The “theory” of irreducible complexity is that there exists biological features, systems, or organisms in nature that are too complex to be traced back through biological evolution. The claim is that anything that is irreducibly complex will shatter the theory of evolution. This fact is true, and was originally admitted by Charles Darwin:
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. But I can find no such case.
And fast-forwarding to the present, we still do not see any such examples in nature.
Creationists like to point to the eye (which can be found in simpler and more complex forms in nature then humans), the dragonfly wing (which again can be seen in simpler and more complex forms), the bacterial flagellum (of which they’ve identified many individual sub-components that could still exist without the entire structure), and likely many more in the future. The point is that every example brought up has been refuted thus far.
Micheal Behe who developed the idea of IC in the bacterial flagellum said in the Pennsylvania 2005 court case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District that he hadn’t read most of the fifty-eight peer-reviewed articles, nine books, and several textbook chapters that demonstrated that evolution could explain the complexity of the human immune system. If there were ever the ability to revoke a person’s PhD, I think it is warranted in Dr. Behe’s case. His glaring ignorance of the scientific method is appalling for someone who calls himself a scientist.
This all leads me to my idea of a new “theory”: Irreducible Simplicity. I’ll phrase it as follows:
Any idea, theory, or concept that is irreducibly simple and leaves no room for further investigation, thought, or a general advancement of human knowledge is utter rubbish.
I can further illustrate this through a few examples.
- In the late 1800s physicists were under the idea that they understood nearly everything. Had they held this belief more firmly all modern physics (quantum mechanics, photonics, relativity, etc.) would not have been developed.
- The theory of ID suggests that all of creation came about through an intelligent designer. Unfortunately it fails to explain anything about the designer, but merely that he/she/it was always there.
Any IS theory cannot be classified as science. Following any IS theory is dangerous as it leads the individual to easy and supposedly definite and final answers and truths. Science doesn’t provide any of these, but merely gives our best guess thus far. Surely this seems more reasonable than the easy solution of “oh because God said so.”
If I wanted to be really critical (and I see no reason not to be) I would suggest that all religions fall into the IS category. It’s just too easy to claim one (or multiple yet contradictory) holy book(s) hold all the answers to life, the universe, and everything. As Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) said:
Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
This post is my first that has been brought about through the God Delusion, and seeing as I’m only mid-way through chapter four, there will likely be more.