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An Interview with Dr. Michael Behe
1. When did you first start having doubts about Darwinian evolution?
2. Is Darwin's Black Box a biochemical challenge to evolution or merely a challenge to neo-Darwinian explanations of evolution?
3. What have been the most significant objections to your book, Darwin's Black Box?
4. How do you answer those who argue that scientists cannot use intelligent agency as an explanatory mechanism?
5. Are there limits to natural science? If so, how do they impact our understanding of origins?
6. Does the idea of intelligent design open new empirical possibilities for scientists to explore? Explain.
7. Intelligent design implies either natural discontinuities in the history of life or the creation of sufficient natural laws and initial conditions to allow an evolutionary development of life on earth. Would you discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each submodel of Intelligent Design?
8. Would you agree that the purpose of science is to most accurately model natural processes even if they inhibit major evolutionary change from occurring?
9. Are theistic presuppositions superior to naturalistic and materialistic presuppositions within science?
10. Charles Darwin pointed out in The Descent of Man (1871) that natural selection would act to preserve those individuals which were least encumbered with a superfluous part. Rather than argue that neo-Darwinian processes are insufficient to account for the gradual evolution of irreducibly complex systems, couldn't the case be made that natural selection would actually prevent major evolutionary change from occurring on a gradual step-by-step basis and thus help account for the natural phenomenon of stasis?
11. How would natural selection, for example, inhibit the gradual evolution of the bacterial flagellum?
12. If God intervened in any way in the course of natural history by either creating life originally, periodically creating basic new kinds of creatures, or reprogramming the genetic code, empirical evidence might exist for natural discontinuities. Do you regard the discovery of systems of irreducible complexity to constitute evidence for natural discontinuities?
13. Stephen Jay Gould has written that "The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: 1) Stasis - most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless; 2) Sudden appearance - in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and 'fully formed'. Gould, S.J. (1977) "Evolution's Erratic Pace" Natural History, vol. 86, May You seem to argue that irreducibly complex systems must appear all at once and fully formed because natural selection would not favor incipient stages of such systems. How do you see your work as confirming the discontinuous patterns found in the fossil record?
14. Why can't microevolution be extrapolated to account for major evolutionary change?
15. What are the best examples of the evolution of new organs, novel biological systems, or new body plans? Don't these examples undermine your argument that intelligent design was necessary?
16. How is intelligent design compatible with the notion of descent with modification and universal common ancestry?
17. If we assume that no creator was involved in the origin and history of life then universal common ancestry simply must be true. Are there any tests for common ancestry or is universal common ancestry simply assumed for philosophical or methodological reasons?
18. What are the major problems to a purely naturalistic explanation of the origin of life?
19. How does the Big Bang relate to intelligent design?
20. William Paley described God as a watchmaker. Would God be better described today as a genetic programer?
21. Could you comment further on the problem of the incipient stages of useful structures?
22. What are the odds of functional proteins arising spontaneously by strictly natural processes and integrating into complex systems?