Forrest and Gross on "Biochemistry by design"


Writing in Trends in Biochemical Sciences (subscription required; 2007; 32 [7]: 301-10), Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross take the case against "intelligent design" to biochemists. Forrest and Gross are the authors of the definitive history of the "intelligent design" movement's so-called Wedge strategy, Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design -- now available in paperback (Oxford University Press, 2007) with a new chapter on Kitzmiller v. Dover, in which Forrest, a member of NCSE's board of directors, was a pivotal expert witness for the plaintiffs. The abstract of their article:

Creationists are attempting to use biochemistry to win acceptance for their doctrine in the public mind and especially in state-funded schools. Biochemist Michael Behe is a major figure in this effort. His contention that certain cellular structures and biochemical processes -- bacterial flagella, the blood-clotting cascade and the vertebrate immune system -- cannot be the products of evolution has generated vigorous opposition from fellow scientists, many of whom have refuted Behe's claims. Yet, despite these refutations and a decisive defeat in a US federal court case, Behe and his associates at the Discovery Institute continue to cultivate American supporters. They are also stepping up their efforts abroad and, worryingly, have achieved some success. Should biochemists (and other scientists) be concerned? We think they should be.
Although Forrest and Gross survey Behe's involvement with creationism from before his book Darwin's Black Box to the aftermath of the Kitzmiller trial, Behe's new book The Edge of Evolution -- which has already taken a pounding in review after review after review -- is not discussed in the article. But Forrest and Gross in effect already saw it on the horizon, for in their concluding paragraph, they write, "If there is a single most important lesson for scientists and concerned citizens, it is that creationists never give up. They merely change their strategy with each defeat, necessitating corresponding adjustments and constant vigilance by their opponents."