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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
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.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (review)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
evolutionary biology, pseudoscience, irreducible complexity, Intelligent Design Creationism, conceptual equivocations
journal title
QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY
Q. Rev. Biol.
volume
85
issue
4
pages
473 - 482
Web of Science type
Review
Web of Science id
000285039800004
JCR category
BIOLOGY
JCR impact factor
5.818 (2010)
JCR rank
5/84 (2010)
JCR quartile
1 (2010)
ISSN
0033-5770
DOI
10.1086/656904
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
952482
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-952482
date created
2010-05-26 09:58:07
date last changed
2015-06-17 11:25:50
@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},
}

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.