Access Research Network Access
Research
Network

Examples of Irreducible Complexity


What does the existence of irreducibly complex systems mean, and how does their existence impact neo-Darwinian theory?:

"In The Origin of Species Darwin stated:
'If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.'

A system which meets Darwin's criterion is one which exhibits irreducible complexity. By irreducible complexity I mean a single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning."

-Michael J. Behe
"Molecular Machines: Experimental
Support for the Design Inference"


machineani.gif
The Bacterial Flagellum
Like a microscopic motorboat, bacteria are able to move from one location to another in the human body with complexity and efficiency. With over 50 different protein parts, it is hard to imagine a machine with so many necessary pieces.

 


The Cilium
With the simple act of clearing one's throat, the human body, using thousands of microscopic cilia, demonstrates the complexity and precision of its own "molecular vacuum cleaner".

     

machineani.gif
The ATP Synthase Molecule
It's one of the most complex molecules ever revealed, almost six times larger than the blood molecule hemoglobin. It's also, the researchers agree, one of the tiniest and most powerful motors ever identified.

 
From the Video:
In the ARN video, Irreducible Complexity: The Biochemical Challenge to Darwinian Theory, Michael Behe uses a number of illustrations and animations as examples. In this page we have summarized those examples.

[ Previous Page ] [ Molecular Machines Museum ] [ ARN Home Page ]