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Irreducible Incoherence and Intelligent Design: A Look into the Conceptual Toolbox of a Pseudoscience

Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke and Johan Braeckman
The Quarterly Review of Biology
Vol. 85, No. 4 (December 2010), pp. 473-482
DOI: 10.1086/656904
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/656904
Page Count: 10
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Irreducible Incoherence and Intelligent Design: A Look into the Conceptual Toolbox of a Pseudoscience
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Abstract

ABSTRACT The concept of Irreducible Complexity (IC) has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of the creationist movement over the past two decades. Evolutionary biologists and philosophers have unambiguously rejected the purported demonstration of “intelligent design” in nature, but there have been several, apparently contradictory, lines of criticism. We argue that this is in fact due to Michael Behe's own incoherent definition and use of IC. This paper offers an analysis of several equivocations inherent in the concept of Irreducible Complexity and discusses the way in which advocates of the Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC) have conveniently turned IC into a moving target. An analysis of these rhetorical strategies helps us to understand why IC has gained such prominence in the IDC movement, and why, despite its complete lack of scientific merits, it has even convinced some knowledgeable persons of the impending demise of evolutionary theory.

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