Don’t bet on the gaps

More clear thinking from Tom at Disputations about the philosophical problems with some strains of Intelligent Design. See his previous post as well, to which I linked earlier.

In the comments box, he makes a very good point about Michaele Behe’s “irreducible complexity” argument–that is, that there are certain things like the blood clotting system or the bacterial flagellum that are made up of many parts, all of which are required for their action. Such a system, Behe argues, could not have arisen by gradual evolution of each part, because the constituent parts aren’t functional on their own and therefore could not have been naturally selected. If such a system could conclusively not have arisen through evolutionary mechanisms, then yes, he would have a good case for an Intelligent Designer.

However, it is certainly the case that some of the systems Behe described in his book Darwin’s Black Box to be irreducibly complex have been quite definitively shown to be reducible. We will likely continue to see reducible explanations for anything and everything that appears on the surface to be “irreducibly” complex. And, if you pigeonhole the Designer into the gaps created by systems in biology that can’t be explained by evolution, then the Designer will just get smaller and smaller.


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