Why does “irreducible complexity” sometimes demand a creator and sometimes not?

April 14, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More

So here’s my question:  creationists (a subset of Fundamentalist Christians) claim that life on earth is too “irreducibly complex” to have arisen spontaneously, without an “intelligent designer,” so how do they explain the existence of God, who is, presumably, infinitely more “complex” than any life on earth?  Was God designed by a yet more “intelligent” supernatural creator?  “Oh, no,” creationists argue, “God is ETERNAL — He has ALWAYS existed — He was never born and He will never die.”  By doing so, they confound their own argument merely to suit their desired outcome:  they see an amazingly complex world and argue that such complexity MUST have a creator, but when they see an infinitely MORE complex God, they suddenly reverse themselves and say that such complexity must NOT have a creator.  So, which is it?  Does “irreducible complexity” demand the existence of a creator, or doesn’t it?  More to the point:  what sense is there in claiming that “irreducible complexity” demands the existence of a creator at some times, but not at others?

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Category: American Culture, Evolution, Religion

About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    The following is from an article entitled "The Flagellum Unspun" by Kenneth R. Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/ar… :

    "The very existence of the Type III Secretory System shows that the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex. It also demonstrates, more generally, that the claim of "irreducible complexity" is scientifically meaningless, constructed as it is upon the flimsiest of foundations – the assertion that because science has not yet found selectable functions for the components of a certain structure, it never will. In the final analysis, as the claims of intelligent design fall by the wayside, its advocates are left with a single, remaining tool with which to battle against the rising tide of scientific evidence. That tool may be effective in some circles, of course, but the scientific community will be quick to recognize it for what it really is – the classic argument from ignorance, dressed up in the shiny cloth of biochemistry and information theory."

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