Pope: condoms stopping AIDS is good, ignore what I said last year »« There’s no such thing as “Sex By Surprise”.

Reducing irreducible complexity

This is how the “irreducibly complex” eye, the “irreducibly complex” bombardier beetle, or a mousetrap, are each totally reducible. Each of these intermediary steps has examples in present-day nature. (Except the mousetrap. They don’t reproduce, mutate, or are subject to natural selection.)

I loves me some QualiaSoup.

Comments

  1. Daniel M. says

    I’m not sure that this was as compelling as I thought it might be. I understand the producer here wasn’t trying to refute in detail, but I think it’s necessary to refute the argument from irreducible complexity in detail if you’re going to. Behe has been attacked because of the conclusion he draws from his research, but I hardly think that the credibility in his work is hurt because of it.

    This video simply does not refute his arguments with enough detail. It’s almost like, “as long as it’s possible to explain that something may not be irreducibly complex, then it’s probable that that something isn’t irreducibly complex.”

  2. Daniel M. says

    Also,

    The part about the flagellum and how “evidence shows” that other parts of the flagellum are useful, why doesn’t he elaborate?

  3. says

    Daniel,
    The whole basis of the IC argument is that some systems could never be accounted for in an evolutionary framework and therefor ID. If someone has scientific evidence that shows that there is a plausible evolutionary avenue for this system, IC is by definition disproved. You are still able to believe in ID if you wish, albeit with even less of a philosophical leg to stand on as before, but the IC of that system is no longer a valid argument.
    By your own words, ID is as valid as six day creationism. If you have evidence that contradicts your theory, but doesn’t deliver a death blow in your opinion, your theory is still possible. Even when all the evidence points to something else, if you can’t show a video visually documenting the rise of life from abiogenesis to today, then all theories are equal? That is false on it’s face. As long as there are systems that we do not fully understand, there will always be a cry of IC from the creationists. This is the pseudo-science equivalent of the God of the gaps argument, and I can’t imagine that is a good stake to claim unless you only want to retain dogmatists.

    The part about the flagellum and how “evidence shows” that other parts of the flagellum are useful, why doesn’t he elaborate?

    You were hoping for a scientific dissertation in an 11 minute video? Why then, shouldn’t the author have to explain evolution in detail as well? Should he condense all of biology into a video you can watch on your elementary school recess?
    If you are curious as to where he comes up with that claim I can point you to an article by Ken Miller titled The Flagellum Unspun: The collapse of Irreducible Complexity. So there is your elaboration….

  4. Daniel M. says

    George,

    Thanks for the reply. I understand the position, however I’m not convinced and I don’t think I’m not being unreasonable by saying so. Of course, perhaps my bias is involved, but I still don’t think this video single handedly debunked Behe’s arguments.

    I’m familiar to an extent with Ken Millers counter argument to Behe’s and I think that Ken Miller presents his case very well. But I don’t think that it’s science vs. pseudoscience as most would suggest. I think that Behe presents a great example of how the scope of evolution is limited.

    You and I would probably have to discuss Miller’s objections in detail in order to have a debate and I am open to it if time permits. My position still stands, not in utter ignorance, but on what I believe to be a good foundation. My position is that the Darwinian mechanism alone cannot account of all biological complexity and we can argue the points from there. IC is one example of that position.

  5. says

    I don’t think the burden of proof, in this case, is on the people saying it’s possible to see a gradated set of structures between a photosensitive cell and a working eye, but it is in fact extant. For the record, I believe if someone could show something that’s actually irreducibly complex, it might falsify evolution. It’s one of the few ways you could. However, that doesn’t mean the complex examples that have been shown, resemble even remotely the finely tuned gears and cogs that make up a pocket watch, as the theist argument usually goes.

    In my experience, biology is squishy, made of hacks on top of hacks on top of hacks. If we were immaculately designed by an intelligent designer capable of creating perfection, why does he make so many errors in design? Errors like the optic nerve in our eyes being in front of the receptors, rather than behind, creating a blind spot in humans? Especially when that error doesn’t exist in, say, cuttlefish eyes? Cuttlefish being able to see a wider spectrum and a much wider field of view with their W-shaped eyes suggests that they were designed, frankly, BETTER. Which could more than certainly be explained by the incremental (accidental) improvements (which are selected for), shown in the theory of evolution.

  6. Daniel M. says

    You know, I’ve never actually asked a critic of irreducible complexity if a biological system were to be shown to be irreducibly complex, would they accept that as a defeater for Darwinian evolution. Thanks for the insight! :)

    I’m not sure if we should expect to see perfection in every function of our body. Doesn’t that presupposition already imply that if we find errors then intelligent design is not true. I think this would be a valid formulation for your argument:

    1. If intelligent design were true, we should expect to see perfection in nature
    2. We don’t see perfection in nature
    3. Therefore, intelligent design is not true

    The conclusion is only true if and only if its premises are true. I think premise (1) is doubtful and premise (2) is questionable. Do you think you could make a solid case for premise (1)?

  7. says

    Daniel,
    You are kind of creating a strawman there.
    Remember that Jason said

    However, that doesn’t mean the complex examples that have been shown, resemble even remotely the finely tuned gears and cogs that make up a pocket watch, as the theist argument usually goes.
    In my experience, biology is squishy, made of hacks on top of hacks on top of hacks. If we were immaculately designed by an intelligent designer capable of creating perfection, why does he make so many errors in design?

    I don’t read that nature needs to be perfect. Would you consider a man made pocket watch perfect? If so, you might be arguing that functionality is equivalent to perfection, which seems an odd conflation of terms.
    What I think Jason is trying to say is that if ID were true, one should expect an elegance of design everywhere. Systems should always (or almost always) take the simplest route to functionality. They rarely do. Systems appear to be constructed of “scraps”, of parts that are unnecessary, or bulky,or taxing; in a word, inelegant.
    The fact of the matter is that if life is designed it is more like a bomb made of chewing gum, paperclips, a box of matches, some leftover fertilizer and a 9 Volt battery. What Jason is saying is that if it were designed, it need not be perfect, but it should show some signs of being engineered from scratch, from parts that were singularly designed for their main function.
    So the question we are really asking is “Why should we expect God to be MacGyver instead of Lockheed-Martin?”

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>