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The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  416 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
When Michael J. Behe's first book, Darwin's Black Box, was published in 1996, it launched the intelligent design movement. Critics howled, yet hundreds of thousands of readers -- and a growing number of scientists -- were intrigued by Behe's claim that Darwinism could not explain the complex machinery of the cell.

Now, in his long-awaited follow-up, Behe presents far more
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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Jun 04, 2010 Monk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this on CD and was VERY impressed. I had always assumed that "intelligent design" was just a code word used by fundamental Christians for creationism. Had no idea that anyone had thought the argument through so well. Behe mixes hard science (my 13 year-old swore he was speaking German) with clear analogies in order to present difficult concepts in a way that a non-scientist can at least follow. His arugments about the statistical problems with a purely Darwinist approach are very per ...more
Sep 25, 2009 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
anyone propagating the idea that the ID movement is a dead end, particularly after the Dover trials, should read this book. That there are differing views and interpretations of data must always be taken into consideration. But when there is this much controversy that generates the visceral comments from Behe's adversaries defies their allegiances to Darwinian orthodoxy. There is clearly another way to interpret all this data. Having now read this book in earnest, I'm afraid the controversy is f ...more
Mar 22, 2009 Cbpax rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While not for light reading, well worth the reading. Dr. Behe established in "Darwin's Black Box" that the cell is not simple and would be impossible to thus just "happen" (i.e. evolve) and he continues to delve into his arguments in "The Edge of Evolution". He also writes of the positives of Darwinism but then demolishes any strongholds it may claim. Excellent book.
Argues for Darwin's assertion of universal common descent, but questions the over-touted ability of its proposed mechanism, namely undirected natural selection acting on random mutation, in the light of experimental evidence.
The Abyss of Reason: The Limits of Michael Behe’s Scientific Thinking

Theodosius Dobzhansky, the great Russian-American population geneticist, one of the prominent biologists responsible for the Modern Synthesis Theory of Evolution, observed that “Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. It was true when he stated that decades ago; it is truer still today given the abundant wealth of excellent data from a diverse host of biological sciences: molecular biology and biochemi
People say my name should be Jeff
Really? His last two books didn't humiliate him enough? What part of "irreducible complexity is an illusion based on ignorance" doesn't this guy get? And who the heck made him the expert on what evolution can do and can't do? A degree in chemistry? If that were true, my Linguistics training makes me a good author. Hey, its all language, right???
Aug 01, 2010 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: origins
Behe is stuck in no-man's land between the Creationist and radical Darwinist. As such, I suspect he will not have many supporters, even if he is on to something. I went online and tried to find a single reasonable critical review and was disappointed by all of the ad hominem rubbish out there. As much as I don’t care for Dawkins, his review was the best I could find, and it was poor. The bottom line: There are gaps in the Darwinian synthesis. Darwinists say Behe appeals to God, and they appeal t ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As good as his first, Behe does a tremendous job of supporting his thesis. He takes great pains to separate common decent from evolution which I had never seen done to this extent. This is important to make his case that evolution can and does happen, but never on a macro level that destroys instead. This was the first time that I had heard about genes that humans share with other animals that are now obsolete due to mistakes...ones that are also present in the other species. Much l ...more
Once, and then twice I passed this book when I saw it in this little bookshop I frequent, lying on the philosophy shelf.
The third time I bought 'The Edge of Evolution'.
Behe's previous book 'Darwins Black Box' was paradigmatic in my thought, as it was in launching the whole intelligent design idea, so I figured I might as well read this one.

It rekindled an old love for biochemistry. The little machinery inside biological cells is just breathtakingly intricate and beautiful. I found myself just
Aug 17, 2010 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"With this book, Michael Behe shows that he is truly an independent thinker of the first order. He carefully examines the data of evolution, along the way making an argument for universal common descent that will make him no friends among young-earth creationists, and draws in new facts, especially the data on malaria, that have not been part of the public debate at all up to now. This book will take the intelligent design debate into new territory and represents a unique contribution to
May 10, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Devastating. I hope the challenges of this book are taken seriously one day (preferably sooner rather than later). Enough hand-waving and empty pleas to "reason." The data doesn't match the theory anymore, and it needs to be addressed.
Sep 18, 2007 Lynn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
An interesting try that's flawed by a logical fallacy called 'begging the question'. The author assumes the thing he's trying to prove and incorporates it into his arguement. Good data, bad science.

Lynn Hoffman, author of bang BANG
Feb 08, 2010 Cliff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book. Can random mutations account for the diversity of life on this planet? Science says no. Behe details why. Fantastic!
Caleb Stephens
Mar 07, 2010 Caleb Stephens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful read by a obviously intelligent and observant author. Admittedly some information is over my head regarding micro cellular processes and protein formation. However this book is written for both mass audiences and observant scientists who desire to increase their understanding of evolution. To the chagrin of a pro-darwinian evolutionist, Behe outlines the logical extent to which Darwinian evolution can be expected to take any organism. Demonstrating observations on the ev ...more
Anthony Edridge
Although evolutionists have soundly criticized Behe for challenging their certainty of evolution, Behe does make the point that living organisms have limits, determined by cellular processes, that prohibit a new genome from straying too far from it's starting point. Within those limits, however, we see all kinds of adaptation to environmental pressures, which can sometimes lead to loss of some functionality. Where multiple genetic changes occur, some are mildly beneficial, most are deleterious, ...more
Tyler Mickley
Mar 26, 2011 Tyler Mickley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After reading "Darwin's Black Box" and not liking it, I figured I'd give Behe another shot. I liked this book a lot more but was still disappointed. He spends the entire book trying to debunk evolution with implications of a designer and then at the end he tells us that it doesn't really matter anyhow. That we should just fill in the blank. He doesn't really bring us into his ideas of what/who a designer is let alone the idea of how. He struck again with illogical ideas, ill conceived analogies ...more
Mike Ogilvie
Aug 14, 2011 Mike Ogilvie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’m happy to be done with The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism. In examining the existence of life on Earth and the process of “Darwinian” evolution, Michael J. Behe attempts to make the case for Intelligent Design. The essence of his argument is that the complexities of the processes of life are mathematically not possible through “Darwinian” evolution. Therefore those processes must have been put there on purpose – thus “designed”.

He almost exclusively sticks to the pr
Feb 24, 2009 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Behe's arguments make so much sense that they are almost boring. It's like having someone tell you something that you already intuitively know. Still it is valuable to have someone break it down mathematically and explain the flaws in Darwin's theory, of which there are many. The problem with the way science is taught today, at least from what I experienced in college, is that most faculty are absolutely convinced that Darwin was right. They don't even question his theories anymore which is extr ...more
Gary W
This book is an argument for intelligent design - the theory that the development of life on Earth has had supernatural or divine guidance. The author, Michael Behe, explains that what we call the theory of Evolution is really a composite of three theories. 1) that all life on Earth is related having developed from some primordial life form 2) that the individuals members of any living species acquire variations or mutations over time and 3) natural selection - that in the struggle for food, saf ...more
Weston Mccarron
Oct 04, 2013 Weston Mccarron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Take a standard deck of cards. Shuffle them thoroughly. Now record the exact order of the cards. Did you know that the odds of shuffling a deck of cards into that exact order are 1 in 810^67? There have only been 410^17 seconds since the Big Bang, meaning that in order for a deck to randomly be arranged in that specific order you would have had to shuffle the deck 210^50 times every second since the Big Bang till now. That's 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tri ...more
Aug 19, 2009 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in science, biology, apologetics, malaria, medicine.
An exciting read, even for non-biologists. Having worked in a heavily malaria stricken environment (D.R. Congo), I enjoyed learning about how malaria works, how the body fights it, and why it is the best test bed for evolutionary theory to be played out. Behe demonstrates from Malaria that evolution has very distinct boundaries... micro evolution, sure... macro evolution, no way. Although this is a defense of the Christian worldview, this book is very scientific in nature and it's intent is not ...more
Sep 23, 2014 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Very readable, fascinating look at evolution in action. He explores the pressures created by the malaria parasite and the resulting adaptations in both humans and the parasite. With some elementary math applied to what is known about malaria he calculates how frequently traits are likely to appear as a result of Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms. Given a population size and mutation rate, a reasonable "edge of evolution" can be estimated.
This is a good read. Behe is clever and very readable. I sometimes got lost in the numbers, but I expected that. A better intelligent design book than Demski's The Design Revolution.
Oct 08, 2010 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Behe, Michael J. THE EDGE OF EVOLUTION: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism. (2007). ***. I’ve been reading this book off and on for weeks now. I have to admit that most of it goes over my head. My training in biology, most of it ending in 1959, was just before most of the discoveries in molecular biology began to come to the fore. My education was pretty much limited to learning the Krebs (one “b” or two?) and pithing a variety of frogs. Dr. Behe’s thesis is that Darwin’s theory of random mu ...more
Joseph D. Walch
This book dives deeply into the nitty-gritty of molecular biology and complexity. It’s discussions malarial mutations thalassemia blood disorders, protein-gene interactions, etc. are probably more than would interest a layperson (I skipped a few of the technical parts of the chapters), but it has an interesting philosophy which says 1) natural selection plays a large role in many processes including bacterial antibiotic resistance, and 2) there is a large body of evidence that supports common de ...more
Michael Behe is a friend of a friend. My friend, Gary, possesses an 200+ IQ (I'm guessing...It may only be upper 190's...), has one of the best sense of humors of any person I have ever met, and is the most down to earth Christians that you will have the pleasure of talking to. When he says that Behe know's what he's talking about, I'm ready to believe him 100%.

I'll admit, saying I've 'read' this book is a stretch. I skimmed it heavily, just to get to some of the good bits.

In a nutshell, I don
Jun 29, 2008 Mazola1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is Michael Behe's latest effort to advance the cause of intelligent design. Behe, best known for his concept of irreducible complexity, argues that most beneficial "random" mutations are are beyond the capacity of evolution to produce. It's a slightly new twist on the old idea that mutation and natural selection can account for "microevolution," but some higher power is needed to produce macroevolution.

Many proponents of intelligent design/creationism, would no doubt be surprised and
Jan 23, 2013 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I enjoyed this book, at times it was a bit too technical for me to truly grasp the full impact of some arguments. On the other hand, Dr. Behe did an excellent job of writing to the nontechnical reader using simple analogies and explanations to enhance his points. Generally speaking, the central thrust of the book is that the complexity of life at the molecular level (and higher levels) is so sophisticated that it cannot be explained by a series of random events over the period of time s ...more
I had written a very extensive review of this book, and then I discovered a very cogent criticism of it, which essentially dismantles Behe's whole argument. Basically, the article proceeds by explaining that the hammartia of Behe's argument is a very complex biological phenomenon that, the biologist who wrote the article explains, is so difficult to truly comprehend that even some scientists might find it daunting, but even so, he proceeds. The crux of the issue is this: Behe apparently grossly ...more
Mark Bates
Dec 11, 2015 Mark Bates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those thought provoking books raising the topic of the role of intelligent design in evolution. The author is a Biology Professor and doesn't go down any crackpot paths, it is an interpretation of verifiable scientific facts. He even raises the arguments against. I loved the discussions on probability. TO BE READ WITH AN OPEN MIND.
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Michael J. Behe is Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. 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 addition to publishing over 35 articles in refereed biochemical journals, he has also written editorial features in Boston R
More about Michael J. Behe...

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“Real arms races are run by highly intelligent, bespectacled engineers in glass offices thoughtfully designing shiny weapons on modern computers. But there's no thinking in the mud and cold of nature's trenches. At best, weapons thrown together amidst the explosions and confusion of smoky battlefields are tiny variations on old ones, held together by chewing gum. If they don't work, then something else is thrown at the enemy, including the kitchen sink - there's nothing "progressive" about that. At its usual worst, trench warfare is fought by attrition. If the enemy can be stopped or slowed by burning your own bridges and bombing your own radio towers and oil refineries, then away they go. Darwinian trench warfare does not lead to progress - it leads back to the Stone Age.” 13 likes
“Is the conclusion that the universe was designed - and that the design extends deeply into life - science, philosophy, religion, or what? In a sense it hardly matters. By far the most important question is not what category we place it in, but whether a conclusion is true. A true philosophical or religious conclusion is no less true than a true scientific one. Although universities might divide their faculty and courses into academic categories, reality is not obliged to respect such boundaries.” 12 likes
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