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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
David Christopher Lane
Professor of Philosophy, Mt. San Antonio College Lecturer in Religious Studies, California State University, Long Beach Author of Exposing Cults: When the Skeptical Mind Confronts the Mystical
(New York and London: Garland Publishers, 1994) and The Radhasoami Tradition: A Critical History of Guru Succession
(New York and London: Garland Publishers, 1992).
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY DAVID LANE
The God Behind the Curtain
A Critical Look at Michael Behe's
Mind Centered Theory of Evolution
I would like to say at the outset that where I find Behe most helpful is when he focuses in on specific problem areas in molecular biology.
It is not surprising that certain religionists (usually of the fundamentalist persuasion) don't particularly like the theory of evolution since at its core it upends the idea of a creator, much less one with a benign agenda. Yet, those who favor Intelligent Design and who have voiced their concerns about all things Darwinian provide evolutionary biologists with a valuable opportunity to better clarify their findings. Of course, certain creationists will never be persuaded by whatever evidence is proffered if they have already religiously aligned themselves with an unquestioned interpretation of their chosen revealed book—be it the Bible or the Koran.
But, even here the believer and the skeptic can learn more about each if the dialogue is kept open and doesn't sink into endless name-calling. Science isn't a system of belief, but rather a human process of questioning, doubting, testing, experimenting, and competitively comparing various models about how things actually work or behave. Because of this, it must be open to criticism from any quarter at any time, regardless of who is raising the objections.
Yet, not all critics carry the same weight. Those who are most intimately familiar with Darwinian evolution have a distinct advantage over those who rely merely on bad caricatures of the theory. In this regard, several critics of evolutionary theory have been at the forefront of promoting Intelligent Design as an alternative to natural selection. Outstanding voices in this movement—mostly affiliated with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington—include Stephen Meyer (Darwin's Doubt, Signature in the Cell, and the forthcoming (August 2019), The Return of the God Hypothesis), Jonathan Wells (Icons of Evolution), Michael Denton (Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis), and Michael Behe (Darwin Devolves, The Edge of Evolution, and Darwin's Black Box).
Behe is perhaps the most well known and most widely read of the Discovery aligned authors. His newest book, Darwin Devolves, has already stirred up much controversy and has elicited a number of critical reviews, even before its formal publication date of February 26, 2019. The gist of Behe's argument, and one that is echoed throughout his books, is that at its core naturalistic evolution cannot explain the emergence of complex structures since “Darwin's mechanism (as well as proposed extensions of it) fail for all but the most modest adaptations.”
It is altogether commendable that Behe is willing to take the time and energy to systematically lay out why from a scientific perspective he believes that naturalistic explanations (lacking intelligent planning and purpose) are insufficient in properly explicating why simpler molecules formed higher complex life forms. Behe takes issue with Darwin's claims that life has evolved, since he believes that “New life hasn't evolved.” Rather, Behe argues, “Overwhelmingly it has devolved.” Hence the title of his latest book, Darwin Devolves. Of course, the subtitle explains why Behe felt it necessary to add to his previous critiques of evolution by natural selection, since he believes that “The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution.”
Before we unpack Behe's thesis, it is important to understand that his critique is comprised of three parts: general, specific, and philosophic.
. The theory that life, or the universe, cannot have arisen by chance and was designed and created by some intelligent entity.. (en.oxforddictionaries.com
Behe's underlying agenda
Behe, to his credit, is very upfront about his devotion to Roman Catholicism and his a priori religious conviction to theism when he writes, “Even as a boy I had plenty of reasons to believe in God that had nothing to do with evolution.” But he explains that even though he was taught evolution in his Catholic schools, he “never heard any of my teachers critique Darwin's theory in all of my science studies.” What changed Behe's mind about evolution and made him become quite critical of it was when he happened to read Michael Denton's book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Behe confesses that he was “mad” that he had been sold a bill of goods without supporting evidences. As Behe writes, “Like me, most had religious convictions, which freed them from the crippling assumption that—no matter what the evidence showed—unintelligent forces simply must be responsible for the elegance of life.”
In this passage, though honest, it reveals in a nutshell Behe's underlying agenda, or what my old Professor Bennett Berger used to call “metaphysical pathos,” which I assume he borrowed from the sociologist Alvin Gouldner who got it from the philosopher, Arthur O. Lovejoy. While Behe's religious affiliation should not be used to prematurely dismiss his objections to current evolutionary thinking, it does give one pause about how open minded he is in presenting counter-arguments to his idea of irreducible complexity and the like.
I would like to say at the outset that where I find Behe most helpful is when he focuses in on specific problem areas in molecular biology. These include Escherichia coli and sickle cell anemia (chapter 7), blood clotting (appendix), and the larger issue of how minor random variations can lead to fundamental changes in basic design. As Behe explains, “Minor random variations around a designed blueprint are possible and can be helpful, but are severely limited in scope.” Behe clearly accepts evolution and natural selection within boundaries, but doesn't believe that it can explain “biological level [s] of family and beyond” without some guiding “mind.”
But it is best to tackle Behe's particulars and see how well they hold up under critical scrutiny, especially from those working in the field, since if his proffered evidence is withering then it punches a hole in his overall general critique. Already several eminent evolutionists have weighed in on a number of Behe's most prominent examples. For instance, Kenneth Miller (Professor of Biology at Brown University), who also happens to be a practicing Catholic, assails Behe for his lack of support for “why mistargeting of an inactive protease to the bloodstream would cause harm,” because on closer inspection the very opposite is true. Here Miller cites studies published by the National Academy of Sciences which shows “that antifreeze protein genes in fish arose from exactly such a mistargeting of proteases into the bloodstream.”
Joe Thornton, who is a Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Chicago, lambasts Behe for confusing improbable with impossible. Argues Thornton,
“This does not mean, however, that the evolutionary path to the new function is blocked or that evolution runs into a 'brick wall,' as Behe alleges. If the initial mutations have no negative effect on the ancestral function, they can arise and hang around in populations for substantial periods of time due to genetic drift, creating the background in which an additional mutation can then yield the new function and be subject to selection. This is precisely what we observed in our studies of the evolution of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR).”
The acerbic blogger and well-known evolutionist, Jerry Coyne (professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago), recently wrote a scathing review of Darwin Devolves for the Washington Post ["Intelligent Design Gets Even Dumber"], wherein he takes Behe to task for ignoring how mutations that lead to “broken genes” can still prove to be viable and helpful additions. Moreover, it is what Behe leaves out in his presentation that gets the brunt of Coyne's ire. As Coyne laments,
“He [Behe] simply ignores the large number of adaptive mutations that do not inactivate genes. These include duplications, in which a gene is accidentally copied twice, with the copies diverging in useful ways (this is how primates acquired our three-color vision, as well as different forms of hemoglobin); changes not in gene function but in how and when a gene is turned on and off, like mutations producing lactose tolerance in milk-drinking human populations; the repurposing of ancient genes acquired from viruses (one source of the mammalian placenta). . . .”
In an early pre-publication review of Darwin Devolves ["A biochemist’s crusade to overturn evolution misrepresents theory and ignores evidence"], Nathan H. Lents, S. Joshua Swamidass, and Richard E. Lenski also reprimand Behe for not showing where and when randomness and natural selection can lead to significant and beneficial changes in evolution. The authors write,
“Behe is skeptical that gene duplication followed by random mutation and selection can contribute to evolutionary innovation. Yet there is overwhelming evidence that this underlies trichromatic vision in primates, olfaction in mammals, and developmental innovations in all metazoans through the diversification of HOX genes. And in 2012, Andersson et al. showed that new functions can rapidly evolve in a suitable environment. Behe acknowledges none of these studies, declaring an absence of evidence for the role of duplications in innovation.”
Arthur Hunt, Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, co-authored a very pointed rebuttal ["Darwin Devolves: Behe Gets Polar Bear Evolution Very Wrong"] to Behe's claim that the adaptation of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) was actually a product of devolution because of its degraded genes. Yet, as Hunt and his co-author, Nathan H. Lents, this is quite inaccurate because
“the analysis of the polar genome does not support Behe's claim that the evolution of polar bears was mostly driven by damaging mutations. In fact, the polar bear variant of APOB is almost certainly enhanced compared to the ancestral version, at least in the ways that are important to the challenges of being a polar bear.”
Michael Behe, again to his great credit, has in the past month attempted to respond to these and other criticisms, as have others aligned with the Discovery Institute. Yet, those most conversant with the nuts and bolts in genetic and evolutionary biology remain unimpressed and unpersuaded, just as they have been with his two previous books, Darwin's Black Box (1996) and The Edge of Evolution (2007). Indeed, Behe took a major hit to his credibility from his own Department and University which made the following public declaration,
“The department faculty... are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "Intelligent Design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that Intelligent Design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."
In addition, Behe got roundly criticized for his testimony at the now famous Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial back in 2005 where he was forced to admit the following: 1. That “his definition of 'theory' was so broad it would also include astrology.” 2. Contrary to previous claims, his book, Darwin's Black Box was not peer reviewed. 3. That evolution could not properly explain immunology despite the fact that he had not investigated the subject thoroughly. And when he was confronted with an overwhelming amount of evidence that evolution could indeed explain immunology (ranging from “58 peer reviewed articles, nine books, and several textbook chapters on the subject”) he demurred and said that was “not good enough.”
The Christian judge fundamentally disagreed with Behe and the Dover Area School District Board of Education. The Court's verdict was a resounding success for the teaching of evolutionary science, especially since they found
“that Intelligent Design was primarily religious and fostered unnecessary entanglement of church and state. The court further found that Intelligent Design is not science.”
The more general thrust of Behe's narrative, which makes for easy reading since he provides interesting details about the conflict between science and religion, is that even though evolution is true to a large measure (complexity does emerge from simpler structures), naturalistic and materialistic explanations are (in his own words), “radically inadequate,” which he hyperbolically claims anyone could see in “ten minutes.”
One suspects that Behe is cherry picking his examples in molecular biology and therefore making science serve his religious beliefs and not the other way around.
One wonders here if Behe's theological predispositions are not getting the better of him. For instance, what kind of evidence would convince Behe that his version of Intelligent Design (no doubt guided by a Judeo-Christian God given his religious outlook) was wrong? I suspect nothing, since he is now so heavily invested in his career on promoting a hidden purpose and direction behind life's emergence which others have viewed as the result of a blind and mindless watchmaker. Simply put, one suspects that Behe is cherry picking his examples in molecular biology and therefore making science serve his religious beliefs and not the other way around.
This becomes a bit more transparent when we find that the true agenda in Darwin Devolves can be found in Part IV, “Solution: A Terrible Thing to Waste” which is focused on the elemental importance of the human mind. Although this section is clearly written and breezily readable, I found it to be the weakest link in his overall argument.
Michael Behe, like his 19th century predecessor Alfred Russel Wallace, doesn't believe that purely materialist processes (guided unconsciously by natural selection, genetic drift, sexual selection, epigenetics, and so forth) can explain the emergence of the human mind, brimming forth with intelligence. Behe, however, begins his diatribe against evolutionary biologists by claiming that scientists don't believe the mind is real or that it is vitally important, suggesting that “The academic ideas of nutty professors don't always stay confined to ivory towers.” Two sentences later Behe then makes a sweeping generalization that the “dominant academic view of mind is by Francis Crick” whose popular 1994 book, The Astonishing Hypothesis argued our mind was the result of a neural symphony.
Yet, what Behe neglects to understand is that Crick's hypothesis doesn't deny the mind or our own consciousness, but states that its emergence is due to underlying neuronal processes. Behe in his rush to judge the materialist agenda has overlooked this important distinction and has lumped neuroscience and its practitioners into a one collapsible basket that fits all (but which it obviously doesn't). In so doing Behe creates a strawman of his own imagination which doesn't accurately reflect the current studies of the brain-mind interface when he writes, “Those who declare they have no mind, are not intelligent, conscious, or free are hardly in a position to reason about any topic, let alone about the state of the mind they deny having.”
Of course, this is false portrait of Francis Crick, since the famous Nobel prize winner is not denying consciousness but rather positioning its emergence within the three pounds of wonder tissue from which it arises—namely our brain. More precisely, Crick along with his younger collaborator Christof Koch, Chief Scientific Officer at the Allen Institute of Brain Science in Seattle, Washington (and formerly Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive & Behavioral Biology at Cal Tech) centered most of their early work on visual perception. I suspect no one would get terribly upset if neuroscientists argued that vision was part and parcel of the back part of our brains. But such a reductionism doesn't then preclude the wonders of sight.
Likewise, arguing the brain is the seat of the mind doesn't then by extension eliminate our sense of self or I or the feeling qualia.
Behe's strawman is a ruse and thus much of what he will later write in his concluding chapter of Darwin Devolves is infected by a deep misreading of neuroscience. Behe also has a bad habit of misunderstanding logical syllogisms since he too easily assumes axiomatically that he has already proven that Darwinian natural selection is completely untrue. But he hasn't done anything of the sort, since the very examples he provides of “irreducible complexity” have been countered over and over again by a variety of evolutionary biologists across the globe, including colleagues in his own department who have publicly distanced themselves from his Intelligent Design program.
A close analysis of Behe's rhetoric shows that he is not really interested in a genuine scientific debate (where one must always be open to being corrected, augmented, or just plain wrong) when he can dogmatically assert (without brackets) that “Darwin's mechanism can't build a brain, then Francis Crick's 'astonishing hypothesis' (in other words, neo-Darwinian materialism) is false.” No, Behe has not proven that neo-Darwinism is false. All he has done throughout his book (and the two prior) is raise doubts that he thinks are insoluble. But when confronted with simple solutions proffered by others in the field he either ignores them or protests that they are sidestepping the real difficulties.
is the religious belief that the universe and life originated from specific acts of divine creation, as opposed to through natural processes, such as evolution. (en.oxforddictionaries.com
But Michael Behe goes even further than this and ventures off into metaphysics and dogmatically asserts that “we can firmly conclude that to an overwhelming extent, life the product of a mind.” Of course, he skirts the issue about “whose mind” since given his leap defying logic we could posit all sorts of fantastical possibilities, and not one of them necessitates a Judeo-Christian god.
On page 269, Behe makes a sophomoric error on misunderstanding hierarchical emergence within physical systems when he claims that “If materialism is true—if all that exists is the matter and energy studied in ordinary physics—then there is no such things a real mind.”
To which anyone conversant with the multidimensional properties inherent in matter can only look up after reading that sentence and say, “huh?” If we say that everything is made of atoms does that then eliminate molecules from the proceedings? Nope. If we say H20 is the elemental basis of water, does that then preclude ocean waves? Nope. If we say that neurons are the fundamental cells that transmit information within our skull, does that then mean that thoughts don't exist?
Of course not, but because Behe has a completely wrong understanding of matter and what it can portend, he opts for a dualism where mind is abstracted from its own housing. He then proceeds to create a false dilemma where he mistakenly opines that “There are two choices: either affirm materialism and deny your own mind, or affirm your mind and deny materialism.”
At this juncture, any one conversant with mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology (Edward O. Wilson's Consilience) will point out the obvious to Behe. The mind is an emergent property of physical complexity and as such (like the aspect of wetness when there is a sufficiency of H20 molecules) doesn't have to be arbitrarily divorced from its underlying physical scaffolding.
No one gets terribly upset when we say that human beings are the product of a sperm and an egg and the consequent recombination of genetic information. This is how we have babies, but that doesn't then mean that our children are only sperm and egg. They grow, the develop, they mature. But they do all of that in a physical frame within an infusing physical environment.
Behe's confusion is that he completely misunderstands what matter actually is and what it can do.
Behe's confusion is that he completely misunderstands what matter actually is and what it can do. Just as most people not conversant with how computers actually work, may be surprised to learn that the incredible complexity we see on World Wide Web is because of a vast array of 0's and 1's where electrons cascade from one position to another. Thus, creating a universe of almost unimaginable possibilities. But no one would then say the Internet is only 0's and 1's, just as we wouldn't say that Moby Dick is only a series of letters from A to Z. But in each situation, numbers or letters are placed within a very physical arena, be it a computer or typography printed bounded within a book.
Physicalism doesn't deny hierarchy nor does it exclude emergent properties, contrary to what Michael Behe wrongly imputes.
Behe also gets miffed that evolutionists, such as Richard Dawkins, see all of life in terms of adaptation and don't see human beings as the end goal of an inherent teleological drive. Rather, as Patricia Churchland pointed out to Meredith Doran in the booklet, "The Neural Basis of Consciousness, a Glorious Piece of Meat, and the Dalai Lama,"
“We don't really know. I mean, it does seem to be the case that our language system is unique, but, on the other hand, there are some things that monkeys can do that we can't do--swing through the trees, for example. Or hang upside down from their tails, if they have tails. And so forth. And there are lots of things that a beaver can do that I can't do--I can't build a dam the way a beaver can build a dam, and not just because I don't have the big front teeth to chew things down, but because they have the knowledge and the skill of how to put a dam together. So I don't think that 'higher' and 'lower' is necessarily a useful way to think of it.”
Michael Behe seems to have missed the fundamental point about adaptation, since he wishes to champion the absolute specialness of human beings, forgetting in the process that our enlarged brain (and our utilization of language) is undoubtedly amazing, but so is the speed of a cheetah, the jaws of a great white, the web making of spiders, and the nest building of birds. Each of these features evolved as adaptations for survival and each of them are indeed unique in their own ways. But it human centric to then argue that evolution's goal is the human mind or consciousness, since other animals have gifts (such as smell and hearing) that we ourselves don't possess.
Behe shows his human centric hand when he writes,
“Let's ask, what exactly would elephants use to think about astronomy—their trunks? What would they conceptualize history—their outsized ears? How would a swift 'regard' anything at all—with its wings?”
But, Behe's argument could be put on its head just as easily, since elephants also don't drop atomic bombs and kill thousands in one explosion. They also don't create gas chambers and annihilate others with a different religious affiliation. And swift birds don't create jets that pollute the atmosphere. Are we then going to argue that because of this they are a morally superior species? We could, but that would be missing the entire point of evolution and adaptation. It is not that one species is necessarily “higher” or “lower” than another, but that each have unique adaptive gifts that have allowed them to survive (if only temporarily) in carnivore land, where eat or be eaten is the general rule.
Yes, the human mind is special, but so is the elephant's trunk. It may not be able to look through a telescope or ponder the Milky Way, but as humans our noses have none of the skill set that elephant possesses. No need for us to make false comparisons of what is better or worse when viewed from a wider, more objective perspective about how each animal is doing their very best to forage in a competitive world where far too often there is scarcity of food and resources.
Everything in nature is intended
For Behe everything in nature is intended. It is the grand result of a cosmic mind (God?) which has planned everything with a set purpose. As Behe, without qualifiers boldly exclaims,
“There's no reason to think that bird wings or elephant trunks are the product of chance either. Those too were intended. Those and much more are all the products of intelligence. Rather than some cosmic accident, thanks to the dazzling advance of science, those of the public who agree they have minds can now understand that nature is designed down to an intricate level of detail.”
What is perhaps most surprising about Behe's theological purview (it isn't science, since he never questions or doubts his own dogmatic suppositions) is how genuinely naïve it really is.
In my Science and Religion classes at California State University, Long Beach, we try to empathize as much as possible with counter arguments which go against the grain of mainstream science. So, when the topic of Intelligent Design comes up we try to draw out many of its practical and philosophic implications.
Imagine, for example, that there was a new amusement park that just opened up in Seal Beach. It was called “The Land of Prey”. Once you entered it, no one was allowed to leave and the only way you could survive was that you had to eat something that was living. Not only that, the life span of those in “The Land of Prey” was short, brutish, and invariably filled with immense amounts of pain and suffering. And even if you did survive for ninety or one hundred years, it was guaranteed that the land itself would eventually terminate under a massive heat death. Furthermore, the land itself didn't have any universal rules, but was run by various gangs and tribes who often fought, tortured, and killed each other. In addition, there were these tiny little microscopic bugs that would very often swell up in your body and kill you from the inside, sometimes quickly, sometimes in longer durations, and almost always with major doses of pain.
Now, without any exaggeration, we live in such a world right now. Nobody gets out alive and everyone and everything you love will be eliminated within time. Even though we will enjoy moments of great happiness and bliss, there will most likely be more moments of sickness, suffering, misery, and deep sadness. And to which end? Ah, some who live long enough will die of heart attacks, cancer, AIDS, car accidents, earthquakes, tsunamis, mosquito bites, snake bites, an almost endless list of bad endings.
Behe wants us to believe that this elegant creation (his wording) is intelligently designed and replete with an overarching purpose. Looking at this world objectively (and taking off our theologically tainted and Pollyannaish glasses), some prominent thinkers conclude that whoever designed this place is (and they don't use this word lightly) evil. Indeed, eviler than any dictator in human history, eviler than any torturer, since the entire game is predicated upon eventually causing immense pain and suffering on almost all of its participants. And even those who can live relatively benign lives will nevertheless be exterminated at the end of the proceedings.
Yet, Behe is not going to admit this truth in such an unvarnished fashion, since he will invariably invoke a Christian myth to explain that this creation got screwed by human beings who didn't obey their transcendent overlord, forgetting in the process all the innumerable animals, fish, and insects that didn't have the freedom to choose living here on terra firma.
I often make the remark that if we bought our human bodies at Target or Costco, we would have returned them by now as defective, since they break far too easily and are not very well designed. Indeed, we have been tinkering with this so-called “Intelligent Design” since our very advent, trying to make it better by our augmentations (from dentistry to antibiotics).
Some philosophers have argued that Intelligent Design is an oxymoron and a dishonest description of what objectively is happening on earth.
Some philosophers have argued that Intelligent Design is an oxymoron and a dishonest description of what objectively is happening on earth. If I build a massive skyscraper that has 10,000 floors and has over five million square feet, but only one tiny broom closet is ever occupied and used, would we then call that a “great” plan? Or, would we say instead that it was a massive waste of space that could have been utilized (or planned for) much better?
Just look at our own solar system, most which cannot house any life as we know it, not to the mention all the millions of other star systems that are uninhabitable. As one insightful commentator put it, “If there really is a God who created the universe, he is surely fond of lots of empty parking lots.”
Life as we know it, given the parameters of our planetary backyard (from Mercury to Venus to Mars and to beyond), is rare and when it does flower forth finds an exceptionally cruel environment in which to blossom, only to meet with one predetermined fate: death.
For Behe to promote Intelligent Design and purpose he has to bind himself to a metaphysical overview for which he has absolutely no evidence for, save that like Søren Aabye Kierkegaard he believes in since he has taken “a leap of faith.”
That is his prerogative but, as the late Stephen Jay Gould would have opined, “it ain't science.” To which I would add that it is not even good theology, given the plethora of other religious myths that abound across the globe.
A concluding remark
But let me conclude this essay by encouraging Michael Behe and others at the Discovery Institute to keep up their work, since I think their criticism (especially when it is laser specific and doesn't “devolve” into religious philosophy) is tremendously helpful not only for the general public to better understand the various arguments (to and fro) about evolution, but also for those working molecular biologists who can better clarify their research findings when pushed by ID proponents.
As an educator for the past forty years, I learned an important lesson long ago that I pass on to my students. If you are deeply religious and firmly believe in creationism (of whatever variation), then it is wise to spend a lot of time reading and understanding evolutionary biology by those most intimately conversant in the field, not just the popularizers. That way, one can have a richer appreciation of why one believes or thinks the way they do.
Many years ago, for example, I had a significant number of students who believed in creationism (they had transferred from Christian high schools, where Darwinian thinking was disdained) and they would invariably try to convince me of their line of thinking. Instead of immediately dismissing their views, I asked them what literature on the subject of creationism (later known as Intelligent Design) did they find most convincing. This got me excited since they were all ardent believers, so about three days a week I would drive about thirty minutes from Mt. San Antonio College to a Christian bookstore in Fullerton then called “Sonship” which sadly no longer exists. It was a great place to find a treasure trove of books on creationism and Intelligent Design. I ended up reading each and every book I could, since in those days I would have a long train commute from Anaheim to Del Mar after teaching.
Yet, even here I felt I should go the extra mile, so each day when I drove my car I turned my radio dial in the afternoon to the hour long show called “The Bible Answer Man,” which was first hosted by Walter Martin (author of the widely read book, The Kingdom of the Cults) and then later by Hendrik "Hank" Hanegraaff, who was an expert on the Bible and held an orthodox view on creationism and wrote anti-evolutionist pamphlets and books. I became an avid listener of that show for over ten years and learned much about the fundamentalist Christian worldview. Interestingly, Ken Wilber's close friend, Dr. Roger Walsh from the University of California, Irvine, also listened to that show and said to me in his office that he learned much from it and was singularly impressed by the host's formidable knowledge on the subject.
I mention all this because I got a much better understanding of evolution by reading those who didn't believe in it. My brother Michael, who was a Professor of Business at West Virgina University before his untimely death at a young age, told me that one could learn much about capitalism by reading Karl Marx's Das Kapital, precisely because he so vehemently argued against it.
So, while I wasn't convinced by Behe's latest book (or his earlier tomes), nor by all the other pro-creationists and IDers I have read in the past, I have learned a tremendous amount by taking their ideas and arguments seriously. And for that I am quite grateful and hope that they will continue their efforts. Perhaps in the future they will offer us something so evidential and so tantalizing that we will have that happy occasion of changing our mind, which in the realm of science is always a good thing.