Defining "complexity"

Yes, it’s what I mean.

Yes, absolutely.

How often do people design things like the light bulb, the internal combustion engine, or the personal computer? Aren’t these also just as improbable as evolution producing a flagellum?

I do not see anything wrong with the commonplace notion that complexity is a defined assemblage of parts, and generally the more distinct parts precisely fit - the more complex the entity. This is independent of probability or design. An object of exact dimension of purity, such as a silicon wafer, is improbable even if simple with no parts.

There are degrees of complexity and simplicity; this is pervasive in engineering. The human brain, to our current awareness, is the most complex structure in the universe, with highly defined mapping for memory storage, emotional regulation, imaging, and language.

It is not necessary to shy away from the concept and ranking of complexity, just because ID wants to appropriate the concept and add baggage.

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Agreed. Where the ID creationists go wrong is in asserting that evolution can only result in things of a limited degree of complexity, beyond which only “design” can be used as an explanation.


Gil is entering Nigel Tufnel territory again…

So why do you repeatedly misrepresent evolution as mere chance, Gil?

Why are you trying to sneak untested hypotheses in using false definitions?

Wrong. The common meaning of the word is not amenable to a rigorous formulation, which is not the case of the concept of complexity used by W. Dembski in his book the « Design Inference, eliminating chance through small probabilities », which is derived from the complexity theory.

Wrong again. See Behe’s book « The Edge of Evolution »

If I say that the human brain is complex, with the common meaning of complex, in what way is that statement misleading or inadequate?

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It is neither misleading nor inadequate.

@Giltil thinks that a boulder is more complex than the human brain, so anything he has to say on the subject is unhelpful at best.


I don’t.

I really don’t understand what you mean here

Sure, but it still remains improbable. For example, my sentence contained 45 letters. Now, imagine you are in jail. Imagine a bag containing the 26 letters of the alphabet. Imagine that you were asked to draw a letter at random, with replacement, 45 times. Imagine being able to repeat this game as many times as you like. And imagine being told that you could get out of jail if you produce any meaningful 45-letter sentence. How long do you think you will stay in prison?

Both sequences have the same complexity

Both sequences have the same complexity in the sense that they have the same probability of occurrence under the assumption that the coin is fair. But the difference between the two is that 2 is specified whereas 1, as far as we can tell, is not.

Exactly ! And rightly so. And what about you?

Great, so you’re less complex than a big rock, and complexity is a useless concept.


As I noted above, many posts ago, (a) we don’t need to find a pre-specified sentence and (b) the process is not random.

This hypothetical does not model evolution. Its probability is entirely irrelevant to evolution.


If highly functional proteins are rare in sequence space, you are wrong on this matter. And I think a case can be made that highly functional proteins are indeed rare in sequence space.

That case would need to be made. And that includes the cases where (a) there are other proteins that could serve the same function and (b) the systems with which the proteins interact could have evolved differently so that that a different protein would perform a ‘similar enough’ function.

Happy to see the case argued in a scientifically informed and sophisticated way.

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Random sequences are an abundant source of bioactive RNAs or peptides

Essentially all sites of a protein are mutable given other compensatory mutations

There are 1. 6 x 10^13 sequences of 35 amino acids that would fold like villin, and 7.9 x 10^96 171 amino acid sequences that fold like OmpA.

If you want the original article, it is here

This high number actually poses a problem for creationists - if there are so many alternative sequences with the same function, with all amino acid sites mutable while retaining function, why do organisms’ DNA homology sort into clades, giving us evidence for common descent?

What is even more interesting that “complexity” is inversely proportional to age of the protein.

This is evidence that proteins of certain function start off smaller and less complex, then with time they evolve and become more complicated.

But hey, you should already know all this, given this was all presented to you previously here at peacefulscience.


You did and you know it. That’s why I quoted your misrepresentation and you omitted it.

The claim of yours that I quoted sneaks in an untested hypothesis using false definitions.

Your omission of it speaks volumes.

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