IRREPRODUCIBLE COMPLEXITY

 

2005, Alfredo Suzuki, Ph.D.

 

What is complexity? A working definition for it that I am considering here is that of a state or condition of something difficult to understand, explain or describe. By irreproducible complexity I mean the state or condition that cannot be reproduced by our best human efforts, both theoretically and technically.

And if we are plainly free of any preconceived ideas about things, we will discover that there are plenty of those things that we cannot explain satisfactorily, although we can deceive ourselves trying to mimic a "satisfactory" answer and "make believe" we satisfy ourselves with such and such explanation. None of the essential "why" questions can be really answered only by means of mere objective science. Take for example the question of why water is liquid? You can try to explain it in terms of hydrogen bonding of water molecules, as I said, trying to mimic a "scientifically satisfactory" answer, but why is it liquid? What makes it the liquid as it is? I doubt that anyone has a clue to that. Not even the smartest chemist, Nobel prize awarded, has any idea of the true reason why water is liquid. We can come up with all sorts of "plausible" explanations to that, in terms of atomic/molecular strucutre and characteristic interactions of molecules that are present in it, but ultimately, why this kind of structure and that kind of interaction is present in the water molecule in the first place, to make it behave as it does? No clue at all. We can at best describe the resulting behavior of water molecules, considering the kind of structure they do have, that is, two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom so that each of the hydrogen atoms are approximately 104 degrees apart from each other.

Then, there is this group of people which is (so humanly typical) stereotyped as the ID (Intelligent Design) people, which introduced the terminology of "irreducible complexity" to systems such as the living cell. I would argue that such terminology is not appropriate to describe a cell; it is inadequate in its essence. However, since the camp of evolutionist believers goes to great extent in their attempt to have their cosmic view considered as the only and "correct" view of the universe we live in (by the way a most preposterous view, to say the least), the efforts of the ID people to argue back such sophistry is welcome and helpful.

Yet there seems to be necessary a more complete and thorough consideration on the essence of a living cell, and by extension, of life itself. So I have no apologies to take the same approach as the ID "irreducible complex" theme, to introduce a novel concept. An incandescent electric bulb may be irreducibly complex in that without its filament it won't work, without its conducting metal parts correctly set up it won't work, without its inert gas within the bulb it would blow up very quickly, etc. But even with all the elements of an incandescent bulb correctly set up and working properly, it won't give any light unless connected to an electricity outlet, a power source. This electricity, provided by a power source, is what I call the exogenous (or extrinsic) essential element (E cubed), without which an incandescent electric bulb is useless, as far its function of giving light is concerned.

In the same way, a living cell, which by the ID hypothesis is irreducibly complex, won't work, won't live without the exogenous (or extrinsic) essential element which we call life stemming from an ouside source. After all, what is the difference between the living body and a dead corpse of someone who just passed away? Nothing, as far as the raw materials with which they are composed of are concerned. They both have the same chemical elements, they both are formed with the same prime matter. Yet, as the difference between a lighted and a non lighted lamp is notorious, so it is the difference between a living body and a corpse. A living body has running inside it and through its inner parts, a tremendous amount of information processing; information which is not part of the matter, since it has no mass and no inherent material qualities, but "rides" on matter, "writes", "reads", "translates" and communicates through the medium of chemical compounds and so forth, the essential exogenous element which we call life, whose Source is God. No one and nothing else can be. In other words, a cell must be more than "simply" an irreducible complex system; it has to have an outside source of information that makes all the internal "machinery" finely tunned to function. Life, for the cell is like the electricity for the incandescent electric bulb, though the similarity is by far very very crude.

Given that information and information processing reduce the uncertainty within a given system, it follows that the physical attribute which we call logic entropy, S = - k ln Q, with k a constant and Q the amount of information within the system, always increases when information is lost. A mutation within a cell is in essence information loss, and therefore increases the logic entropy within the system. On the other hand, given also that no random process can generate information, that is, no random process can reduce the uncertainty within a given system - on the contrary - as we just saw, it increases its uncertainty, it follows that life could not and cannot originate by random processes, simply by the concourse of matter and energy.

Therefore, according to the most sound information theory and recent scientific findings and arguments, life does not, and cannot originate by itself from matter and energy alone. It needs an Exogenous Essential Element from outiside matter. It needs God, it needs a Creator God!