Michael Behe is an associate professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. "A black box is a whimsical term for a device that does something, but whose inner workings cannot be seen and sometimes because they just are not comprehensible." Behe offers a biochemical challenge to evolution suggesting that intelligent design is the only possibility to explain the underworkings of Darwin's theory.
Behe divides his book into three sections. The first section reviews the history of biology and explains the basis of Neo-Darwinism. There are several challenges to evolution but, for the most part, this section is designed to bring the reader up to speed on the basis of Darwin's theory and the complexity it attempts to address. The second section deals with the biochemical basis of life and is a thorough discussion of how, at a biochemical level, cells do what they do. A good biological background is necessary to totally digest this section. The third section builds on the biochemical background that has been laid and shows why intelligent design must be involved to explain the complexities at a biochemical level of the cell.
Behe takes on the main supporters of evolution, answering Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and others in an understandable way. He uses everything from Rube Goldberg machines to Road Kill to make his points, using clever analogies and useful comparisons. Behe has not written this book in a religious format and denies he is a creationist. Familiar creationist themes like the Bombardier beetle are found in the book, but the arguments are totally scientific.
This is an excellent book, but it is pretty complicated for the average reader. The analogies and clever models help, but the reader without a strong biology background will struggle. We recommend it highly to biology students and to people who are active in the evolution/creation controversy.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, May/Jun97.