Irreducible Complexity – a Weak Argument

A lot has been argued about Irreducible Complexity. Here is a proposed solution to the conundrum.

  1. Darwin’s call to challengers is absurd. In The Origin of Species (1859), he wrote, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.” This is NOT how science works! You do not get to formulate whatever fantastic theory you please that then stands until someone disproves it in the exact manner you specify. Instead, it is your duty to prove your claims. This case shows that, when the foregone conclusions fit the religious views of its proponents, the scientific rigor is often cast aside.
  2. Ignorance cuts both ways. Irreducible Complexity was called the “argument from personal incredulity” or “argument from ignorance”. This is indeed correct. And because of this, Irreducible Complexity is flawed… as are all arguments for “evolution”… given an argument from ignorance asserts that “a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false [“evolution”] or a proposition is false because it has not yet been proven true [irreducible complexity]. Evolutionists (Darwin’s quote in particular) err by claiming the unknown supports “evolution”. We certainly do not know the origin of the eye, much less have seen any eye “evolve”. Yet a just-so story of eye “evolution” has been put together by imaginarily linking disparate optical sensors designs. Therefore, if Irreducible Complexity is a bad argument, so is “evolution” itself.
  3. Michael Behe engages in a game rigged against him. There are many and much better ways to show “evolution” impossible. Irreducible complexity is an argument against imagination. And imagination always wins because it is infinite. But the game is further rigged. When Michael Behe used the mousetrap as an illustrative example of this concept, Kenneth R. Miller challenged him by observing he can use the mousetrap components to make a spitball launcher (catapult), a tie clip, key chain, clipboard, tooth pick. Yet, by “nonfunctional”, Behe does not mean that the precursor cannot serve any function – a mousetrap missing its spring can still act as a paperweight. It just cannot serve the specific function (catching mice) by means of the same mechanism (a spring-loaded hammer slamming down upon the mouse). A function is obviously not the same as a specific
  4. Asymmetry improves Behe’s argument. Degradation to new function is much easier done than buildup to new function. If you have an optimized mousetrap and need an ad-hoc catapult / tie clip / key chain / clipboard / tooth pick, all you need is to remove some parts. That’s almost instantaneous and effortlessly. But if you have an optimized catapult / tie clip / key chain / clipboard / tooth pick, you need a lot of engineering to make an ad-hoc mouse trap out of those. Even if you have them all at once which is impossible in real life. Why optimized? Because that’s what “natural selection” creates… presumably. This doesn’t prove Irreducible Complexity, however. Because, as shown, the argument is flawed and the game is rigged.
  5. The impossible changeover further improves Behe’s argument. The “evolution” model demands continuous improvement every generation and a slow, multigenerational incremental process. Or as Darwin put it: “numerous, successive, slight modifications “. However, this cannot be done when changing function as the old function must degrade well before the new function is developed. Manufacturing changeover works because it is done within a fraction of a generation. Still, the process is interrupted and the system goes through a loss of function during the changeover. Generally, an inventory is built up in anticipation while extra resources are thrown in long before and after the actual changeover to limit the impact. If extra resources were not available, or an inventory buildup were not possible, or organizational capability were lost in a long process (who would stick around for decades even paid for idleness?), then the enterprise would not survive (extinction event in biology). The mousetrap example fits perfectly. Once it starts to be dismantled and before the catapult / tie clip / key chain / clipboard / tooth pick becomes functional, for a while, the system has no function whatsoever. This time would actually be multigenerational in real life biologic systems that, being functionless, would go extinct and thus never get to the other side (the new function). Now take the bacterial flagellar motor, and the bacterial injectisome. If either one “evolved” into the other, at some point one function would be lost before the other would become available, thus leaving the bacteria without either function, and thus at a competitive disadvantage to the original. The “innovator” would go extinct before having a chance to compete. And having both systems functional at the same time before renouncing the old one wouldn’t work because real life resources are limited as opposed to infinite when imagined. And how would – whichever came first – have happened from scratch is, once again, left to imagination.
  6. Are “phlogiston” and “ether” teaching us anything? Let’s compare and contrast. “Phlogiston” and “ether” were bad theories like “evolution” that were eventually abandoned. Which is exactly what will happen to “evolution” too. They were disproved by whatever means possible, not by a prescribed method proposed by their proponents as Darwin’s. They were tested against the claims and implication of those theories and were found lacking. In the case of ether, by their own supporters, Michelson and Morley. In the same manner, we can test the positive claims of “evolution” from “gradualism” to “fitness”, “divergence of character”, “natural selection”, etc. And all fail. So there is no need to follow Darwin’s guidance on how to disprove his theory especially when febrile imagination is the only support offered in a rigged game.

 

Links:

https://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/MillerID-Collapse.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

https://www.gotquestions.org/irreducible-complexity.html

https://www.discovery.org/a/24481/

https://evolutionnews.org/2015/07/why_the_type_ii/

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249 thoughts on “Irreducible Complexity – a Weak Argument

  1. Corneel: No, he wasn’t. Goebbels was an antisemite; He hated jews.

    One doesn’t exclude the other. He and buddies also killed the weak and disabled. Just as Darwin told them to do. A true Darwinist he was.

    Corneel: You conceded that not every aspect was planned beforehand?

    Why is that a “concession”?

    Corneel: If a domesticated animal was changed in a way that was not intended by the breeder, do you still call that “design”?

    Yes. Whatever change happened, it was due to design. Aside from random variations and from external input which by the way is also design. Seldom if ever one engages in design while knowing exactly what will happen. That’s why I doubt your understanding of design practices.

    Designers ARE tinkerers contrary to what a well known ignorant said.

    Corneel: Most people do not start an entire website filled to the brim with creationist screeds.

    “Creationist screeds”?!? No. It is a highly critical review of the “evolution” claims. Big difference.

    Corneel: You appear to have missed my question about what sources you consulted.

    I replied. Read.

    Corneel: Am I right in guessing that you skimmed “On the Origin of Species” but never read it cover to cover?

    You are wrong.

    Corneel: Am I right in guessing that everything you know about modern theory came from online sources including “Nuttypedia”?

    No. I read most major books. And review interesting ones (if infrequently): http://nonlin.org/category/news/. You don’t read much for comprehension, do you?

    OMagain: What is the origin of species according to “design” nonlin?

    “Species”! That the only way possible for organisms to come about is by them to be designed.

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  2. Nonlin.org: …the only way possible for organisms to come about is by them to be designed.

    That’s a glib assertion. Supporting evidence please.

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  3. Nonlin.org: And review interesting ones

    Well, that might be true but are the reviews you write interesting? Admittedly on a small sample (one) I found no insight, interest or understanding.

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  4. Nonlin.org: Just as Darwin told them to do.

    Apologies to other readers but this is making me fume (just as I suspect nonlin intends).

    @nonlin:

    I’d like you to either support your “suggestion” that Charles Darwin advocated ideas and actions that Hitler’s Nazis adopted or withdraw it*. Show me the connection or shut up. The Wikipedia refernce below is apt.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

    *added in edit.

    +1
  5. Nonlin.org: Aside from random variations and from external input which by the way is also design.

    Indeed. I have no trouble using the phrase “environmental design” as a synonym for natural/artificial selection. Your problem is this. I can say both “organisms are designed by their environments” and “the environment designs organisms”. You can say “organisms are designed” but can you complete the this sentence? “_____” designs organisms?

    +1
  6. Alan Fox,

    He was also convinced that evolution was progressive, and that the white races—especially the Europeans—were evolutionarily more advanced than the black races, thus establishing race differences and a racial hierarchy. Darwin’s views on gender, too, were utterly conventional. He stated that the result of sexual selection is for men to be, “more courageous, pugnacious and energetic than woman [with] a more inventive genius. His brain is absolutely larger […] the formation of her skull is said to be intermediate between the child and the man” (Darwin 1871). Although female choice explains sexual selection, it is the males who evolve in order to meet the chosen criteria of strength and power; such nineteenth century differentiation between the sexes was crucial in providing an alleged biological basis for the superiority of the male.

    Any attempt to separate a ‘good’ Darwin from a ‘bad’ Social Darwinist cannot be sustained against a careful reading of Darwin’s own writing. He enthusiastically endorsed his cousin Francis Galton’s view of hereditary genius transmitted down the male line, and nodded cautiously towards eugenics. During the 150 years since Darwin wrote such views on race, gender and eugenics, whilst sometimes subterranean, they have never entirely vanished; a sorry history, often told.

    If you are going to troll, do your research first.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672903/

    Plus he basically stole Alfred Russell Wallace’s ideas without giving him credit. Thief, racist, bad scientist…, take your pick.

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  7. Nonlin.org: “Species”! That the only way possible for organisms to come about is by them to be designed.

    Sure, so what is the origin of those designs?
    How are they implemented?
    When are they implemented?
    Is the designer still designing today?
    If so, how do you know?
    If not, how do you know?
    Is the designer an alien in our universe our some sort of being outside?
    How do you know?

    Saying the origin of organisms is design actually says nothing at all. It’s equivalent to me claiming invisible pink unicorns did it. It adds nothing .It allows no further investigations.

    So, demonstrate that the claim that the origin of all organisms is design is more productive then the claim the origin is a unicorn!

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  8. phoodoo: racist

    Said the guy who has no problem with concentration camps as long as you are in there for the ‘right’ reasons.

    +2
  9. phoodoo: If you are going to troll, do your research first.

    What has that article to do with the claim that Darwin’s ideas inspired Hitler? Did you bother to read the article or did you just take the first paper Google threw up?

    +1
  10. phoodoo: Plus he basically stole Alfred Russell Wallace’s ideas without giving him credit.

    “Basically”? Weasel word. A more honest interpretation is that Wallace and Darwin formed their ideas on common descent independently. Here’s an article that looks at the issue using quotes from original sources.

    +1
  11. Nonlin.org: One doesn’t exclude the other. He and buddies also killed the weak and disabled. Just as Darwin told them to do. A true Darwinist he was.

    The nazi’s didn’t kill the “weak and disabled” but aimed to eradicate Jews. Charles Darwin never told them or any other people to do so. Joseph Goebbels was not motivated by Darwin’s writings but by a virulent antisemitism.

    Do you actually care whether your writings comport with reality?

    Nonlin.org: Whatever change happened, it was due to design. Aside from random variations and from external input which by the way is also design.

    LOL. Looks like you are fighting a rather cosmetic battle then. Could you tell me the difference between evolution and design please, apart from the fact that you really dislike the former? I fail to spot any.

    Nonlin.org: No. I read most major books. And review interesting ones (if infrequently): http://nonlin.org/category/news/. You don’t read much for comprehension, do you?

    As many people here already repeatedly told you: there is nothing, ab-so-lu-te-ly no-thing, in your writings that indicates even the slightest understanding of, or even interest in, the subject matter. I cannot imagine how you could have read those books and come away with so little understanding. It just looks like you decided one day that evolution was a dirty word and you closed your mind to everything that you believe to be associated with it.

    +1
  12. Visiting my brother in Canada thirty years or so ago, I was introduced to his friend, Peter, who was tall, blond, good-looking and with a strong German accent. I wondered why he’d emigrated to Canada and he explained he never felt he belonged in Germany and wanted to break with his past. Did he miss his family, I asked. He told me he was an orphan and he had no idea who his parents were and that he was the result of a system called Lebensborn.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensborn

    Maybe phoodoo and nonlin could connect this selective (though apparently not coercive) breeding program to Darwin.

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  13. Alan Fox: I’d like you to either support your “suggestion” that Charles Darwin advocated ideas and actions that Hitler’s Nazis adopted

    Sorry, I assumed you knew what eugenics means, my mistake.

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  14. Corneel: The nazi’s didn’t kill the “weak and disabled” but aimed to eradicate Jews.

    Oh heavens….

    You go to the Alan school of just saying things you don’t know.

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  15. phoodoo: Alan Fox:

    I’d like you to either support your “suggestion” that Charles Darwin advocated ideas and actions that Hitler’s Nazis adopted

    Sorry, I assumed you knew what eugenics means, my mistake.

    The question is whether Charles Darwin was the inspiration for Hitler’s Nazis.

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  16. Alan Fox: I’d like you to either support your “suggestion” that Charles Darwin advocated ideas and actions that Hitler’s Nazis adopted.

    Try to read what you wrote here and fully understand it. Perhaps separate out the subject, object and verbs, then hone in on the essence of it. Don’t read it backwards, I don’t think that will help you.

    Because what you are NOW asking is not this.

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  17. Also a “follower” of Darwin: Chaeron of Pellene.

    When phoodoo copied his block o’text describing Darwin’s views on race, he omitted the beginning of the paragraph, viz:

    Darwin was, after all, a man of his time, class and society. True, he was committed to a monogenic, rather than the prevailing polygenic, view of human origins, but he still divided humanity into distinct races according to differences in skin, eye or hair colour.

    I assume phoodoo did not understand the bit in bold, as I must.
    The funny bit about this particular form of trolling is what it reveals about the creationist mindset. They believe that one must revere the Church Fathers in order for their teachings to be true. They project this sensitivity onto scientists, who really don’t care.
    As I noted back in 2014:

    I revere Fred Sanger. He was a truly wonderful human being. But if he was an a–hole, would dideoxy sequencing suddenly stop working? Would people just stop using it? The IDists reveal a massive misunderstanding about how science works.
    Everyone still uses PCR…
    😮

    Hey, I made Joe laugh.

    +2
  18. phoodoo: Sonnenstein Euthanasia Centre

    You say that like it is a bad thing. But you’ve hundreds of those centers and you’ve never said a word against them.

    Uighur activists on Tuesday said that they have documented nearly 500 camps and prisons run by China to detain members of the ethnic group, alleging that Beijing could be holding far more than the commonly cited figure of 1 million people.

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2019/11/14/2003725807

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-55794071

    The Chinese government did not respond directly to questions from the BBC about allegations of rape and torture. In a statement, a spokeswoman said the camps in Xinjiang were not detention camps but “vocational education and training centres”.

    “The Chinese government protects the rights and interests of all ethnic minorities equally,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the government “attaches great importance to protecting women’s rights”.

    I’m sure phoodoo believes that. He is, after all, paid to do so.
    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2019/11/14/2003725807

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  19. phoodoo: You go to the Alan school of just saying things you don’t know.

    phoodoo, who as we all know abhors when people “conflate things as if they are the same thing” argues that Darwinism is the same as eugenics.

    You know, I’d just love to discuss this endlessly, but I think I’ll just wait until he has recovered from his attack of acute Godwin syndrome.

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  20. phoodoo:
    Plus he basically stole Alfred Russell Wallace’s ideas without giving him credit …

    Curious. In On the Origin of Species’s introduction Darwin acknowledged that Wallace had arrived to practically the same conclusions he was about to present in the book. Damn Darwin, not giving credit by starting his book by giving credit!! Son of a …

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  21. phoodoo,

    Plus he basically stole Alfred Russell Wallace’s ideas without giving him credit. Thief, racist, bad scientist…, take your pick.

    This is funny. I’ve see the notion before (mind you, I’ve seen everything here before), but it makes me chuckle when people try and undermine Darwin’s character by asserting (incorrectly, of course) that he stole the idea they think is a load of bollocks from someone else!

    +1
  22. Allan Miller: This is funny. I’ve see the notion before (mind you, I’ve seen everything here before), but it makes me chuckle when people try and undermine Darwin’s character by asserting (incorrectly, of course) that he stole the idea they think is a load of bollocks from someone else!

    That and they don’t half go on a lot about something which you’d think they’d think was not worth wasting their time on given how wrong they think it is.

    It’s clear what phoodoo is against, not quite sure what he’s for. Try spending some time on that phodoo?

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  23. Alan Fox: I can say both “organisms are designed by their environments” and “the environment designs organisms”.

    You can say anything illogical. Including this.

    Corneel: The nazi’s didn’t kill the “weak and disabled” but aimed to eradicate Jews. Charles Darwin never told them or any other people to do so.

    I don’t much care who your favorite Nazi is, or why you shield him from some charges but not others. The topic here today is Irreducible Complexity. Focus! And make a contribution to THAT discussion.

    OMagain: Saying the origin of organisms is design actually says nothing at all. It’s equivalent to me claiming invisible pink unicorns did it. It adds nothing .It allows no further investigations.

    You’re asking some good questions. But today we talk about Irreducible Complexity. You asked one (1) good question, which is way more than others but not enough. Now focus on that topic.

    Of course the origin is design. We MUST assume a logical universe to do ANY science. Otherwise you end up with imbeciles like Lents and deGrasse Tyson that criticize the human body when they in fact understand shit about it. And tons of HARMFUL tonsillectomies, appendectomies and lobotomies (perhaps this last one explains the modern Darwinist).

    And as you read here, only Intelligent Design makes sense in light of the Irreducible Complexity problem. So ID is mandatory and not an unnecessary addon.

    Corneel: Could you tell me the difference between evolution and design please, apart from the fact that you really dislike the former?

    ‘LOGIC’ is the difference. See above.

    Corneel: I cannot imagine how you could have read those books and come away with so little understanding.

    Could it be YOU the one that doesn’t understand anything about “evolution”? Not in your mind, I guess.

    Allan Miller: I’ve see the notion before (mind you, I’ve seen everything here before), but it makes me chuckle when people try and undermine Darwin’s character by asserting (incorrectly, of course) that he stole the idea they think is a load of bollocks from someone else!

    You can steal a bad idea too, can’t you?

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  24. Nonlin.org: Of course the origin is design.

    What is the difference between these sentences:

    The origin is design.
    The origin is invisible pink unicorns.

    Both tell us the same amount – nothing.
    Both are amenable to the same level of disconfirmation – none at all.
    Both can be used interchangeably without making any difference at all in any way.

    Can you differentiate between the two somehow? Is there something you can demonstrate that is explained by ‘design’ but not explained by invisible pink unicorns?

    Can you give a single example of such?

    If not, you are admitting, albeit indirectly, that ‘design’ is not an explanation for anything all, it’s just a label you have applied so your ignorance is hidden away at one remove.

    +1
  25. Nonlin.org: Otherwise you end up with imbeciles like Lents and deGrasse Tyson that criticize the human body when they in fact understand shit about it. And tons of HARMFUL tonsillectomies, appendectomies and lobotomies (perhaps this last one explains the modern Darwinist).

    So it is your position that appendicitis is not real?

    Really? What happens if you get it? Will you deny the pain?

    Also the human body is terribly designed for upright walking. Many many people have indescribable back pain and knees are very unreliable.

    It’s because our ancestors used to walk on all fours. A better ‘design’ would have been not to have to suffer the constraints that our ancestors walking on all fours have set.

    A sensible designer would have started humans from scratch with a back and knee setup without the problems inherited as above. Wait till you get a bad back, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about then.

    But for now bluster about how our backs are in fact the best possible design and I don’t know what constraints the designer was working under (none, god right?) etc etc.

    But frankly:

    Nonlin.org: nd tons of HARMFUL tonsillectomies, appendectomies

    alone shows you to be a crank. And that you put lobotomies into that category shows you are not serious at all.

    I’m going to guess that you are also an anti-vaxxer?

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  26. Nonlin.org: And as you read here, only Intelligent Design makes sense in light of the Irreducible Complexity problem. So ID is mandatory and not an unnecessary addon.

    But as I noted with my questions, ID or Intelligent Design, actually explains nothing.

    You can’t say when
    You can’t say how
    You can’t say why

    All you can say is that evolution did not do it and then wink as that ‘gap’ you created is filled by Intelligent Design.

    If Intelligent Design cannot be differentiated from Invisible Pink Unicorn Design then it has not value at all. There is no positive case. All you are doing is showing how little you actually understand of what you are attempting to critique.

    And it’s odd how much time you spend on that critique given your logical next step would be to work on Intelligent Design instead. You spend all your time on what you know is wrong but none at all on what you believe is right!

    Deep down you know there’s no point spending time developing your case. You can’t, after all, differentiate between Intelligent Design and Unicorn Design.

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  27. Nonlin.org: You can steal a bad idea too, can’t you?

    And you can spend all your time on a bad idea also. Why do you spend all your time on a bad idea instead of a good idea?

    Why do you spend all your time talking about evolution rather than Intelligent Design?

    I tell you what, if you can make a substantial OP about the positive case for ID and what we can infer about the designer without mentioning evolution once, I’ll make a donation to a charity of your choice.

    Up for it?

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  28. Nonlin.org: The topic here today is Irreducible Complexity.

    But no-one here regards irreducible complexity as a problem for evolutionary theory. As you titled the thread:

    Irreducible Complexity – a Weak Argument

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  29. Nonlin.org: …only Intelligent Design makes sense in light of the Irreducible Complexity problem..

    Nonsense. “Intelligent Design” is not a theory, let alone a scientific one. It’s merely a poorly disguised Creationist attempt at a religious objection to evolution.

    If you disagree, tell me what ID predicts and how can the prediction be tested;

    +2
  30. OMagain: Many many people have indescribable back pain and knees are very unreliable.

    I must be unusual. I find I can be quite descriptive about my back pain! 🙂

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  31. Nonlin.org: We MUST assume a logical universe to do ANY science.

    Not sure about that. We can observe aspects of the universe and produce models that we can then test. I suspect we’d be in trouble with mathematical models if the universe presented as non-linear. We don’t have that problem.

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  32. Alan Fox:
    OMagain: Many many people have indescribable back pain and knees are very unreliable.

    Alan Fox: I must be unusual. I find I can be quite descriptive about my back pain! 🙂

    I speak from experience: Misuse of what we are given Why do we find it so hard to admit to our own faults and errors?

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  33. Nonlin.org: I don’t much care who your favorite Nazi is…

    Reminder to nonlin.

    You claimed there was some connection between Darwin and Hitler’s nazis. I’d like you either to back it up or withdraw it.

    +1
  34. CharlieM: I speak from experience: Misuse of what we are given Why do we find it so hard to admit to our own faults and errors?

    I also speak from experience. Fuck off and die?

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