This article appears in the peer-reviewed* volume Darwinism, Design, and Public Education published with Michigan State University Press. In “Design in the Details,” biochemist Michael J. Behe sets forth a central concept of the contemporary design argument, the notion of “irreducible complexity.” Behe notes that living cells contain circuits, systems and machines that display complex, interdependent, and coordinated functions. Such intricacy, Behe argues, defies the causal power of natural selection acting on random variation. Yet he notes that irreducible complexity is a feature of systems that are known to be designed by intelligent agents. He thus concludes that intelligent design provides a better explanation for the presence of irreducible complexity in the molecular machines of the cell.
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*Darwinism, Design, and Public Education is an interdisciplinary volume that was peer-reviewed by a professor of biological sciences, a professor of philosophy of science and a professor of rhetoric of science.