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Irreducible Complexity


From Wikipedia (See reference 1):

Irreducible complexity (IC) is the argument that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or “less complete” predecessors, and are at the same time too complex to have arisen naturally through chance mutations.

A mousetrap illustrates this idea (the following is a quote from Michael Behe – see reference 2):

“If any one of the components of the mousetrap (the base, hammer, spring, catch, or holding bar) is removed, then the trap does not function. In other words, the simple little mousetrap has no ability to trap a mouse until several separate parts are all assembled.

Because the mousetrap is necessarily composed of several parts, it is irreducibly complex. Thus, irreducibly complex systems exist.”

There are a number of biological systems that Intelligent Design (ID) proponents like to use:

  • The human eye (see reference 3)
  • The blood clotting mechanism (see reference 4)
  • Flagellum in bacteria (see reference 4)

Of course the scientific community frowns upon the concept and considers it a “pseudoscience”. In fact there are many counters to the “examples” creationists have. (Basically, they explain how to reduce a seemingly irreducibly complex system.)

I really like the bombardier beetle. It mixes two chemicals in a “combustion chamber” which react explosively, firing a jet of hot, noxious stuff at the predator that is trying to eat it. Seems very unlikely to me that the mixing chamber, chemicals, etc could have all slowly evolved over time to produce this amazing capability. In fact, the closer and more detailed we look at the various animals, plants, etc that surround us the more intricate, precise, beautiful, and astounding they become. Our God is truly worthy to be praised for His wisdom! Man cannot even come close to duplicating the functionality we see in so many of the “technologies” that animals employ to move, fly, see, etc. (See reference 5 for some in-depth information on the logic that evolutionists claim “could have” brought about the bombardier beetle’s fantastic defense mechanism. Please note the major assumption that is made, that NEW information can slowly be added over time due to natural selection.)

Take a look at the references…it’s pretty interesting how confident both sides of the argument appear to be. I think these debates go to show that it really is impossible to intellectually convince someone of the gospel or creationism. We can debate back and forth forever but unless there is humility and the spirit of God then the truth will remain muddled and hidden.

As always, let me know if there is anything you want to see discussed…


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity
  2. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684834936/bookstorenow57-20
  3. http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/RE2/chapter7.asp
  4. http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/re2/chapter10.asp
  5. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html


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