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Author Topic:   What could/would falsify Irreducible Complexity?
Member (Idle past 91 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 8 of 72 (456808)
02-20-2008 8:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rrhain
02-19-2008 5:34 AM

So enlighten us: What would it take? What sort of experiment would have to be run in order to conclude that "ID/IC" is nonsense?
I don't think IC is nonsense.
At the time Behe wrote Darwin's Black Box, he made the extraordinary claim that there were no papers published anywhere regarding molecular evolution.
Out of curiosity, do you have an exact quote?
A simple search of PubMed turned up hundreds of such papers, some written 20 years before Behe's book
The best part of it is that you're not going back far enough
Try closer to 70 years:
Genetic Variablity, Twin Hybrids and Constant Hybrids, in a Case of Balanced Lethal Factors, by Hermann J Muller:
In the first place, it is likely that lethals are really among the common-
est forms of mutants, but they would be discovered much more readily
if they were dominant in regard to some visible character than if they
were completely recessive, and this would cause the proportion of lethals
among the dominant mutant factors to appear to be excessively high,
when compared with the proportion among the recessives. Most pres-
ent-day animals are the result of a long process of evolution, in which
at least thousands of mutations must have taken place. Each new mu-
tant in turn must have derived its survival value from the effect which
it produced upon the "reaction system" that had been brought into being
by the many previously formed factors in cooperation; thus a compli-
cated machine was gradually built up whose effective working was de-
pendent upon the interlocking action of very numerous different ele-
mentary parts or factors, and many of the characters and factors which,
when new, were originally merely an asset finally became necessary
cause other necessary characters and factors had subsequently become
changed so as to be dependent on the former. It must result, in conse-
quence, that a dropping out of, or even a slight change in any one of
these parts is very likely to disturb fatally the whole machinery;
for this
reason we should expect very many, if not most, mutations to result in
lethal factors, and of the rest, the majority should be "semi-lethal" or
at least disadvantageous in the struggle for life, and likely to set wrong
any delicately balanced system, such as the reproductive system.
Although this conclusion had suggested itself to the writer in 1912 it
would manifestly have been very difficult to obtain experimental evi-
dence for it...
emphasis mine. IC is a prediction of Evolutionary Theory.
So what does this mean for Behe's claims? How can he or anybody else justify that "nobody is looking into it"? Or that there are huge questions? Every single example Behe brought up in his book has been shown to be not only reducible but evolved. How many refuting studies must be done before it can be said that Behe was wrong?
My opinion? Behe wants a mutation by mutation account before he'll accept the conclusion (or so he says). The evidence so far is 'not good enough'.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rrhain, posted 02-19-2008 5:34 AM Rrhain has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by Rrhain, posted 02-21-2008 2:59 AM Modulous has replied

Member (Idle past 91 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 55 of 72 (456994)
02-21-2008 8:06 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by Rrhain
02-21-2008 2:59 AM

Only by the naive concept of "irreducible."
I'm just using ID's own understanding of the words irreducibly complex. From DBB, p9:
A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning"
That's Muller's interlocking complexity right there.
Dembski says:
A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, nonarbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system's basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system.
I agree naive might enter into it, but that's ID for you.
Behe's claim is that there can be no intermediary stage where there is anything that could be considered "functional" without every single part together. That is, each part is absolutely worthless without every other part.
Yes indeed - but don't let him fool you. There's a line between irreducible complexity and Darwin's own proposed falsification "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".
Behe might try and blur that line a little. He claims that if you look at an 'organ' and you if it every part is necessary for it to function - then it is irreducible. If it is irreducibly complex he then argues that it comes under the type of thing Darwin was talking about.
That was also brought up during the Dover trial. Behe claims that there is absolutely no use of any kind for any of the structures involved in the flagellum if they aren't all present to specifically make a flagellum...and the rebuttal witness showed that yes, you do have biological function when you don't have all the pieces.
At Dover, Behe defined irreducibly complex as:
By irreducibly complex, I mean a single system which is necessarily composed of several well matched interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.
Once again, Behe is using the naive understanding. The type of understanding that was predicted by Muller. The kind of interlocking complexity that is not a problem for evolution at all!
But that's just it: It is "good enough." The very papers he claims do not exist have been shown to him. Every single example he used in his book were shown to be not only reducible but also evolved: We actually found a "step-by-step" process.
They are not perfect accounts though. They don't detail every single mutation, just the fundamentally important ones. Now any reasonable person, who doesn't earn a fabulous living over being an anti-evolutionist would agree that it is 'good enough'. Behe is a reasonable person. Unfortunately the latter condition is a problem...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by Rrhain, posted 02-21-2008 2:59 AM Rrhain has not replied

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