Evolutionary mouse traps

What do you think of this argument against “irreducible complexity?”

4 Responses

  1. Ok, that helps to clarify the video for me.

    You asked, “Which argument is more compelling to you?”

    I see my initial response in line with Behe. While I was thinking of purpose I had assumed that a mouse trap was made — complete — with the idea of a mouse trap in mind rather than as something emerging at the end of a progressive train of adaptations. As I understand the video and your clarifications it is suggesting the idea of adaptation for producing a final product that may be termed “irreducibly complex” while it may in fact have been simply produced.

    My daughters’ room left to its own adaptations never achieves beauty. My piecemeal efforts at making dinner never produces a gourmet dish.

    I am more compelled by design.


  2. I think he makes a valid point. I tend to use the same argument when speaking with atheistic evolutionists or 6-day creationists. The former says that we can’t prove God, thus God does not exist. The latter says we can’t prove evolution. Thus, God must exist. Both hinge on the assumption that, for something to be true, it must be understandable by our meat-brains.

    I tend to take a sacramental view of creation/evolution. God gives us wheat and grapes. With it, we make bread and wine. We give it back to Him and He transforms/infuses (that’s another argument) with His Body and Blood.

    In the same way, He gave us the stuff of which this universe is composed. With it (and always with His participation) we created humans, the pinnacle of what we could achieve. God then did something new with those beings, giving them His image and likeness.

    Regardless, one of the things I’m most grateful to Orthodoxy for was allowing me to be Christian without being a literalist.

  3. My immediate thought half way through the clip was that a mouse trap is designed to trap mice and not to hold a tie in place. A tie clip and a mouse trap are two different things that have two entirely different intentions or purposes.

    The speaker mentioned “different contexts,” but I think he was really talking about different functions.

    Did he actually support the main thesis of irreducible complexity? In order for a “mouse” trap to trap mice it needs all five parts. In order for a tie holder to hold a tie it needs 1) a spring, and 2) a plate. It just so happens that a mouse trap has two of those components.


    • Buck,

      What he’s arguing is that the mouse trap argument for intelligent design is not adequate. Behe argues that there must be an intelligent designer because of the irreducible complexity of the mouse trap. The lynch pin of Behe’s argument seems to be that all five parts are needed for the mouse trap to work; therefore it could not have come together without an intelligent designer because the odds of those five parts coming together in just the right way to trap mice is inconceivable.

      So what the video says is, “fine, but your argument is irrelevent. Two of the five parts could have come together for some other purpose. Then, later on, a third part could have joined the first two when a new need arose. Then, later on, a fourth, and so on.”

      In other words, Behe seems to be contending that the five pieces could only have come together for one reason (to catch mice) and that that reason required all five pieces in just such an arrangement. But the video argues that a couple of the pieces could have come together for a different reason, then a third later, etc.

      Which argument is more compelling to you?

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