Mousetraps and the Case for Intelligent Design


Credit: DuBoixMorguefileI’m no scientist, but I have a high regard for science. Which is why I found a websitehighlighting a group of scientists making the case for Intelligent Design so fascinating.

Let me say this upfront: my faith doesn’t require such evidence. But such evidence certainly doesn’t hurt my faith. It enhances it and excites me, because I know that through it, others who depend on such evidence for belief have more of a chance to know and believe in the One who is waiting to love them.

In one instance on this website, a mousetrap is used to explain what is a fairly complex theory known as irreducible complexity; a theory that presents a severe challenge to gradual step-by-step evolution. The theory doesn’t disprove that things evolve, but shows that certain systems could not have evolved, that they had to have come forth by way of a designer.

For example, a mousetrap comprises five main parts. Each of those parts is required in order for the trap to work. If one of the parts is missing, the mouse gets away. In other words, the mousetrap could not have evolved step by step because all parts had to be in place from the get-go in order for it to ever have worked. This indicates that a designer was involved in the construction of a mousetrap. The human knee is another example.

To explain this concept, in this video clip,biochemist Michael Behe uses the construction of a flagellar motor – a complex molecular machine that propels bacteria through liquid. This required magnification of a cell to 50 million times its true size; something that was impossible back in Darwin’s day. This magnification shows an intricate system that demonstrates irreducible complexity.

For evolution to be possible, one must explain how systems came into being step by step. But with irreducible complexity, no function was possible until all parts were in place. Thus, evolution cannot account for its existence.

I hope I’m explaining this correctly and that it’s making sense to you. To me, all of this points to compelling and fascinating evidence of a Master Designer.

God designed science, too, to help us as human beings better understand our world — what it comprises, how it is ordered, how things fit together. He wanted us to understand. But the more we have been able to accomplish through our knowledge, the more our pride has gotten in the way. Knowledge is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but with it comes a temptation to disregard the Creator who put it all into motion in the first place. (We’re back to the Garden of Eden…)

It seems to me that even as we human beings move into a more complex understanding of science, God is simultaneously revealing more and more of who He is. We are going to keep bumping into God in all realms of our intellectual pursuits…eventually. Certainly, some things can be explained, to a point, without recognition of the supernatural. But only to a point. Going beyond that point leads us back to the reality, the absolute necessity, of a Prime Mover.

Why would we be satisfied with going only halfway when the whole way is at our disposal?

Intelligent Design makes sense. I can know this without scientific evidence through my reasoning capacities. But having evidence adds depth and meaning to the quest for full knowledge.

Q4U: What evidence do you require for faith? Where do you seek it?

Copyright 2011 Roxane Salonen


About Author

Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five from Fargo, N.D., is an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer who also enjoys Catholic radio hosting and speaking. Roxane co-authored former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Trevino’s memoir, Redeemed by Grace. Her work is featured on "Peace Garden Passage" at her website,


  1. Roxane, thank you both for your excellent explanation of irreducible complexity and for bringing the issue of intelligent design before the readers of Catholic Mom.
    My husband Mike (the guy in the video) recommends the following websites to those who are interested in keeping up with developments in the field of intelligent design:

    Creation Evolution Headlines,
    Evolution News & Views,
    Uncommon Descent,

    Thanks again for your thoughtful and timely article!

  2. Celeste, I’m so glad you found my post and feel I explained this theory well enough for a humble lay person. 🙂 I’m happy to point to your husband and his fascinating work so readers can learn more about what he and other scientists are doing to reveal the marks of a Divine hand!

  3. Emily Anonymous on

    I would just like to warn all the wonderful Catholic moms out there reading this website to be careful in terms of the claims of intelligent design. While many of the arguments of this group seem to make sense initially, upon closer examination they fall apart. For more reading, I suggest two books by Christian biologists: Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth Miller (Catholic professor at Brown University) and The Language of God (evangelical Christian biologist who led the Human Genome Project). These books discuss some (or all) of the “irreducible complexity” examples of the intelligent design movement in detail. I think these two books are extremely helpful for Christians who are trying to understand how faith (religion) and reason (in this case, science) ultimately cannot contradict, since they originate from the same source (God).

    Hopefully to encourage moms out there to take this advice seriously, I myself am a Catholic mom (2 year old and a new one on the way), I have been very active in the prolife movement my entire life, and my husband and I have served as natural family planning instructors (as well as practiced this lifestyle our entire marriage). In addition, I am a professor of evolutionary biology at a large research institution. My husband (also a professor in this field) and I have encountered many excellent Christians who feel that evolution is a threat to their faith. In reality, it is nothing to fear when properly understood. He and I both originally came from a creationist background and struggled with the idea of evolution and how to reconcile this idea with our faith, until after much study, we understood it in its proper light. For those moms who feel confused in this area, please look at the two books above as a beginning, and then afterwards please continue to pursue additional reading on this topic in the search for the truth. As JPII (we love you) encouraged us “Be not afraid!”

  4. Greetings Emily. Are you warning readers against the websites that were mentioned, or this post? I guess I’d like clarification. I don’t know that the theory of Intelligent Design contradicts what you believe. Here’s one definition I came across:

    “Intelligent design (ID) is a scientific theory that employs the methods commonly used by other historical sciences to conclude that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. ID theorists argue that design can be inferred by studying the informational properties of natural objects to determine if they bear the type of information that in our experience arise from an intelligent cause.” (source:

    It seems to me we’re basically addressing the cause, the way the universe came into being (through a Creator/Designer and not just randomly) here. I’m wondering if these theories all coexist but there’s simply a slightly different focus. My main point of writing this post was to share with readers some interesting evidence of a Divine hand within science. I think you are offering the same but a slightly different version? After visiting Celeste’s website (author of above comment), I noted that she, too, is Catholic, so I’m assuming her husband is as well. I think we’re all in this together? At the very least, thanks for sharing your thoughts to give readers even more to ponder.

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