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

BEHE COUNTERS THE BEST OBJECTIONS TO IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY AND ID, PT. 3

On today’s ID the Future biologist Michael Behe and Philosophy for the People host Pat Flynn conclude their conversation (posted by permission here) about some of the best objections to Behe’s central case for intelligent design. One objection Behe and Flynn tackle in this episode: the idea of evolution overcoming the irreducible-complexity hurdle through co-option. That is, maybe the precursors to what would become one of today’s molecular machines, such as the bacterial flagellum motor, co-opted simpler machines being used for other purposes, allowing evolution to build a bacterial flagellum motor one small step at a time over thousands or millions of generations, even though the completed bacterial flagellum ceases to function at all when just one of its many key parts Read More ›

BEHE COUNTERS THE BEST OBJECTIONS TO IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY AND ID, PT. 2

Today’s ID the Future continues A Mousetrap for Darwin author Michael Behe’s conversation with philosopher Pat Flynn, focused on some of the more substantive objections to Behe’s case for intelligent design in biology. In this segment the pair discuss the bacterial flagellum, the cilium, and the blood clotting cascade, and tackle critiques from Alvin Plantinga, Graham Oppy, Russell Doolittle, Kenneth Miller, and others. This interview is posted here by permission of Pat Flynn.

Behe Answers the Best Objections to Irreducible Complexity and ID, Pt. 1

On today’s ID the Future Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe addresses what Philosophy for the People host Pat Flynn considers some of the best objections to Behe’s central intelligent design argument. As far back as the 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box, Behe has argued that certain features in biology are irreducibly complex. That is, they require numerous essential parts, each carefully fitted to its task and integrated with the other parts, in order for the molecular machine or system to function at all. Two examples are the bacterial flagellum motor and the blood clotting cascade. Such systems are, in Behe’s words, irreducibly complex and could not have arisen through any blind and gradual evolution process. The better explanation for their Read More ›

Behe and Ramage: Evolution’s Limits and the Fingerprints of Design

Today’s ID the Future wraps up a debate over evolution and intelligent design between Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe and Benedictine College theologian Michael Ramage. Both Behe and Ramage are Catholic, and they carry on their conversation in the context of Catholic thinking about nature and creation, in particular the work of Thomas Aquinas and contemporary Thomist philosophers. Ramage seeks to integrate his Thomistic/personalist framework with modern evolutionary theory’s commitment to macroevolution and common descent. Behe doesn’t discount the possibility of common descent but lays out a case that any evolution beyond the level of genus (for instance, the separate families containing cats and dogs) cannot be achieved through mindless Darwinian mechanisms and, instead, would require the contributions of a Read More ›

Behe and Ramage Debate, Pt. 2: Evolution, ID, and Aquinas

Today’s ID the Future continues the conversation between Catholic intelligent design biologist Michael Behe and Catholic theologian Matthew Ramage. Both agree that nature points to a cosmic designer, but Ramage says he prefers, on aesthetic grounds, the idea that the biological realm has the capacity, gifted by God, to evolve on its own without the need for intervention by God. Behe notes that people have different aesthetic predilections, but it’s the scientist’s job not to figure out how he would have preferred things to have happened in nature, but to discover how they actually did come about. Behe also says that while the sun, moon, and stars do move according to fixed natural laws, it doesn’t follow from this that Read More ›

Michael Behe and Matthew Ramage Debate Evolution and ID, Pt. 1

Today’s ID the Future brings the first part of a friendly debate/discussion between Lehigh University biologist and intelligent design proponent Michael Behe and Catholic theologian Matthew Ramage. Led by Philosophy for the People podcast host Pat Flynn, Behe starts by noting that he is a lifelong Catholic who accepted from childhood that, as he was taught in school, if God wanted to work through the secondary causes of Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms to generate the diversity of life, who were we to tell him he shouldn’t or couldn’t do it that way? Behe says that his skepticism toward Neo-Darwinism arose many years later and stemmed purely from his scientific research. Ramage, who specializes in the work of Pope Benedict XVI, sees Read More ›

Michael Behe: Evolution, Devolution, Design

Today’s ID the Future features three recent Evolution News essays by Lehigh University biology professor and Darwin Devolves author Michael Behe, as read by host Andrew McDiarmid. In the first, nothing shows the feebleness of Darwinism quite so much as breathless stories about new results that turn out to be much ado about nothing. In this case, it’s some recent speculation about the rise of “lactase persistence” in many human adults. Then it’s onto malaria, much beloved of evolutionists, not for its lethality but as a demonstration of evolution in action. But Behe dissects the latest news story on the topic to show that the touted malaria evolution is, once again, malaria gnawing off the proverbial leg to achieve a Read More ›

Behe: Bacteriophage—The New Poster Child for Darwin’s Doom

On today’s ID the Future, Lehigh University biologist Michael Behe argues that Darwinism was built on a foundation of ignorance. Through no fault of Darwin’s, neither he nor anyone else in his day had a clue about the nature of cellular life and biological information, says Behe. Even the biologists of the Neo-Darwinian synthesis in the first half of the twentieth century were fairly clueless about the foundation of life, Behe says. When researchers did finally begin to unravel the sophisticated foundations of life, earlier notions of how evolutionary processes might have invented the great diversity of life forms on earth were exposed as causally inadequate. Behe says that in fact all the attempts to rescue the idea of mindless Read More ›

Two Recent Papers Buttress Behe’s Darwin Devolves Thesis

On today’s ID the Future Darwin Devolves author and biologist Michael Behe discusses two recent technical papers that the news media billed as dramatic evidence for evolution. As Behe explains in his conversation with host Eric Anderson, a careful look at the papers themselves shows that both cases involve devolution. That is, the biological forms in question did not evolve novel structures and information; instead they threw away things to achieve a niche advantage. In the first study, in the journal Nature Microbiology, the researchers found that in Africa, where “most rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for falciparum malaria recognize histidine-rich protein 2 antigen,” the malaria parasite has repeatedly evolved a way to sometimes elude detection, giving it a selective advantage, Read More ›

Darwin Devolves Author Michael Behe Tangles with Two Philosophers, Pt. 3

On this ID the Future, ID biologist Michael Behe continues fielding tough questions from philosophers Pat Flynn and Jim Madden. Here in Part 3 of 3, Behe responds to the claim that some designs in biology are bad designs and to criticisms leveled at ID from some Thomists. Also in the mix, the issue of academic pressure to distance oneself from ID, even before those involved understand what the theory of intelligent design actually is. Madden also asks Behe what reforms he’d pursue if he suddenly found himself in charge of the National Academy of Sciences. Tune in to hear Behe’s response, and much more. This three-part series is borrowed, with permission, from Flynn’s podcast, which can be found on his Read More ›