Session 2: What is irreducible complexity?

Apologetics and the Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  10:13
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Join us today as we discuss the question, what is irreducible complexity?



Welcome to Apologetics and the Gospel. My name is Pastor Jonathan White, and I am the Lead Pastor at CrossPointe Family Church in Hurricane, WV as well as a practicing Emergency Medicine Physician.

Question for Today:

What is irreducible complexity?
The concept of irreducible complexity was present among creation science groups for some 20-30 years earlier, but Professor Michael Behe (Pronounced Bee) of Lehigh University coined the idea in his book Darwin’s Black Box in 1996 and further expanded the idea. He used the idea of a mousetrap to discuss the concept of irreducible complexity. A typical mousetrap has five distinct parts - including a catch, a spring, a hammer, a holding bar, and a foundation. If any of these parts would be removed, then the entire system would fail.
This mousetrap metaphor is not perfect, but it does help the average person understand the concept better.
So what does this concept have to do with Apologetics and the Gospel?
Those who believe in evolution, believe that all life started from a single-celled organism and gradually attained further genetic material through countless mutations. This is taught as scientific fact in most biology classes. This idea has gone far beyond theory and now has moved into a religious affection for evolutionists.
But is the theory of evolution rational and logical? Does it agree with what we observe in science? Frankly, is the theory scientific in the first place?
The word science actually literally means “to know.”
Can we really know that evolution is true? Or does it take faith to believe in evolution?
It seems very apparent that evolution is not knowable or observable. It is not the same as measuring the acceleration of gravity or measuring the temperature of a room. Those are reproducible and observational scientific facts. Evolution is not observable.
I understand that evolutionists would not agree with my above statements. Most evolutionists are atheists, although there is a group of people that refer to themselves as theistic evolutionists. But atheists pride themselves in the fact that they do not have faith.
But do atheists have faith?
The definition of faith is a belief of something that cannot be seen - or believing in something in which there is not complete evidence.
Wouldn’t that statement fit evolution? Absolutely. And anyone who is intellectually honest would have to admit that it takes faith to believe in evolution.
Getting back to our question for today, irreducible complexity proves that evolution is not a rational belief. Let’s begin this discussion with talking about the cell - the basic building block of all life. The cell in itself is irreducibly complex. It is made up of organelles that make up the whole. And even the organelles are made up of atoms that form molecules. A cell without a mitochondria would have no energy to move or do anything. A cell without ribosomes would be unable to produce proteins which are needed for all cellular machinery.
Going even further let’s talk about DNA for a moment. DNA is made up of two strands of base pairs that are wound up into a double helix. There are four bases that make up DNA and include adenosine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. Aside from the incredibly low likelihood of a double helix forming by evolution, what about the mutations and additions of DNA that would be necessary to eventually form even the simplest of living cells?
According to an article from the National Institute of Health:
Mutation rates are difficult to measure because the events are so rare that it is like measuring the frequency of needles in haystacks.
Per an article at
Article written by Loewe and Hill
So first and foremost, the odds of getting a mutation rate high enough to form even the first initial cell is close to impossible.
But even assuming these mutations would happen, how many mutations are positive and how many are negative?
Medically speaking, we see very few positive mutations in humans. Most mutations lead to cancers and other negative health conditions. Even those that have a positive bend such as the sickle cell gene that protects from malaria leads to bad outcomes in patients with this mutation. They may avoid malaria, but they may face acute chest crises, anemia, splenic damage causing an increased risk of infection, vision problems, painful episodes, among other symptoms. This partially positive mutation actually ends up increasing the mortality rate of those who have it.
Understanding that most mutations that we see are either not helpful or even harmful, what are the odds that we would have multiple positive mutations that would form every organelle needed for a cell all at once?
This new cell would only have one shot and would have to form all at the same time. Hence the issue of irreducible complexity back in our face. And this cell would also have to have the machinery needed to replicate itself as well! Because if it formed once and could not replicate, it would die and never be seen again.
There are so many deeper and intricate parts of the cell and DNA that we could go through, but I pray that this discussion has gotten your mind going. Don’t just trust what people with Ph.D’s state or even MD’s like myself state. Search for what is really the truth.
The Bible teaches that God created everything systematically.
In six days, God created everything. at the end of Genesis 1 we see this:
Genesis 1:31 ESV
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
When He created man, everything needed was created at once. Man can be irreducibly complex because man was created as completely man. When God created plants and trees, everything that was needed was created at once. When created each family of animals, the same is true.
The Bible teaches that God created everything well. He didn’t create them haphazardly. It was not done in chaos but in order. Clearly, the Bible teaches that evolution is untrue.
I pray that today’s discussion has challenged you to think more deeply about evolution and creation. I am assured that as you truly seek the truth in regards to Creation verses evolution, you will find evolution is inconsistent and frankly illogical.
Those who continue to grasp onto evolution do so because if there is a God, then we all must give an account to Him. We must obey Him. And so man suppresses the truth as Romans 1:18 states because he does not want to answer to God.
However, our God is a loving God. Creation screams that there is a Creator. The Bible states that we all are born with the knowledge of God so that none is without excuse (Romans 1:19-21). I pray that if you have suppressed the truth, that you seek it out.
Because if you seek the truth, you will end up finding the One Who is the Truth - namely Jesus Christ. He is the way, and the truth, and life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. I pray earnestly that you know the Truth.


These presentations have been put together to strengthen the faith of believers and to challenge the unbelief of others. I pray that you find these presentations helpful as we continue moving forward. Feel free to email any ideas you would like to see addressed by emailing me at There are slides prepared for each of these presentations which can be accessed at our church website at Also, please note that this 10-15 minute presentation cannot exhaustively address most issues. My prayer is that it stimulates you to personally research further, and I am assured that you will find the Word of God proven time and time again. God bless and have a blessed week.
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