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Author Topic:   What could/would falsify Irreducible Complexity?
tesla
Member (Idle past 2133 days)
Posts: 1198
Joined: 12-22-2007


Message 46 of 72 (456918)
02-20-2008 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by Rahvin
02-20-2008 5:44 PM


the originator of the argument of irreducible complexity, defines an irreducibly complex system as one "composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning".

i may be ignorant, but..doesn't this describe extremophiles?


keep your mind from this way of enquiry, for never will you show that not-being is
~parmenides
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Rahvin, posted 02-20-2008 6:31 PM tesla has responded

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3108 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 47 of 72 (456921)
02-20-2008 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Rahvin
02-20-2008 3:57 PM


IC in Nature Magazine
During Darwin "week" at Cornell it was mentioned that Naturelast year actually had reference to Behe's writing on irreducible complexity"
quote:
confronting the intricacy of cellular networks and their exquisitely sensitive controls, scientists often wonder how such highly complex and regulated networks evolved. A few scientists go so far as to hold that "irreducibly complex" systems constitute a "powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution"4. The argument is that for a system that is "composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning", these parts could not have evolved independently4. Protein networks with allosteric regulation are examples of such complex systems.



Harrison, who had come to Cornell AFTER I was already a student, positioned it between evolution and molecular biology, noting that this was part of molecular biologist's attempt to gain talk about evolution. The notion of "incredulity" was clearly from Harrison's side, that when someone says they "just believe", he lets this go, which is different than Will Provine's attempts in those cases to change the student's mind.

It seems hard to say that IC is only an argument from incredulity since it made it past Nature editors else the publication in NATURE simply reflects bias towards molecular biology over evolutionary biology. That is a sad condition if socially true.

I think that IC is false and is due to failure to work out or reflect on infinite divisibilty past what Boltzmann did. I will post more on this later.

It was an eye-opener for me to hear how Harrison presented this in his lecture "What would Darwin think?"


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1262 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 48 of 72 (456927)
02-20-2008 6:31 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by tesla
02-20-2008 5:49 PM


quote:
the originator of the argument of irreducible complexity, defines an irreducibly complex system as one "composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning".

i may be ignorant, but..doesn't this describe extremophiles?

It's meant to describe all life.

The problem is that it doesn't. All of the structures identified as "irreducibly complex" have been shown to be evolved from ancestor species who simply used the modified structures for a different purpose, or which still worked well enough if not as well as the current structure. Like the eye, or the batcerial flagellum, or the bombardier beetle - all have been used as IC arguments, and all have been utterly refuted. IC has nothing but ignorance and incredulity on its side, with no evidence.

So no, extremophiles are not a "step closer" to IC. A "step closer" would be to identify a structure that flat-out could not have evolved, or which is completely and utterly useless except in its current form. It would also help if the "designer" weren't constantly an idiot, "designing" such structures as the human throat, where the combined breathing/eating tube so easily leads to choking on food, or the human eye, where the nerve connections are backwards. It all works well enough, but you'd fire an engineer who designed such structures.


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tesla
Member (Idle past 2133 days)
Posts: 1198
Joined: 12-22-2007


Message 49 of 72 (456928)
02-20-2008 6:40 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Rahvin
02-20-2008 6:31 PM


It's meant to describe all life.

if that is the case, it was a foolish venture from the start. cut off legs, a man still lives, cut out the eyes, a man still lives.

cut off a appendix etc etc.

i guess i can only withdraw in ignorance of the proposal. however, i do not believe evolution proves or disproves ID either way.

at the end of the day,what reality truly is,is what reality is.


keep your mind from this way of enquiry, for never will you show that not-being is
~parmenides
This message is a reply to:
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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 50 of 72 (456974)
02-21-2008 2:59 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Modulous
02-20-2008 8:55 AM


Modulous responds to me:

quote:
Out of curiosity, do you have an exact quote?

There are lots of them. One of them was mentioned in the original thread:

Behe writes:

There is no publication in the scientific literature - in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books - that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred.

And another:

Behe writes:

No papers are to be found that discuss detailed models for intermediates in the development of complex biomolecular structures in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nature, Science, the Journal of Molecular Biology or, to my knowledge, any journal whatsoever.

And another:

Behe writes:

we have to ask why there are so few in the particular area of the Darwinian evolution of irreducibly complex systems.

This last is his direct response to those who have showed him the very papers he claims don't exist. Again, he made the exact same claim during the Dover trial and was literally walled up behind the papers he claimed didn't exist.

quote:
IC is a prediction of Evolutionary Theory.

Only by the naive concept of "irreducible." Arches are "irreducibly complex." Once the arch is up, if you pull out any of the stones, the arch will fall. But arches are built all the time. And you can even undo it by reversing the very process by which you created it, but that hardly ever happens in real-world systems.

Behe's claim is that there can be no intermediary stage where there is anything that could be considered "functional" without every single part together. That is, each part is absolutely worthless without every other part.

That was also brought up during the Dover trial. Behe claims that there is absolutely no use of any kind for any of the structures involved in the flagellum if they aren't all present to specifically make a flagellum...and the rebuttal witness showed that yes, you do have biological function when you don't have all the pieces.

His classic example is that of a mousetrap. It has five pieces: The platform, the spring, the hammer, the trip, and the catch. Take away any of them and, according to Behe, you cannot have any mousetrap of any functionality at all.

But that isn't true. All you need is the spring. The spring can be extended to be the hammer, trip, and catch, all in one. It isn't nearly as efficient as a modern mousetrap, but that isn't the argument. We are not hear to come up with a "better" mousetrap. We just need a "working" mousetrap. A trap that only catches a few mice is more functional than no trap at all.

quote:
My opinion? Behe wants a mutation by mutation account before he'll accept the conclusion (or so he says). The evidence so far is 'not good enough'.

But that's just it: It is "good enough." The very papers he claims do not exist have been shown to him. Every single example he used in his book were shown to be not only reducible but also evolved: We actually found a "step-by-step" process.

Edited by Admin, : Provide attribution for Behe quotes.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 51 of 72 (456978)
02-21-2008 3:28 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by tesla
02-20-2008 9:41 AM


tesla responds to me:

quote:
so where did carbon come from?

Why does it matter? Biology doesn't attempt to explain where atoms come from. That's a question for physics.

quote:
what is the simplest form of carbon?

There is no such thing. Carbon is carbon (and let's not be disingenuous and talk about "isotopes.")

quote:
but if all things "alive" came from what everyone calls "not alive" then how could anything be any more or less alive than the system that it was spawned from?

Because life is a chemical reaction. You start with reagents and you get products. In fact, you are alive because of non-living material. The food you eat is not alive. You digest and break it down into even smaller, non-living molecules. Your cells then take those non-living molecules and through chemical reactions, convert them into living tissue. Your life is dependent upon non-living material being converted into living material.

Now, how does it get kicked off in the first place? We don't know. But, that isn't a question for evolution to answer. Evolution is what happens to life after it exists. Just as biology doesn't try to answer questions of physics, evolution doesn't try to answer questions of abiogenesis. Evolution doesn't care where life came from. So long as it didn't reproduce perfectly from generation to generation, evolution is satisfied.

Are you saying god cannot make life that evolves?

quote:
atoms have a very powerful energy of the "strong" force, and react and evolve within conditions, like biological things.

Incorrect. Atoms don't "evolve like biological things." There is no mutation nor selection.

quote:
when an atom ceases to be iron, and becomes steel, did the iron "die"?

There is no such element as "steel." Steel is an amalgam of iron and carbon. If you add chromium to the mix, you get "stainless" steel. Other metals are often added such as nickel, molybdenum, and tungsten in order to increase various properties.

quote:
i believe that only living things come from the living, and that our universe is a "living" body.

Then is there any problem with evolution?


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 52 of 72 (456980)
02-21-2008 3:47 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by Brad McFall
02-20-2008 6:02 PM


Re: IC in Nature Magazine
Brad McFall writes:

quote:
It seems hard to say that IC is only an argument from incredulity since it made it past Nature editors

Incorrect. You're quote-mining, Brad. Let's have the entire quote in full context, shall we?

When confronting the intricacy of cellular networks and their exquisitely sensitive controls, scientists often wonder how such highly complex and regulated networks evolved. A few scientists go so far as to hold that "irreducibly complex" systems constitute a "powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution"4. The argument is that for a system that is "composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning", these parts could not have evolved independently4. Protein networks with allosteric regulation are examples of such complex systems. Our view on the evolution of protein interactions and allostery is that natural processes of protein colocalization in cells, which effectively increase the local concentration of neighbouring molecules, change what might have seemed to be improbable evolutionary events into probable ones. This view complements ideas found in many earlier articles on this topic2, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Fundamental 'forces', such as compartmentalization and electrostatic or hydrophobic binding, target proteins to specific locations in the cell, where they are colocalized with other proteins. This natural process of colocalization is essential in metabolism, transcriptional control, and signalling9. We argue that colocalization, combined with other natural processes (such as genetic recombination), leads naturally to protein complexes, to networks of interacting proteins and, subsequently, to allosteric control. [b][i]Every protein complex or allosteric system that develops in this way might seem 'irreducibly complex', but these assemblies form as a result of the accidental mutations that first led to the interactions or fixed the relative disposition of the interacting domains.[/b][/i] As a consequence, homologous proteins often have different allosteric mechanisms. Thus, although allostery is expected to arise naturally and readily in molecular 'machines', the precise mechanism is usually specific to one molecule and its closest relatives, and is not present across a protein family. This review explains how the regulated complexes and pathways of cells might have emerged, step by step, through natural selection working on proteins that have been colocalized by natural processes. First, we discuss how fundamental thermodynamic principles led to the idea that protein interactions and allostery emerge in a random manner as a consequence of colocalization. Then, we illustrate this principle with specific examples of diversity in the allosteric control mechanisms that govern homologous proteins.

Emphasis mine.

In short, the authors recognize Behe's claim and then immediately shoot it down. This is not an example of Nature accepting Behe's argument of IC. It is an example of Nature publishing an article that refutes Behe.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Brad McFall, posted 02-20-2008 6:02 PM Brad McFall has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by Brad McFall, posted 02-21-2008 7:23 PM Rrhain has not yet responded

    
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3879
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 53 of 72 (456981)
02-21-2008 3:49 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Rrhain
02-21-2008 3:28 AM


Tesla got a suspension because of the messages in this topic
Suspension Announcement

I was hoping that members would note the little symbol, read the message, and not respond to him further.

Much (most?, all?) of what you posted was previously posted by others (note that there were 3 previous responses from others). Yes, he had responded to you, but I still think the others already covered the matter for you (such is life at this forum).

Feeding the troll here?

As always, please no responses to this message. E-mail me if you wish.

Adminnemooseus


This message is a reply to:
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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 552 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 54 of 72 (456987)
02-21-2008 6:48 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by Rrhain
02-21-2008 2:59 AM


Rrhain writes:

His classic example is that of a mousetrap. It has five pieces: The platform, the spring, the hammer, the trip, and the catch. Take away any of them and, according to Behe, you cannot have any mousetrap of any functionality at all.

But that isn't true. All you need is the spring....

One of the reasons that I find the Behe type creationism much more interesting to discuss than standard YEC stuff is that it does actually make us look at the interesting ways in which complex features can evolve, so I thought it a pity that this thread seemed to be being derailed into irrelevancy land.

We can all have fun playing with the mousetrap (and your arch suggestion). The arch can be seen as genuinely irreducibly complex, and there's no reason why it shouldn't have its equivalent feature in biology once the point that mutations subtract features just as much as adding them is made, and the concept of "scaffolding" is understood.

But Behe has confused the issue terribly both by choosing some real life examples that are not irreducibly complex, and with his mousetrap analogy. He's clearly not very good at this kind of thinking.

Here's someone having fun with the mousetrap, and it's quite well done, because he brings in the scaffolding concept as well, although it's not essential, as it would be for your arch.

http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mousetrap.html

As for your request to I.D.ers in the O.P.:

So enlighten us: What would it take? What sort of experiment would have to be run in order to conclude that "ID/IC" is nonsense?

I think you mean the ID claim that IC systems can't be produced by nature, and all I can say is that I'm not an IDer, so here's a completely ridiculous answer to just that question from Behe himself.

quote:
In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum--or any equally complex system--was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.

From:

http://www.arn.org/docs/behe/mb_philosophicalobjectionsresponse.htm

Ridiculous, because the complex system could have taken millions or even billions of generations to evolve, so such a thing is extremely unlikely to occur even in a one hundred year experiment.

This brings us to your suggestions that Behe is deliberately lying, and unless he's very stupid, it appears that he must be intentionally misleading his public, yes, I agree.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 179 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 55 of 72 (456994)
02-21-2008 8:06 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by Rrhain
02-21-2008 2:59 AM


Only by the naive concept of "irreducible."

I'm just using ID's own understanding of the words irreducibly complex. From DBB, p9:

quote:
A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning"

That's Muller's interlocking complexity right there.

Dembski says:

quote:
A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, nonarbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system's basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system.

I agree naive might enter into it, but that's ID for you.

Behe's claim is that there can be no intermediary stage where there is anything that could be considered "functional" without every single part together. That is, each part is absolutely worthless without every other part.

Yes indeed - but don't let him fool you. There's a line between irreducible complexity and Darwin's own proposed falsification "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".

Behe might try and blur that line a little. He claims that if you look at an 'organ' and you if it every part is necessary for it to function - then it is irreducible. If it is irreducibly complex he then argues that it comes under the type of thing Darwin was talking about.

That was also brought up during the Dover trial. Behe claims that there is absolutely no use of any kind for any of the structures involved in the flagellum if they aren't all present to specifically make a flagellum...and the rebuttal witness showed that yes, you do have biological function when you don't have all the pieces.

At Dover, Behe defined irreducibly complex as:

quote:
By irreducibly complex, I mean a single system which is necessarily composed of several well matched interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.

Once again, Behe is using the naive understanding. The type of understanding that was predicted by Muller. The kind of interlocking complexity that is not a problem for evolution at all!

But that's just it: It is "good enough." The very papers he claims do not exist have been shown to him. Every single example he used in his book were shown to be not only reducible but also evolved: We actually found a "step-by-step" process.

They are not perfect accounts though. They don't detail every single mutation, just the fundamentally important ones. Now any reasonable person, who doesn't earn a fabulous living over being an anti-evolutionist would agree that it is 'good enough'. Behe is a reasonable person. Unfortunately the latter condition is a problem...


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3108 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 56 of 72 (457224)
02-21-2008 7:23 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Rrhain
02-21-2008 3:47 AM


Re: IC in Nature Magazine-now the last line
Oh, la la...

In that case let us read and never ever evc forget it reads:

quote:
It is now the turn of molecular scientists to uncover details of the process that Charles Darwin summarized famously in the final sentence of On the Origin of Species: "whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved".

NATURE is a mag about nature. This must mean, then, that content that is presented, only to be “shot down”, is empirical or potentially so.

It means that if someone disagress with the means towards taking the shot, a “pot shot”, so maybe sayed you, then by following the trajectory one might feel warrented to potentially eclipse the cycled paper and its content (now not merely a reflective physcio-theology at any all in any sense) in the end one can bring back its specter in some other redressable body.

I did not present what the authors had to say (heck, I gave the link) because I was and am planning on presenting my own view in some other post (as to what really is falsifiable or seems so in IC).

By simply saying that the authors and editors by association used Behe just to turn around and show how capable they were of rejecting the offense it presented (seems to me this is a philosopher’s job (take Kitcher on Abusing Science etc (although I disgree with him)) only shows, if true, as you seemed to represent by extending he quote and bolding, that molecular biology can come to evolutionary biology’s defense. Now, I have actually a different opinion but I do not have full time to represent this such, just now. I have indicated the cut I will move in the planet of.

If all the authors wanted to do was to present a disposition of interacting domains they could have done it without referring negatively to IC. They could simply get along with doing what they do do UNLESS they really DID want to tell evolutionists, not creationists, off, by claiming some of the domain of Darwin’s

quote:
endless forms

It is actually surprising that Kirschener and Gerhart in “The Plausibility of Life” bring up IC/ID at all when arguing for faciliated variation. The Nature article we are discussing indicates to me that it was not because there was some huge irreducibly compex tank on board the ID transport, that needed shooting down, but rather that the parenthetical K&G complement has been extripated.
Page 265 had

quote:
A very small number of scientists (and almost no biologists) have shared in the skepticism
(of IC/ID).

This seems to be what Harrison meant when he referred to it….”Now, there are molecular biologists trying to write about evolution…as to what Darwin might have thought…but they really need to be better taught the core of Darwinism” Harrison was talking about the teaching of evolution as part of a requirement for biology majors. He as saying that mole bios talk some talk but walk like dry backed ducks etc.

Darwin was concerned with finding forms without independence or separate creativity, non symbiogenically. I can not detail this page of notes, just yet, on how to relate what is “endless” in Darwin’s ‘forms’ but it is, more properly -not- according to Brad, what the mole bios dug up in this Nature article. We are not full of truffles just yet.


Click to enlarge

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Unblvr
Junior Member (Idle past 3906 days)
Posts: 1
From: Lancashire
Joined: 04-09-2008


Message 57 of 72 (462870)
04-10-2008 7:03 AM


I think most who believe in ID cling on to the fact that we are unable to step back beyond 300 protein organisims, that the theory of evolution doesn't plug the gap so to speak between non-life and life.

I think understanding that aspect of the evolutionary process would probably put an end to the discussion.


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Percy
Member
Posts: 18308
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 58 of 72 (462873)
04-10-2008 8:05 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Unblvr
04-10-2008 7:03 AM


op·ti·mist (ŏp'tə-mĭst) n. One who believes scientific evidence can influence creationists.

--Percy


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waqasf 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 59 of 72 (462902)
04-10-2008 12:28 PM


Spam deleted

Edited by AdminModulous, : No reason given.


  
Kevin123
Junior Member (Idle past 3146 days)
Posts: 23
From: Texas, USA
Joined: 10-11-2008


Message 60 of 72 (485787)
10-11-2008 6:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rrhain
02-19-2008 5:34 AM


Rrhain posed the question:
"The question is: What does it take for an advocate of ID in general and IC in particular to claim that it doesn't exist? If it is scientific, then it must be testable. If it is testable, then it can fail the test. If it fails the test, then it is discarded (to some degree)."

The test would be easily conducted. You use two separate rooms and each of these rooms would contain different materials. In the first room random forces would be applied to the materials, in the second room an intelligent agent (human) would be introduced. Which one produces an item that is IC? Conduct that experiment billions of times and the results would be the same. Therefore based on scientific methods which is the better theory based on experimentation and observation?

The concept of irreducible complexity makes the theory of evolution laughable without the guidance of an intelligent agent. If people were able to separate religion from this debate ID would be an accepted theory.

Edited by Kevin123, : corrected typo...oops


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