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Not So Complex?

Charles Darwin had long foreseen the idea of “irreducible complexity” even in 1859 when he wrote his famous book “On the Origin of Species”. He wrote:


“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”


So here we are, look at the bacterial flagellum! It can’t lack any of the 30 to 40 parts and it can’t have any single part misplaced in order for it to function. It could not have been formed by numerous slight modifications. It has to come with all parts ready and be assembled perfectly. Otherwise, it will be useless, and Natural Selection will have no reason to let it stay in the population.


Would Darwin, who lives way before the advancement of technology that allows modern people to see these amazing biological structures in the cellular level, agree that his theory of natural selection “absolutely break down”?


We can’t hear Darwin, but we hear lots of objections from evolutionists ever since the term “irreducible complexity” was introduced in the book “Darwin’s Black Box” in 1996. Many of the arguments for and against irreducible complexity involve a lot of biological concepts. For simplicity, I would describe the debate that centers on the mousetrap analogy. Its implication on biology is not hard to understand.


It was proposed that biological systems that seem to have irreducible complexity do not necessarily need to be irreducibly complex. The idea was illustrated by claiming that the mousetrap proposed to illustrate irreducible complexity can be reduced in complexity and still function as a mousetrap. The five parts mousetrap includes the hammer, spring, hold-down bar which locks the hammer before the kill, the catch that triggers the release of the hold-down bar, and the platform. It was argued that we can remove the catch and the five-parts mousetrap becomes four-parts only, so that its complexity is reduced. It can still function if “the hold-down bar is bent a little so that it catches on the end of the hammer that protrudes out from the spring; this end of the hammer might need a little filing to make the action nice and delicate...”


Now we have a 4-part trap. We can keep going to make a 3-part trap. This time, it was argued that the hold-down bar can be removed. The argument says we can “bend the hammer so that one end is resting right at the edge of the platform, holding the hammer up in the cocked position.” The website that details the steps says: “It is difficult to put the hammer exactly on the edge of the base…When it does snap the hammer hits the floor and sends the trap flying, possibly tossing the mouse to safety.”


To be Continued …



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