Irreducible Complexity Reduced: An Integrated Approach to the Complexity Space
by Stephen Griffith
Abstract—Biochemist Michael Behe created quite a stir with the publication of Darwin's Black Box :The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. In this book, Behe argues that relatively recent advances in biochemistry reveal the existence of hitherto unknown and unexpected biochemical machines and other complex systems within living organisms which exhibit a property Behe defines as "irreducible complexity". What makes the existence of such allegedly irreducibly complex features of living organisms so interesting and important is that, according to Behe, they (or, more precisely, their existence) simply cannot be explained by means of the various neodarwinian mechanisms available within the context of contemporary evolutionary theory, such as natural selection and chance mutation of genes. To put it another way, if Behe is right, neodarwinism, the currently accepted paradigm of evolutionary theory, will need to be abandoned or at least modified beyond recognition if we wish to provide a truly scientific explanation of these features. This in itself would be enough to agitate much of the scientific community, but an even greater source of agitation is that Behe eventually goes on to argue that the only possible explanation of the existence of irreducibly complex biological features of living organisms must be in terms of "intelligent design".
Back to PCID Volume 3.1, November 2004