|J. G. Cox
Joined: Dec. 2005
Here's my take:
1: even if IC were somehow demonstrated, it would not be support for ID, merely evidence against evolution as the mechanism producing a specific structure.
2: as of yet, there is no way to demonstrate IC, because it has not been formalized in such a way that data about a system can be analyzed and produce a "IC positive" or "IC negative". Right now it is just, "if looks IC, then IC," which is not..adequate... for scientific criticism
3: evolutionary theory can account very well for the production of seemingly "irreducibly complex" systems via observed phenomena such as gene duplications, co-option of function, etc. In other words, just because a modern biological system wouldn't work if you yanked a part doesn't mean that the system didn't evolve from a similar system that worked slightly less well with slightly modified parts (even if for a different function!. In addition, just because you don't find those slightly "less evolved" systems nowadays doesn't mean that they did not exist in the past (they conferred less fitness, otherwise they wouldn't have been replaced in the first place).
4: IC is not debated by evolutionary biologists because it has never been proposed in a respected scientific journal. Such a concept would normally be formalized (and modeled, if amenable to that) in a journal that focuses on theoretical development, but no such paper has been published. Therefore, in the science world, there is nothing to criticize. As far as I know, Miller's refutations of IC also have not been published in empirical or theoretical *research* journals either (though I may be mistaken); again because there is nothing from these journals to refute.
5: IC as it currently stands is a useless concept. It is not measurable, and provides no alternative explanations. It cannot produce predictions. IC serves only as a putative "test" of the capacity of evolutionary processes to produce a certain system. However, it has never been demonstrated. Think of Dover, in which much research into the evolution of all of Behe's favorite "irreducibly complex" systems was displayed. Nothing supposedly identified as IC by Behe's gut instinct has yet proven resistant to evolutionary investigation. Thus, IC has nothing material in it either to make use of in a scientific manner or to criticize.
The bottom line is, scientists will ignore IC (at least in scientific forums) until it is formalized into a scientifically useful or testable concept. Until then, it is only diffuse propaganda.