Behe on the Colbert Report

In case you haven’t seen it yet…


I can’t believe Behe is still using the mousetrap analogy for “irreducible complexity” when the very concept has been so thoroughly debunked over the last several years.


  1. #1 Joseph
    August 4, 2007

    Darwin himself anticipated the “irreducible complexity” argument when he considered how the eye might have evolved.

    From Darwin 1872: Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.

  2. #2 uknesvuinng
    August 4, 2007

    Behe should really take a look at the reducibly complex mousetrap.

    Of course, he’d probably ignore it or make up some silly ad hoc excuse, but it’d be entertaining to watch him try.

  3. #3 Sid Schwab
    August 4, 2007

    People prefer to think in bumper-sticker-sized thoughts. No matter how demonstrably false (we’re fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here), they persist. It’s not about truth, and never has been. It’s about ways to maintain faith in things that aren’t true, because facing the truth is too challenging. And so it goes on. And on.

  4. #4 Matt
    August 4, 2007

    At least Colbert gave him some good jabs…hopefully that provokes less-informed watchers to do some investigation on their own.

  5. #5 Amy Alkon
    August 4, 2007

    I think the problem is that many people prefer not to think at all — or consider anything more complex than whether they “want cheese on that?” Religion perpetuates itself by capitalizing on this laziness…and the Catholic church is, I believe, the largest, or one of the largest, landholders on the planet.

    Yet, Albert Ellis, one of the founders of cognitive behavioral therapy, who recently died, showed that it doesn’t take great intelligence to think rationally and make rational thought what you live by. Ellis, in contrast to the obscenely cash flush Catholic church, ran a non-profit, and charged $5 for his Friday night therapy sessions (including a complimentary cup of coffee) where he’d take 20 minutes or half an hour to correct the thinking of somebody from the audience.

    Of course, there’s little incentive to keep coming back once you have your irrational thinking corrected, and are able to live a more productive, satisfying life, free of the dumb stuff you were holding yourself back with before. And even if you’re a tough case, you can buy Ellis’ book, Guide To Rational Living, with all the exercises and explanations of how and why to think rationally…for…I dunno, $12.95.

    Religion: It’s not the principle, it’s the principal.

  6. #6 SmellyTerror
    August 4, 2007

    Behe is not an idiot.

    Following on from the previous: Behe knows it’s a stupid example that can be utterly debunked, but he’s not trying to convince people. He’s trying to preach to the converted. He’s trying to talk to simplistic people who want to believe simplistic things. And he’s trying to convince these people that they should keep paying for the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

    It beats real work.

  7. #7 Eamon Knight
    August 4, 2007

    So let this be like, the third or fourth blog where I’ve commented on this interview: Colbert just kept feeding him rope, and Behe just kept hanging himself. Stephen rulez!
    (Um, is that how he spells it?)

  8. #8 Gerry L
    August 4, 2007

    Did Behe really not know he was being mocked?

  9. #9 Gerry L
    August 4, 2007

    Did Behe really not know he was being mocked?

  10. #10 Ezekiel Buchheit
    August 4, 2007

    Colbert tries to get Behe to admit that ID is all about god, not just a nebulous “designer.” Colbert set it up as best as it could be – and Behe, using the coat of slime evolution endowed him with, slipped off into to something about Aristotle. Damn.

  11. #11 Jonathan Vos Post
    August 5, 2007

    If The Designer alone could create species, and species can go extinct but not undergo adaptive radiation, then isn’t it the case that the number of species must strictly decrease over time? Behe is a great threat to Science itself, except that saying so gives him more credit than he’s worth. Regarding extinction, there’s a poignent example about 5 miles southwesat of where I live:

    According to Thomas Juhasz, “Pasadena once had a namesake in the Pasadena Shrimp (Syncaris pasadenae), a one-time abundant resident of the streams and rivers of the area. Having survived for millions of years … the shrimp disappeared after the last remaining wetlands it was found in were paved over in the 1930s for Rose Bowl parking.” RIP, little guy.

  12. #12 jomega
    August 11, 2007

    “Stephen rulez!
    (Um, is that how he spells it?)”

    I don’t know how Stephen spells it, but the proper spelling is RULZ!! All caps. With the exclamation marks. Fist raised. Index and pinkie fingers extended. -Just so you know.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.