Darwins Black Box

I have recently read some of Dr. Behe’s writings on the subject of irreducible complexicity. This seems to totally disprove the theory of evolution. I am interested to hear the opinions of the SDMB regulars.


And one famous “irreducibly complex creature”

And a bunch of Post of the Months pointing out flaws in his biochem…

Behe’s work doesn’t really prove anything because most of it is scientifically flawed. For those not in the know, Behe defines Irreducable Complexity thusly:

There are a lot of problems with this premise. First, the premise itself is wrong. Complex systems have been demonstrated to arise from lesser complex systems all the time. In his book, Behe basically labels systems as “irreducably complex” when he cannot (or refuses to) acknowledge a simpler system.

Behe makes the claim that irreducably complex systems (such as organisms) cannot function if one part of that system is removed. (Of course, you have to define what a “part” is, as I recall, Behe doesn’t bother with this.)

If you take out my eyes, I will still function, but I will not be able to see. Clearly I am now inferior, (in an evolutionary sense) but I am still functional.

I haven’t read Behe’s tripe in quite a while, so I don’t remember more details of his arguments. Perhaps you could supply us with what you find so convincing?

here are some resources from Talk.Origins regarding Behe.

Yes, there is evidence in nature of animals at various stages in, say, blood-clotting cycle sophistication.
Yes theories can easily be developed to show how it came about.
But what I find really interesting is Behe’s attempt at a replacement theory.
The only one he offers, really (since he isn’t about to reject the geological and paleological evidence of earth’s history) is a sort of super-cell that had all these processes built in by, say, God. Not actually used, just primed and ready.
Of course, then its hard to explain why every creature on the planet wouldn’t have these dormant processes in place.
Or how the data avoided getting corrupted in the intervening billenia (is that a word? :slight_smile: should be…).

Here’s an old thread devoted to that topic. Lots of opinions from SDMB regulars in it.

The excellent book Finding Darwin’s God, by Brown University professor of biology handily addresses the disingenuous arguments of Creation apologists like Behe and Philip “I’m-a-lawyer-not-a-scientist” Johnson. Worth a read.


Why bother, GodSend?

We all know you’re too chicken to come back and defend Behe. You’re just another drive-by.

You think your drive-by posting brings anyone to Jesus? It is to laugh. Every time one of you people do this, it makes me so mad I go out and convert another young person to Atheism. So stop doing it, for the sake of their souls.

When you theists come and TRY to debate, it makes me happy, so I don’t bother converting people to atheism. So you have two choices. Run away like a little coward, and I’m going to go visit the neighbor kid and convince him there is no God. Or you can come back and fight like a man.

Any bets on whether GodSend makes baby Jesus cry?

Lemur866, that was cold. Funny, but cold.

When I was in school a coworker asked, since I was majoring in Anthropology, if I believed in evolution.

“Sorta goes with the territory, ya know.”

“Then you can’t be a true Christian.”

“That’s okay. I’m Catholic, so I can’t be a true Christian, anyway.”

You obviously have issues better dealt with in private. I posted this because I had recently read the information. I was interested to find if there was a debate possible here. It seems that most people at the SDMB do not believe in creationism. Every one is entitled to their opinions …even you. :slight_smile:

Function is less important than advantage.
If a system is not absolutely required for life (replication) it may evolve in pieces, each of which may or may not have a function alone, and create a working whole that may or may not be “irreducibly complex”. An “irreducibly complex” system (formed by the chance commingling of its components) can serve to replace another system that does the same thing and is NOT “irreducibly complex”. Thus there is no logical barrier to evolved organisms containing "irreducibly complex"systems.

Yes, most of us know better.
But every once in a while, someone decides to go fishing…
and so on, month after month. (that was only back about 3 months)
And of course, the ultimate thread on the subject…

Thank you for humoring me.

Godsend, I really do apologise. Thank you for coming back and talking with us. The trouble is that we get so many people who come in and post “I don’t believe in evolution”, and then never bother to come back.

You are obviously not in that category, and I apologize for being snippy with you.

Thank you.
While I don’t believe in evolution I still like to know what other people have to say about it.


Why do you think that Behe “totally disproves the theory of evolution?” After all, Behe accepts the standard geolgical time table and common descent. He simply tries to insist that life was somehow designed in some little details.

After all, he accepts that “reducible complexity” could have evolved!

On a related note, there is a great new article on the talk.origins website about 29 evidences for macro-evolution:


My favorite question for Intellegent Design proponents: Why did God turn-off our ability to create our own vitamin C? The genes are there, they are just part of the “junk DNA.”

I would think that’s because most folks come to the SDMB to get educated and fight ignorance, not propagate it. :wink:

Ya know, it’s all nice that godsend has dropped back by to be friendly, but did I miss the part where he actually addresses all the criticisms of Behe’s claims and admits that, in fact, Behe’s claims don’t “disprove the theory of evolution”?

Hey, I say that Godsend isn’t one of those psuedo-christians who make baby Jesus cry with their drive-by postings. Give the boy a chance. He’s probably just reading through all the links they gave him.

Perhaps he’ll come back and say, “Never mind.”

While I can offer no proof to the theory of creation I don’t see proof being offered on the theory of evolution.
This subject is obviously a very serious issue to many people. My convictions come from my personal beliefs. While many of your convictions come from different personal beliefs. I have the proof required by my self to base my beliefs on,you have the proof needed to base your beliefs on. This is not a great battle. Simply personal opinions and beliefs. Thank you all for your efforts and time.