I liked the essay on the battle between humans and malaria; a very detailed account with many references. Unfortunately for most readers I don???t believe that is why they read the book. Nor do I believe that the average lay person could have followed this detailed, arcane presentation and drawn any conclusions about the edge of evolution. What this part of the book felt like was a debate between the author and himself. The average reader was not going to put up much of an argument at this level of doctorate presentation. Generally at this point I found three problems with the presentation. Behe seems to almost completely disregard environmental conditions with regard to mutation and natural selection. He only mentions environmental conditions when they fit his argument, and at one point even downplays the significance of environmental impact on evolution. In the end he associates environmental occurrences with intelligent tweaking of the design of the Universe.
I also found the author playing fast and loose with the mathematics he used particularly with regard to probability. There were several instances where based on the cases presented he multiplied odds when he should have added them. The difference changes the argument completely. I must admit that his examples were so convoluted and overly complex for this type of book, that I had a very difficult time sorting them out and that required re-listening to them several times before reaching a conclusion, but in the case of some mutation that he considered mutually exclusive, it appeared from what he said that they were not, and in fact he contradicts himself later on to agree that they were not mutually exclusive, but doesn???t revisit his mathematics.
Lastly I believe the author and many others who have problems with evolution look at evolution from the wrong end. This is very obvious from his examples of comparing evolution to building buildings and mouse traps. That couldn???t be more inappropriate. For evolutionists in the beginning, there was no blue print. What evolved was what evolved. Had it evolved differently, we humans might not be here. To look at cilia and say it couldn???t possibly have evolved because of the complex proteins, bonds and interactions involved in its operation is fine, but cilia didn???t start as cilia. It ended as cilia. It took millions of years to get to where it got.
I believe Behe lost his argument when he moved away from biology and into chemistry and physics in a more general sense. I do have more knowledge in these areas and conclusions drawn in these areas degenerate into the same argument presented time and time again; that is the Universe is too complex to have happened by chance. He simple states at this point that because some physical constants are so precise and are required to be so, they must have been designed. When he presents his other universes argument, he cites two examples to show that a finite number of other universes or an infinite number of universes were not possible for evolution to work. The very obvious other choice would have been a finite number of universes over an infinite time period. He conveniently omitted that option.
Behe repeatedly states that scientists have not proven anything that refutes his claims and therefore he is right. I don???t think he made this case at all. Moreover the details of the Universe continue to be unraveled every day by scientists and engineers with highly inquisitive minds.
And of course this book is not apolitical so it cannot be a good historical reference for anyone who is doing research unless they are going for a particular slant. (The author's references follow this pattern, and it isn't that the references are "books you are not supposed to read" as the author says, but rather books with little value for people who want a comprehensive look at US history.
On the other hand, everyone interested in how America works should read this book. It adds to the overall flavor of who we are and how we think--what makes us tick.
Overall as a history book, the book is weak, because subjects are treated with a definite bias and there are huge inaccuracies in places where the author has edited events to suit that bias. For example to say that the 1964 Civil Rights Act didn't do anything because it didn't immediately increase minority employment is silly.
If you know American history, this is an interesting point of view. If your understanding of US history is superficial, this is not a good starting point to get a more thorough understanding of our past.
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