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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CF002:

Complexity does not arise from simplicity.


  1. Complexity arises from simplicity all the time. The Mandelbrot set is an example (Dewey 1996). Real-life examples include the following: A pan of water with heat applied uniformly to its bottom will develop convection currents that are more complex than the still water; complex hurricanes arise from similar principles; complex planetary ring systems arise from simple laws of gravitation; complex ant nests arise from simple behaviors; and complex organisms arise from simpler seeds and embryos.

  2. Complexity should be expected from evolution. In computer simulations, complex organisms were more robust than simple ones (Lenski et al. 1999), and natural selection forced complexity to increase (Adami et al. 2000). Theoretically, complexity is expected because complexity-generating processes dissipate the entropy from solar energy influxes, in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics (Wicken 1979). Ilya Prigogine won the Nobel Prize "for his contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures" (Nobel Foundation 1977). According to Prigogine, "it is shown that non-equilibrium may become a source of order and that irreversible processes may lead to a new type of dynamic states of matter called 'dissipative structures' " (Prigogine 1977, 22).


  1. Adami, C., C. Ofria and T. C. Collier, 2000. Evolution of biological complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 97(9): 4463-4468.
  2. Dewey, David, 1996. Introduction to the Mandelbrot set.
  3. Lenski, R. E., C. Ofria, T. C. Collier and C. Adami, 1999. Genome complexity, robustness and genetic interactions in digital organisms. Nature 400: 661-664.
  4. Nobel Foundation 1977. The Nobel Prize in chemistry 1977.
  5. Prigogine, Ilya, 1977. Time, structure, and fluctuations,
  6. Wicken, Jeffrey S., 1979. The generation of complexity in evolution: A thermodynamic and information-theoretical discussion. Journal of Theoretical Biology 77: 349-365.

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created 2003-5-7, modified 2005-3-29