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Irreducible complexity indicates design (Talk.Origins)
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- Systems are irreducibly complex if removing any one part destroys the system's function. Irreducible complexity in organisms indicates they were designed.
CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)
1. Irreducible complexity is claimed to indicate (but does not) that certain systems could not have evolved gradually. However, jumping from there to the conclusion that those systems were designed is an argument from incredulity. There is nothing about irreducibly complex systems that is positive evidence for design.
The claim that something is an argument from incredulity seems to be Talk Origins favorite argument. They are saying in essence is that nothing is impossible with evolution and there by rendering it untestable based on existing biology. They are shifting the burden of proof by trying to force intelligent design advocates to prove a negative. It is impossible to prove that something does not exist or can not happen, the most one can do is show that as far as we know it dose not exist or cannot happen. Thus the burden of proof is on those who say something does exist or can happen, since they may be able to finding new evidence of the positive.
Take question of alien life for example. To prove that alien life exists all that is needed is to find some life that could not have come from Earth. However, to prove that alien life does not exist would require eliminating all other star systems as a source of alien life. Given about 100 billion stars per galaxy and an estimated 100 billion galaxies proving that alien life does not exist can be considered impossible, thus the burden of proof is on those saying that alien life exists.
The irreducible complexity claim is that irreducibly complex systems cannot be produced by known natural processes, and / or chance, and a challenge to evolutionists to produce proof that they can. Instead of providing proof, evolutionists only offer stories about how they imagine that it can happen, and then criticize ID proponents for not having enough imagination. Talk Origins is in effect saying that ID proponents need to disprove all evolutionists' just-so stories before design can be inferred, which is an impossible task, since more can always be invented. This has been the historical pattern, in fact, in the history of evolutionist claims.
Irreducible complexity suggests a lack of design. For critical applications, such as keeping an organism alive, you do not want systems that will fail if any one part fails. You want systems that are robust (Steele 2000).
Irreducible complexity does not eliminate redundancy, it simply means that a minimum number of parts needs to be in place for a system to work. An irreducible complex system can be made robust by adding redundancy and life does have built in redundancy .
Another point here is that the claim that "irreducible complexity suggests a lack of design" is falsified by the obvious expectation that those who claim this would not have any problem whatsoever describing any human-made systems that lack redundancy, as designed that way. Computer systems are a good example where perfect and complete redundancy is very rare indeed, and yet there are extensive backup and recuperation methodologies in place that meet real-life needs. There is also plenty of biological redundancy in the reproduction imperative, that is, the fact that all species produce more offspring than replacement numbers.