Re: [asa] RE: (irreducible complexity and evolution) design and the nature of science (was: Re: [asa] Re: Gingerich on TE and ID)

From: Bill Powers <wjp@swcp.com>
Date: Mon Jun 15 2009 - 13:34:22 EDT

Bernie:

I'll let Cameron reply for himself.

But clearly your understanding of irreducible complexity cannot be
correct. After all, we do construct mouse traps and cars all the time.

The issue is the number of elements that must be simultaneously
available. If all the parts of a mouse trap are present simultaneously
it might even be possible for a car accident to put it together, but
highly unlikely.

It is a matter of probabalistic resources. In order to put togehter a
car, say on an assembly line, it is required that
1) the available parts be simultaneously, or more carefully that they
would be available on the time scale much shorter than the dissipative
time scale (i.e., some measure of the effects of entropy, friction, or
chaotic mixing).

2) That all the pieces would be put together on a time scale short
compared to the disordering time scale (e.g., the time for the parts to
rust, etc.).

Irreducible complexity, as I understand it, is a statement that the
joint probability of both the parts being nearly simultaneously
available, say over time DeltaT, and the probability of the parts being
put together over a time DeltaT is vanishingly small for a non-lawful,
non-intelligent process.

It assumes that there is no necessity in the parts coming together
(e.g., the parts of a mouse trap have not "lawful" reason to come
together, although once together they remain together, implying, it
seems short range forces). The parts must have a lifetime that is long
compared to the time of preparation, otherwise what is put together will
not be made of the parts, although it might be possible that even a
rusty car could become a whole, or an "inferior" mousetrap.

bill

On Mon, 15 Jun
2009, Dehler, Bernie wrote:

> Cameron quoted:
> " If the parts of the universe are so fine-tuned that they cannot help but fall together into certain biologically functional arrangements, then irreducibly complex structures will of course form through a front-loaded evolutionary process."
>
> I don't understand. I understand "irreducible complexity" to mean that it is impossible for nature to sequentially build something complex because all the parts would need to appear at once (like the mousetrap needing all of it's basic parts to be present at the same time). This is against evolution- guided or unguided.
>
> ...Bernie
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow
> Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 7:35 AM
> To: asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: design and the nature of science (was: Re: [asa] Re: Gingerich on TE and ID)
>
> Actually, Bernie, that's not the case. Here are just three paragraphs for
> you:
>
> If the parts of the universe are so fine-tuned that they cannot help but
> fall together into certain biologically functional arrangements, then
> irreducibly complex structures will of course form through a front-loaded
> evolutionary process. The evolutionary process would then be analogous to
> the embryological process, in that the outcome would be planned from the
> beginning, with the changes all ready in advance. But this would be a
> planned evolutionary process, unlike Darwin's evolutionary process, the
> essential nature of which is to be unplanned. Irreducible complexity does
> not clash with "evolution"; it clashes with "unplanned evolution". Behe
> assumed that any careful reader of *Darwin's Black Box* would understand
> that he was talking about "unplanned evolution".
>
> Of course, there is as yet no evidence that fine-tuning can accomplish such
> an evolutionary feat. Fine-tuning at the evolutionary level essentially
> requires that the earliest DNA has the plan for the whole march of life
> implicit in it, and this claim is still highly speculative, and will remain
> so until we understand what all the apparently unused DNA is for. But this
> view is no more speculative than Darwinism itself. Each view requires one
> seemingly incredible claim. Darwinism requires us to believe that time
> after time, over the course of life, accident produces new functional
> structures, with the whole process conveniently tending upwards toward man;
> front-loading or fine-tuning requires us to believe that level after level
> of biological complexity is packed into the fundamental properties of the
> chemical elements, and this gives to biochemical necessity the awesome power
> that Darwinism gives to chance. On the face of it, it seems incredible that
> either chance or necessity could have such powers.
>
> The smart money, I would say, is on the view that the evolutionary process
> is in fact intelligently guided. It's a view consistent with our knowledge
> of integrated complex systems, and of the limited power of Darwinian
> mechanisms. It's a view in tune with common sense. It's the view that
> seems to be held by Ted Davis and George Murphy and Robert Russell, and
> also, I am told, by Owen Gingerich and other TEs. It is also a view
> compatible with the arguments of Behe and of many other ID supporters. But
> it is of course a view which, according to many here, is unscientific, or
> non-scientific. I never said that intelligently guided evolution was
> "scientific" in the sense of a formal scientific hypothesis, but I certainly
> believe that it is compatible with the best scientific data -- more
> compatible, in fact, than pure Darwinism is. Once again, I think that TE,
> when it is not afraid to say directly and without ambiguity that God
> controlled the evolutionary process to produce certain specific results, is
> in tune with some versions of ID.
>
> Cameron.
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
> To: <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 3:19 PM
> Subject: RE: design and the nature of science (was: Re: [asa] Re: Gingerich
> on TE and ID)
>
>
>> I think one TE could say "yes" (fully gifted creation- Howard Van Till),
>> and another might say "No" because God needs to guide it somewhat or at
>> certain times.
>>
>> Cameron said:
>> ID says, "NO -- unless the properties of the atoms and the laws of nature
>> are fine-tuned, which implies design."
>>
>> If ID says it could happen, then that blows apart Behe's mousetrap example
>> (irreducible complexity), which is a pillar for ID I think ("Icons of ID"
>> if you will).
>
>
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Received on Mon Jun 15 13:35:01 2009

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