Notes on three videos


David Mays


Opening Darwin’s Black Box – An Interview with Dr. Michael Behe,

Princeton Video Series, The C. S. Lewis Society, Trinity College of Florida, and The Christian Network, 813-376-6911, 28 minutes


In 1996, Darwin’s Black Box – The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, caused quite a stir in the scientific world.  It was reviewed by more than 75 publications, drawing a very mixed response.  A biochemist and molecular biologist at Lehigh University, Behe was trained in evolutionary biology and never questioned it until he read Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton.  The video shows how Behe became a skeptic of Darwinsim.  His own research shows that the cell consists of many molecular machines exhibiting “irreducible complexity,” that is, multiple components that must all be present and operating for the machine to function.  The challenge is to postulate how all the components could have evolved simultaneously.  In the video, graphic models of the functioning cell demonstrate the concept of irreducible complexity.



Icons of Evolution – The Growing Scientific Controversy Over Darwin,

ColdWater Media, LLC, Palmer Lake, CO  800-889-8670, 51 minutes www.coldwatermedia.com


According to a growing number of scientists, students are not learning the whole truth about Darwin’s theory of evolution.  The video claims that many of the most famous “icons of evolution” – including Darwin’s “Tree of Life,” finches from the Galapagos Islands, and embryos that look remarkably similar—are based on outdated research and weak logic.  Students are being hurt by the failure to present both sides of an emerging scientific debate over Darwin’s theory.  (from the back cover). 


The centerpiece of the video is the case of a high school teacher in Washington State that received national news coverage because of the controversy over his presenting evidence against evolution as well as for it.  Whereas before the Scopes trial, the nation as a whole disbelieved in evolutionary theory and wanted to ban teaching evidence for it, the nation now believes evolutionary theory and wants to ban teaching evidence against it!



Unlocking the Mystery of Life – The Scientific Case for Intelligent Design,

Illustra Media, 65 minutes, www.illustramedia.com  


This was my favorite of the three.  The graphic models and natural photography are excellent.  Narration is in brief clips by a number of prominent scientists.  The tone is calm and reasoning.  The logic is very clear and convincing.  There are no attacks or bitter verbiage.  There are two issues to resolve with Darwinian evolution.  What accounts for the many fundamentally different species?  And how did life originate from non-living matter?


In 1993 Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial, convened a group of scientists and philosophers who had questioned the Darwinian theory of evolution based on issues from their own disciplines.  They began to seek a new approach to understanding the origin and diversity of life.  Does the answer belong to chance plus necessity or is it possible there is purpose, an intelligent cause? 


Before Darwin, scientists commonly understood life as the result of a divine plan.  Darwin’s theory posed natural selection as the substitute for divine guidance, the ‘creative agent’ that eventually resulted in fundamentally different organisms. Thus time, chance, and natural selection replaced the theories of creation. 


However, a growing number of scholars are challenging key aspects of Darwinian theory.  This video is a summary of those challenges presented clearly and compellingly. 


One of the biggest challenges to the spontaneous generation of life is the source of the information in the DNA.  How could amino acids spontaneously organize themselves into protein without the set of instructions provided by the DNA?  DNA is the most densely packed and elaborately detailed and efficiently utilized assembly of information in the known universe.  What is the source of the information in the DNA?


The concept of intelligent design matches the multiple discoveries of molecular biology.  Science ought to be a search for truth about the world.  It doesn’t do to set aside a set of answers because you don’t like them.  When we come to a puzzle we ought to bring every possible cause that might explain the puzzle.  Scientific naturalism artificially rules out some possible solutions.  Design is ruled out as a scientific explanation.  Yet we use intelligent design as part of our scientific thinking all the time. 


“It (intelligent design) might have religious implications but it doesn’t depend on religious premises.”  (Michael Behe) 


In the 19th century we recognized two fundamental entities, matter and energy.  Now we know there are three: matter, energy and information.  DNA is an artifact of intelligence.


The narrators include Michael Behe, biochemist from Lehigh University, Stephen C. Meyer, philosopher of Science from The Discovery Institute, Paul Nelson, philosopher of biology and author of On Common Descent, William Dembski, mathematician from Baylor University, Jed Macosko, molecular biologist from the University of California at Berkeley, Dean Kenyon, professor of biology (emeritis) from San Francisco State University, Scott Minnich, molecular biologist from the University of Utah, and Jonathon Wells, biologist and author of Icons of Evolution.