Friday, September 25, 2009

Argument from the Irreducible Complexity of Living Systems

This continues the series of weekly posts dealing with some basic theistic arguments. The purpose here is to introduce the reader to the idea behind each argument. Strengths and weaknesses will be presented after each summary. These are only summaries and springboards for further study in the theistic arguments. See Reason for the Hope Within for more.

An Argument from the Irreducible Complexity of Living Systems

Microbiology has identified systems at work in cells which are fundamental to life and which are irreducibly complex: their function depends upon the presence and close fit of many parts. For some of these systems it appears that the only plausible explanation for their existence is that they arose all at once (since in partial form they would work against the survival of the organism). The existence of these systems is nearly inexplicable in Darwinian terms (by gradual, single steps,) but is easily explained if the cause of life is an intelligent designer. The facts of microbiology are much more likely to be as they are if God exists than if God does not.

Greatest Strength: For those confident that science is close to making God unnecessary, these results present a serious challenge; and this line of argumentation may open up a consideration of the other features of reality more easily explained by God’s existence.

Greatest Weakness: While it is currently difficult to see how a god-free account of these systems might work, Darwinians are convinced that such an explanation will be found.1

1 William C. Davis, Reason for the Hope Within (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1999), p. 35.