Feedback from this site has proven most valuable, when constructing worksheets for the Science classroom,
I have attempted a new tack – by bearding the creationist lion in the classroom den.
I offer the following for everyone’s perusal.
I welcome correction or suggestions for improvement.
with best and grateful regards
Are you in fact a High School teacher? I think that worksheet would be useful for many grad students to consider, much less HS students.
I hate to disappoint but I think the story of E. chlorotica has advanced and its not quite as cool as we thought. Last I heard there has been no gene transfer and the slugs don’t actually maintain the plastids. I think it would be worth looking up to verify because it might have advanced again.
Couple of points:
1 – IB Bio and AP Bio are supposed to be at the level of Freshman University
2 – I cobbled this sheet as a response to the rubbish being fed to my students outside the classroom. I probably would not bother wasting classroom time on this particular worksheet, unless a motivated student approached me about “irreducible complexity”. In that case – I would pull out this sheet as a means of for any such student to earn “Bonus Marks”
You would be surprised the rubbish some students write on their evaluations, in response to straightforward scientific questions probing their understanding of basic evolution
ETA – the internet is a great equalizer. Students nowadays are far more capable than my generation at ascending higher rungs of Biological exactitude
Why do you even bother posting it here? It’s obvious that photosynthesis is irreducibly complex, especially when you consider the quantum light harvesting system… We’ve had this discussion more than once before…
If you are posting it just to hear your preferred side of the issue, make sure you mention it in the post that you don’t want to hear any evidence for irreducible complexity… Then, people like me won’t even bother to read your OP…
It’s not quantum mechanics… We get it…
So you’d agree that all photosynthesising things must be green because chlorophyll is part of that system?
A better question is, does photosynthesis being performed by an irreducibly complex system, mean it could not have evolved? The answer is no. It could still have evolved.
Systems which have multiple proteins critical for their extant function can still evolve. It just means they either had a different function in the past, or that the remaining components were different in a way that compensates for the components that now appear to be critical for function.
So the mere fact that a part of the system can be removed and the function of the system then stops, which makes it by definition irreducibly complex, does not mean it could not have evolved.
I forgot to mention to RodW that this worksheet happens to be an extension of an earlier worksheet:
I shortened the first, by removing creationist objections, and building a second worksheet dedicated to creationist objections. I am much in debt to resident creationists for earlier feedback, as it made this second worksheet possible.
I just wanted to vet this effort past the resident creationists aka IDers before putting it to bed.
The point you make is actually the very first point I make in the second worksheet.
Didn’t you get the memo? Science now knows how IC biological features can evolve through natural mechanisms such as scaffolding and co-option.
The whole IC argument is as dead as Dembski’s Explanatory Filter and UPB nonsense.
I’m not sure J-Mac even understands what irreducible complexity is. He seems to think that if photosynthesis takes advantage of quantum phenomena, it must somehow be extra irreducibly complex.
But don’t worry. It is only a matter of time before the ID leaders grasp the genius of Mulling’s and his FIASCO, islands of function, self-referential incoherence and the IS/OUGHT gap. When that happens, you evilutionists will quake in your boots.
Resistance is futile.
I remain bemused by the silence of the resident creationists…
They were crucial in polishing the final version of my earlier worksheet.
Here is the final incarnation – after significant pruning and after the Irreducible Complexity questions eliminated.
I decided to collect questions regarding IC on a separate worksheet, inspiring this OP
I still welcome correct or suggestions for improvement… suggestions other than Quantum tunneling.
As Keiths points out –
I am certain that J-Mac does not understand Quantum Theory
It’s like he thinks, “How can evolution know?” When the real question is, how could evolution avoid more specifically QM issues? Of course J-Mac apparently thinks QM is magic, and in that way a matter of “design.”
Many people can never quite wrap their heads around science, that it really isn’t about the anthropomorphism that they have never even questioned. Creationists/IDists especially, UD being a wearisome example of unending anthropomorphic “thought,” with anything amazing being unquestionably believed to be due to God/magic/design.
You should check out this review of the concept of Irreducible Complexity, by philosopher Paul Draper: Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box: Paul Draper’s Critique. It really is quite thorough.
Apparently Paul Draper’s criticism of Behe’s IC argument was so persuasive that famous christian apologist and philosopher Alvin Plantinga agreed that it was an incomplete and unsuccessful argument.
This is the first part of the argument I looked at:
Its already a rather bad criticism, that seems to not understand Behe’s point at all. Some parts of the system are not essential???
I can’t imagine how many other faults there are, but it certainly wouldn’t be worth the time.
This looks great!
For fucks sake phoodoo, the very next sentence reads: “As Draper points out, however, Behe has come up with a reply to this criticism. We’ll look at it in the next installment. ”
He is setting up the various arguments and analyzing them in turn, and showing what is both good and bad about them. He both points out what is wrong with some common criticisms of Behe’s IC arguments, and what is wrong in turn with Behe’s replies and IC itself. You should read it all the way through.
Thank you for so succinctly demonstrating how intensely biased you are, you couldn’t even be bothered actually reading the very next sentence.
He makes a completely ridiculous contention about Behe’s argument, so I should continue reading what other ridiculous contentions he makes, because Behe responded?
Only you would think that.
How many more ridiculous contentions are there?
Behe’s own argument.
Behe claims ” Irreducibly complex systems seem very difficult to fit into a Darwinian framework” The link claims Behe says that it is not possible. Behe claims evidence for design. The link claims one or more designers.
Irreducible complex systems do not make evolution impossible but they create doubt of the Darwinian mechanism being a reasonable explanation for the origin of complex systems.
If the counter claim was strong there would be no reason to invoke a straw man argument as the link has.
No, he doesn’t. He correctly portrays Behe’s argument in it’s several different versions as it has changed over time, and explains what is wrong with each of them.
You should continue reading because you might learn something. Yeah fat chance.
Not even a single fucking one.
It really isn’t clear what point you are trying to make. Can you spell it out? I don’t see the problem.
I am quite sure you are right, its not only one. I only pointed to the first I clicked on, and it was a doozy.
“Some parts aren’t essential, so you see…”
In order to make their point they CHANGED BEHE’S ARGUMENT so he had to prove a negative. This is invoking the logical fallacy of creating a straw man. By doing this the counter argument is nullified as it is not addressing Behe’s real argument.
In a practical sense, Behe’s saying it not possible, at least not in aggregate.
Gee, maybe Behe believes in design without a designer?
Anyway, the egregious fact is that Behe claims evidence for design without evidence for design, using the old creationist fallacy of the false dilemma.
How? Because a designed system like a mousetrap seems very difficult to evolve? I have never figured out why Ken Miller tries to argue that maybe a mousetrap could have evolved (I’m not saying it’s utterly impossible, but it certainly seems formidable), when in fact the point is that it is really very unlike evolved organs and systems, while having all of the leaps of logic that intelligence produces. You don’t find things like mousetraps in life.
Anyway, just like you, Behe ignores the kinds of things that evolution produces that intelligence would not be expected to produce. Like Archaeopteryx, a poor flyer precisely because it is yet too much like a non-flying dinosaur. What gives? That’s the best that the Designer who supposedly works by changing extremely complex biochemical interactions to cause “design”? It makes no sense, and no IDist ever comes up with anything but the flimsiest excuses.
There are no meaningful differences between the two, just some apologist trying to make something of the fact that distinctions without a difference (or much difference, anyhow) aren’t maintained.
Photosynthesises’ efficiency is mind boggling thanks to quantum mechanics…
Sheer dumb luck did so well in the designing the photon harvesting system in photosynthesis, that now scientists hope to be able to replicate that efficacy in the designing of the new, more efficient types of solar panels… While scientist are very optimistic in their abilities to copy the sheer dumb luck, they are realistic about their abilities to match the abilities of the design by sheer dumb luck… While there will be incentives to match the sheer dumb luck, like Nobel Prizes and so on, scientists are realistic about their abilities…Sheer dumb luck simply got lucky too many times…they can’t match that…
Well, it is understandable that human intelligence would not be able to match the abilities of what the randomness of sheer dumb luck has done…
Bravo to the Science for at least attempting to match the amazing, creative abilities of sheer dumb luck!!!
They don’t create any doubt at all for scientifically knowledgeable people who are honest and who don’t have a severe religious bias.
Maybe someday we’ll see a Creationist who isn’t too ignorant / stupid / dishonest and won’t ignore ignore the effects of selection feedback in evolutionary processes. But not today it seems.
Do you consider yourself one of the scientific and knowledgeable people that are without doubt?
Yes I am a scientifically knowledgeable person and yes I have no doubt evolutionary processes are capable of producing observed biological complexity including IC.
And since Behe’s original claim was that if all the parts were essential, the system was IC and couldn’t have evolved. And since he never could substantiate that his example systems were IC in that sense, his argument collapsed and he was forced to provide later revisions. So there is no error in the article. It simply goes over the history of the term and what is wrong with each of the revisions Behe has provided.
So again, you have not been able to find even one single error in the article. But since you are clearly desperate to find some way to dismiss the article, you are in this strange state of mind where your reading comprehension is extremely low.
No, they don’t. That really is Behe’s argument’s correctly represented in it’s multiple revisions.
Here is what Behe says about direct evolutionary pathways to IC systems, in Darwin’s Black Box:
 Irreducibly complex systems “cannot be produced directly, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing even a single part is by definition nonfunctional.” Darwin’s Black Box, P. 39.
Done, case closed. Those are Behe’s words regarding direct evolutionary pathways. ¨
Behe also has arguments against indirect evolutionary pathways:
“V. Key Aspects of Behe’s Argument, and an Important Implication
As Draper points out, Behe’s argument against direct evolutionary pathways to irreducibly complex biochemical systems differs from his argument against indirect pathways: direct pathways are ruled out by the irreducibility of the complexity with respect to function, and indirect pathways are ruled out by the complexity of such systems. Direct pathways to all irreducibly complex systems are therefore ruled out as logically impossible, while indirect pathways to irreducibly very complex systems are ruled out as too improbable to be a plausible explanation. Note (as Draper does in his article) that Behe’s argument leaves open the possibility of relatively simple irreducibly complex systems (say, systems with two or three parts) being produced gradually via indirect evolutionary pathways. This will be important to keep in mind for later posts.”
No strawmen are set up, all versions of Behe’s argument are correctly portrayed and dealt with. Behe really did say that direct but gradual evolutionary routes, assuming all the parts had to be present to give the system function, would be impossible. Given that Behe really does say this, it really IS his burden to prove that all the parts of the system in question are necessary for the function of the system. But Behe has multiple versions of his argument, against various of the criticisms he has recieved.
It is apparent that even you pro-IDcreationism guys aren’t even aware of what Behe has said on the subject, and that it has changed over time and as a response to critics. Not that there’s anything wrong with that in and of itself, as you get criticism of your ideas you try to change and strengthen them. The problem is that you sycophants seem to have completely lost track of this historical development and forgotten that the version of IC that Behe borrowed and modified from Herman J Muller, has gone through multiple such revisions. To understand what is wrong with later versions of IC, you must read further in the article rather than blow a fuse.
Who are you talking to? Nobody seems to care anymore what you have to say, so why are you bothering?
No no, Rumraket, I don’t have a problem understanding the concept of irreducible complexity in the slightest. And if you, and Draper, think that you can debunk the central nervous system as being irreducibly complex, by thinking of one piece in the system that isn’t absolutely essential, then the only conclusion that can be reached is that you don’t have a central nervous system, or you are just dumbfucks.
3% to 6% is hardly mind-boggling.
This seems like a very funny way to play with numbers. According to the same page:
Why would you leave that part out?
Doesn’t that leave one open to the criticism of being intentionally misleading?
Do you know Rumraket?
Except that you provably do, because you apparently thought Behe had never said that a system was IC if all parts were essential for function. He has, in point of fact, said that. And you didn’t know. And here you are flailing in anger now that you’ve been caught with your pants down for the 20th time.
You are confused again. There are at least two different ways to address the argument from IC(which you would have understood if you’d bothered to read Draper for comprehension).
First of all, if the claim is that (in the sense of Behe’s original formulation) an IC system can’t evolve because all the parts are absolutely necessary, then yes all that is required to undermine that argument is to give examples of parts that aren’t necessary.
Second, even were it the case that all or just a subset of the parts are necessary for function, that still doesn’t mean the IC system could not have evolved. After all, there could be an indirect pathway to an IC system where all, or a subset of parts, become codependent and thus necessary as a contingent fact of history.
By the way, while on that topic, please elaborate. Absolutely essential to accomplish what? Could it be that simpler nervous systems that lack parts, can accomplish less complex tasks? Are you trying to say the central nervous system could not have evolved? If so, why? How simple can such central nervous systems get? What is the minimal central nervous system?
Yes, I realize I’m asking these questions of a biological ignoramus who doesn’t know the first fucking thing about cells, biochemistry, or genetics.
Or maybe the problem here is that you’ve opened your mouth yet again on a topic where you are just clueless and you intense anti-evolution biases are undermining your ability to properly read for comprehension. A recurring phenomenon with you. Could that be it?
Why is it relevant?
That’s still not mindboggling. Mindboggling would be 100% efficiency. Why did
God, the creator, the designer not design photosynthesis to be capable of more than having an upper limit of 11%?
Human-designed solar cells are typically in the 20% efficiency range, with the world record being about 46%. And they’re improving all the time.
Um, because it works??
“Yea, yea, but why didn’t the designer make it work another way??”
But here you are deriving a Designer on the grounds that Its designs work. If it works, it must be designed. OK, except…
Here, you seem to be saying that we cannot judge the Designer on the quality of its designs. So you have taken the position that the Designer is satisfied with the lowest possible quality, if it does anything at all.
This skirts close to putting on a blindfold, spinning around, pointing at random and saying “There! Proof of the Designer!” If there are NO standards by which a Designer can be distinguished from non-design, why have one in the first place?
Um, not so far off actually.
That’s a very silly question. Why don’t you ask the designer? Is initial efficiency even the best criteria? Under what conditions?
I am pretty sure humans have not reverse engineered photosynthesis. What does that tell you about which technology is superior?
Also, you do have plants in your yard but do you have solar panels (very few people do)? What does that tell you about which technology is superior?
Nothing. We haven’t reverse-engineered tapeworms, either.
Nothing. The fact that we have to replace plants with solar cells in order to achieve tolerable efficiencies at least tells us something about energy yield for our purposes. The fact that solar cells don’t need water at least lets us put photovoltaics where plants grow little, if at all.
“Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems
Photosynthetic complexes are exquisitely tuned to capture solar light efficiently, and then transmit the excitation energy to reaction centres, where long term energy storage is initiated. The energy transfer mechanism is often described by semiclassical models that invoke ‘hopping’ of excited-state populations along discrete energy levels1,2. Two-dimensional Fourier transform electronic spectroscopy3,4,5 has mapped6 these energy levels and their coupling in the Fenna–Matthews–Olson (FMO) bacteriochlorophyll complex, which is found in green sulphur bacteria and acts as an energy ‘wire’ connecting a large peripheral light-harvesting antenna, the chlorosome, to the reaction centre7,8,9. The spectroscopic data clearly document the dependence of the dominant energy transport pathways on the spatial properties of the excited-state wavefunctions of the whole bacteriochlorophyll complex6,10. But the intricate dynamics of quantum coherence, which has no classical analogue, was largely neglected in the analyses—even though electronic energy transfer involving oscillatory populations of donors and acceptors was first discussed more than 70 years ago11, and electronic quantum beats arising from quantum coherence in photosynthetic complexes have been predicted12,13 and indirectly observed14. Here we extend previous two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy investigations of the FMO bacteriochlorophyll complex, and obtain direct evidence for remarkably long-lived electronic quantum coherence playing an important part in energy transfer processes within this system. The quantum coherence manifests itself in characteristic, directly observable quantum beating signals among the excitons within the Chlorobium tepidum FMO complex at 77 K. This wavelike characteristic of the energy transfer within the photosynthetic complex can explain its extreme efficiency, in that it allows the complexes to sample vast areas of phase space to find the most efficient path.”
When It Comes to Photosynthesis, Plants Perform Quantum Computation
“The wavelike motion of energetic particles through photosynthetic systems enables plants to efficiently capture the sun’s energy…
Plants soak up some of the 1017 joules of solar energy that bathe Earth each second, harvesting as much as 95 percent of it from the light they absorb”
95%?!Why would God design a system that uses quantum computation that ONLY harvests 95% of energy from sunlight when a couple of intelligent boys with Tom Müller and Rumarket can do a better job? Sheer dumb luck must’ve done it no question about that… Congrats clever boys!
Not only that, the clever boys can use Joe Felesnstein’s destructive power of mutations to prove that sheer dumb luck can really do it…
That’s a very silly question. Evolution can’t answer, it is not a sentient being and doesn’t speak a language.
Too bad you’re wholly incapable of backing up what you said.
Just in case anyone’s wondering where this “nonlin” guy’s coming from, here’s an excerpt from his website:
He’s that special kind of retard
You’re easily fooled by unjustified claims. Plants cannot have such high efficiency. Simply think of the large wavelength range where they cannot absorb into the photosynthetic system, and that alone would falsify the claim, even if the 95% referred to the surface of the leaf. This sentence must be the result of poor editorial revision, combined with some misunderstood comments by the authors of the original work.
I cannot believe how stupid you are. For the billionth time: natural phenomena are not synonyms with “sheer dumb luck.” Now, either grow up, or allow your youngest kid to comment instead. Your kids might be less infantile than you.
J-Mac just latched uncritically onto the 95% number because it was saying what he wanted to hear.
If he had just bothered to read (and understand*) the Wikipedia article that Fair Witness linked, he would have caught his mistake.
*a big “if”, I know.