Dr. Swamidass has offered two examples that he thinks refute Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity. Behe offers his definition in his book, Darwin’s Black Box:
“By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.” (DBB, p.39)
The first example that Dr. Swamidass invokes is from an article from Talk.Origins Archive,
“The Mullerian Two-Step: Add a part, make it necessary”
The idea is that one starts with a complex system that is not irreducibly complex, at first, then eventually evolve it into an irreducibly complex system. The example offered is of a bridge made of three stones. A fourth stone is added on top of the first three stones. Then the middle stone underneath is removed. The resulting bridge has become irreducibly complex. Remove any one of the stones, and the bridge ceases to function as a bridge.
The problem with the example is that the bridge was already irreducibly complex. Remove any one of the original three stones, and the bridge ceases to function as a bridge. So all we’ve done is change one irreducibly complex system that functions as a bridge into another irreducibly complex system that functions as a bridge. It dos not explain how the first irreducibly complex bridge came into existence. So this example has not explained irreducible complexity.
The stone bridge example is only one of three arguments presented in the article. I’ll get to the second argument next thread.