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Irreducible Complexity


Irreducible complexity is a term that is used in the creationist circles to describe the theory that everything must have had a designer as it is so complex and apparently could not function if it were less complex than it currently is. What I don’t understand about this is just how people could misunderstand evolution to such a degree to fall for this (In truth, the misunderstanding of evolution is probably why they deny it in the first place). What I also don’t understand is how the complexity of all life on earth is somehow proof of creationism. To me, it seems like a pretty undeniable argument for evolution.

Science, by means of complex study and complex experimentation, has shown us how small, less complex organisms, throughout the course of 3.7 billion years, evolved into the beautiful, undeniably complex organisms that we see today. Religion, on the other hand, reduces the complexity of every life-form on the planet by either saying, “It just always was,” or by saying, “Magic Man did it.” Religionists reduce the complexity of thousands of transitional fossils by saying, “They’re not transitional, they’re just extinct.” In fact, if you were to make a query to a religionist regarding the reasoning behind the color of leaves or water, I’m sure your answer would be, “Because God made it that way.” Now, let’s compare that answer to one given by a scientist.

Why is water blue? Water owes its intrinsic blueness to selective absorption in the red part of its visible spectrum. The absorbed photons promote transitions to high overtone and combination states of the nuclear motions of the molecule, i.e. to highly excited vibrations. To our knowledge the intrinsic blueness of water is the only example from nature in which color originates from vibrational transitions. Other materials owe their colors to the interaction of visible light with the electrons of the substances. Their colors may originate from resonant interactions between photons and matter such as absorption, emission, and selective reflection or from non-resonant processes such as Rayleigh scattering, interference, diffraction, or refraction, but in each case, the photons interact primarily or exclusively with electrons. The details of the mechanism by which water is vibrationally colored will be discussed in the paragraphs which follow.

Now let’s remember what the religious explanation for the color of water. I’m sure that you can see a difference.

Water is not the only factor of nature that sectarians try to use in their favor to prove something absurd though. There is also a very old argument regarding the color green. “Was it not great of the lord to make all of our surroundings green? Green is the most appeasing color to the human eye!” Well, you see, that last part is right, but I think they’re confusing exactly what is the cause and what is the effect here. Could it be that green is the most appeasing color to our eyes for the same reason it is to an ape’s eye? And, for that matter, wouldn’t it be consistent? Wouldn’t green be the most appeasing color to a dog’s eye as well? But dogs don’t see colors, and neither do most insects. And to many insects who can and other creatures that can, green isn’t the most appeasing color to their eyes, the colors of their food and environment are.

Just like us, the ape’s eye is pleased by green. Just like us, a shark’s eye can see red from longer distances than other colors. That’s why stop signs and lights are red (just a little fun trivia for the folks out there). It’s also why red cars tend to get more tickets. You see, we’re omnivores. This means that we eat both vegetation and meat. Of course, some humans choose to be purely carnivores and others choose to be herbivores, but no matter the label on themselves, they will yearn for whatever is lacking, as they need it to properly survive. Therefore, we are all omnivores, and most of our food would be either red, or would be like other plants and vegetables and be green mixed with many vibrant colors. This is another reason we see colors more vibrantly than carnivores. Do you see the chain forming here? Green is the most appeasing color to man because we come from it. We were once a nature dwelling species. Green always surrounded us and our eyes merely adapted, and even though we’re no longer woods dwellers (except for some people in Georgia) there’s no real reason for the eye to change, as it doesn’t hinder us in any way to cause those with the mutation to die off in lieu of those without it.
We see red from farthest away partly because of our need to scavenge. We see vibrant colors partly because of our need to eat wild fruits and berries which were essential to our evolutionary survival. Our eyes like green because we lived in green. This is a very old trick of the religionists: twisting the cause and the effect around to prove a point based on misinterpretation.

This is yet another reason why can’t fathom why religion is deemed to be more spiritual than science. I would like to let it be known that the greatest argument, philosophically, against religion is that—as Nietzsche elaborated in Ecce Homo—it reduces the history of man, nullifies the meaning and essence of the history of the earth as well as the universe, and nullifies all that we, as humans, ought to be proud of in regards to our own species as well as the world in which we live.
A great example of this is comparing the history of the universe scientifically to the history of the earth biblically. I’ve broken the steps down on both sides, let’s compare:

1. About 14 billion years ago: The Big Bang.
2. About 13.2 billion years ago: The formation of the Milky Way Galaxy.
3. About 8 billion years ago: The formation of the Solar System.
4. About 4.57 billion years ago: The formation of the Earth.
5. About 3.7 billion years ago: The origin of life on Earth.
6. The formation of the oldest known fossils on Earth.
7. About 3.4 billion years ago, dates the oldest fossils (blue-green algae and bacteria).
8. The invention of sex by microorganisms.
9. The oldest known fossil of photosynthetic plants.
10. Eukaryotes flourish.
11. Significant oxygen atmosphere begins to develop on Earth.
12. Extensive volcanism and channel formation on Mars
13. Formation of the first worms.
14. About 542 million years ago, the Precambrian Era ends. Paleozoic Era and Cambrian Period begin, and Invertebrates flourish.
15. The first oceanic Plankton. Trilobites flourish.
16. About 492 million years ago, the Ordovician Period begins. We see the first fish and first vertebrates appear.
17. About 416 million years ago, the Silurian Period begins. The first vascular plants appear and plants begin colonizing the land.
18. About 397 million years ago, the Devonian Period begins. We see the first insects appear, and animals begin colonizing the land.
19. First winged insects and amphibians.
20. About 290 million years ago, the Permian Period begins. It is in this period that we see the first dinosaurs.
21. About 245 million years ago, the Paleozoic Era ends, and the Mesozoic Era begins.
22. About 245 million years ago, the Triassic Period begins. The first mammals and birds appear about 180 million years ago.
23. About 208 million years ago, the Jurassic Period begins. The first mammals and birds appear about 180 million years ago.
24. About 140 million years ago, the Cretaceous Period begins. The first flowers form and dinosaurs become extinct.
25. About 65 million years ago, the Mesozoic Era ends, and the Cenozoic Era and Tertiary Period begin. First cetaceans and primates appear.
26. Early evolution of frontal lobes in brains of primates. First humanoids appear. Giant mammals flourish.
27. End of the Pliocene Period. About 1.64 million years ago, the Quaternary (Pleistocene and Holocene epochs) Period begins. The first humans appear.

Let’s now compare this to how all of this is explained in the Holy Bible:

1. About 6,000 years ago, BAM! Magic guy in the sky did it!

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which way is more complex, let alone more accurate and believable, or even spiritual. This is the first of many cases in which religion invalidates our universe, world and all of the plants, animals and organisms within it. And I, for one, don’t appreciate philosophies that invalidate or nullify the nature, meaning or perseverance of life, only to make way for negative superstitions.

This is the Smiling Atheist signing off once again. And don’t forget to follow and comment (positively or negatively), and leave suggestions for articles and blogs.

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