Irreducible Complexity

Coffee!!: World’s most complex Rube Goldberg machine …

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Thumbnail for version as of 18:25, 4 January 2006…ย here (MSNBC, April 27, 2011):

This record-smashing Rube Goldberg developed by engineering students at Purdue University takes you on a journey from the big bang to the apocalypse in 244 easy steps โ€” culminating in … [what did you expect?]

Fans of Mike Behe will recall his use of the concept in Darwin’s Black Box:

Now let’s talk about a different biochemical system of blood clotting. Amusingly, the way in which the blood clotting system works is reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg machine.The name of Rube Goldberg; the great cartoonist who entertained America with his silly machines, lives on in our culture, but the man himself has pretty much faded from view. Here’s a typical example of his humor. In this cartoon Goldberg imagined a system where water from a drain-pipe fills a flask, causing a cork with attached needle to rise and puncture a paper cup containing beer, which sprinkles on a bird. The intoxicated bird falls onto a spring, bounces up to a platform, and pulls a string thinking it’s a worm. The string triggers a cannon which frightens a dog. The dog flips over, and his rapid breathing raises and lowers a scratcher over a mosquito bite, causing no embarrassment while talking to a lady.

When you think about it for a moment you realize that the Rube Goldberg machine is irreducibly complex. It is a single system which is composed of several interacting parts, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to break down. If the dog is missing the machine doesn’t work; if the needle hasn’t been put on the cork, the whole system is useless.

It turns out that we all have Rube Goldberg in our blood. Here’s a picture of a cell trapped in a clot.

But here is a conclusion offered at MSNBC that Behe does not quite come to:

From now on, whenever I need to know something about history I am going to consult this machine (that and my ever expanding collection of horror novels). Nothing this magnificent could ever steer me wrong.

Vid only here:

8 Replies to “Coffee!!: World’s most complex Rube Goldberg machine …

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    OK Go – This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine version – Official video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    I’d have to say I disagree with Mike here, the blood clotting system is nothing like a Rube Goldberg contraption.

    But still, it was an effective tactic in Darwin’s Black Box.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Incredible Music Machine Full Version “AKA Pipe dream” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjBDfZZQz54

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Oldie but goodie;

    Honda – The Cog – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ve4M4UsJQo

  5. 5
    UrbanMysticDee says:

    Someone should make a machine with 1000 steps.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Someome should make a machine that makes rube goldberg machines.

  7. 7
    Joseph says:

    Already have them- they’re called “people”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    A Rube Goldberg Machine-Making Rube Goldberg Machine?

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