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Darwin's Black Box
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About the Author

Michael J. Behe is a Professor of Biological Science at Lehigh University, where he has worked since 1985. From 1978 to 1982 he did postdoctoral work on DNA structure at the National Institutes of Health. From 1982 to 1985 he was Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Queens College in New York City. He has authored more than forty technical papers, but he is best known as the author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. He lives near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his wife and nine children.

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Behe (biochemistry, Lehigh) argues that the biochemical basis of complex life could not have developed through gradual evolutionary change because too many dependent variables would have had to have been altered simultaneously. Through explanations of the functions of the eye, blood clotting, and the immune system, he sets out to argue against evolution as a sole explanation for their existence. Behe doesn't call on religion to support his thesis. Rather, he explores the scientific literature for some of the alternatives to evolution and includes his own support for life by design at the end of the text. The importance of this controversial work is in the questions it raises about the primacy of evolution as the sole creator of life. Recommended for all libraries concerned with evolution.‘Eric D. Albright, Galter Health Sciences Lib., Northwestern Univ., Chicago

"A persuasive book. It will speak to the layman and perhaps even to professional evolutionists as well, if they are able to suspend for a little while their own judgment about origins, the ultimate black box." -- The Washington Times
"An argument of great originality, elegance, and intellectual power. . . . No one can propose to defend Darwin without meeting the challenges set out in this superbly written and compelling book." -- David Berlinski, author of A Tour of the Calculus
"Overthrows Darwin at the end of the twentieth century in the same way that quantum theory overthrew Newton at the beginning." -- George Gilder in National Review
"[Behe] is the most prominent of the small circle of scientists working on intelligent design, and his arguments are by far the best known." -- H. Allen Orr in The New Yorker
"When examined with the powerful tools of modern biology, but not with its modern prejudices, life on a biochemical level can be a product, Behe says, only of intelligent design. Coming from a practicing biologist. . . this proposition is close to heretical." -- The New York Times Book Review

Charles Darwin's theory of life's evolution through natural selection and random mutation fails to account for the origin of astonishingly complex biomolecular systems, argues Behe, associate professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. In this spirited, witty critique of neo-Darwinian thinking, he focuses on five phenomena: blood clotting; cilia, oar-like bundles of fibers; the human immune system; transport of materials within the cell; and the synthesis of nucleotides, building blocks of DNA. In each case, he finds systems that are irreducibly complex‘no gradual, step-by-step, Darwinian route led to their creation. As an alternative explanation, Behe infers that complex biochemical systems (i.e., life) were designed by an intelligent agent, whether God, extraterrestrials or a universal force. He notes that Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA's double-helix structure, proposed that life began when aliens from another planet sent a rocket ship containing spores to seed Earth. Perhaps Behe's plea for incorporating a "theory of intelligent design" into mainstream biology will spark interest. Illustrated. Translation and U.K. rights: Simon & Schuster. (Aug.)

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