Musings About Irreducible Complexity

When it comes to irreducible complexity, I think the real debate lies in whether or not irreducibly complex machines really are irreducibly complex or not. The concept seems indisputable. If there are really molecular machines that cannot function at all if you remove some of the parts from them, then evolution cannot possibly build these things because evolution changes things slowly, over time, through very slow, slight modifications. If a molecular organism cannot work if all of the parts are present, then natural selection would get rid of it before it could be built because natural selection eliminates things that are useless and weak while preserving that which is useful and strong. Natural Selection can only preserve the machine once it gets assembled. If all you’ve got is a bacterial flagellum missing the stator or the rotor or the drive shaft or all 3 of those parts I just mentioned, or if the blood clotting mechanism were missing any of its many steps in closing up an animals wounds and it wouldn’t work, then any half flagellum or half of the blood clotting process would fall prey to extinction. It’s statistically impossible for machines like that to come together quickly, all at once, because the organisms are far too complicated. The odds would be prohibited.

So the best explanation is an Intelligent Designer not simply because the naturalistic theories fail, but also, I think because we only see other non-biological machines that are irreducibly complex only being built by intelligent agents. We’ve never seen IC machines come together any other way. Mousetraps are irreducibly complex and they don’t form by chance + nature (the standard trap that is, with the catch, holding bar, spring, etc. Not glue traps or boxes propped open with sticks. A strawman that Darwinists so like to attack). Why should we think IC machines in biology do. Thus, we can conclude design for the flagellum and blood clotting in the same way we conclude design for DNA. That is; by the principle of uniformitarianism. Thus, it doesn’t commit the God Of The Gaps fallacy. We’re making an inference to the best explanation by applying the causes of the effects of today to the effects of the past. We only see both information and irreducibly complex things coming from intelligent agents, so the genetic code of DNA and irreducibly complex systems in nature must also rationally be attributed to an Intelligent Designer.

The only problem is that many object that these things aren't irreducibly complex. Some think the flagellum could have evolved from the type 3 secretory system. But, irreducible complexity might not be defeated just yet. It might be that systems have redundant parts are unnecessary to its function while still having to maintain a minimal level of complexity. For example; a car is irreducibly complex. It has to have 4 wheels, a steering wheel, a seat for the driver to sit in and an engine to run, as well as a gas tank to hold the fuel for the car’s engine. But there are some parts that, while useful, are not NECESSARY for the automobile to function. For example; you could take away the seat belts. Seat belts are not necessary for the car to function. They might be necessary to stay safe, but the car can still go places even if the seat belts are absent. You can remove the radio. The car will still get you from point A to point B even if it doesn’t have a radio. You don’t need air conditioning. You might need air conditioning to stay cool but the car can still go places. Nevertheless, there is a minimal level of complexity that must be maintained in order for the machine to work. There may be a machine that has 100 parts, but it only needs 90 parts to function. So a skeptic could take away 10 parts from said machine and claim that it’s not irreducibly complex after all. BUT, if he were to take away 1 more part, leaving 89 parts left, all of a sudden, the system stops functioning.

So when Michael Behe says the flagellum is irreducibly complex. He may indeed be mistaken. It might have evolved from the Type III Secretory System, but what about the III Secretory System? Is it irreducibly complex? If so, then the problem isn’t solved.

Then again, Miller argues that the flagellum evolved because: there is a subsystem embedded in the flagellum that is made up of similar proteins found in another system (TTSS), here are the problems:

a) pointing to a subsystem embedded within the flagellum hardly explains how the flagellum could have evolved from that system, Miller provides no steps in which evolution could have achieved this, it is a long way from a type-3 to a flagellum.

b) what came first? Miller assumes of course the subsystem must have evolved first, yet curiously, the vast majority of experts agree that the flagellum must have evolved first, or else, both system evolved in parallel from a common ancestor. The type-3 is used to inject poisonous proteins into more complex cells (eukaryotes) which are believed to have evolved after bacteria, and bacteria would have always needed motion, hence, why it is more likely that bacteria would have needed a flagellum first. The flagellum is also found in a much more diverse range of species as compared to the type-3.

c) finally, human engineers design complex systems all the time which consist of simpler subsystems, applying Miller-logic, we would have to conclude that the motorbike could have evolved via unguided natural processes, because we can strip the engine and use it as a blender or a heater.