Biological Complexity

by Harry Cook and Hank D. Bestman
Complexity is often defined in the language of mathematics, computers, or information theory. We examine biological complexity as it occurs in the cytoplasm’s relation to nuclear function, and in the case of epigenetics. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the pendulum swings between appreciation of biological holism and complexity, and reductionism. During the second half of the twentieth century, complexity gains a new appreciation and emerges as a field of study in its own right. We propose a description of biological complexity that includes the functional dynamics of the various structural components of biological organisms and their levels of functioning, with the higher levels imposing boundaries on the lower levels. We suggest that this complexity reveals the wisdom of the Creator.

PSCF 63, no. 3 (2011): 159–69

1 comment to Biological Complexity

  • Charles Austerberry

    Excellent approach taken in this much-needed article.  Biological complexity shares some things in common with other kinds of complexity, but it also has its own unique characteristics.  I also appreciate the reference to Gregerson’s “From Anthropic Design to Self-Organized Complexity.”  Indeed, biological complexity (and so many other aspects of the creation) reveal the wisdom of the Creator, but not in a “scientific explanation gap = God’s fingerprints” sense.  For a good dialogue about the latter, I recommend the author exchange between Stephen C. Meyer and Dennis R. Venema in the same PSCF issue (Sept 2011).


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