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Time Magazine on Irreducible Complexity

"Face-Off: Darwinians vs. Anti-Darwinians" in Time (Aug 7, 2005).

Who Designed the First Eye? The eye couldn’t possibly be the product of accidental mutations, say Darwin’s critics. Sure, a bird with sharper eyes might catch more prey and have more offspring, but where did the first eye come from? How could a process of gradual improvements produce a complex organ that needs all its parts—pinhole, lens, light-sensitive surface—in order to work? It’s no accident, says Michael Behe, author of Darwin’s Black Box, that the eye resembles a camera, which everybody instantly recognizes as a product someone designed. “If it looks, walks and quacks like a duck,” Behe writes, “then absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrent to conclude it’s a duck.” ¶ Who Needs a Designer? Nonsense, says biologists. It’s easy to imagine how a random mutation might have produced a path of light-sensitive cells that helped a primitive creature tell day from night. You can also imagine how another mutation might have bent this patch of cells into a concave shape that could detect the direction a light or shadow was coming from—helping creatures with the mutation stay clear of predators. Simple structures that enable an organism to do one thing—follow the light—can easily get co-opted for a different and more complex function, like sight. The fact that there is no fossil evidence of the interim steps cannot be taken as proof that a designer—intelligent or otherwise—deliberately skipped them.