Michael Behe in Toronto: Part 2, and Michael Behe in Toronto: Part 3. (You can also check out My Posts on Michael Behe)
The first talk was quite private and it was not recorded. The second talk, on a Thursday evening, was in one of the main lecture theaters in my building. There were at least 400 people in the audience. This talk was on the "Limits of Darwinism" and it was recorded. You can watch it in the video below.
The emphasis in his talk was on the "edge of evolution"—the topic of his latest book. (See: The Edge of Evolution.) Behe tried to outline the evidence for a limit to what evolution can accomplish. The implication is, of course, that if evolution can't do it then there must be a god(s).
I like the fact that Behe begins with an attempt to define his terms. This is something that we emphasize in my courses. Whenever you debate a controversial topic you should make sure you explain what you mean by the technical terms and jargon you employ. In Behe's case, he is describing the limits of "Darwinism" so it's important to define "Darwinism." He says ...
And before you start to talk about evolution, or Darwinism, you have to be careful to define your terms, because both of those words can ... mean different things at different times for different people. And so, even Darwinism ... some people talk about "Darwin's theory" but it turns out that Darwin's theory has multiple, separable, logical elements in it. Some of which might be right and some of which might be wrong. ... I'm going to concentrate on what I think are the three main elements of Darwin's theory ...He then goes on to list the three elements and his brief analysis.
- Common Descent - interesting but trivial
- Natural Selection - interesting but trivial
- Random Mutation - the critical claim of Darwinism is the sufficiency of random mutation
Nevertheless, you can see where he's going. He wants to prove that random mutations can NOT explain many aspects of evolution. Thus, some mutations have to be directed or guided because they could never occur by chance. This means that there must be an intelligent being behind this direction (design). That intelligent being is god(s)—in Behe's case it's the Roman Catholic gods.
Addendum: I think that Behe's argument fails because he does not take into account nearly neutral mutations that persist in the population because they are not eliminated by negative selection. This leads to a huge amount of variation in the population and that makes it likely that you will have combinations of mutations that have selective advantage. I discussed this with Behe in the afternoon before his talk. You can see him acknowledge the role of "stochastic events" at 1:11:07 during the question period. He waves and smiles at me (and I wave back).