Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Irreducible Complexity is Ridiculous - Even in Music!

I was reading a Creduloid blog today (no, it doesn't receive the honor of a link) that placed "irreducible complexity" as one of the top reasons they believed there is a magical man in the sky that made us all in present form from dirt. For those not familiar with pseudo-science, irreducible complexity is used by proponents of Intelligent Design Creationism, and states that some structures in biology cannot be simplified without causing the entire structure to fail, and that therefore they could not have evolved naturally. After all, how can a mouse trap work without all its parts? Remove the spring and it no longer works, right? So we couldn't have evolved, as our structures had to be created together.

That last statement shows how the ID/Creationist con-artists peddle their "science" - they preach it to the undeducated. Of course it is a
completely bogus concept that has been debunked a million times over - evolution doesn't concern itself with the end product. But it makes sense to the credulous among us.

LABELED (Your Rockstar's band; he's on the far left) was finishing a new song for our fourth album last night when it, for lack of a better word, evolved.

See, we needed a transition from a 6/8 time in the key of "E" to a 4/4 time in "D".

Stick with me here.

Initially there were two parts in the bridge: one to change the tempo and one to change the key. We then added another segment to the bridge that removed the necessity of a tempo change; that part was no longer needed so it was removed. We now have one part taking the place of two in a much more efficient way.

Much like evolution, we now have a song that is irreducibly complex; we can't take the bridge or any of its parts out or the song will not work. But that doesn't mean it was created from nothing.

Evolution - it's pretty kick ass, no?


Bronze Dog said...

One of my favorite evolution analogies: Armored Core. Build a giant robot and blow up other giant robots.

Well, when I first played the game, I had a 4-legged monstrosity with far too much on it: I had a machinegun, a plasma cannon, and a big laser cannon.

Big change occurs: I learned about the "Human Plus" powers. One of them lets bipedal mechs use cannons while moving. Since 4-legs could only use cannons while on the ground, they became useless, and got replaced by bipedal legs. General desire to avoid waste causes me to ditch the redundant plasma cannon.

Environmental Change: I pick up AC: Master of Arena. "Narrow & Deep" lock-ons get less narrow, making sniper rifles more viable. I replace the machinegun with a (laser) sniper rifle. I also learn better dodging techniques, so I shed more unnecessary weight to accent that ability.

Environmental Change: AC2 comes out. One of its features is a powerful generator. I learn the value of indefinite flight times. I tinker with the new extension parts, particularly relation missiles. Since that plasma cannon I used is no longer available (for good reason: That little hair dryer was way overpowered), I switch to missiles + relation missiles as my backup weapons.

Environmental Change: AC3 comes out. Plus powers are no longer available from the start of the game. Suddenly, from the loss of booster efficiency, indefinite flight is impossible, and long-duration dashing is much riskier. I focus my designs on energy efficiency and become a more adept ground-pounder.

Environmental Change: AC3: Silent Line comes out. New part: Wake boosters: They take up both back slots, but with the right set up, they give you great speed and efficiency together. Without missiles, however, I have to look for a different backup weapon, which is provided in the form of the new left arm rifles.

Environmental Change: AC Nexus: Heat system is redone. Overheating becomes much more dangerous. Wake boosters (wussily renamed "Pegasus") generate heat in addition to the heat generated by main boosters. I augment my manuverability by cutting off weight ev-er-ry-where I can, since I can't use the Wakes effectively.

Future changes: Who knows?

Current state: I now have an irreducibly complex sniper AC: Remove any weapon, and the design falls apart. I may have been an intelligent agent on every step, but each was an incrimental improvement. Heavy, high-drain, unfocused, and simple AC turns to a specialized, efficient featherweight irreducibly complex AC.

Rockstar Ryan said...

We should just write a song about evolution using video game characters.

My first sonata:

"Taloon and Nara - We Evolved to Suck"

MichaelBains said...

We should just write a song about evolution using video game characters.

Follow the Sonata with a rollicking rendition of "The Flight of Gordon Freeman!"

That is an awesome analogy using your tune's evolution Rockstar. Use it again dude. Very apt indeed!

Snave said...

When evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve.

Being in a band (I sing about 2/3 of our songs, play keys and also some guitar), I love the music analogy.

I'm sure a theist would find ways to use circular reasoning or whatever to explain that the song could actually be broken down into verses, measures, single notes, rests, sixteenth notes, etc. But screw that. That would be stretching the argument beyond its boundaries.

Our band, Standard Deviation, has evolved from the irreducible initial state of "massive and total sucks" to the state of "sucks most of the time". Through dedication and practice, we have evolved. We hope to evolve further to "sucks some of the time", and I think we are evolving in that direction.

Great weblog! The anagrams are very cool, especially the one for United States of America... heh...

rockstarryan said...


Could you give us a link to your band's website? You could hook up with us.

Anonymous said...

I've heard your song. You're right. There was no intelligent design involved.

Rockstar Ryan said...

I've heard your song. You're right. There was no intelligent design involved.

Which one, smart guy? How do you know which one I was talking about? Please elaborate, because unless you live somewhere you can see us live, you are making that up, ie full of shit.