Intelligent Design Concept of Irreducible Complexity Stands Up Under Biologist's Research Efforts

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Apr 06, 2006, 01:00 ET from Discovery Institute

    SEATTLE, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- After several years of claiming that
 there is no debate about the theory of intelligent design (ID) researchers
 have published an article bringing the debate to the pages of the latest
 issue of Science. Three researchers, Jamie Bridgham, Sean Carroll and Joe
 Thornton claim to have shown how an irreducibly complex system might have
 arisen as the result of gene duplication and a few point mutational
     "This continues the venerable Darwinian tradition of making grandiose
 claims based on piddling results," said biochemist Michael Behe, who
 developed the theory of irreducible complexity in his 1996 best-selling
 book Darwin's Black Box. "There is nothing in the paper that an ID
 proponent would think was beyond random mutation and natural selection. In
 other words, it is a straw man."
     In a response posted on the Discovery Institute website, ID The Future
 ( ) Behe explains: "The authors (including Christoph
 Adami in his Science commentary) are conveniently defining 'irreducible
 complexity' way, way down. I certainly would not classify their system as
 anywhere near irreducibly complex (IC). The IC systems I discussed in
 Darwin's Black Box contain multiple, active protein factors. Their
 'system,' on the other hand, consists of just a single protein and its
 ligand. Although in nature the receptor and ligand are part of a larger
 system that does have a biological function, the piece of that larger
 system they pick out does not do anything by itself. In other words, the
 isolated components they work on are not irreducibly complex."
     In addition to Behe's response, Discovery's Center for Science &
 Culture has published an analysis of the research written by molecular
 biologist Dr. Douglas Axe, philosopher of biology Dr. Paul Nelson, and
 philosopher of science Dr. Stephen Meyer.
     "In the experiment just two amino acid residues were changed, no new
 components were added, no old components were taken away," added Behe. "The
 fact that such very modest results are ballyhooed owes more, I strongly
 suspect, to the antipathy that many scientists feel toward ID than to the
 intrinsic value of the experiment itself."
     "If this is the best that the Darwinian establishment can do after ten
 years of trying to refute Behe's theory of intelligent design, then neo-
 Darwinian theory is in a world of hurt," said Dr. Stephen Meyer director of
 the Center for Science & Culture. "Indeed, Behe's case grows stronger with
 each successive attempt to test it by experimental refutation."
     To arrange interviews with a Center for Science and Culture scientist
 please contact Robert Crowther at (206) 292-0401 x.107, or . For more information visit .

SOURCE Discovery Institute