Behe as Research Scientist


As part of an essay review I am completing, last night I finished reading Larry Witham’s By Design, which “recounts the history of the intelligent design movement [and] … shows how ideas and personalities mix to challenge deep scientific presumptions.” I don’t have time at the moment to go into it, but Witham’s work is deeply flawed as an historical study and clearly demonstrates his support for the design faction (not surprising giving his Unification Church background and friendship with Jonathan Wells). That aside (and it is something I will return to eventually), Witham makes much of Behe’s scientific credentials along with his “conversion” to ID being for evidential (rather than religious) grounds. In Chapter 8 he states:

Although critics call his design idea a “science stopper” (arguing that if a designer is presumed, many questions about origins are settled by fiat), Behe keeps up his research. (p. 132)

Tom Woodward also makes much of Behe’s standing as a research scientist in his Doubts About Darwin (Baker House, 2003), another flawed and partisan history of design.

Let’s examine Behe’s publication record over the past ten years, concentrating on peer-review scientific articles (i.e. ignoring letters, op-ed pieces, etc).

Continue Reading Behe as Research Scientist (at Stranger Fruit)


As a point of comparison, consider the work of a leading evolutionary biologist, Sean B. Carroll of the University of Wisconsin. Pub-Med lists 98 papers by him, 40 of which have appeared in or after 1998. The overwhelming majority of these papers contain new experimental research or reviews full of interpretations of the work of others. And they don’t appear in philosophy journals, or on the “letters-to-the-editor” page. They appear in Nature, Development, and other leading scientific journals. It’s amazing what you can get done when you’re not distracted by pseudoscience.

Brad Hersh (who coincidently works with Sean Carroll) ran a search on ISI and came up with no scientific research.

1) Milner R, Maestro V, Behe MJ, et al. Intelligent design? NAT HIST 111 (3): 73-80 APR 2002 2) Behe MJ Reply to my critics: A response to reviews of Darwin’s Black Box: The biochemical challenge to evolution BIOL PHILOS 16 (5): 685-709 NOV 2001 3) White A, Meier W, Lovell F, et al. Educators have hard choices; Nationally, not just in Kansas SCIENCE 289 (5481): 869-871 AUG 11 2000 4) Behe MJ Self-organization and irreducibly complex systems: A reply to Shanks and Joplin

Reminiscent of the decline of Dean Kenyon’s career.


Behe’s listing on the Lehigh web site:

Behe, Michael – Biological Sciences Professor Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1978 Evolution of protein structure

The obvious conclusion is that he really is a “Darwinist” - Welcome back to science, Mike!!!

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This page contains a single entry by John M. Lynch published on April 29, 2004 2:53 PM.

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