irreducible complexity

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Evidence for Design in Physics and Biology

1. Introduction In the preceding essay, mathematician and probability theorist William Dembski notes that human beings often detect the prior activity of rational agents in the effects they leave behind.1 Archaeologists assume, for example, that rational agents produced the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone; insurance fraud investigators detect certain “cheating patterns” that suggest intentional manipulation of circumstances rather than “natural” …

Alpha-galactosidase (3d structure), administered as enzyme repla
Alpha-galactosidase (3d structure), administered as enzyme repla

Comments on Ken Miller’s Reply to My Essays

Kenneth Miller, Brown University Professor of Biology and author of Finding Darwin's God, has posted a response to my essays. I think it should be plain to most open-minded readers that he is struggling to fend off examples that weigh heavily against Darwinism. I do, however, want to make a few additional comments, in just two areas, to keep the issues in focus. Read More ›
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Self-Organization and Irreducibly Complex Systems

Some biochemical systems require multiple, well-matched parts in order to function, and the removal of any of the parts eliminates the function. I have previously labeled such systems "irreducibly complex," and argued that they are stumbling blocks for Darwinian theory. Instead I proposed that they are best explained as the result of deliberate intelligent design. In a recent article Shanks and Joplin analyze and find wanting the use of irreducible complexity as a marker for intelligent design. Their primary counter-example is the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, a self-organizing system in which competing reaction pathways result in a chemical oscillator. In place of irreducible complexity they offer the idea of "redundant complexity," meaning that biochemical pathways overlap so that a loss of one or even several components can be accommodated without complete loss of function. Here I note that complexity is a quantitative property, so that conclusions we draw will be affected by how well-matched the components of a system are. I also show that not all biochemical systems are redundant. The origin of non-redundant systems requires a different explanation than redundant ones. Read More ›
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A Mathematician’s View of Evolution

When Dr. Behe was at the University of Texas El Paso in May of 1997 to give an invited talk, I told him that I thought he would find more support for his ideas in mathematics, physics and computer science departments than in his own field. I know a good many mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists who, like me, are appalled that Darwin's explanation for the development of life is so widely accepted in the life sciences. Read More ›
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In Defense of the Irreducibility of the Blood Clotting Cascade

In Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution I devoted a chapter to the mechanism of blood clotting, arguing that it is irreducibly complex and therefore a big problem for Darwinian evolution. Since my book came out, as far as I am aware there have been no papers published in the scientific literature giving a detailed scenario or experiments to show how natural selection could have built the system. However three scientists publishing outside science journals have attempted to respond. Read More ›
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A Mousetrap Defended

In Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution I coined the term "irreducible complexity" in order to point out an apparent problem for the Darwinian evolution of some biochemical and cellular systems. In brief, an irreducibly complex system is one that needs several well-matched parts, all working together, to perform its function. Read More ›
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Irreducible Complexity and the Evolutionary Literature

Although several persons have cited numerous references from the scientific literature purporting to show that the problem of irreducible complexity I pointed out in Darwin's Black Box is being seriously addressed, the references show no such thing. Read More ›

Miller and Behe on Origins

Ken Miller is a scientist who has been taking the lead as a critic of ID. Thus, I took a look at his review of Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box, found at There is really nothing in this review that I have not already replied to in [the ARN] forum. But there is one thing worth exploring in more Read More ›

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Aerial shot of beautiful metropolitan Park with tree paths, sports grounds.
Aerial shot of beautiful metropolitan Park with tree paths, sports grounds.

Irreducible Complexity And Darwinian Pathways

It’s official. Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity (IC) has found itself in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Ironically, it was introduced by two critics of ID attempting to formulate non-teleological mechanisms for spawning IC. The article is: Thornhill, R.H., Ussery, D.W. 2000. “A classification of possible routes of Darwinian evolution.” J. Theor. Bio. 203: 111-116. First of all, this article shows Read More ›

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Molecular Machines

This article presents an overview of the key ideas in biochemist Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. A more detailed discussion of these ideas can be found in the book itself. Those interested in the debate over intelligent design in biology should also check out Michael Behe's extensive responses to various critics. Read More ›