Explaining the Problems with Irreducible Complexity

The sound of a professor talking usually makes me fall asleep, even if the topic is one I enjoy…

But when QualiaSoup talks his way through a wonderful debunking of Intelligent Design, I am completely hooked.

Treat yourself and block out 11 minutes to watch this thing in its entirety. It’s well worth it.

How awesome was that? I *loved* the bit about the venus flytrap.

And this line:

When people — not content with squandering their own opportunities for education — feel driven to sabotage the education? of others, that is inexcusable.

Now, if only I could find someone who made videos like that about math…

  • Kirby

    What a fantastic video. I am going to take the time to watch some more of his videos on youtube. Explained so well, maybe even a creationist would be swayed. Sorry, i got carried away.

  • Heidi

    Now, if only I could find someone who made videos like that about math…

    Yeah, too bad we don’t know any math teachers who are good at writing and public speaking. Ahem.

  • http://allusiveatheist.blogspot.com/ T. Ray

    I envy that degree of conciseness.

    youtube channel: subscribed!

  • http://allusiveatheist.blogspot.com/ T. Ray

    “Now, if only I could find someone who made videos like that about math…”

    Are there Math deniers?

  • http://cafeeine.wordpress.com Cafeeine

    I’ve been following Qualiasoup for a while now, he never disappoints.

  • http://twoangryvoices.blogspot.com Aegis

    “Are there Math deniers?”

    Young-earth creationists, maybe.

  • http://cannonballjones.wordpress.com Paul

    That was beautiful; massively informative, clearly explained and just the right amount of snark for good measure. The guitar and watch counter-examples to the mousetrap were fantastic :)

    On my way to YouTube right now to find more of the same…

  • jose

    Wonderful. However I wouldn’t have used the venus flytrap example, since we actually don’t know its evolutionary history. The sticky precursor is made up. The rest of the examples are perfect (and real).

  • Valhar2000

    Are there Math deniers?

    Oh yeah! Check out Good Math/Bad Math: people who have proved that Pi=4, people who have proved that Cantor’s proof is wrong, people who have proved that infinite compressibility is possible and that it proves Christianity is real… you name, GMBM has it!

  • Jagyr

    I think we should have high school biology teachers team up with history teachers to teach units about creationism and ID. Show the chilluns why these people are wrong, and expose the political motivations and history behind science-denialism.

  • Hazor

    Jagyr: The problem there is the perturbing number of biology teachers who disregard evolution in favor of creationism and ID.

  • Rabid

    Anyone who appreciates QualiaSoup’s work should also check out his brother’s channel,TheraminTrees. They have very similar styles and often do joint projects, all of which are awesome.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    This is very clearly explained. Wonderful. Sadly cretinists won’t sit through 11 whole minutes to understand this.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Well done!
    Well worth the 11 minutes to listen.

  • Revyloution

    Hemant, my favorite math guy on Youtube is Edward Tarte

    http://www.youtube.com/user/edwardtarte

    He is a former priest, and excellent pianist, and a wonderful mathematician. He does videos on all three subjects, just scroll through his videos for the math ones.

  • Edmond

    The “complexity” of life is often cited as an argument for the existence of gods. I can’t agree. I find the complexity of biology (and cosmology, and physics, etc) to be evidence AGAINST the existence of gods. Gods have no need of such complexity. Their will be done, and all by magic. Simplicity would be their signature. The presence of complexity shows that it is far more likely NATURE, hard at work eons, that has slowly crafted this complex, messy, frail, striving, thriving force called life.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Edmond, two thumbs up for what you said.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    As a graphic designer who had to beg to re-work the awful Powerpoint presentations of the sales force, I must say that Qualiasoup is a master of creating useful and engaging presentations that aren’t just someone reading verbatum what they’ve put onto the screen (with bad animations).

    Kudos for content; Kudos for design.

    Qualiasoup wins!

  • big a

    That was an awesome video. It was presented with such ease, eloquence, and certainty. It didn’t just call creationists/IDers a bunch of ‘stupid theists,’ or whatever. The video was refuting with facts. I loved it will search for more.

  • http://eruditehypocrite.blogspot.com Jesus

    This video was so amazingly good, I actually shared it on Facebook to my massive family of creationists. I am certain to receive some snark in return for doing so, but it is well worth it. This video nails it on the head.

  • Pingback: Irreducible | A View From The West

  • Dave

    This video makes some interesting points about the concept of irreducible complexity. It demonstrates how at least some things once thought to be irreducibly complex may not be. However, note Darwin’s quote about a minute into the video: “If intermediate states of the eye can be found in nature, with each stage giving an advantage to the organism as is certainly the case….” This makes it clear that presuppositions are involved on his part as well. He also made the assumption that genetic adaptations within a species (such as finches) to the immediate environment are cumulative and would necessarily result in larger changes (i.e. evolution of new species). We now know instead that larger changes would require an additional biological mechanism (mutation), while variations within a species do not. I believe this is an important distinction.

  • John

    Nice try. Of course, this misses the point of irreducible complexity completely. A bare assertion that one kind of complex system (such as a car’s transmission) can turn into another kind of complex system (such as a car’s airbag) by random mutation and natural selection is not evidence of anything, and does nothing to alleviate the difficulty of irreducible complexity. For this to occur there would need to be evidence of indirect evolution, if which there is none. University of Rochester evolutionary biologist H. Alan Orr agrees that indirect evolution is
    unlikely:
    ” we might think that some of the parts of an irreducibly complex system evolved step by step for some other purpose and were then recruited wholesale to a new function. But this is also unlikely. You may as well hope that half your car’s transmission will suddenly help out in the airbag department. Such things might happen very, very rarely, but they surely do not offer a general solution to irreducible complexity.” (Orr, H. A. Darwin v. intelligent design (again). Boston Review [Dec/Jan], 28-31.
    1996)


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