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Intelligent design supporter speaks at Friday convocation

February 6, 2009 : Dominique McKay

Dr. Michael Behe, biochemist and author of “Darwin’s Black Box,” presented a lecture on “Change or Purpose: The Argument for Intelligent Design” at Liberty University’s convocation on Friday.

Behe was also the guest speaker at Liberty University’s School of Law Symposium 2009, “Intelligent Design and Public School,” held in the law school’s Supreme Courtroom Friday, from 1-6 p.m.

In 1859 Darwin wrote the “Origin of Species,” explaining his theory of evolution. This theory outlined the natural selection idea of change, but Behe told students it was not able to explain the complexity of body structures, such as the eye.

According to Behe, “irreducible complexity” is the idea that a system has a number of parts that interact to produce a function that each part on its own could not produce. Using a mousetrap as an example, he explained how the complexity of bacteria flagella (self-propelled cells) in the human body point to an intelligent designer.

Bacteria flagellum is made up of three essential parts: a paddle, a motor and a rotor. He said without any one of these parts the flagella, like a mousetrap without a spring, would cease to function properly.

“Like the mousetrap, it’s extremely difficult to see how something like [bacteria flagella] could be put together by numerous, successive, slight modifications,” he said.

Contrary to what many scientists have said about him, Behe said intelligent design is not simply a “religious idea;” it is completely empirical and based on physical evidence.

“The conclusion of intelligent design is not a God-of-the-gaps argument. It is not an argument from ignorance. It is not the only conclusion left over when you rule out everything else,” he said. “It is a positive conclusion … it is indicated whenever you have a machine with a number of components working together to produce some function.”

Behe concluded by saying he finds many scientists are uncomfortable with intelligent design because it points strongly beyond nature. Many of them believe science should steer clear of any theories with strong philosophical and theological implications. Behe disagrees.

“When I was being trained as a scientist, we were always told that science is supposed to follow the evidence wherever it leads,” he said. “I thought that was good advice back then, and I think it continues to be good advice today.”