David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Evolution Education and Outreach 4 (3):397-414 (2011)
Since intelligent design (ID) advocates claimed the ubiquitous mouse trap as an example of systems that cannot have evolved, mouse trap history is doubly relevant to studying material culture. On the one hand, debunking ID claims about mouse traps and, by implication, also about other irreducibly complex systems has a high educational value. On the other hand, a case study of mouse trap history may contribute insights to the academic discussion about material culture evolution. Michael Behe argued that mouse traps cannot trap mice with any part missing; therefore, they cannot have a precursor with one part less, therefore, cannot have a continuous history, and therefore, cannot have evolved. The patented and seminal precursor of current flat snap traps, however, had one part less, because spring and striker were formed of one wire. Secondly, historical records that reach back into the Bronze Age suggest that its history continued for a very long time. Thirdly, all prerequisites for evolution (variation, transmission, and selection) abound in mouse trap populations. Hence, Behe’s triple-jump conclusion about mouse traps is false each step. There is no, in principle, impossibility for mouse traps to evolve. An evolutionary account of mouse trap history also has academic merits beyond its educational value. Three important conclusions can be drawn: (1) reticulate phylogenies of artifact systems may be resolvable as overlapping, but branching, phylogenies of parts; (2) homologous ideas may be realized by analogous material, that is, phylogenies of information do not necessarily coincide with those of material parts; (3) recombination of parts between different artifact systems increases the cumulative nature of cultural evolution.
|Keywords||Cultural evolution Irreducible complexity Lateral transfer Ancient mouse traps Medieval mouse traps|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Fabienne Lenoble & Pascal Carlier (1996). A Possible Contribution of Phenomenology to Ethology: Application to a Behaviour Pattern in the Mouse. Acta Biotheoretica 44 (1).
Mitch Rudominer (1999). The Largest Countable Inductive Set is a Mouse Set. Journal of Symbolic Logic 64 (2):443-459.
A. K. (1999). Of Mice, Medicine, and Genetics: C. C. Little's Creation of the Inbred Laboratory Mouse, 1909-1918. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 30 (3):319-343.
A. B. Droogleever Fortuyn (1937). The Possible Evolution of Coat Color in the Mouse. Acta Biotheoretica 3 (1).
Karen A. Rader (1999). Of Mice, Medicine, and Genetics: C. C. Little's Creation of the Inbred Laboratory Mouse, 1909–1918. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 30 (3):319-343.
Karen A. Rader (1998). "The Mouse People": Murine Genetics Work at the Bussey Institution, 1909-1936. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 31 (3):327 - 354.
James Bartolotti & Viorica Marian (2012). Language Learning and Control in Monolinguals and Bilinguals. Cognitive Science 36 (6):1129-1147.
J. Michaux (2008). The Mouse, Endemic Rodents and Human Settlement in the Canary Islands. Diogenes 55 (2):65 - 75.
Robert R. Lavieri (2007). The Ethical Mouse: Be Not Like Icarus. American Journal of Bioethics 7 (5):57 – 58.
Added to index2011-06-02
Total downloads630 ( #126 of 1,096,519 )
Recent downloads (6 months)124 ( #248 of 1,096,519 )
How can I increase my downloads?