RE: [asa] Behe's "Edge of Evolution"

From: John Walley <>
Date: Sun Jan 20 2008 - 18:03:53 EST

Dawkins Review is here:

Coyne's Review is here:,1271,The-Great-Mutator,Jerry-Coyne-The-New

A review of these reviews by Darwinian Conservatism proponent Larry Arnhart
is here:

Sean Carroll's review is here:

NCSE Review is here:

Behe's responses to both these reviews and Miller's & Carroll's is here:

If you recall we discussed this book and all these reviews in detail several
months ago and the reader's Digest condensed version is that I think Behe is
predominantly correct in pointing out that after 500 years of malaria being
exposed to quinine and chloroquinine, it has only managed to accumulate two
point mutations that confer resistance but are otherwise destructive to the
organism. He uses this to show that "evolution doesn't do very much" and
that therefore there is an Edge to Evolution.

None of the reviews really challenge this basic conclusion that I think we
have to give to Behe. Some of the reviews find accumulations of 3-5 point
mutations in different organism but Behe's point remains that no new
structures or novel complexity were added. In all observed cases it was an
example of trench warfare instead of an arm's race that is commonly cited.

However in fairness, I think it is a little dishonest of Behe to use point
mutations as the sole representation of variation that natural selection
works on. He addresses some of the other mechanisms in passing but dismisses
them without much discussion.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Don Nield
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 5:36 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Behe's "Edge of Evolution"

The only review that I know of that meets all three criteria is the review
Kenneth R. Miller in Nature (2007; 447: 1055-1056).
Behe has responded to Miller. You will need to assess whether Behe has
Miller's main points.
Don wrote:
> Somebody at my church is going to present a 4-week class based on
> Behe's
> latest book (which I have not read). This person (retired public school
> teacher) does not really have the background to judge the scientific
> arguments in the book, but then again neither do I.
> I wonder if anybody could recommend a critique (negative, positive, or
> mixed) of the book that would meet the following 3 criteria:
> 1) From a Christian perspective
> 2) From somebody with relevant scientific expertise
> 3) From somebody who is not a part of the ID movement
> Allan (ASA Member)
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado | "Any
> opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be attributed to my
> employer, my wife, or my cat"
> **************Start the year off right. Easy ways to stay in shape.

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Received on Sun Jan 20 18:04:51 2008

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