Michael Behe published the book Darwin’s Black Box, where he explained the concept of irreducible complexity. The idea is that some complex systems have a complexity that is irreducible….if you remove any of the parts, the whole system collapses, and none of the parts work. His idea was that in some biological systems, the parts have to all be there for the system to work, and therefore they could not have evolved independently, gradually. He used many examples, some of which were blood clotting and the flagella on bacteria. All his examples had multiple parts, and Behe claimed that if you remove any of the parts, the whole system will not work. Therefore one part of the system evolving gradually would have no function; the whole system must be in place from the first.
To illustrate his point, he used the common mousetrap, with five parts. All of the five parts must be there or none of the others will work. The mousetrap needs all five parts to accomplish it’s goal of catching mice, and if we take away any one of the parts, the other four are useless and will not function for killing mice. Parts of a living cell are described as irreducibly complex, and Behe claims they could not have evolved through gradualism.
The atheist materialists attacked the idea of course, for they have to maintain their naturalistic worldview at all costs. In their responses, they tried to show by various means how the parts of a mousetrap could evolve. One that I found on a biologist’s website started with a bent piece of spring wire, and allegedly showed how it could be cocked and used to injure mice. Then the other parts of the mousetrap could conceivably evolve. They feel if they can conceive of a method that gradualism could possibly work, they have proven a case, regardless of whether there is any evidence to support it.
Well, I have one problem and one point of amusement. The problem is that all of the counter examples that I have seen end up implicitly assuming all the parts of the mousetrap, while denying them explicitly. For example, the biologist that started with the simple piece of spring wire claimed to only have one of the parts, but in actuality his “cocked wire” had all five parts. We’re told we don’t need a base, because it’s sitting on the floor. We’re told the catch is not needed, although one end of the wire catches the other. And we don’t have a hammer, but the spring acts as a hammer. And so on. So they apparently can’t see see that they’re just re-defining the parts of the system and claiming they’re not there. (Which, by the way, atheists are good at redefining God by attributing some aspect of nature with the same attributes. They sneak God in the side door and call Him something else.)
But the amusing part to me is that we have otherwise intelligent human beings, with letters after their names, and which teach in well-known universities, spending lots of time and energy trying to explain away a mousetrap.
The atheist materialists accuse the Christians of stopping investigation by invoking God on every problem that can’t be solved immediately, which is sometimes true. But what is particularly disappointing for basic research is that they don’t see their own blindness when they cling to philosophical naturalism and will not allow people who disagree with their atheist materialism to keep their jobs. In my limited circle, I know of two professors at major universities who are afraid to let their colleagues know their personal spiritual beliefs for fear of losing their jobs. So much for academic freedom.
In any case, the complexity of biology is coming around to bite the atheist materialist. For the more they peer through their microscopes, the more complexity they discover. They have to climb further and further out on a limb to keep holding their position that it all came about by random purposeless accidents. And what is getting particularly amusing is that they keep defending their positions with an increasing degree of agitation and bluster. That they attempt to shut down all public debate on these subjects and resort to name calling tells me something.
My only true fear is that when they use the terms ‘eliminate religion’ whether they will not stop with coercion, but would truly go on to try to prevent religious people from educating their children, or possibly resort to violence. In that context, their laughable philosophy is not quite so funny anymore.