Quantum Pranx


Darwin’s headache: Irreducible complexity

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From: http://www.darwinismrefuted.com

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT concepts that one must employ when questioning Darwinist theory in the light of scientific discoveries is without a doubt the criterion that Darwin himself employed. In The Origin of Species, Darwin put forward a number of concrete criteria suggesting how his theory might be tested and, if found wanting, disproved. Many passages in his book begin, “If my theory be true,” and in these Darwin describes the discoveries his theory requires. One of the most important of these criteria concerns fossils and “transitional forms.” In earlier chapters, we examined how these prophecies of Darwin’s did not come true, and how, on the contrary, the fossil record completely contradicts Darwinism.

In addition to these, Darwin gave us another very important criterion by which to test his theory. This criterion is so important, Darwin wrote, that it could cause his theory to be absolutely broken down:

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. But I can find out no such case.

We must examine Darwin’s intention here very carefully. As we know, Darwinism explains the origin of life with two unconscious natural mechanisms: natural selection and random changes (in other words, mutations). According to Darwinist theory, these two mechanisms led to the emergence of the complex structure of living cells, as well as the anatomical systems of complex living things, such as eyes, ears, wings, lungs, bat sonar and millions of other complex system designs.

However, how is it that these systems, which possess incredibly complicated structures, can be considered the products of two unconscious natural effects? At this point, the concept Darwinism applies is that of “reducibility.” It is claimed that these systems can be reduced to very basic states, and that they may have then developed by stages. Each stage gives a living thing a little more advantage, and is therefore chosen by natural selection. Then, later, there will be another small, chance development, and that too will be preferred because it affords an advantage, and the process will go on in this way. Thanks to this, according to the Darwinist claim, a species which originally possessed no eyes will come to possess perfect ones, and another species which was formerly unable to fly, will grow wings and be able to do so.

This story is explained in a very convincing and reasonable manner in evolutionist sources. But when one goes into it in a bit more detail, a great error appears. The first aspect of this error is a subject we have already studied in earlier pages of this book: Mutations are destructive, not constructive. In other words, chance mutations that occur in living creatures do not provide them any “advantages,” and, furthermore, the idea that they could do this thousands of times, one after the other, is a dream that contradicts all scientific observations.

But there is yet another very important aspect to the error. Darwinist theory requires all the stages from one point to another to be individually “advantageous.” In an evolutionary process from A to Z (for instance, from a wingless creature to a winged one), all the “intermediate” stages B, C, D, …V, W, X, and Y along the way have to provide advantages for the living thing in question. Since it is not possible for natural selection and mutation to consciously pick out their targets in advance, the whole theory is based on the hypothesis that living systems can be reduced to discrete traits that can be added on to the organism in small steps, each of which carries some selective advantage. That is why Darwin said, “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.”

Given the primitive level of science in the nineteenth century, Darwin may have thought that living things possess a reducible structure. But twentieth century discoveries have shown that many systems and organs in living things cannot be reduced to simplicity. This fact, known as “irreducible complexity,” definitively destroys Darwinism, just as Darwin himself feared.

Bacterium Flagellum

The most important person to bring the concept of irreducible complexity to the forefront of the scientific agenda is the biochemist Michael J. Behe of Lehigh University in the United States. In his book Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, published in 1996, Behe examines the irreducibly complex structure of the cell and a number of other biochemical structures, and reveals that it is impossible to account for these by evolution. According to Behe, the real explanation of life is intelligent design.

Behe’s book was a serious blow to Darwinism. In fact, Peter van Inwagen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, stresses the importance of the book in this manner:

If Darwinians respond to this important book by ignoring it, misrepresenting it, or ridiculing it, that will be evidence in favor of the widespread suspicion that Darwinism today functions more as an ideology than as a scientific theory. If they can successfully answer Behe’s arguments, that will be important evidence in favor of Darwinism.

One of the interesting examples of irreducible complexity that Behe gives in his book is the bacterial flagellum. This is a whip-like organ that is used by some bacteria to move about in a liquid environment. This organ is embedded in the cell membrane, and enables the bacterium to move in a chosen direction at a particular speed.

Scientists have known about the flagellum for some time. However, its structural details, which have only emerged over the last decade or so, have come as a great surprise to them. It has been discovered that the flagellum moves by means of a very complicated “organic motor,” and not by a simple vibratory mechanism as was earlier believed. This propeller-like engine is constructed on the same mechanical principles as an electric motor. There are two main parts to it: a moving part (the “rotor”) and a stationary one (the “stator”).


An electric motor-but not one in a household appliance or vehicle. This one is in a bacterium. Thanks to this motor, bacteria have been able to move those organs known as “flagella” and thus swim in water. This was discovered in the 1970s, and astounded the world of science, because this “irreducibly complex” organ, made up of some 240 distinct proteins, cannot be explained by chance mechanisms as Darwin had proposed.

The bacterial flagellum is different from all other organic systems that produce mechanical motion. The cell does not utilize available energy stored as ATP molecules. Instead, it has a special energy source: Bacteria use energy from the flow of ions across their outer cell membranes. The inner structure of the motor is extremely complex. Approximately 240 distinct proteins go into constructing the flagellum. Each one of these is carefully positioned. Scientists have determined that these proteins carry the signals to turn the motor on or off, form joints to facilitate movements at the atomic scale, and activate other proteins that connect the flagellum to the cell membrane. The models constructed to summarize the working of the system are enough to depict the complicated nature of the system.

The complicated structure of the bacterial flagellum is sufficient all by itself to demolish the theory of evolution, since the flagellum has an irreducibly complex structure.

If one single molecule in this fabulously complex structure were to disappear, or become defective, the flagellum would neither work nor be of any use to the bacterium. The flagellum must have been working perfectly from the first moment of its existence. This fact again reveals the nonsense in the theory of evolution’s assertion of “step by step development.” In fact, not one evolutionary biologist has so far succeeded in explaining the origin of the bacterial flagellum although a few tried to do so.

The bacterial flagellum is clear evidence that even in supposedly “primitive” creatures there is an extraordinary design. As humanity learns more about the details, it becomes increasingly obvious that the organisms considered to be the simplest by the scientists of nineteenth century, including Darwin, are in fact just as complex as any others.

Design of the Human Eye

The human eye is a very complicated system consisting of the delicate conjunction of some 40 separate components. Let us consider just one of these components: for example, the lens. We do not usually realize it, but the thing that enables us to see things clearly is the constant automatic focusing of the lens. If you wish, you can carry out a small experiment on this subject: Hold your index finger up in the air. Then look at the tip of your finger, then at the wall behind it. Every time you look from your finger to the wall you will feel an adjustment.

This adjustment is made by small muscles around the lens. Every time we look at something, these muscles go into action and enable us to see what we are looking at clearly by changing the thickness of the lens and turning it at the right angle to the light. The lens carries out this adjustment every second of our lives, and makes no mistakes. Photographers make the same adjustments in their cameras by hand, and sometimes have to struggle for quite some time to get the right focus. Within the last 10 to 15 years, modern technology has produced cameras which focus automatically, but no camera can focus as quickly and as well as the eye.

For an eye to be able to see, the 40 or so basic components which make it up need to be present at the same time and work together perfectly. The lens is only one of these. If all the other components, such as the cornea, iris, pupil, retina, and eye muscles, are all present and functioning properly, but just the eyelid is missing, then the eye will shortly incur serious damage and cease to carry out its function. In the same way, if all the subsystems exist but tear production ceases, then the eye will dry up and go blind within a few hours.

The theory of evolution’s claim of “reducibility” loses all meaning in the face of the complex structure of the eye. The reason is that, in order for the eye to function, all its parts need to be present at the same time. It is impossible, of course, for the mechanisms of natural selection and mutation to give rise to the eye’s dozens of different subsystems when they can confer no advantage right up until the last stage. Professor Ali Demirsoy accepts the truth of this in these words:

It is rather hard to reply to a third objection. How was it possible for a complicated organ to come about suddenly even though it brought benefits with it? For instance, how did the lens, retina, optic nerve, and all the other parts in vertebrates that play a role in seeing suddenly come about? Because natural selection cannot choose separately between the visual nerve and the retina. The emergence of the lens has no meaning in the absence of a retina. The simultaneous development of all the structures for sight is unavoidable. Since parts that develop separately cannot be used, they will both be meaningless, and also perhaps disappear with time. At the same time, their development all together requires the coming together of unimaginably small probabilities.

What Professor Demirsoy really means by “unimaginably small probabilities” is basically an “impossibility.” It is clearly an impossibility for the eye to be the product of chance. Darwin also had a great difficulty in the face of this, and in a letter he even admitted, “I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over.”


The human eye works by some 40 different parts functioning together. If just one of these is not present, the eye will serve no purpose. Each of these 40 parts has its own individual complex structure. For instance, the retina, at the back of the eye, is made up of 11 strata (above right), each of which has a different function. The theory of evolution is unable to account for the development of such a complex organ.

In The Origin of Species, Darwin experienced a serious difficulty in the face of the eye’s complex design. The only solution he found was in pointing to the simpler eye structure found in some creatures as the origin of the more complex eyes found in others. He hypothesized that more complex eyes evolved from simpler ones. However, this claim does not reflect the truth. Paleontology shows that living things emerged in the world with their exceedingly complex structures already intact. The oldest known system of sight is the trilobite eye. This 530-million-year-old compound eye structure, which we touched on in an earlier chapter, is an “optical marvel” which worked with a double lens system. This fact totally invalidates Darwin’s assumption that complex eyes evolved from “primitive” eyes

Written by aurick

04/03/2009 at 7:11 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Unfortunately, irreducible complexity has been refuted. You might want to check wikipedia.

    “The court found that “Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.”


    24/10/2011 at 6:43 pm

  2. Mr Andrew here is a first class atheist and his likes are the ones who did the peer-review and rejected Behe’s arguments. The reason is, because they are so envious of God that they will even deny God as hypnotism if God appeared in front of them.

    It is so laughable that these atheists describe their own version of evolution of the eye based on their imagination.. they start with light sensitive pits in a simple organism (no proof of anything like this exists or did exist), that gave some idea of direction of light but not depth then gradually this changed into an EYE… well.. even if we accept their mental speculation … the question still remains.. how did the photosensitive pit mechanism form.. for it to work all the complex parts still need to be present… photosensitive chemical pigments (imagine how complex these proteins and molecules have to be), signal detector cells, special thermal signal carrier nerves, special brain cortex to analyze these signals…. we can write many thick books several thousand pages in volume just to fully describe this so called simple mechanism. It is absurdity of the highest order to imagine that a simple organism formed all this by itself or by random mutation.

    Atheists are demons who will always deny God because they have a deep sense of envy and anger towards God.

    Gaur Nitai

    01/04/2012 at 6:26 pm

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