Evolution’s Limits – My Definition of Irreducible Complexity

Go ahead...your car can make it over that raised lift bridge...

This is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits
Previous: Evolution’s Limits – Are Cars Evolvable?

I might have figured out how to test in a lab for evolution’s limit (irreducible complexity), and I’m reading up on the subject to find out if my idea is practical.  I’m using this as an excuse to learn more about evolution’s limit.

I noticed a loophole irreducible complexity’s definition which would’ve declared that some things could appear by evolution, even when they really can’t.  So I started by reading up on the definition of irreducible complexity and some common objections that evolutionists raise.

I’m finally ready to give my improved definition.  This is the one I plan to use in my test of evolution’s limit – assuming that the math works out.  I reserve the right to change my definition if I find another loophole.

Continue reading Evolution’s Limits – My Definition of Irreducible Complexity

Advertisements

Evolution’s Limits – Are Cars Evolvable?

Car evolution...proves no intelligent design

This is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits
Previous: Evolution’s Limits – Do Bolts Make Engines Evolvable?
Next: Evolution’s Limits – My Definition of Irreducible Complexity

What do cars have to do with evolution’s limit?  They’re an interesting corner case that Michael Behe’s original definition didn’t catch.

I might have figured out how to test in a lab for the limit of evolution (irreducible complexity), and I’m reading up on the subject to find out if my idea will work.  The first thing I need to do is make sure that my definition of evolution’s limit is good enough for what I want to do.  I’m also debunking some objections that people have raised to the argument that life is too complicated to appear by evolution.

Today, I’ll explain a technicality that I thought of in Behe’s original definition, and give an improved version.  It turns out that William Dembski – a big name in the intelligent design movement – thought of this more than 10 years ago.

Continue reading Evolution’s Limits – Are Cars Evolvable?

Evolution’s Limits – Do Bolts Make Engines Evolvable?

Partly disassembled car motor

This is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits
Previous: Evolution’s Limits – An Appeal to Missing Links
Next: Evolution’s Limits – Are Cars Evolvable?

I might have figured out how to test in a lab for the limit of how far evolution can go, and at the same time test one of the main arguments of the intelligent design movement: irreducible complexity.

I’m using this as an excuse to read up on evolution’s practical limit.  I’m starting by making sure that the standard definition of irreducible complexity is good enough for what I want to do.  If I find some corner case or technicality that makes the definition unusable, I’ll adjust it to close that loophole.  While I’m at it, I’ll debunk a few common arguments against evolution’s limit.

Today’s argument is:
If any machine in a living thing has a part that’s also used for something else, the bigger machine is totally evolvable.

Continue reading Evolution’s Limits – Do Bolts Make Engines Evolvable?

Evolution’s Limits – An Appeal to Missing Links

Teach the Doctor Who controversy - you can't prove that he doesn't exist

This is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits

Previous:

Next:

Why am I – an amature creation scientist – featuring an atheist’s meme?  Read on to find out.

I might have figured out a practical way to test for evolution’s limit in a lab, and I want to do the math to find out if it’ll be practical.  I’m also using this project as an excuse to read up on evolution’s limit.

In my previous post, I gave Michael Behe’s definition of evolution’s practical limit – or as he called it, irreducible complexity.  However, before I go further, I need a definition that’s good enough for what I’m doing.  Thus, I’m going through some objections to his argument that life is too complicated to evolve, and if necessary I’ll tweak his definition of “too complicated” to cover some corner cases.

Continue reading Evolution’s Limits – An Appeal to Missing Links

Evolution’s Limits – Defining Irreducible Complexity

Mouse Trap

This post is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits

Previous:

Next:

What do mouse traps have to do with testing evolution?  Read on to find out.

I might have figured out how to find the limit of evolution in a lab, and I’m trying to find out if it’s practical.  I’m also using this as an excuse to read up on evolution’s limits.

Before I do anything else, I need to define what I’m talking about – what are the limits of evolution?  Here are the two that I know of:

  • The practical limit of mutation
    • This is the most complex system that can appear one mutation at a time, or at most a few mutations at a time
    • Each step – or nearly every step – has to be such a big improvement that it must give the mutants an unfair advantage in reproduction
  • The practical limit of natural selection
    • This is the smallest effect that an improvement can have, for mutants to reliably out-compete the originals.
    • On the flip side, it’s also the smallest effect that a genetic disease can have, for mutants to reliably be driven extinct by the originals.  A genetic disease that’s not bad enough to eliminate itself by natural selection runs in the family of the person who has it.  For more about this, see the evidence that my simulator is accurate.

In this series, I’ll focus mainly on the first – the practical limit of mutation.  I’ve already covered the other one in some detail.

In this post, I’ll give the definition of the practical limit of mutation, as given by Michael Behe.  He named it irreducible complexity.

Continue reading Evolution’s Limits – Defining Irreducible Complexity

Whoops!

This is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits

Previous:

Next:

I made a mistake in my last post.  I wrote that I hadn’t found any research looking for irreducible complexity.  What I meant was that all the research I knew of that claimed to look for irreducible complexity looked for a straw man version, instead of the real thing.

I corrected my post and gave a more detailed explanation, along with some links to some of the research I’m talking about.

Photo credit:

 

The Practical Limit of Evolution

This is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits

Next:

A few years ago, I tested evolution.  In my simulation, there were 4 main phenomena:

  1. Evolution
  2. The practical limit of evolution
  3. Devolution
  4. Extinction due to devolution

Of these, I was able to find plenty of scientific papers documenting 3 of them.  But I couldn’t find any studies looking for 1 of them – the practical limit of evolution.

EDIT: I phrased this poorly.  There are plenty of scientific papers that claim to debunk irreducible complexity, but as Casey Luskin pointed out, they attack a straw-man version of of irreducible complexity, not the real thing.  This article by Ken Miller references some of them, and gives a good summary of the reasoning behind them.

Here are some more:

I wrote that I couldn’t find any studies looking for irreducible complexity because the ones that I knew of that claimed to were actually looking for the wrong thing.  I had planned to clarify this in a future post, but I realized that if someone only read this post, they would think that there wasn’t any research that even claimed to test the claim of irreducible complexity, which would be a false claim.

We Creationists call this limit Irreducible Complexity.  Basically, if any machine is too complicated to appear by evolution, it’s irreducibly complex.

In this series, I’m going to read up on this limit and summarize what’s been said and written about it so far.  I have the beginning of a way to test in a lab if something can or can’t appear by evolution.  If someone else has thought of it or tried it, I’ll summarize their research.  If not, I’ll explain my idea.

Michael Behe coined the term in his book Darwin’s Black Box.

I’m also going to experiment with smaller posts.  I want to keep each post in this series under 600 words.

This is part of a series: Evolution’s Limits

Next:

Photo credit: