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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2006
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Claim CB300:

Complex organs and biological functions could not have evolved.


Kofahl, Robert E., 1977. Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter. Beta Books, chpt. 5.


  1. This is an example of the argument from incredulity. In fact, several complex organs, which have previously been claimed unevolvable, have plausible means of evolving, including the eye, the bombardier beetle defense mechanism, the woodpecker tongue, and more.

  2. Evolutionary mechanisms do account for the evolution of complexity, since non-lethal mutations tend to add more components to simple systems than they remove (Soyer and Bonhoeffer 2006). The abstract of Lenski et al. (2003, 139) is worth quoting in full:
    A long-standing challenge to evolutionary theory has been whether it can explain the origin of complex organismal features. We examined this issue using digital organisms -- computer programs that self-replicate, mutate, compete and evolve. Populations of digital organisms often evolved the ability to perform complex logic functions requiring the coordinated execution of many genomic instructions. Complex functions evolved by building on simpler functions that had evolved earlier, provided that these were also selectively favoured. However, no particular intermediate stage was essential for evolving complex functions. The first genotypes able to perform complex functions differed from their non-performing parents by only one or two mutations, but differed from the ancestor by many mutations that were also crucial to the new functions. In some cases, mutations that were deleterious when they appeared served as stepping-stones in the evolution of complex features. These findings show how complex functions can originate by random mutation and natural selection.


National Science Foundation, 2003. Artificial life experiments show how complex functions can evolve.


  1. Lenski, Richard E., Charles Ofria, Robert T. Pennock and Christoph Adami. 2003. The evolutionary origin of complex features Nature 423: 139-144. (See also NSF, 2003, above.)
  2. Soyer, Orkun S. and Sebastian Bonhoeffer. 2006. Evolution of complexity in signaling pathways. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 103: 16337-16342.

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created 2003-5-8, modified 2006-11-2