty tightly wound, held together with electrical charges and mechanical forces.

Design for ATP Extends Beyond the Rotary Engine

As Michael Behe says in Darwin Devolves, the bacterial flagellum, that icon of irreducible complexity — which has never been explained by a Darwinian process — is one of two rotary engines found in cells. The other is ATP synthase, another icon of intelligent design. Three new papers this month find more things about it to admire. For an introduction, see our animation. Efficiency Expert A paper in PNAS by Kwangho Nam and Martin Karplus explores “Insights into the origin of the high energy-conversion efficiency of F1-ATPase.” And do they mean efficiency! F1-ATPase is a small motor protein, composed of 3 α- and 3 β-subunits that surround a central γ-subunit. The β-subunits alternate cyclically between 2 major conformational states to produce the rotation of the

Irreducible Complexity Defeated? Behe on Ken Miller’s Mousetrap Tie-Clip

Biologist Kenneth Miller thought he had scored a point against biochemist Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity. At a conference, says Miller, “I removed two parts from a mousetrap (leaving just the base, spring, and hammer), and used that 3-part device as a functional tie-clip.” Check out this bonus video from the Science Uprising series, where Behe amusedly tells what’s wrong with Miller’s demonstration: https://youtu.be/zTtLEJABbTw He also explains the “edge of evolution,” which he has traced to the level of biological family, as in cats versus dogs. Down to that level in the taxonomic scheme, evolution must reflect intelligent design. Further down, Darwinian processes may reign, primarily by breaking, though, rather than building. The author most

Time to Put a Lid on Cichlid Evolution Propaganda

According to researchers at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, “Cichlid diversification in East Africa has become a central paradigm in evolutionary biology.” The subject, therefore, merits some attention for Darwin watchers. When evaluating a claim, it’s important to focus on central paradigms. If this is one of them, it looks pretty weak. Cichlids comprise a large family of fish, primarily living in freshwater habitats. Because they show tremendous variety in size and coloration, evolutionists have taken a keen interest in how they diversify. The news item introduces the family: Cichlids (Cichlidae) are a group of small to medium-sized fish that are ubiquitous in freshwater habitats in the tropics. They are particularly notable in exhibiting a wide range of

Not Oparin’s Coacervates Again!

The “warm little pond” idea was a mere suggestion when Darwin wrote to Joseph Hooker in 1871, a year before his death, but it was too vague to be taken seriously. Over 50 years later, in 1924, Alexander Oparin developed the idea with a little more rigor. He did so with the help of J.B.S. Haldane, speculating on how building blocks of life could be contained inside temporary droplets of organic goo. Wikipedia says, “For decades the theory of Oparin and Haldane was the leading approach to the origin of life question,” adding, “However, the lack of any mechanism by which coacervates can reproduce leaves them far short of being living systems.”  Also lacking was any mechanism for the transition from chance droplets to the elaborate lipid membranes in modern cells, with

Behe Vindicated Again: Goldfish Are Broken Carp

Michael Behe opens his new book Darwin Devolves with the story of the polar bear. It’s big and distinctive like a Darwin champion new species, but it’s really a variety of brown bear that “evolved” to survive in arctic cold (in fact, it can hybridize with Alaskan brown bears). How did it do that? Behe shows that genes for regulating fat and for metabolizing cholesterol became broken or blunted, and this had a side effect of keeping the bears warm in cold climates, changing their coat color, while permitting them to survive on fatty diets of seals. Darwin’s mechanism did not create anything new; it broke things, but in the case of the polar bear, it worked out.  A Similar Story A similar story can be told about goldfish, it turns out. Goldfish underwent whole-genome

Clouds Part: More Photos of Behe Book Celebration

It was a dark and stormy July night in Seattle yesterday until, I noticed, just when Mike Behe, author of Darwin Devolves, was scheduled to speak at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall. Then the rain lifted and the clouds began to part. Here are excellent photos of the wonderful and celebratory evening, from photographer Nathan Jacobson: John West introducing Professor Behe. Michael Behe takes the stage. Michael Behe and John West engage in a Q&A, always the best part, with a packed house. The inevitable book table before the audience gets there. The book table after the audience gets there. “Dr. Behe, will you please sign my copy of Darwin Devolves for me?” The clouds part and the moon is visible over the Space Needle. Have you

Michael Behe, Biochemist and Superhero, Was Live at Seattle Center; See It Now!

Michael Behe had a great reception this evening to a packed house at Seattle Center for his book Darwin Devolves. We broadcast it live on Facebook, but the livestream is fortunately archived via the Center for Science & Culture. So you can see it now if you missed it! (You have to advance forward to 59:23.) John West appropriately introduced Dr. Behe as the “archetypal mild-mannered professor” who “helped provoke a revolutionary debate.” Referring to the new Science Uprising episode in which Behe stars, Dr. West noted, “If you ever wondered what Dr. Behe has in common with the X-Men films, you will want to watch this new episode of Science Uprising.” Does that imply Michael Behe, the gentle biochemist, is a superhero? Well, in an intellectual sense, he is. The crowd

Celebrate with Us! Watch Michael Behe Livestreaming Wednesday at 7:30 Pacific

Like most of the world, you probably don’t live within convenient driving distance of Seattle. But don’t despair! You can still join us Wednesday at 7:30 pm Pacific time to hear from Michael Behe and help us celebrate the success of his book Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution. All you have to do is go to the Center for Science & Culture’s Facebook page, right here. We’ll be broadcasting live from McCall Hall at Seattle Center. Professor Behe’s book sparked an epic series of disputations with scientists determined to defend traditional Darwinian theory. You can find the record of those exchanges at the Darwin Devolves website. Judge for yourself: I think it’s evident that the gentle biochemist resoundingly trounced his critics in