Michael J. Behe

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture

Michael J. Behe is Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Behe's current research involves delineation of design and natural selection in protein structures.

In his career he has authored over 40 technical papers and two books, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution and The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, which argue that living system at the molecular level are best explained as being the result of deliberate intelligent design. Most recently, in Darwin Devolves, Behe advances his argument, presenting new research that offers a startling reconsideration of how Darwin’s mechanism works, weakening the theory’s validity even more.

The books have been reviewed by the New York Times, Nature, Philosophy of Science, Christianity Today, and many other periodicals. Darwin's Black Box was internationally reviewed in over one hundred publications and named by National Review and World magazine as one of the 100 most important books of the 20th century.

Behe has presented and debated his work at major universities throughout North America and England.

Archives

Michael Behe Reads from His New Book

On this ID the Future, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe reads from A Mousetrap for Darwin, his latest book making the case against blind evolution and for intelligent design. The volume contains some brand new material alongside a substantial collection of essays he’s written over the years in response to critics of his three previous intelligent design books. His pro-Darwin critics have jumped all over Behe. Some have even claimed he’s ignored their objections. A Mousetrap for Darwin gives the lie to that charge. Behe has answered his critics, and done so decisively, in everything from the New York Times and prominent blogs to major science journals. Listen in as he lays the groundwork for his fourth fascinating book, in Read More ›

Michael Behe Answers Your Questions

This episode of ID the Future features Darwin Devolves author Michael Behe. The Lehigh University biologist and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow sat down to answer some of the most common questions put to him about evolution and intelligent design, and here we collect his answers to three of those questions: (1) What are some new examples of irreducibly complex systems? (2) What are some objections to ID from well-known critics? And (3) Why aren’t you convinced by theistic evolution arguments?

Michael Behe on E. Coli and a Citrate Death Spiral

On this episode of ID the Future, biochemist Michael Behe reviews the Long Term Evolution Experiment at Michigan State, where Richard Lenski’s team was initially excited to see what they thought was a new species forming in their flasks of E. coli. As Behe has written at Evolution News, one flask of E. coli in Lenski’s experiment evolved the ability to metabolize (“eat”) citrate in the presence of oxygen. But along with it came multiple mutations breaking genes, degrading genetic information, and ultimately increasing the bacteria’s death rates. It all goes to support Behe’s thesis in Darwin Devolves: evolution is good at creating niche advantages by breaking things; it isn’t good at building fundamentally novel form, the very thing the Read More ›

Citrate Death Spiral

Michigan State University biologist Richard Lenski and collaborators have just published a terrific new paper.

Michael Behe on COVID-19, Chloroquine, Malaria and the Edge of Evolution

On this episode of ID the Future, biochemist Michael Behe and host Andrew McDiarmid discuss the anti-malarial drug chloroquine, now being investigated as a treatment for COVID-19, and how it may work on the cellular level against the coronavirus. The same drug was featured in Behe’s 2007 book The Edge of Evolution, as part of his demonstration that evolution has strict limits: It can do adaptive work for organisms with single mutations, but if just two coordinated mutations are required at once, evolution’s random processes have great difficulty even with natural selection helping them along. In cases where population sizes are enormous, as with malaria, it can eventually overcome the need for two simultaneous and coordinated mutations, but only just Read More ›

Michael Behe on COVID-19 and ‘Why Are There Viruses, Anyway?’

On this episode of ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid and biochemist Michael Behe discuss the pandemic coronavirus known as COVID-19. The two move through a series of questions, some straightforward, others more speculative. What is a virus and where did this one come from? Why is it so much worse than other coronavirus strains? What sort of evolution is involved here? Does the human species have any ancient, shared genetic relationship with viruses? And why are there viruses in the first place?

Michael Behe on the Design Idea That Won’t Go Away (and Shouldn’t)

On this episode of ID the Future, Jonathan Witt caught up with Darwin’s Black Box author and biochemist Michael Behe at the 2020 Dallas Science and Faith conference, where the two discuss an idea that many wish would just go away, but hasn’t. Charles Darwin himself told us how his evolutionary theory could be overturned: identify a biological system that couldn’t possibly have evolved by “numerous success successive slight modifications.” It’s to Darwin’s credit that he put his theory in “empirical harm’s way,” to quote philosopher Del Ratzsch, but as Witt and Behe note, Darwin also cleverly placed the burden of proof on his opponents, an arguably dubious maneuver given that his proposed evolutionary mechanism has never once been observed Read More ›

Honoring Phillip Johnson, Pt. 3: Michael Behe

On this ID the Future we continue a series of messages from a November 2019 symposium in Berkeley, California, presented in honor of the late Phillip Johnson, who played a crucial role in the flowering of the intelligent design movement.

Michael Behe Opens a Black Box for Christmas

On this episode of ID the Future, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe discusses the closing sections of his new book Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. He compares evolutionary biology in Darwin’s time and today to the world of astronomy before and after the telescope was invented. The cell was a black box to Darwin and his contemporaries. Today we can explore that black box like never before, much better even than even two decades ago, allowing us to observe what evolution can actually do at the molecular level. According to Behe, the answer is, not much. Evolution can create niche advantages by breaking certain things, but it doesn’t build fundamentally new structures or new machines. Read More ›

Behe Barnstorms Brazil

On this episode of ID the Future, Darwin Devolves author and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe sits down with host Rob Crowther to discuss Behe’s recent speaking trip to Brazil, and on where he sees the Darwinism/design debate heading in the next few years.

Michael Behe on the Darwinist Math Mirage

On this episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid continues his series with Michael Behe about Behe’s new book Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. Here Behe explains the “Revenge of the Principle of Comparative Difficulty,” According to this principle, evolution it is much easier for evolution to create a new adaptive niche by damaging one or more genes than even the simplest new genes and irreducibly complex structures. Along the way, Behe also explores how biology got enamored of mathematical theory built on “hopeful ignorance” regarding the nature of genes.