Irreducible Complexity – How does It Relate to Creation/Intelligent Design?

Irreducible complexity is a specific example of Intelligent Design. The definition of intelligent design is that the best explanation for the creation of the universe was by an intelligent cause or agent and not by natural selection (Evolution).

Irreducible complexity is a term that describes a system having a specific function due to several interacting parts or processes where the removal of any one of the parts or processes causes the system to cease functioning. The simplest example most often used is the mousetrap. Each of the mousetrap’s parts is required for it to function as intended. The removal of any part renders the mousetrap useless as a mousetrap.

Scientific advances of the last 50 years have uncovered many more processes that are irreducibly complex particularly processes in the human cell that are essential to life. Some examples:

  • Blood clotting is a cascade of 21 steps each leading to the next step and dependent on the step before such that the removal of any step renders the blood unable to clot.
  • A myriad of transport systems within the cell to ferry molecules to their location for utilization.
  • Light sensing systems in animal eyes.
  • The synthesis of a protein requires a multitude of steps the removal of any part would make the synthesis impossible.
  • Biological motor systems such as that found in the bacterial flagellum.
    The cilia, small hairs, in our noses that move fluid over surfaces.

The reason examples of irreducible complexity are taken seriously by evolutionists is that it threatens evolution as the complete explanation of creation and the origin of man.

Charles Darwin in his Origin of Species stated, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Evolution is threatened because if a process will not function with the absence of any part performing its intended function how could the total process function over the time taken for the individual parts to become functional. Irreducibly complex processes seem to not have come together gradually and are examples of exquisite intelligent design.

(Text provided by G. Lee Southard, Ph.D. author of To Know With Certainty)
For more information refer to the work of Dr. Michael Behe, Professor Lehigh University, Bethlehem Pennsylvania and the Discovery Institute, Seattle, Washington.

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