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Jonathan McLatchie on irreducible complexity


Bobby Conway, of One Minute Apologist, asks Jonathan McLatchie about the concept of irreducible complexity:

Note: The term was not coined by Michael Behe, as often supposed or in creationist literature. Rather, here is where it originated:

Some say, of course, that the idea of irreducible complexity (IR) arose from creationist literature (also here.)

Seriously, the term has so far been traced to Templets and the explanation of complex patterns (Cambridge U Press, 1986) by theoretical biologist Michael J. Katz.

“Irreducible complexity” appears as an index entry in Katz’s book, and set forth as follows:

In the natural world, there are many pattern-assembly systems for which there is no simple explanation. There are useful scientific explanations for these complex systems, but the final patterns that they produce are so heterogeneous that they cannot effectively be reduced to smaller or less intricate predecessor components. As I will argue in Chapters 7 and 8, these patterns are, in a fundamental sense, irreducibly complex…” (pp. 26-27)

This sounds pretty much like the way the ID theorists like Michael Behe use the term. So, whatever happened was not simple like climbing a ladder, rung by rung.

Self-assembly does not fully explain the organisms that we know; contemporary organisms are quite complex, they have a special and an intricate organization that would not occur spontaneously by chance. The ‘universal laws’ governing the assembly of biological materials are insufficient to explain our companion organisms: one cannot stir together the appropriate raw materials and self-assemble a mouse. Complex organisms need further situational constraints and, specifically, they must come from preexisting organisms. This means that organisms — at least contemporary organisms — must be largely templeted.” (p. 65)

Today’s organisms are fabricated from preexisting templets — the templets of the genome and the remainder of the ovum [egg] — and these templets are, in turn, derived from other, parent organisms. The astronomical time scale of evolution, however, adds a dilemma to this chain-of-templets explanation: the evolutionary biologist presumes that once upon a time organisms appeared when there were no preexisting organisms. But, if all organisms must be templeted, then what were the primordial inanimate templets, and whence came those templets?” (pp. 65-66)

For some natural phenomena,there simply is no reduction to smaller predecessors. In these cases, the companion rule to ‘order stems from order’ is that ‘complexity stems from complexity’” (p. 90).


… the unique characteristics of organisms are pattern characteristics. The first of these fundamental pattern characteristics is complexity. Cells and organisms are quite complex by all pattern criteria. They are built of heterogeneous elements arranged in heterogeneous configurations, and they do not self-assemble. One cannot stir together the parts of a cell or of an organism and spontaneously assemble a neuron or a walrus: to create a cell or an organisms one needs a preexisting cell or a preexisting organism, with its attendant complex templets. A fundamental characteristic of the biological realm is that organisms are complex patterns, and, for its creation, life requires extensive, and essentially maximal, templets.” (p. 83)

See also: Who invented the phrase “intelligent design”?

Computational challenges to IC


Suzan Mazur to Larry Krauss: Darwinism now marginalized

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Sounds like some are applying the genetic fallacy to genetics! If I was dialoguing with P.Z., I'd might say something like this, "To dialogue with an ID theorist, you must think like an ID theorist. You must, for example, discern between mere noise produced naturally and meaningful messages that came from an intelligent source. The fact that you are responding to me shows you believe you're hearing words coming from an intelligent source- which I take as I compliment, by the way!" -Pardon the humor at the end! :) Jim1 Jim1
Is Intelligent Design "Apologetics"? Jonathan M. October 22, 2015 Excerpt: This week, I came in for criticism from biologists P.Z. Myers and Larry Moran as a result of the above short interview in which I am asked about the difference between intelligent design and creationism.,,, Intelligent design in its purest sense is not Christian apologetics, just as Darwinism in its purest sense is not atheist apologetics. But can they be legitimately used in these contexts? Sure they can. Take a look at this short video from the same series (curiously untouched by Myers and Moran) in which I discuss whether ID qualifies as a science. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/10/is_intelligent_3100281.html Is Intelligent Design A Science? Jonathan McLatchie - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UHYjgHQBuE bornagain
How can it be scientific literature when there wasn't any experiment nor observation to confirm his hypothesis? And what, exactly, does what he said, without evidence, have to do with unguided evolution? The guy was clueless as to what had to be changed in order to effect the type of changes he was discussing. That is how evos are- they think we can just modify the parts as they are without realizing it all has to be done at the genetic level. Virgil Cain
News: The term was not coined by Michael Behe, as often supposed or in creationist literature. The concept was introduced by Hermann Muller in 1918, including how such systems might evolve. Good to see IDers finally catching up on their scientific literature.
Genetics: A Periodical Record of Investigations Bearing on Heredity and Variation, Princeton University Press 1918: "... thus a complicated machine was gradually built up whose effective working was dependent upon the interlocking action of very numerous different elementary parts or factors, and many of the characters and factors which, when new, were originally merely an asset finally became necessary because other necessary characters and factors had subsequently become changed so as to be dependent on the former. It must result, in consequence, 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 ..."
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1946/index.html Zachriel
It does seem evolution is being questioned as to believable by the author. Yes IC is about the old idea, in the bible and the clock in the forest, that things are too complex to have come from bumps in nature. Investigation showing at a level that complexity could not arise without already complexity. no more reduction in structures can be explained by chance. Robert Byers
Engineering at Its Finest: Bacterial Chemotaxis and Signal Transduction - JonathanM - September 2011 Excerpt: The bacterial flagellum represents not just a problem of irreducible complexity. Rather, the problem extends far deeper than that. What we are now observing is the existence of irreducibly complex systems within irreducibly complex systems. How random mutations, coupled with natural selection, could have assembled such a finely set-up system is a question to which I defy any Darwinist to give a sensible answer. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/09/engineering_at_its_finest_bact050911.html The Bacterial Flagellum: A Paradigm for Design - Jonathan M. - Sept. 2012 Excerpt: Indeed, so striking is the appearance of intelligent design that researchers have modeled the assembly process (of the bacterial flagellum) in view of finding inspiration for enhancing industrial operations (McAuley et al.). Not only does the flagellum manifestly exhibit engineering principles, but the engineering involved is far superior to humanity’s best achievements. The flagellum exhibits irreducible complexity in spades. In all of our experience of cause-and-effect, we know that phenomena of this kind are uniformly associated with only one type of cause – one category of explanation – and that is intelligent mind. Intelligent design succeeds at precisely the point at which evolutionary explanations break down. http://www.scribd.com/doc/106728402/The-Bacterial-Flagellum Two Flagella Are Better than One - September 3, 2014 Excerpt: The assembly instructions,, are even more irreducibly complex than the motor itself. Parts are arriving on time and moving into place in a programmed sequence, with feedback to the nucleus affecting how many parts are to be manufactured. Dr. Jonathan Wells added, "What we see is irreducible complexity all the way down." Twelve years of closer looks at these astonishing machines have only amplified those conclusions. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/09/two_flagella_ar089611.html Bacterial Flagellum - A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video http://tl.cross.tv/61771 Souped-Up Hyper-Drive Flagellum Discovered - December 3, 2012 Excerpt: Get a load of this -- a bacterium that packs a gear-driven, seven-engine, magnetic-guided flagellar bundle that gets 0 to 300 micrometers in one second, ten times faster than E. coli. If you thought the standard bacterial flagellum made the case for intelligent design, wait till you hear the specs on MO-1,,, Harvard's mastermind of flagellum reverse engineering, this paper describes the Ferrari of flagella. "Instead of being a simple helically wound propeller driven by a rotary motor, it is a complex organelle consisting of 7 flagella and 24 fibrils that form a tight bundle enveloped by a glycoprotein sheath.... the flagella of MO-1 must rotate individually, and yet the entire bundle functions as a unit to comprise a motility organelle." To feel the Wow! factor, jump ahead to Figure 6 in the paper. It shows seven engines in one, arranged in a hexagonal array, stylized by the authors in a cross-sectional model that shows them all as gears interacting with 24 smaller gears between them. The flagella rotate one way, and the smaller gears rotate the opposite way to maximize torque while minimizing friction. Download the movie from the Supplemental Information page to see the gears in action. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/12/souped-up_flage066921.html

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