Dembski seems to be making the same mistake as Behe. He writes:I dunno. Dr. Adequate is a genius and all but isn't there something - uh - deceptive - about this example? A bit of the old evolutionist flimflam here? "Survival and reproduction" does not merely define the output of MANY living systems, let alone any particular living system, it defines ALL living systems, every last one of them. Isn't this no more than a stupendously extreme case of begging the question?We can therefore define the core of a functionally integrated system as those parts that are indispensable to the system’s basic function: remove parts of the core, and you can’t recover the system’s basic function from the other remaining parts. To say that a core is irreducible is then to say that no other systems with substantially simpler cores can perform the system’s basic function.[...] To determine whether a system is irreducibly complex therefore employs two approaches [...] A conceptual analysis of the system, and specifically of those parts whose removal renders the basic function unrecoverable, to demonstrate that no system with (substantially) fewer parts exhibits the basic function. [...] The problem is that for an irreducibly complex system, its basic function is attained only when all components from the irreducible core are in place simultaneously. It follows that if natural selection is going to select for the function of an irreducibly complex system, it has to produce the irreducible core all at once or not at all.But no, to say that a core is irreducible is not to say that "no other systems with substantially simpler cores can perform the system’s basic function".
What it actually means is that if we tried to simplify the system by completely removing one of its parts and leaving it otherwise the same, then it would no longer fulfill its "basic function".
Let us again consider humans as an example. Remove either the brain or the body, and we are no longer able to perform the evolutionarily essential functions of survival and reproduction.
But that does not mean that no simpler system than a human being can perform these functions, because in fact we know of many such systems, including systems which don't have brains in the slightest.
So he is wrong when he says: "It follows that if natural selection is going to select for the function of an irreducibly complex system, it has to produce the irreducible core all at once or not at all." We do not in fact have to have a brain-body system produced at one stroke at the outset. Instead we can envisage a process in which, as evolutionists actually claim, we begin with an organism that has no brain and end up with an organism to which the brain is indispensable.
There are other problems with his paper, but the most obvious problem is that he's making the same old mistake. Until the IDers correct this, then their argument is flawed --- and if they do correct this, then they won't have an argument.
But Behe's famous example is the bacterial rotator flagellum, whose function is a bit more specific than "survival and reproduction." It is CLAIMED that other simpler systems exist which demonstrate that the whole doesn't need to have come together all at once, a claim based as usual on envisaging hypothetical steps by which it could have evolved, and I'd simply like to point out that telling term "envisage" here with its inevitable couldawoulda entourage.
Envisaging is of course what Evolution is made of. It has no true scientific credentials beyond envisaging -- imagining, inventing, hypothesizing -- Fantasy. They can never get past this level of scientific inquiry as true science can by producing actual evidence for or against their imaginative construct.
Evolutionists are perpetually stuck at the Hypothesis level. They can always ONLY envisage their evidence, make it up out of whole cloth with a bit of pseudologic to hold it together. That's the entire Theory of Evolution from beginning to end. It's the entire debate in fact. The one who wins the debate is the one who is the best at aggressive ridicule.
In this particular case Dr. A has envisaged an exceptionally laughable answer to his debate opponent.