BEHE, Michael J.

Michael J.Behe

Professor of Biochemistry, Lehigh University


I am interested in the evolution of complex biochemical systems. Many molecular systems in the cell require multiple components in order to function. I have dubbed such systems "irreducibly complex." (Behe 1996b, 2001) Irreducibly complex systems appear to me to be very difficult to explain within a traditional gradualistic Darwinian framework, because the function of the system only appears when the system is essentially complete.

Despite much general progress by science in the past half century in understanding how complex biochemical systems work, little progress has been made in explaining how such systems arise in a Darwinian fashion. I have proposed that a better explanation is that such systems were deliberately designed by an intelligent agent. (Behe 1996b, 2001) The proposal of intelligent design has proven to be extremely controversial, both in the scientific community and in the general news media. 

My current work involves: 1) educating various groups to overcome mistaken ideas of what exactly intelligent design entails, so that they can make informed judgments on whether they think it is a plausible hypothesis; and 2) trying to establish a reasoned way to determine a rough dividing line between design and non-design in biochemical systems.