Creationism and Irreducible Complexity

One of the testable hypotheses of Intelligent Design theory is irreducible complexity.  A term coined by Michael Behe in his book Darwin’s Black Box.  I think this concept could possibly problematic from a Creationist perspective, because I don’t believe anything is irreducibly complex to God.  It’s not a problem from an ID perspective, because ID doesn’t entail the existence of God.  We know there are things designed by the intelligence of humans that are irreducibly complex (e.g., a mousetrap); however, if you start with the assumption of an all-powerful and all-knowing God, then there is nothing that would be irreducibly complex to God.

I’m just trying to think through this issue, and I think this is a possible point of divergence between ID and Creationism.  I don’t propose that I speak for the majority of Creationists here, but these are some thoughts that I’ve been having on the subject.  I’ve not yet made up my mind on the issue and welcome opinions.

Advertisements

9 Responses

  1. It’s not a problem from an ID perspective, because ID doesn’t entail the existence of God. We know there are things designed by the intelligence of humans that are irreducibly complex (e.g., a mousetrap); however, if you start with the assumption of an all-powerful and all-knowing God, then there is nothing that would be irreducibly complex to God.

    This is an issue for me also. I guess I look at ID as an attempt to deal with creation from the scientific perspective and take on the fallacies in the naturalist philosophy. For me, I have no need of science to believe in God and that He created us, which, of course, makes me an inbred moron with the “brilliant.” Don’t care! As a believer, if I’m not pursuing a philosophy of God, then I’m probably just wasting my time. “if you start with the assumption of an all-powerful and all-knowing God, then there is nothing that would be irreducibly complex to God.” I think what you said here says it all!

  2. I wouldn’t say that irreducible complexity is the important point per se. A neo-Darwinist can happily agree that certain systems are irreducibly complex, in the sense that Behe means. But the point of Behe’s claim is that irreducibly complex systems cannot have evolved through variation and selection; ergo they must have been designed. (Taking it as an assumption that the disjunction is valid: if not “chance” + “necessity,” then “design”.) I’m not sure what would be needed to test that claim.

  3. Um, what the? Speaking as a YEC, either I don’t understand irreducible complexity or you guys don’t. Irreducible complexity is objective. Anything that is irreducibly complex to me, is irredcuibly complex to God. I really don’t know why you would think otherwise.

  4. StephenA,

    I suppose I was thinking that we consider a mousetrap to be irreducibly complex. Remove any one part and it won’t work. But I guess I was thinking that God, knowing all, would be able to design a better mousetrap with fewer parts than we could. I suppose I didn’t make that very clear. Evolutionists might take a 7 component system that is irreducibly complex (you remove one component and it stops working), and then point out that there is a system that has 5 of the 7 components that has a different function and works just fine. I just think from a YEC perspective, you need not rely on anything like IC. You assume an all-powerful God to begin with, and He could use any number of different components in all different combinations. So, I just have to say that I’m still thinking about this issue, and I just threw out the idea as food for thought.

  5. But I guess I was thinking that God, knowing all, would be able to design a better mousetrap with fewer parts than we could.

    A simpler mousetrap would not mean that the first mousetrap was not irreducibly complex unless it was exactly the same as the first one, minus one part. Do you think God can remove a part from the standard mousetrap and still have it function without intervention?

    In order to do that God would have to change either logic, or some of the more fundamental laws of reality. I believe in an omnipotent God, but not one that can do the logically impossible.

  6. I sould also add that if a direct, step-by-step pathway (where each step is more fuctional) to making a mousetrap exists, and God knows about it, but we don’t, then that would mean the mousetrap is not in fact irreducibly complex, and Darwinism could explain it.

  7. One final note:

    “I think this concept could possibly problematic from a Creationist perspective, because I don’t believe anything is irreducibly complex to God. It’s not a problem from an ID perspective, because ID doesn’t entail the existence of God.”

    From that argument it would seem that irreducible complexity is problematic from a Theist perspective not just a Creationist one. Which would be kind of odd, since Behe is a catholic.

  8. I sould also add that if a direct, step-by-step pathway (where each step is more fuctional) to making a mousetrap exists, and God knows about it, but we don’t, then that would mean the mousetrap is not in fact irreducibly complex, and Darwinism could explain it.

    I think that is what I was originally trying to get at.

  9. From that argument it would seem that irreducible complexity is problematic from a Theist perspective not just a Creationist one. Which would be kind of odd, since Behe is a catholic.

    It doesn’t seem to be problematic from a theistic perspective as there seem to be a number of theistic evolutionists (e.g., Ken Miller, also purportedly catholic). I guess my point is with this argument, and perhaps I have not articulated it as well as I could have, that God could have used all different components in different functional arrangements elsewhere (other organisms). And evolutionists will point to this as evidence for homology and claim that it could have happened. AIG talks about IC some, but they don’t seem to make a big deal out of it. From a Creationist perspective, Creation speaks to God’s existent whether irreducibly complex or not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: