In a live radio discussion in which I was a guest, the host had referenced a book entitled “Darwin’s Black Box” as a source for information on evolution which supported his view that interspecies are “mathematically impossible” through natural selection. Interestingly enough, this book was written by Michael J. Behe, a biophysicist who is also a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute which is the Christian fundamentalist “think tank” from which the pseudo science of intelligent design (“ID”) emerged.
Behe was an expert witness in the infamous Dover Trial (Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District) where Behe used the concept of “irreducible complexity” as a defense for ID. The concept of ineducable complexity was rejected by both the larger scientific community and the judge in the case. In the courtroom, a simple mousetrap was used to demonstrate the absurdity of irreducibly complexity. Behe’s assertion that the “intelligent designer” or “intelligent agent” was not God was later found to be untrue. Behe had lied under oath. Also, when asked by the defense if astrology could be considered a religion based on his own definition of “science,” Behe said it could. Essentially, Behe had to reduce the definition of science to pseudoscience in order to make ID fit science.The conservative Bush appointed Judge wrote a scathing opinion against ID and determined it was religious in nature, failed the Lemon Test, and could therefore not be taught in Dover area schools. (http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf)
Behe is a sneaky underhanded liar. He attempted to masquerade religion as science for the sole purpose of forcing his beliefs on school children. His math is questionable and his assertions of irreducible complexity have been rejected by his own biology department at Lehigh University. Interestingly enough, Lehigh University published an official statement opposing Behe’s views and intelligent design).
My opinion is that Darwin’s Black Box may be interesting reading if your objective is to get a good perspective of the ridiculous ideas that come from combining religious fundamentalism with science. It’s not worth your time if you want to learn anything about biology. And especially if you want to learn about evolution. Lessons learned: just because a book is written by a biophysicist doesn’t mean it’s non-fiction.
P.S. I’ve never read the book myself. I’ve learned enough about Behe from the Dover trial opinion and a court reenactment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNGeXjpL1Hg) to know I don’t want to.