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Irreducible incoherence and intelligent design : a look into the conceptual toolbox of a pseudoscience

Maarten Boudry (UGent) , Stefaan Blancke (UGent) and Johan Braeckman (UGent)
(2010) QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY. 85(4). p.473-482
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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.
Keywords
evolutionary biology, pseudoscience, irreducible complexity, Intelligent Design Creationism, conceptual equivocations

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Chicago
Boudry, Maarten, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman. 2010. “Irreducible Incoherence and Intelligent Design : a Look into the Conceptual Toolbox of a Pseudoscience.” Quarterly Review of Biology 85 (4): 473–482.
APA
Boudry, M., Blancke, S., & Braeckman, J. (2010). Irreducible incoherence and intelligent design : a look into the conceptual toolbox of a pseudoscience. QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY, 85(4), 473–482.
Vancouver
1.
Boudry M, Blancke S, Braeckman J. Irreducible incoherence and intelligent design : a look into the conceptual toolbox of a pseudoscience. QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY. 2010;85(4):473–82.
MLA
Boudry, Maarten, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman. “Irreducible Incoherence and Intelligent Design : a Look into the Conceptual Toolbox of a Pseudoscience.” QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY 85.4 (2010): 473–482. Print.
@article{952482,
  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 {\textquotedblleft}intelligent design{\textquotedblright} 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.},
  author       = {Boudry, Maarten and Blancke, Stefaan and Braeckman, Johan},
  issn         = {0033-5770},
  journal      = {QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY},
  keyword      = {evolutionary biology,pseudoscience,irreducible complexity,Intelligent Design Creationism,conceptual equivocations},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {473--482},
  title        = {Irreducible incoherence and intelligent design : a look into the conceptual toolbox of a pseudoscience},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/656904},
  volume       = {85},
  year         = {2010},
}

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