Let me add a quick addendum to the previous post. People aren’t appreciating yet how hard-core a designist Behe actually is; one comment mentions that “apparently God is directly responsible for the creation of drug-resistant malaria.”
No. The Designer, who must have godlike powers, specifically created malaria itself. The drug resistance is the one thing that evolved.
Here’s something to ponder long and hard: Malaria was intentionally designed. The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts. C-Eve’s children died in her arms because an intelligent agent deliberately made malaria, or at least something very similar to it.
Got that? Plasmodium falciparum was explicitly and intentionally constructed to infect, make ill, torment, and kill human beings. He goes farther than most YECs—the parasite was not simply a product of corruption at the Fall, it had to be carefully modified, built, and released to carry out its designed job of causing suffering.
Of course, when it comes time to speculate on the nature of this Designer or make predictions of purpose, Behe just throws up his hands and makes no conclusion at all, other than that it could be anything.
A torrent of pain undeniably swirls through the world—not only the world of humans, but the world of sentient animal life as well. Yet, just as undeniably, much that is good graces nature. Many children die, yet many others thrive. Some people languish, but others savor full lives. Does one outweigh the other? If so, which outweighs which? Or are pleasure and pain, good and evil, incommensurable? Are viruses and parasites part of some brilliant, as-yet-unappreciated economy of nature, or do they reflect the bungling of an incompetent, fallible designer?
Ah, yes…the Designer works in mysterious ways.
He goes still further, though: you can tell Behe really dislikes Darwin.
Whether on balance one thinks life was a worthwhile project or not—whether the designer of life was a dop, a demon, or a deity—that’s a topic on which opinions over the millennia have differed considerably. Each argument has some merit. Of the many possible opinions, only one is really indefensible, the one held by Darwin. In a letter to Asa Gray, he wrote: “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living body of caterpillars.”
Wasp larvae feeding on paralyzed caterpillars is certainly a disquieting image, to say nothing of malaria feeding on children. So did Darwin conclude that the designer was not beneficent? Maybe not omnipotent? No. He decided—based on squeamishness—that no designer existed. Because it is horrific, it was not designed—a better example of the fallacy of non sequitur would be hard to find. Revulsion is not a scientific argument.
Neither is incredulity.
That last paragraph, though, is palpably ignorant and wrong. Darwin did not reject the possibility of a “designer” at all. At the end of his life, he was more agnostic than atheist, and had leanings towards deism. He did not conclude that no designer existed on the basis of squeamishness, nor is it even suggested in that quote: he rejected the idea of “beneficent and omnipotent God”, and that’s perfectly fair. The only one engaging in special pleading and trying to make excuses for his beliefs here is Behe, who wants to think there might be some good reason somewhere for his beloved designer to kill small children with a painful disease.
No, Darwin abandoned design because he had discovered a powerful mechanism for organic change that did not require a designer. Behe is trying to diminish the power of that idea by pretending it was merely a consequence of somebody being squeamish. What can I say? Not only is Behe a poor scholar and a deluded fool, but he is contemptible in the way he misrepresents far better scientists.