Re: economic irreducible complexity

Keith B Miller (
Wed, 27 Nov 1996 22:01:14 -0600 (CST)


You wrote:

>At the _most_, Allan, you call attention to the fact that Behe's definition
>of irreducibility needs refining. Surely it is possible for someone to
>construct a definition that will include only his examples. His argument
>does not, after all, depend upon the existence of other examples. 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. Each system would have to be examined and, if
>possible, declared to be derived by gradualistic evolution if that
>examination so
>warranted. Otherwise, do not make general claims for evolution. Yes, some
>of those systems not proved to have evolutionary origin just might be

What you appear to be demanding is complete evolutionary descriptions of
all biological systems. You seem to want a theory that is demonstrated in
all particulars before you will allow it to act as a scientific paradigm.
As long as even one unexplained process of structure exists, your challenge
could still be made. By this approach _no_ scientific theory could ever be
accepted. The explanatory power of scientific theories lies in their
ability to fruitfully direct research into new areas. They enable vast
amounts of diverse data and observations to be explained and understood as
part of a larger system or concept. Evolutionary theory in its many aspects
provides such a foundational system.

This has already been stated by others, but I do not believe that your
contrast of design and evolution is theologically defensible. I believe
that _all_ physical reality is brought into existence and upheld by God's
creative power. God's creative power is presently at work - commonly
referred to as providence. To me design is another way of expressing the
Biblical concept that creation in its entirety exists by God's will and for
His purposes. God can design by whatever process He chooses. Why can you
not see evolution as the means God used to bring about His purposes for
creation? If you acknowledge that God could exercise His creative powers
through evolutionary process, then what theological benefit is gained by
trying to prove them inadequate?

In Christ:


Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506