Irreducible Complexity and Michael Behe
n 1996, the Free Press published a book by Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe called Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. The book's central thesis is that many biological systems are "irreducibly complex" at the molecular level. Behe gives the following definition of irreducible complexity:
By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution. (p. 39)Although the argument from irreducible complexity is essentially a rehash of the famously flawed watchmaker argument advanced by William Paley at the start of the 19th century, Behe's book has attracted a great deal of attention from creationists and non-creationists alike. The articles collected here address the claims made by Behe in his book.
Home Page |
The FAQ | Must-Read Files | Index | Creationism | Evolution | Age of the Earth | Flood Geology | Catastrophism | Debates