Why Evolution is Wrong, post 3 of 10: Irreducible Complexity.

           This article is a continuation of my last post wherein I showed briefly how sickle cell anemia evolved in humans through random mutation and natural selection.  New readers may need to go back and read it in order to understand some of my points in this next article.


            Most people today have digital cameras built into their cell phones.  As we all know, these devices take pictures and then store the data in a code that contains the information for the color for each individual pixel. These pictures are often up-loaded onto a computer, from where they are later downloaded onto a friend’s website or a compact disc. They can be copied many times and sent all around the globe in a matter of minutes or less.  In order to illustrate mutation in living organisms, let’s assume for the moment that the photographs frequently developed mistakes when they were being copied. Let’s pretend that quite often part of the picture is deleted, entire sections swapped, or individual pixels randomly change their color. How many changes would it take for the picture to morph completely into something else? Suppose that you started with a highly detailed photograph of a Model T, and wanted it to turn into an equally detailed picture of a Porsche? How long would this kind of transformation take if the picture was being recopied ten times every second. Would it take a year? Would it take a decade?

            Of course the correct answer is hard to know for sure, but I strongly doubt it could happen at all; not unless the changes were part of a carefully planned program.  Suppose that the changes were random, but you had a large panel of car enthusiasts voting to “select” the changes that they thought were most Porsche-like by an up or down vote.  Would they be able to guide the evolution of the picture successfully, or would the photograph of the Model T disintegrate into a meaningless mass of color? I would say that the answer is clearly the latter.  The only way that the transformation could succeed is if a majority of panelists plotted out a specific, chronological pathway in advance and agreed to only vote for changes that fit perfectly with this plan. Even then, the process might easily take a million years.  Evolution operates in a similar way, with the DNA acting like the computer software, and environmental factors acting as the panelists.  The problem facing the evolution model, however, is that the “panelists” are constantly changing their minds.  One panelist who calls himself “weather” may want the organism to be suited for an ideal temperature of 45 degrees one millennium, but then suddenly decide that perhaps 25 degrees would be better just a few dozen generations later. Likewise, other panelists such as “predators” and “food supply” and “atmospheric conditions” may all be prone to the same kind of vagaries. And this is assuming, of course, that a giant asteroid doesn’t fall from outer space and wipe the entire thing out in the meantime.

            Simply put, this seems like an unlikely way to produce sophisticated genes. The protein “sentences” and the DNA that contains the instructions to make them are the product of vision and genius. They are so complex that they could not possible have been developed by random means even in the presence of natural selection: their creator must have been aware of their function.

            In my last post I mentioned how hemoglobin has “evolved” in some parts of Africa to produce sickle cell anemia. I asserted that this was a good example of evolution because we can clearly see that it was the result of a random mutation acted upon by natural selection rather than direct divine design.  Many of the other examples that evolutionists reference are really examples of natural selection acting alone: we don’t know whether the genes involved were originally created by random mutations or not.

            It is not my intention to prove from the sickle-cell example that mutations are always “bad.”  Yes, sickle cell anemia produces results that are almost as devastating as the malaria that it cures, but that is really beside the point.  It is probably possible for other mutations to give the same protection without as many negative effects.  Rather, my purpose is to show that real life examples of evolution do not result in new, complex functions like the evolutionists claim. Instead, they result in the destruction of ingeniously designed “bio-software” without creating new functions. They are mistakes, and as such, they are not the building blocks for ambitious, insightful, creations.*

            Michael Behe explains this concept in great detail in his book The Edge of Evolution. As a scientist, he displays much more ability in illustrating the shortcomings of the Darwinian mechanism than I do.  He describes mutational evolution as a kind of “trench warfare,” rather than the prolific “arms race” that the evolutionists claim it is. According to the latter theory, mutations (assisted of course by natural selection), build systems that are increasingly complex in response to similar advancements made by its competitors or predators. But Behe shows conclusively that organisms are inherently incapable of doing this naturally. The necessary mutations would require so many simultaneous alterations in DNA as to be statistically impossible.  Instead, real life evolution takes place when a simple mutation destroys or alters a perfectly functioning protein in order to inhibit an enemy (like a dangerous micro-organism) from taking advantage of the protein’s function. It is much more like burning a bridge to save a city than constructing a new kind of airplane to fight off the enemy.

            This fact causes much distress in the evolutionist camp. Many of them ignore this argument altogether, pretend to not understand it, or loudly contradict it, claiming it is based on bad science. This is a serious obstacle to evolutionary theory, and they know it, but most of them still believe they are right anyway because of evidence supplied by the fossil record or homologous structures.  But, as Behe aptly explains, this is no excuse.  I like the concise way he says it in his book:**

            “Repeating Darwin’s own mistakes, modern Darwinists point to evidence of common       descent and erroneously assume it to be evidence of the power of random mutation.”

            By changing the subject, many evolutionists try to skirt the problems posed by the inability of mutation and random chance to build complex new structures, even when “guided” by natural selection. As Behe rightfully points out in his other book, Darwin’s Black Box, many systems in the body could not have evolved out of simpler ones: they are irreducibly complex.  This means that if you take away or alter one of the system’s integral parts it completely stops functioning altogether.  He comes up with a number of examples in his book that pose insurmountable obstacles to evolution. He shows rather conclusively in explicit detail, that natural selection alone could not explain the intricacy and design in many basic biological systems.  Behe suggests that some “intelligent” source must have guided evolution.

            The evolutionists, of course, will never admit*** this is true. Deep down inside the top scientists, the ones too smart too be completely fooled by their own propaganda, know that they face a serious problem here. They assume, however, that it is only a matter of time before they discover a perfectly logical and completely natural answer to their conundrum.  They have plenty of faith in their own genius, and that of their colleagues. After all, scientific discovery is never-ending process.  Of course this is true, but in the meantime they should not be afraid to be honest about the facts as we know them know. Unfortunately, they sometimes teach biology through a cloak of implicit deception. I will discuss this deception in my next post. 

*Scientists often pretend not to realize just how complex and unlikely this process is. Read this quote by Jerry Coyne: 

            “With their reptilian competitors extinct, the ancestors of whales may have found an open niche, free from predators and loaded with food. The sea was ripe for invasion. All of its benefits were only a few mutations away.”  (Emphasis mine)

Coyne, Jerry A. Why Evolution is True. Viking, New York. 2009. page 52

**As a young earth creationist, unlike Michael Behe, I do not believe in common “descent” in the sense that all creatures are related through breeding. I do, however, believe in common origins. I will discuss this point in later posts.

*** Behe’s thesis of irreducible complexity is rejected by the scientific community on the grounds that it is not falsifiable.  Behe’s theory can easily be proven through statistics.  The evolutionists, however, point out that Behe can’t ever prove that a structure is really irreducibly complex, because there might be a “reducible” answer to each individual case that simply has not been discovered yet.  This may sound alluring at first, but to believe that all of the extremely complex, nearly perfectly calibrated biological structures inside of us were able to evolve through one step or two step mutations is patently absurd.  In order to believe this you have to be either ignorant (which is no sin), or you have to have a lot of faith in the scientists.  The top scientists who come up with this stuff do so because of their inherent belief that a completely natural explanation exists.


2 Responses to “Why Evolution is Wrong, post 3 of 10: Irreducible Complexity.”

  1. 1 Dan May 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Whoa, just checked out your other blog posts besides our running discussion, and dear goodness, you don’t know much about biology or Behe do you?

    I actually got my B.Sc. in Molecular Biology at Lehigh and took seminar class of his, where actually the other staff let him present his argument of Irreducible Complexity. Even then, as an 18 year old kid (it was my freshman year, and just after his publication of Darwin’s Black Box), I knew enough to recognize that his arguments didn’t hold up to scrutiny.

    But actually, he did eventually put his ideas to the test – as opposed to just making claims that he had never backed up with hard evidence. In 2004 he published the results of a study in the scientific journal Protein Science (I’m pretty sure it’s still available for free online). As the hypothesis, he came up with what was sure to be a condition that couldn’t possibly evolve given a near-infinite number of generations in a population of bacteria. Granted, the study was done in Silica because so many generations would take the age of the earth to reproduce, but in a computer program it would take minutes. What did Behe find? That it would take a population of bacteria which could fit in 1 cubic meter of soil a tiny 10,000 years to evolve something Irreducibly Complex. That’s almost nothing in geologic time. That pretty much refutes “IC”. And that is all Behe has ever done to test his claims. Ever.

    Oh, and by the way, Behe doesn’t think that Genesis is even close to “historically accurate” either. He’s very much an Old Earth Creationist, and on the record as accepting that humans evolved from primates.

  2. 2 schildan May 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Yes, I know Behe is not a young earth creationist. I mention that in one of my posts (I’m not sure if it’s one I’ve posted yet or not).

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