Joined: May 2002
I am not sure how strong the case is. In NFL it seems to me that Dembski has redefined Behe's original statement by focusing on _original function_ or _basic function_. The problem is that once intermediates of a different function are allowed that IC systems seem to lose their relevance. Only if it can be argued that an IC system has to maintain its original function in its intermediates can one argue ala Dembski/Behe.
Allowing different intermediate functions opens the door even wider for evolutionary mechanisms.
Dembski's NFL arguments surely suggest a new variant though I would disagree with Dembski about Behe's original IC claim.
The concept of an "invariant" was introduced, something which falsifies a hypothesis, or posit. Irreducible complexity, Dembski said, is Darwin's invariant, but only when defined in the right way. Dembski then "tightenened Behe's invariant" and talked about many of the standard criticisms of irreducible complexity (scaffolding can support IC structures, co-optation, remove 2 parts and function is restored, etc), and presented a new revised version of irreducible complexity:
• 1. Removal of one part destroys original function.
• 2. Removal of multiple parts kills system's original function
• 3. System has numerous complex interacting parts
• 4. System is minimally complex in relation to its minimal function for selective advantage.
Seems that Dembski admits that a redefinition of Behe's original function was needed.
Yet Dembski also argues
Dembski discussed Michael Behe and his "irreducible complexity" approach to ID, and mentioned that Behe is coming to Albuquerque next March. Amazingly, Dembski described several effective critiques of Behe's ideas, including scaffolding, co-aptation, redundant complexity, ignorance of the scientific literature, appeals to ignorance, incremental indispensability, and reducible complexity. But Dembski blew off all the criticisms, as if simply mentioning their existence effectively counters them. Here's an example: Dembski mentioned scaffolding and the Roman arch example, which Massimo Pigliucci happened to have presented to NMSR at his talk on August 11th. Here, a mound is built, then stones are place on top to make the arch; once the last stone is in place, the mound is removed, leaving the arch in apparent "irreducible complexity" (take away any stone and the whole thing falls down). Dembski's counter to this example was to claim you can't have "delayed gratification," i.e. that in living systems, you would need the arch to work right away, and wouldn't possibly have a "mound" stage.
Dembski described his addition to Behe's "irreducible complexity" required to tighten it up: it's a system where removal of a single part destroys the original function, removal of multiple parts destroys the original function, the system comprises numerous and diverse parts, and (Dembski's innovation) the system is minimally complex for the required functionality. He calls this "Irreducible Complexity 2.0 (read two-point-oh), and claims this is the "Darwin-stopping invariant." In five to ten years, Dembski said, "Darwinism" will stand alongside failed theories like alchemy and perpetual motion. He said Darwin's unpaid debt is an unpayable debt, and that leaves only Design.