Re: Fw: economic irreducible complexity

Murphy (
Wed, 27 Nov 1996 17:22:49 -0500

Russell Maatman wrote:
> So we are
> back to the same place: refute his examples at the Journal of Molecular
> Biology level. If no one can do that, then the claim that evolutionary
> theory is not general for the biological world is correct. Then, as I
> claimed earlier, it would not be correct to assume a priori that every
> biological system evolved.

This claim seems overstated. _As long as_ no one can do that,
it cannot be claimed that evolutionary theory has been _proven_ to be
general. The question remains open. One can still assume that every
biological system evolved (e.g., because of all the other things that
such an assumption helps to explain) without contradiction.
Scientific theories do get refuted or reduced to the status of
approximations to some better theory. E.g., we now know that classical
physics simply cannot explain some basic things like the existence of
stable atoms. But we know that only _a posteriori_, after the
development of quantum mechanics (to which classical mechanics is an
approximation). No one in 1913 would have been justified in saying that
classical physics had been proven wrong because it had not yet explained
atomic structure.
Whether an analogous development apropos the issue of evolution
and design is possible is open to question. One has to entertain the
possibility that someone will come up with an adequate scientific theory
of design which can explain things which natural selection &c can't.
But let's see such a theory. If I'm given simply a parallel to someone
in 1913 saying that an electron in the ground state of an atom doesn't
radiate because God keeps it from radiating, then I won't be very
George Murphy