Friday, November 4, 2011

Irreducible Complexity and the Flatworm

The teleological proof (the argument from design) argues that intelligent design (ID) implies that there must be an intelligent Designer. Darwinists countered by arguing that the appearance of design could be explained by natural selection (NS). (Please note that NS is incapable of explaining many instances of ID – the origins of life, proteins and DNA, the fine-tuning of the universe and the laws of physics. Life must first exist before Darwinian mechanisms can even begin to provide any form of explanation.)

Biologist Michael Behe responded that Darwinian mechanisms are incapable of even explaining the many instances of irreducible complexity (IC). He pointed out that any biological structure required the pre-existence of many biological parts before it could be functional and confer a survival advantage upon its host. To illustrate his point, he used the example of the mouse-trap. It had to have all five parts in place before it could be used to catch a mouse. A trap with only four parts was dysfunctional and useless.

A good example of IC is the monogenean flatworm:

• They are parasites that live on the skin, fins, and gills of fish. They first take hold of the fish with hooks. But in order to feed off the fish, they glue their mouths onto the fish with superglue. This flatworm has two glands within its head which make two non-sticky components needed to form the glue. These components are extruded through tiny holes beside the mouth. Only when the two components come together do they form a glue, just like a two-part epoxy resin. This glue is extremely strong and adheres to wet, slimy surfaces, even under water. The glue is delivered in a non-sticky form so that it does not glue the flatworm’s mouth shut before it comes in contact with the fish. The glue cures quickly, it is stable and durable, and it can be dissolved when the flatworm needs to leave. (Von Vett and Malone, Inspired Evidence)

For the flatworm to survive and pass on its secrets to the next generation, it requires many unusual and distinct parts to be in place. With its hooks, it cannot even begin to attach to the fish. Without the glue, it cannot attach in a way that it can absorb its nutrients. Without the solvent, it can’t break loose to complete its life-cycle. It also requires complex delivery and maintenance systems for this operation. Lacking only one part, it fails to survive and to pass on its inheritance.

It has also been argued that every system – even the smallest – is irreducibly complex and therefore defies Darwinian explanation. Proteins are not produced anywhere but inside living cells. However, to produce proteins, the cell first needs many different proteins and protein machines to be present. Von Vett and Malone explain it this way:

• [Proteins] are formed from coded information upon the DNA molecule. But to form each protein a little protein machine must attach to the DNA at just the right point to start the process. Then a different protein machine must start the unzipping process. Nest a third protein machine must line up a special molecule (RNA) of exactly the right length and a fourth protein must know when to stop the copying process. The RNA passes through a fifth protein machine which allows an exact copy of the information to be made.

They are substances and processes that evolution cannot even begin to explain. For NS to operate there must first be life. However, there is no life apart from these operations. Von Vett and Malone conclude that this entire system had to have been created simultaneously before life could exist, “yet this is the one answer not allowed to be considered by students.”

No comments:

Post a Comment