The bottom line: Science reveals the falsity of Darwin’s theory of macroevolution by natural selection.
The power of Darwin’s Black Box rests in its persuasive and compelling argument against the explanation for the gradual development of life based on Darwinian evolution by natural selection.
What the reader gets is a powerful, evidence-based, data-driven book that exposes Darwinian macroevolution as an archaic idea that lacks explanatory power and ultimately is scientifically bankrupt. Dr. Behe’s negative argument stands on its own, so even though he goes on to make a case for intelligent design, he never draws a conclusion of, “Therefore, it must be God.” Rather, after being educated on the falsity of Darwin’s theory, in the second part of the book the author makes an inference to the best explanation (design) while leaving the door open for science to make contributions in the future.
As a biochemist, Dr. Behe clarifies that at a molecular level, life is not only astronomically complex but irreducibly complex, and thus any plausible explanation for life must have a clear and precise elucidation of how this complexity arose. Science triumphs because it provides an explanation for “How?” If something fails to clearly and specifically answer that question, then it fails to be scientific. (And no, exclusively critiquing alternatives will not suffice). Hence, Dr. Behe marvelously explains that (1) Darwin’s theory is deficient when it comes to explaining the “elegant complexity of molecular machinery,” (2) irreducible complexity forms an near-impregnable barrier to the notion that natural selection acts to facilitate evolution and (3) the more intensely we look at life (that is, at a molecular level, which is more scrupulous than biology) the harder life is to explain because of the appearance of design. The last point means that the more we discover about how life works (science) the demand placed on a Darwinian explanation astronomically increases.
After laying the groundwork in Part I, each chapter in Part II of Darwin’s Black Box describes a unique system (e.g. the “cilium” or the swimming device that some cells use; the human blood-clotting cascade and the human immune system). Each chapter analyzes if the system could have developed in gradual Darwinian fashion. In addition there is a discussion about what the scientific community has said about the possible evolution of the system. Part III discusses why, in spite of evidence to the contrary, so many scientists invest in Darwin’s theory. There is also a discussion about intelligent design.
The 10th Anniversary Edition is very helpful because in the “Afterword” Behe interacts with some of his most prominent critics in the decade after Darwin’s Black Box was published. Here, the author effectively counters a myriad of the objections evolutionists made to his work, particularly his discussion about irreducible complexity. The Appendix contains a brief summary of the biochemical principles involved in the operations of a cell.
This book is tremendously well-written by an author who able to captivate his audience with language and analogies that whisks your biochemical imagination into shape. His use of comparison is so wonderfully executed that I wish I had Dr. Behe teaching me biochemistry in medical school. Even if you disagree with the author’s central thesis, what you are left with is a wonderful introduction to the beauty and wonder of life on a molecular scale.
In the end, just because everyone believes something is true does not make it so. Consequently, in spite of a scientific consensus that evolution is true, Dr. Michael Behe is brave and courageous enough to ask, “Was Darwin wrong?” This soaring pillar of rational insight shouts a resounding, “Yes!” with the empirical proof to back it up.