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The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism | [Michael J. Behe]

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

In a tour de force of science and logic, the best-selling author of Darwin's Black Box combines genetics, laboratory results, and mathematics to prove, once and for all, that the universe and life on Earth are designed.
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Publisher's Summary

In a tour de force of science and logic, the best-selling author of Darwin's Black Box combines genetics, laboratory results, and mathematics to prove, once and for all, that the universe and life on Earth are designed.

Michael J. Behe launched the intelligent design movement with his first book, Darwin's Black Box, by demonstrating that Darwinism could not account for the complexity of biochemistry. Now he takes a giant leap forward. In The Edge of Evolution, Behe uses astounding new findings from the genetics revolution to show that Darwinism is nowhere near as powerful as most people believe. Genetic analysis of malaria, E. coli, and the HIV virus over tens of thousands of generations, not to mention analysis of the entire history of the genetic struggle between them and "us" (humans), make it possible for the first time to determine the precise rates, and likelihood, of random mutations of varying kinds. We now know, as never before, what Darwinism can and cannot accomplish. The answers turn conventional science on its head and are certain to be hotly debated by millions. After The Edge of Evolution, life in the universe will never look the same.

©2007 Michael J. Behe; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Though many critics won't want to admit it, The Edge of Evolution is very balanced, careful, and devastating. A tremendously important book." (Dr. Philip Skell, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Thomas 02-23-08
    Thomas 02-23-08
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    "Tough Read"

    A very hard read for an audio book. I ended up ordering the hard-cover.

    14 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer New York, NY 10-07-11
    Amazon Customer New York, NY 10-07-11 Member Since 2002

    Joe Average

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    "Dogma at Its Best"

    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.

    14 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 10-20-11
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2010

    Auto Repair shop owner. I love Yoga, and playing my Fender Stratocaster. I Walk my dogs twice a day.

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    "Impossible odds"

    The silly theories people promulgate in trying to deny the existence of God. Behe isn' to be missed in having at them.

    Behe says, evolution must move forward and can't retreat. So put a blind, deaf, cowboy in the dusty planes of Texas and don't tell him what he has to do. If he makes it to the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago he might, maybe might get his sight back and then have to find his next evolutionary step up.

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Seattle, WA, United States 12-21-09
    James Seattle, WA, United States 12-21-09 Member Since 2012
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    "A Little Too Techincal & Detailed"

    Depending on your taste and your style this book may or may not be for you. When the author, Behe, gets into the real minute details of biological functions, he kind of lost me from time to time (and I'm a student of science), but then when he picked it up a little bit and talk about our environment and the larger creatures that inhabit it, that made it much more interesting.

    6 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Subrosa7 Seattle, WA USA 12-18-07
    Subrosa7 Seattle, WA USA 12-18-07 Listener Since 2002

    Subrosa7

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    "Stop drinking Kool aid"

    What I don’t get about modern science is how rabid and narrow minded it has become. Along comes someone like Behe that lays out some thoughtful architecture of how there may be limits random evolution and he is persecuted as if he is witch from Salem in 1692. To all of you Darwinists, Science is an every evolving discipline. If you haven’t noticed, textbooks and understanding of the sciences have been revised many times over. This is a very excellent book exposes a lot of holes in the current dogma of evolutionary thought. Behe is making people think, discuss, and re-think what they were spoon fed in college. I highly recommend this book.

    37 of 107 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 02-10-15
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 02-10-15 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "The Most Important Thing..."

    to take away from Behe's work is that hegemony is not only possible in religion and politics, but in the scientific community as well. Perhaps that is simply a part of human nature (evolved, designed or otherwise), but be that as it may, scientists have for too long guarded the Darwinian evolution model as a holy text, unwilling to allow other theories to enter the scene. There is much to lend credit to Behe's version of Intelligent Design, and one cannot accuse him of "Creationism in disguise," as he advocates no particular Designer, but merely points out the weaknesses in the idea that all came about by the blind, random procress preposed by Darwin and protected with slavering viciousness by Dawkins and company far too long. Remember the end of the movie Inherit the Wind, when Drummond leaves the courtroom clasping a Bible and Darwin's Origin together? Try to have this kind of open minded approach to this book. It is an alternate theory, flawed and incomplete, but then, so is Darwin's evolution, and science is supposed to be about examining ALL the facts, right? So let's give ID a chance. It will not take us back to the Middle Ages, as Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett might suggest. We are smarter than that, and we can intelligently consider what this theory has to offer.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Alexandria, VA, United States 11-16-10
    Amazon Customer Alexandria, VA, United States 11-16-10 Member Since 2010

    Hittormiss

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    "Thought provoking"

    I don't think the debate of evolution is over and Michael Behe keeps the rational of thought and reason in check. I find the more and more I know the less and less evolution is viable. It becomes an ever increasing decent into intellectual suicide to support evolution as Darwin presents it. Michael Behe presents clear and thought provoking insights that for me, further push me away from Darwinism and its absurdities.

    7 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Whitten Los Angeles, CA USA 09-26-07
    R. Whitten Los Angeles, CA USA 09-26-07 Listener Since 2000

    bobwhitten

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    "scientific and worshipful experience"

    I liked this book. Reader was perfect. I have a technical background, and what I didn't hear (but usually do in such a book) was some howler of a mispronunciation or complete mis-understanding of text ending up with wrong emphasis. The book is persuasive, though it has a bit of a blind spot: yes, it is impossible to see that a particularly complex design happened by chance, but I'm didn't hear any calculation of how SOME design that solved the problem was possible by random mutation. But, still, looking below the gross anatomy level to the biochemical level makes it hard to see how there was enough time to come up with the complexity that we see in the world.
    This book makes a distinction between evolution and common descent. It firmly agrees with the 2nd, but also with evolution, but with limits.
    I'd recommend both this book and "The Language of God" for those who are willing to dig deep into a science book. I find doing so a worshipful experience, and all the more so if the writer is a believer.

    20 of 75 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RobLokkesmoe 05-26-14
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    "Too long and detailed"
    What disappointed you about The Edge of Evolution?

    It was too long and detailed for lay readers. It ought to be advertised as a book for scholars and those who want to get way down into the weeds of molecular biology.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    If you want to join post grad students and scientists in extremely detailed aspects of the subject, this is the book for you. For me, I was looking for a broader view of the subject and this book was disappointing in that sense.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jr2.0 06-11-12
    jr2.0 06-11-12

    JR2

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    "Good Science"
    Where does The Edge of Evolution rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Good review of the Science that supports Darwinian concepts and theory with a fair look to the limits of the operative underlying science as we know it today. A bit too tech talking in places but a fair college education can make it's way through the word war to find value in the content. I am just now wondering what selection forces might be at work to favor stupidity in the current state of the Human Species.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Edge of Evolution?

    No memorable moments in this work.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The voice given to this book was a bit too edgy for my taste.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Nothing in this book moved me in any strong manner.


    Any additional comments?

    Generally worth the read for anyone interested in the world of modern science.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful

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