Re: Critique of ID & No Free Lunch

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Fri Sep 13 2002 - 12:50:50 EDT

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    Tim wrote:

    > Systems are determined to be IC (v1.0) on the basis
    >of extant, physically determinable properties, independent of
    >any considerations about their origins. Behe's work was to show
    >that IC-ness is a reliable indicator of design.

    I agree with the first sentence here and, hence, have no trouble
    stating that an irreducibly complex structure could have evolved.
    However, if you read Behe's definitions and descriptions carefully,
    you will hear him say that if the system could have evolved then it
    is not irreducibly complex. This was part of the point of a paper I
    gave a the ASA meeting in 1999 at John Brown University. If you want
    me to produce the quotes (from Behe) I will.

    >Suggesting that a system couldn't be IC because it evolved
    >suggests some confusion about the logical order of the
    >argument. (Perhaps one of the in-house philosophers could
    >provide the common name for this class of fallacy?)

    I agree that there is confusion but his *definition* of irreducible
    complexity includes non-evolvability (something along the lines of
    "it couldn't have been assembled in a gradual fashion because the
    whole is needed for the function and the function is what natural
    selection works on").

    As I have done in the past, I will also distance myself a bit from
    "gradualism" by allowing for the possibility of Kauffman-like
    self-organization ideas--things just glom together and sometimes they
    turn out to be useful assemblies which can then be fine-tuned by
    natural selection.


    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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