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Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution Paperback – March 13, 2006

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Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution + Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design + Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 2nd edition (March 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743290313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743290319
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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

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.

Customer Reviews

Second, Behe fails to demonstrate that natural selection could not have created his "irreducibly complex" systems.
Robbie T.
Irreducible complexity is a failed negative argument against evolutionary theory, not a positive argument in favor of Intelligent Design.
Frank W. Smith
Mr. Behe is constantly telling us how the scientific evidence points to an intelligent designer but never offers his own testable proof.
E. King

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Ferro on March 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Judging by the emotive responses, there are few people able to view this topic objectively or dispassionately.

This book is an interesting journey through microbiology that was unimaginable only a few short decades ago. Behe's arguments are easy to understand. He has already made his point by the end of chapter two: the rest of the book is almost overkill. Evolutionists claim that "most of his arguments have been debunked" but I have seen little evidence of this.
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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful By S. Cooney on May 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up several years ago after reading an essay entitled "The Deniable Darwin" by David Berlinski. I thought the book was excellent and recommend it to those seeking to explore the "Evolution vs. Intelligent Design" debate.

Consider those who claim to have debunked this book carefully. The so-called "debunking" of the irreduceable complexity of the bacterial flagellum and the blood-clotting cascade are out there online for anyone who knows how to use a search engine. Check it out. Behe has responded online to his critics as well. Judge for yourself who fares better.

Many of Behe's critics here point to the Dover school board decision as settling the issue once and for all. But science doesn't work that way. Yesterday's heretic is today's hero.

Behe's argument that irreduceable complexity at the cellular level can't be explained by Darwinist principles is a powerful one. He's the barbarian at the gate. Don't take my word for it - listen to the shrill tone of the critics here. They take this book personally - I mean they really hate it. When they defend their theory by personally attacking its critic as they've done here, one has to wonder "What's up"?

What's fascinating is that the critics of Behe's book dismiss him and all of his supporters as religious fanatics. They snort and say "It's not science"... Again, judge for yourselves. This book is what it says it is, a challenge to evolution. So far, they haven't really answered it, although they say they have.

So-called microevolution is not disputed by anyone. Macroevolution is another matter entirely. There is no theory (except for Gould's punctuated equilibrium) that adequately addresses the fossil record.
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17 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
Behe wrote in the Preface to this 1996 book, "Darwin was ignorant of the reason for variation within a species... It was once expected that the basis of life would be exceedingly simple. That expectation has been smashed... the elegance and complexity of biological systems at the molecular level have paralyzed science's attempt to account for the origin of specific, complex biomolecular systems..." (Pg. x) He clarifies, "I have no reason to doubt that the universe is ... billions of years old ... I find the idea of common descent ... fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it... Although Darwin's mechanism ... might explain many things... I do not believe it explains molecular life." (Pg. 5-6) [NOTE: page numbers refer to the 307-page hardcover editon.]

He notes, "Darwin convinced many of his readers that an evolutionary pathway leads from the simplest light-sensitive spot to the sophistaced camera-eye of man. But the question of how vision began remained unanswered... he did not even try to explain where his starting point---the relatively simple light-sensitive spot---came from." (Pg. 18) He states, "Each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple actually involves staggeringly complicated biochemical processes... Anatomy is... irrelevant to the question of whether evolution could take place on the molecular level. So is the fossil record... Until recently, evolutionary biologists could be unconcerned with the molecular details of life because so little was known about them. Now the black box of the cell has been opened, and the infinitesimal world that stands revealed must be explained." (Pg. 22)

He asks, "What type of biological system could not be formed by 'numerous, successive, slight modifications'? ...
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Format: Paperback
Michael Behe's book: Darwin's Black Box, a Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, is one book among many that I have been meaning to read over the years, knowing that it is an important work and yet I have managed to justify a fairly long delay in doing so. In fact, of the people that I know who have this book in their library, almost all of them admit that they want to read it at some point, and yet they too have been slow to do so because of other reading priorities. I'm not sure if this is the case, but it seems that while most Christians are interested in the evolution/intelligent design argument, perhaps most of us are caught up with other questions, issues, and battles that challenge the church in the modern day. But having finally read this work myself I would kindly recommend that you do the same as well. The main reason is this: Michael Behe has delivered an important argument for intelligent design that places yet another dagger into the heart of Darwinism.

Behe is professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, and it is quite clear that he writes from the pedigree of his academic background. It is important to note that Behe's opposition to Evolution is not based upon Scriptural grounds; instead, it is based upon the question of scientific data alone. Therefore I would caution and remind the reader that this is not a biblical defense of creationism, instead it is a secular/scientific critique of Darwinism. In brief, Behe's key argument can be reduced to the two words that now appear in almost all books dealing with Darwinism, whether pro or con: irreducible complexity.
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