Suppose I constructed a Rube Goldberg machine to do the simple task of turning on a light. Suppose the Rube Goldberg machine were irreducibly complex, being composed of 10,000 components such that if even one component were removed, the Rube Goldberg machine would no longer function. Are the components really essential to turning on a light in the ultimate sense or are the only essential in the sense that the extravagant Rube Goldberg machine would fail without it?
The correct answer is that the components are not essential in the ultimate sense since there are simpler mechanisms to turn on lights (aka a “light switch”). The components are “essential” to the turning on of light only in as much as the extravagant Rube Goldberg machine would fail to perform its task without them. But the arrangement of the components to turn on the light in that way is not essential, since there are many simpler architectures to do the same task. The problem for Darwinism is the problem of extravagance in biology like the monarch butterfly and the peacock’s tail and multicellular creatures.
Darwinists like Dawkins are incapable or unwilling to see the nuanced meaning of “essential” in the context of extravagant vs. “essential” in the context of ultimate necessities. A multicellular creature’s parts are essential to its ability to live, but it doesn’t mean such parts are essential in the ultimate sense because unicellular creatures are alive and well without all those parts. Yet, in his confused thinking, Dawkins will argue that selection will create such designs because we see that removing parts from a functioning creature causes selection to disfavor it in favor of creatures that have the parts. His WEASEL program is a great illustration of his wrongheaded thinking.
If we liken biological systems to Rube Goldberg machines (Behe describes IC systems with the phrase “Rube Goldberg”), why will biology select for a more extravagant solution (like multicellularity) when a simpler more durable architecture (unicellularity) exists? It is correct to say that a certain component is essential to implement a certain extravagant creature, but it fails to explain why selection can or will aim toward building the extravagance in the first place. Essential in the context of extravagance is not essential in the context of ultimate necessity. Darwinism does not explain the problem of extravagance and the Rube Goldberg architectures in biology.
Evolutionary biologists might give the following bone-headed reasoning, “If we remove an essential part of a multicellular creature, it dies, and thus demonstrate selection favors the existence and integration of that component, therefore selection evolved the multicellular creatures parts.” But demonstrating selection selects for a system after that system exists does not mean selection will select for a system before that system exists. Darwinists equivocate “selection after a system exists” with “selection before the system exists” and the stench of such illogic permeates evolutionary literature. (See: Selection after something exists is not the same as selection before something exists.)
This equivocation is the foundation of Dawkins Blind watchmaker hypothesis. Amazing that such an elementary error in logic is the basis for perpetuating the illusion that Dawkins and Darwin have some sort of genius insight into biology. Genius it is not, stupidity it is.