New research on the evolution of drug resistance in malaria contradicts Michael Behe's claims in The Edge of Evolution.

Following a 2014 study on malaria, "intelligent design" (ID) supporters claimed vindication on their "Evolution News" web site.

But the claims of vindication are wrong. In reality, the study actually shows why the claims of ID supporters were wrong - and why Michael Behe was mistaken about the evolution of drug resistance in malaria.

Edging towards Irrelevance:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Click Here for a complete copy of this web posting in PDF format.


Behe's Bogus "Edge"

Kenneth R. Miller
Brown University
(Part 1 of a 5 part posting)


Suppose you published a book making a set of very specific claims. Then, after highly critical reviews of your book are published in major scientific journals, an international research team publishes a detailed study in the Proceedings of the National Academy (PNAS) on the very system that was the focus of your book. Great news?  Well, maybe, except for one little problem. That research paper shows, in great detail, why the claims at the heart of your book were wrong. Do you walk away quietly, hoping no one notices?


Figure 1: Masthead of the paper on the evolution of chloroquine resistance. (Summers et al, 2014. PNAS 111: E1759-E1767)
(Click for link to the article)


Not if you’re Michael Behe. Instead, you declare victory, tell everyone who will listen that the research actually vindicates you, and then get your friends at the Discovery Institute to demand apologies from those who had criticized your book. In the strange world of “intelligent design” (ID), that’s how things seem to work. When new scientific findings support evolution, the ID crowd tries to spin things around by pretending they actually contradict it. They’ve done this before, and they’ll probably do it again.


I've written this brief web posting to explain, in detail, why the ID arguments are wrong. Far from confirming Behe's claims about the evolution of complex features, the new research actually shows why these claims fail.


Where does all this start? With The Edge of Evolution, a book by Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe and his portrayal of the evolution of drug resistance by one of the world’s most deadly parasites — malaria. To explain Behe’s argument, as well as the latest research findings, I’ve broken this article into four parts:



Finding a Limit to Evolution?

Parasites and Drugs

Fabricating the Odds

Been There, Done That


Next >

Return to Ken Miller's Evolution Page