Further to: A prof has resigned from Bethel College. Can’t affirm Adam created directly by God: This from (formerly Bethel’s, currently BioLogos’) Jim Stump’s review of An Introduction to Design Arguments, by Virginia Tech’s Benjamin C. Jantzen: in a magazine for churches no one goes to any more (As if anyone cares*).
The idea of irreducible complexity has had remarkable intuitive staying power among ID followers, but when the intuition is converted into an argument, it has considerably less persuasive force. First, almost all biologists think Behe is wrong about the specific examples of structures that he says are unexplainable by evolution. But most people’s intuition is guided by a caricature of how evolution works. They think that each structure or trait develops in isolation. In reality, natural selection operates on combinations of traits, not merely on isolated structures. Half-developed wings won’t help an insect fly, but they might help it do other things that contribute to its survival, like skim across the surface of water. Contrary to the ID claim about irreducible complexity, you don’t have to get the whole thing at once.
Stump does not seem to understand the problem at all, or want to. Only a designed system could function the way he describes.
Of course, there are many things we don’t yet understand about evolutionary history. So if Behe were to produce an example of an irreducibly complex structure for which scientists had no compelling evolutionary account, would that be enough to generate the conclusion that it must have been designed? No, says Jantzen; there is another problem with the argument. When Behe claims that irreducible complexity is best explained by a designer, Jantzen reminds us that best is a comparative term and can only mean “best among the known explanations.” If history is any guide here, we should expect that we don’t yet know all the possible explanations, so Behe’s claim is considerably weakened. More:
The fact that we don’t know all possible explanations has never prevented anyone from honestly making a reasonable judgment. Unless they have already decided that metaphysical naturalism and mindless materialism must be true regardless of the state of the evidence.
And Behe will, of course, never produce any evidence that tenured Darwinprofs would accept, no matter its merit. The world is changing around them all anyway.
We can already rule out natural selection acting on random mutation as a source of massive amounts of complex, specified information. Such theories should have the same level of credibility as the White House hiding space aliens.
* See also: As if anyone cares? Well, see If anyone cares, Biologos (Christians for Darwin) will now actually review Darwin’s Doubt
Follow UD News at Twitter!