Re: Fw: Fw: economic irreducible complexity

Terry M. Gray (
Fri, 29 Nov 1996 15:27:44 -0500

Dear Pattle:

All I have to say is that the complexity field is in its infancy espeically
in testing it in real physical/chemical systems. As a biochemist
interested in biological self-organization (protein folding, macromolecular
assembly), I can only say that the Kauffman type analysis rings true to me.
TIME WILL TELL. I am happy to wait and see what happens and now merely say
that it looks promising to me (I think that Kauffman is similarly cautious
if you read him carefully and sympathetically). Why Bradley and Behe are
so quick to dismiss this entire line of thinking is a mystery to me unless
somehow they NEED this anti-evolutionary perspective for their Christian

Tell me, was there anyone there willing to challenge Walter's perspective
or did we have a crowd full of people who already agreed. It seems that
there are many Christian scientists out there that are very intrigued by
these schools of thought (see the review of Kauffman's book in the latest
issues of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith).

By the way, Horgan is NO complexity theorist--he is acientific journalist
who wrote an anti-complexity essay for Scientific American and now his book
*The End of Science*. It seems to me that his main purpose in writing
these things was simply to yank on people's chains.


>Walter Bradley at the Creation Conference argued forcefully against the
>mathematical biology advocated by Kauffman and associates. He quoted one
>of them, John Horgan who quotes John Maynard Smith, one of the pioneers
>of mathemicatical biology, as referring to such simulation science "as
>fact-free science", where the mentioning of observational facts is
>considered to be in rather bad taste. Bradley also suggested, and I quote:
>"Self organization in complex systems which consist of large numbers of
>coupled chemical together have been demonstrated primarily in computer
>simulations. Again, the complexity or information that can be produced in
>an actual system depends on logistically arranging the many chemical
>reactions which take place in a very complicated way so that the required
>coupling can occur. While this is not a problem in the computer, it would
>be a "nightmare" in a real system of 1,000,000 chemical reactions. In
>reality, the information associated with the self organization in such
>systems is almost certainly less than the informational requirements to
>make the necessary spatial arrangements. Again we see that there do not
>seem to be any"free lunches" in nature when one is trying to explain the
>origin of information in nature."
>Dr. Pattle Pun
>Professor of Biology
>Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187
>Phone: (630)752-5303
>FAX: (630)752-5996

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Calvin College 3201 Burton SE Grand Rapids, MI 40546
Office: (616) 957-7187 FAX: (616) 957-6501

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