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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