Re: intell. des. and Berra's folly

Glenn Morton (
Mon, 01 Jun 1998 12:23:50 -0500

E G M ( wrote:
>I should know better not to mess with Glenn. Here, once again he went
>off the tangent.

I was merely attempting to answer your suggestion that objects in the biological world don't change.

Yesterday you wrote:
>The world economy is not
>i.c. because maby of its parts can (and have) removed or changed and
>yet it continues working (thus it does not fulfill behe's i.c.

It seems to me that Behe's definition requires instantaneous removal of one of the parts with no possibility of a replacement part that might be less efficient at performing the same option. That is one weakness of his view. Secondly, your definition of what is and isn't IC is not correct. One can remove things from biological systems also and still have them function. I can remove eyes from a person and they still function, I can remove ears lets add legs and hands. So now we have a legless, blind, deaf and armless individual who still lives. If, following your reasoning, the removal of parts with the continued functioning of the whole disqualifies a system as being IC then clearly huans are not irreducibly complex. What about biochemicals in cells that can be eliminated and the system still function? Does it function as well? no, but it is still the removal of a part, which, once again, by your definition rules the cell out of IC status. [see below about growth hormones]. Can
I remove some things from the world economy and still have it function? Sure I can ban tiddly-winks and the economy runs find. But try to eliminate in an instantaneous fashion all computers in the world and then see what happens.

>What is the difinition of Irreducible complexity according to Behe?
>If I remember correctly is a biological system composed of various
>indispensable andstratigically assembled parts. If any of these parts
>is missing the system will not function.

My son was deficient in growth hormone. It was a missing chemical in his body. He functioned, but he didn't grow. There are other children that are missing an enzyme or homone that growth hormone triggers (it is called somata..something] and while they have growth homone, they don't grow because the next step is missing. These is an example of a chemical which can be removed from the supposedly IC biological system and the system still functions. In the old days children like my son or the others lacking somatatropin[?]..something] grew up and became adult, but very short adults. Are you going to say that my son didn't function without this chemical? He was a straight A student whom everyone teased with the name 'peanut'. This summer he is getting a master's degree. It seems to me that your definition of IC means no biological system is IC while Behe's is much better it is still weak. Let me ask this. Why is the economy to be considered non-IC because parts can be removed yet it
functions and the biological system is considered IC in spite of the fact that chemical parts can be removed and it still function?
>Now. Can anybody think of a few things we can remove from the world
>economy and yet it will contuinue to function? If you can the answer
>is that the world economy is not I.C.

Behe's definition is that any 3 or more component working object which if removed. Behe is NOT saying that every component of a system is IC. This clearly goes beyond the data and beyond Behe.

>Now regarding the "evolution" of the various "designs". Let me just
>remit this curious quote.
>"The true parallel of the evolutionary development of organisms could be
>illustrated, for example, by a historical exhibition of bicycles,
>showing how this machine gradually changed from year to year, from
>decade to decade, or, in the same way, of railway-engines, motor-cars,
>aeroplanes, typewriters, etc. Here, just as in the natural process, it
>is obviously essential that the machine in question should be
>continually used and thus improved; not literally improved by use, but
>by the experience gained and the alterations suggested. The bicycle, by
>the way, illustrate the case, mentioned before, of an old organism,
>which has reached the attainable perfection and has therefore pretty
>well ceased to undergo further changes. Still is not about to become
>extinct!" From MIND AND MATTER, the Tarner Lectures, delivered at
>TrinityCollege, Cambridge, in October of 1956 by the famous Physicist Erwin
>Schrodinger, published in the book "What is Life?" (this essay was
>written in 1944 by E.S.) by Cambridge University Press 1992, p.114.

>E.S. does some very good calculations as a physicist in this work and
>predicted the size of the "genetic units" and identified them as the
>loci of mutations more than a decade before the structure of DNA was
>discovered. However, if you'd like to see an example of how the
>philosophical/theological standing of an scientist influences his work,
>this is a short (a bit difficult to follow at several places though) but
>rather good example. E.S. was highly influenced (as he freely admitted)
>by "The Unified Theory of the Upanishads" (Hinduism).

Is this a tangent in a discussion of the economy and IC? I just want to be able to recognize them so I don't make that mistake again and have you say I have gone off on a tangent.

>I believe Glenn is making the same mistake of E.S. and of Berra who
>used the "evolution" of a sport car. Variation in designs is what I

Since I have said nothing about a sports car and have spoken of the economy, which is a whole lot more complex than cars, I don't see the analogy fits. With sports cars, there is a single designer or a design team that integrates the whole system. With the economy, there was no committee or design team who decided how to put the parts together. I think the sports car analogy is very unanalogous.