Intelligent Design Irreducible Complexity

ARN Contest: Should “irreducible complexity” be taught in engineering?

Spread the love

That’s Michael Behe’s irreducible complexity in case the Darwinians among us need a reason to freak out.

Access Research Network is offering a $50 Visa voucher for the best answer to the following Question of the Month. Send your response here.

The whole question:

QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What ought to be taught in public schools regarding the ultimate question of our origins? Be thinking about courses including History, Philosophy, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

For extra credit: Should the concept of irreducible complexity be taught in Engineering or Computer Science classes? For even more credit: Should Darwinian Naturalism be taught in English classes when discussing science fiction. Explain.

Feel free to test out ideas here.

See also: May:

In the Introduction to his Origin of Species Charles Darwin admitted, “I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived.”

What directly opposite conclusions could Darwin have meant?

How could natural selection inhibit major evolutionary change from occurring on a gradual step-by-step basis?


Previous questions

Follow UD News at Twitter!

35 Replies to “ARN Contest: Should “irreducible complexity” be taught in engineering?

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Brother Brian says:

    I don’t understand what the purpose of teaching irreducible complexity in engineering would be. Redundancy of key components is a fundamental aspect of many types of engineering. Where possible, they try to avoid irreducible complexity.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    The engineering world is full of IC structures. And that is why redundancy is a fundamental aspect. So the purpose of teaching IC in engineering would be to give them the proper term and make sure they understand it.

  4. 4
    EricMH says:

    IC is orthogonal to redundancy. Making a system highly redundant does not make it less irreducibly complex. Redundancy means it becomes harder to eliminate the key functionality of the system, but that does not mean the system can still function without its components.

    However, one interesting aspect of engineering that differentiates it from Darwinian evolution is that engineers can evolve an IC system. The current standard practice for new software engineering projects is a process known as “agile development”. The key in agile development is that large system development take place through many small iterations and prototypes. Each prototype is a small segment of the larger functionality, and is useless by itself. So, if each segment were judged solely on its own merits, it would be discarded, and the complete project would never come together. The only reason that agile development works is because it is guided by the ultimate purpose of the designers, who understand each useless component must be developed in order to create the useful system.

    So, software engineering is a good example of why the generation of irreducible complexity necessitates intelligent agency and design.

    Another area where irreducible complexity is very important is in the field of development operations, DevOps for short. Modern web applications are part of a very complex system of networks and layers, very analogous to biological organisms. These systems are very irreducibly complex, and thus require large amounts of redundancy in order to provide high reliability and responsiveness in the face of such complexity.

    Thus, it seems that in order to develop more effective engineering processes irreducible complex systems, and how they are created and maintained, is an important part of software engineering research and becomes ever more important as modern applications develop.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    What engineers try to avoid is unnecessary complexity. And by learning about and understanding IC they would understand where the redundancies are required for continued functionality and where the redundancies wouldn’t be required to maintain functionality. So you would focus on any IC core to make sure it is as failsafe as it can be.

    Starting with the lever/ fulcrum system, irreducible complexity is practically unavoidable in engineering.

  6. 6
    Brother Brian says:

    Eric

    Making a system highly redundant does not make it less irreducibly complex. Redundancy means it becomes harder to eliminate the key functionality of the system, but that does not mean the system can still function without its components.

    I understand this. But my car can function with several failed components because the engineers have built in redundancy. Aircraft designers and space craft take this to an extreme. Many of these designs can still function, admittedly not at peak performance, when some components fail. It seems that this is a desired trait of good design. Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design. Forgive me if I am incredulous.

  7. 7
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Eric #4
    Eric said ” ..engineers can evolve an IC system..”

    Wait… I thought engineers were intelligent, and they could design and build something. Now you are saying they have to “evolve” a system? Like, with trial and error?

    Most ID proponents try to point out differences between intelligent design and evolution. You are making them sound more alike than different.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Pater- Genetic algorithms are examples of evolution by means of intelligent design. Intelligent Design is not and never has been anti-evolution. ID argues against evolution by means of blind and mindless processes being able to produce the appearance of design.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design.

    That is incorrect as IDists do not make that claim. Irreducible complexity is a sign of intelligent design and even that has limits. Behe’s mousetrap has 5 components.

    Forgive me if I am incredulous.

    No, you are just willfully ignorant and erecting strawmen, as usual.

    Redundant systems is definitely a hallmark of intelligence. So if we were to observe that feature in living organisms we would infer it was intelligently designed.

  10. 10
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    ET
    Genetic algorithms are an example of how the combination of a solution space and a mechanism to iterate over that space can result in discovery of novel solutions. When nature provides the solution space and the iteration mechanism, no conscious intelligence is needed.

    Also, you quoted Brother Brian saying
    ” Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design.”

    then you said
    “Irreducible complexity is a sign of intelligent design…”

    Do you realize that you just agreed with him?

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Pater-
    Genetic algorithms use telic processes to solve problems they are intelligently designed to solve. As for Brother Brian’s quote- no, we do NOT say that. No one says that. We say:

    “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.” (Dr. Behe in DBB)

  12. 12
    Brother Brian says:

    Pater

    Do you realize that you just agreed with him?

    Miracles do happen. 🙂

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Oh my. No one says what Brother Brian posted- no one but Brother Brian. Irreducible complexity is not just what Brother Brian said.

    So no, this: Irreducible complexity is a sign of intelligent design and even that has limits. and that:

    Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design.

    Are not the same. And only people who don’t understand the concept would think that they were.

    And the point pertained to the terminology used.

  14. 14
    Brother Brian says:

    ET

    Oh my. No one says what Brother Brian posted- no one but Brother Brian. Irreducible complexity is not just what Brother Brian said.

    Let’s examine this. BB said this with respect to IC

    Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design.

    Behe said

    Irreducible complexity is just a fancy phrase I use to mean a single system which is composed of several interacting parts, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to cease functioning.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Exactly! IC is much more nuanced than what Brother Brian posted. Brian’s can refer to one and two component structures. Behe’s mousetrap has 5. And it is more than what is quoted by Behe. As Wm. Dembski wrote in “No Free Lunch”:

    IC– A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, non-arbitrarily 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. Page 285 NFL

    Numerous and Diverse Parts If the irreducible core of an IC system consists of one or only a few parts, there may be no insuperable obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism explaining how that system arose in one fell swoop. But as the number of indispensable well-fitted, mutually interacting,, non-arbitrarily individuated parts increases in number & diversity, there is no possibility of the Darwinian mechanism achieving that system in one fell swoop. Page 287

    Minimal Complexity and Function Given an IC system with numerous & diverse parts in its core, the Darwinian mechanism must produce it gradually. But if the system needs to operate at a certain minimal level of function before it can be of any use to the organism & if to achieve that level of function it requires a certain minimal level of complexity already possessed by the irreducible core, the Darwinian mechanism has no functional intermediates to exploit. Page 287

    And AGAIN- IDists do NOT use the terminology Brother Brian used. What he posted:

    Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design.

    Is never used, because it is incorrect, along with being incomplete. A lever/ fulcrum system could be had via trees falling- a see-saw. Yet it fits in with Brian’s strawman.

  16. 16
    Brother Brian says:

    ET

    Is never used, because it is incorrect, along with being incomplete. A lever/ fulcrum system could be had via trees falling- a see-saw. Yet it fits in with Brian’s strawman.

    Really? The comment you quote-mined was at the end of a paragraph that talked about redundancy in cars, planes and spaceships. Now, if you are equating cars, planes and spaceships with a fulcrum, or a mousetrap, then you will have to do some tap dancing.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Brother brian:

    The comment you quote-mined was at the end of a paragraph that talked about redundancy in cars, planes and spaceships.

    LoL! It wasn’t a quote-mine and no one would apply IC to cars, planes and spaceships in order to determine if any of those were intelligently designed.

    So, in the context of redundancy in cars, planes and spaceships, your comment of “Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design.”, is total nonsense and demonstrates that you are on some sad agenda of obfuscation.

    Now, if you are equating cars, planes and spaceships with a fulcrum, or a mousetrap, then you will have to do some tap dancing.

    LoL! That is exactly what evos try to do by saying something like the lever/ fulcrum can come about via blind and mindless processes then bacterial flagella are no problem.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    An so to be clear. Brother Brian’s comment of:

    Yet we are told by ID proponents that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design.

    Is never used and would never be used by any IDist in the context of determining whether or not cars, planes and spaceships were intelligently designed.

    No one was ever told that the inability to function with a single failed component is a sign of intelligent design, in any context, let alone when discussing cars, planes and spacecraft. Brian made it up because it is on a sad agenda of obfuscation.

    And I am a bully for pointing that out. 😎

  19. 19
    ET says:

    OK, Brother Brian and team of archaeologists come upon an alien-looking craft while digging deep under the Sphinx. They gain entrance through an electro-magnetic sliding door. They find many instrument panels and monitors. One guy, wink, wink, starts ripping things out when he is stopped by the others:

    “What are you doing? Are you mad?”

    “Irreducible complexity! I must find it so we can declare this is an artifact and nature didn’t do it! But these redundant features keep messing with my search”

    You rock, Brian…

  20. 20
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    And then there was Dr. ET and his team of creationist biologists, examining the human body, when ET says:
    “Irreducible complexity! I must find it so we can declare this is an artifact and nature didn’t do it! But all these vestigial structures, pseudogenes, ERVs, recurrent laryngeal nerves, and atavisms keep messing with my argument!”

  21. 21
    Brother Brian says:

    Pater

    And then there was Dr. ET and his team of creationist biologists, …

    I respond to the guy once and he needs three comments to respond. Efficiency is not his forte. Well, many things are not his forte. Logic. Reason. Rationality. Civility. Intelligence. 🙂

  22. 22
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    Brother Brian
    “…many things are not his forte.”

    All you need to remain at UD is loyalty. Kind of like it was with the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club, and the Trump administration.

  23. 23
    ET says:

    No Pater, IC is observed in the simplest living organisms. You don’t even have a mechanism capable of producing eukaryotes so humans are way out of reach.

    Vestigial structures? You don’t have a mechanism capable of producing the original. That recurrent laryngeal nerve innervates along the way. Only people who don’t understand anatomy think it’s a problem. And you don’t have a mechanism capable of producing the nervous system.

    All you can do is make up some nonsensical spewage to help make you feel better.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    I respond to the guy once and he needs three comments to respond.

    I didn’t need three. And your response proves that you are nothing but a willfully ignorant troll. You should have stayed the course and ignored me.

    Well, many things are not his forte. Logic. Reason. Rationality. Civility. Intelligence.

    And yet I demonstrated that you are a willfully ignorant troll. So your projection is duly noted.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    Pater:

    All you need to remain at UD is loyalty.

    We keep the likes of you and Brian around for entertainment.

    Brian lied. Pater tried to defend him and then in desperation erected a strawman.

    Then the moron twins hugged

  26. 26
    hnorman42 says:

    I’ve been thinking on this question of redundancy in biological systems. It belongs to the question of wise design versus unwise design rather than intelligent versus unintelligent. For instance, we could say that it is wise to brush your teeth after every meal but it is a mark of intelligence to do well in a Calculus course. Normally when we say someone has done something “smart” we mean he’s done something that will have a positive impact on him rather than that it is something that requires difficult feats of thinking power.
    It is the creation of a system with different parts that function in harmony that is the strongest marker of intelligence.
    So is a biological system without redundancy an example of unwise design? That would depend upon the success of the system. If it can achieve success without redundancy, then redundancy is an unnecessary cost.

  27. 27
    EricMH says:

    @mod I recommend deleting #25 for calling commentators names. I also recommend repeat offenders be banned.

  28. 28
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    I concur with EricMH. ET exhibits frequent troll-like behavior.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    So it’s OK for people to lie, get called on it, double-down, get exposed and then form a tag-team to attack the messenger? But when the messenger stands up to the tag-team he is the bad guy?

    Really?

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Pater Kimbridge:

    ET exhibits frequent troll-like behavior.

    Translation:

    ET frequently refutes my diatribe and makes me look like a troll.

  31. 31
    Brother Brian says:

    Pater

    I concur with EricMH. ET exhibits frequent troll-like behavior.

    Sadly, it is a pathology that ET exhibits here and elsewhere. All you have to do is look at the titles of the OPs in his own blog to know that he displays the signature behavior of a cyber-bully.

    https://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com

  32. 32
    ET says:

    LoL! I am standing up to the constant bullying from the anti-ID minions and for doing so they call me a bully. That is typical cowardice. And it’s what happens when you confront bullies on their own terms.

    Typical, but still pathetic.

  33. 33
    Brother Brian says:

    Pater, do you notice that we get accused of being bullies when we almost never interact with the person accusing us of being bullies? Yet this same person, for whatever twisted pathology, finds it necessary to react to everything we say. Obsession? Stalking? I don’t know.

  34. 34
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Brother Brian
    Perhaps that sort of person is in need of the services of a good dominatrix? Spare the whip and spoil the child?

  35. 35
    ET says:

    LoL!

    Pater, do you notice that we get accused of being bullies when we almost never interact with the person accusing us of being bullies?

    In what world does that make any sense? A third person can’t point out bullying behavior, lies and strawmen? Really?

    Wow

    Yet this same person, for whatever twisted pathology, finds it necessary to react to everything we say.

    Talk about a twisted pathology. I told you why I respond to your posts. Your posts are either lies, strawmen, PRATTs, total nonsense- all of which are typical for bullies. They have to try to take down that which they cannot understand- it’s a Neanderthal limbic thing.

    Brother Brian lied and was caught. He then proceeded to double-down on that lie and was once again exposed. In jumps Pater with the typical cowardly strawman distraction. And again the cowardly duo tries to blame me for something

Leave a Reply