Larry Moran from The Sandwalk is a secular biologist, who writes about evolution. He was in a prolonged exchange with Behe over the Edge of Evolution: Prof. Behe's debate with Prof. Moran. One Coyne’s post (Scientists scrutinize just two examples in Behe’s new book; find them deeply misleading « Why Evolution Is True) Moran makes an important defense of Behe, with which I agree.
Let’s try and be a little more fair to Michael Behe. He accepts evolution and he accepts common decent and the fact that Earth was formed billions of years ago. What he’s trying to prove in his books is that there are limits to what evolution can accomplish and since we observe that evolution surpasses those limits (according to him) then there must be an intelligent designer guiding evolution.
This idea that evolution is true but God guides it is a common belief among religious folk in all countries. They don’t reject evolution, they just think that in addition there’s a lot of room for their gods to play a role.
Jerry asks, “But why is Behe trying to make a scientific case against evolution in a “trade book” rather than in the scientific literature?”
Here’s the link to Behe’s paper in the scientific literature – the one that forms the main theme in his new book.
Behe, M. J. (2010). Experimental evolution, loss-of-function mutations, and “the first rule of adaptive evolution”. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 85(4), 419-445. doi: https://doi.org/10.1086/656902
I note that the scientific literature does not lend itself to explaining complex ideas about evolution and that’s why scientists often publish trade books where they can cover the topic more thoroughly. There are quite a few examples ….
“Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin
“The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins
“Evolution: The Modern Synthesis” by Julian Huxley
“Wonderful Life” by Stephen Jay Gould
“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Sean Carroll
“Speciation” by Jerry Coyne and Allen Orr
“One Long Argument” by Ernst Mayr
“Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck” by David Raup
“Mutation-Driven Evolution” by Masatoshi Nei
“The Logic of Chance” by Eugene Koonin
“The Structure of Evolutionary Theory” by Stephen Jay Gould
and many more.
I’m not saying that Behe’s book is as good as these books; all I’m saying is that the fact that he publishes a trade book on evolution should not be held against him otherwise you would also have to criticize the following authors for publishing trade books …
“The Language of God” by Francis Collins
Finding Darwion’s God” by Kenneth Miller
“The Runes of Evolution” by Simon Conway Morris
“Evolution: A View form the 21st Century” by James Shapiro
My issue, of course, is different. As the recent ENV article repeats, and fails to refute,
Behe “ignores evidence,” “misrepresents theory,” and “avoids evidence that challenges him.”