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

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Jan 21 2008 - 18:40:09 EST

Matzke's review is in TREE (Trends in Ecology and Evolution),
22(11):566-567. Behe's estimate of the probability of mutations in
malaria suffer from several problems, as do his extrapolations from
The two mutations that Behe claims are necessary for resistance are
not in fact necessary. Various mutations can give slight resistance,
get selected for, and undergo further modification. The mutations
have cropped up more than once, so his estimate of mutation frequency
is too low. Also, resistance to a specific targeted drug requires a
more specific response than do most environmental challenges. Usually
there are multiple possible evolutionary options when a particular
challenge comes along. To use Dembski's metaphor, looking at a
specific mutation that has happened and declaring it to be highly
improbable is painting your bull's-eye around the arrow after it

Matzke also addresses a few of Behe's other claims.

There's a fairly good review in Books and Culture. It does not
address the scientific merit of Behe's claims, taking them at face
value, but it does note that Behe's position clashes with the total
denial of evolution that's commonplace in young earth and popular ID
circles, and raises some good theological questions.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Jan 21 18:41:04 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Jan 21 2008 - 18:41:04 EST