One Of The Most Complex Biological Nanomachines

The bacterial flagellum is a major icon of the modern intelligent design movement with it’s design resembling man-made machines. In this latest study, it’s molecular rotary motor reveals even more specialized complexity by repairing parts of its rotor while it is rotating!  The stator was a surprise that it could be replaced during operation, even more so was the rotor…

Oxford scientists explain the new discovery in PNAS

“Most biological processes are performed by multiprotein complexes.  Traditionally described as static entities, evidence is now emerging that their components can be highly dynamic, exchanging constantly with cellular pools…. It is powered by transmembrane ion flux through a ring of stator complexes that push on a central rotor.”

“The Escherichia coli motor switches direction stochastically in response to binding of the response regulator CheY to the rotor switch component FliM.  Much is known of the static motor structure, but we are just beginning to understand the dynamics of its individual components.”


“We show that the ~30 FliM molecules per motor exist in two discrete populations, one tightly associated with the motor and the other undergoing stochastic turnover…. In many ways the bacterial flagellar motor is as an archetype macromolecular assembly, and our results may have further implications for the functional relevance of protein turnover in other large molecular complexes.”

This was no easy undertaking, specialized imaging techniques were needed in order for the Oxford team to be able to identify components of the rotor undergoing dynamic turnover in about 30- to 40-second timeframes. It’s currently unknown the reason for such turnover. Ideas consist of maintenance of the motor or function. Also, it appears that a signaling mechanism is involved with the turnover.

There is caution on the researchers part about speculating whether FliM turnover is involved in the switch function of the C ring, emphasizing that the exchange of FliM subunits could be either a cause or effect of motor reversal. It’s quite a remarkable feat and awesome design that can switch parts while spinning around at 60,000 rpm. Also, the researchers say nothing about evolution in this paper (like it would matter in understanding this very complex system that was believed to be just a simple blob at one point in time).  The paper contained some outstanding work on how it operates!

The only theory that contains a vocabulary and concepts with explanatory resources to deal with observations that are rich in engineering that resembles man-made machinery and control language is creationism!

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79 thoughts on “One Of The Most Complex Biological Nanomachines

  1. Oh no, not the flagellum again ….

    In any case: still no anwers to our growing list of outstanding questions, Michael !

    Here they are again, for your convenience:

    (1) Blog readership numbers ?

    (2) Your qualifications to discuss any scientific subject, in response to the challenge to Olorin.

    (3) A substantive review of Signature in the Cell, promised for August 2009.

    (4) outstanding question from Upson Downes on mitochondrial Eve

    (5) the answers to Olorin’s quiz:
    A) …
    B) …
    C) …
    D) …
    E) …
    F) …

  2. Is a Creationist smarter than a 5th grader?

    5th grade Biology: F
    5th Grade Physics: F
    5th Grade Astronomy: F
    5th Grade Geology: F
    5th Grade Anatomy: F

    There’s your answer.

  3. … the researchers say nothing about evolution in this paper

    Nor have any of the commenters here. We get inane personal insults instead. Although, Krissmith’s humor is pretty good by Darwinian standards. I’ve heard the same joke with the 4th grade scores though and that was a lot better.

  4. @creationbydesign:

    No personal insults at all !!

    I have never insulted Michael, I am just being persistent in the questions he is dodging.

  5. Eelco,
    Ok, that’s true. You are the admirable exception in this case.
    As for your repeated refrain, they strike me as loaded questions and a means of ridicule and don’t add anything to a discussion, in my opinion.
    I think Michael has a much higher level of tolerance for such things than I ever would — and that is to his credit.

    And back to the main point, this discovery about an even more finely-tuned motor function exposes the absurd claims about how the evolution of cellular feature has “already been explained”.

    Your response itself is not a good one. Indeed, we return to “the flagellum again” because science has not even completed an explanation on how it functions — far less has there been a detailed evolutionary path given for it.

  6. @creationbydesign:
    Because it is an ‘oldie’: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200_1.html

    This contains a somewhat outdate possible evolutionary path. Feel free to disagree, but there IS an explanation AND a detailed evolutionary path (which you’ll find in the references papers, not on the talkorigins.org page, which is a mere summary).

  7. creationbydesign

    My humor is because of my exasperation at the ignorance of Creationists on Scientific subjects. Creationists do not know science as well as 5th graders. That’s a fact.

    If a fact comes across as insulting, can I really help that?

  8. The reason I am not talking about the post is because Michael on previous posts has been refuted when he talked about this particular subject.

    All in all, Michael pretends the refutations and problems to Creationist arguments do not exist. In other words, HE is a Creationist equivalent to a Mormon apologist who refuses to see the evidence against the Book of Mormon.

    When he refuses to even discuss the possibility he is wrong, then there is no use in actually discussing the subject.

  9. Eelco, it’s not only outdated but it did not address the discovery that we read about in the paper cited in this post.

    In other words, the only way to offer a possible evolutionary path is to encompass all of the features of the flagellum. As of just this year, this major feature itself was unknown. So, it wouldn’t be possible to describe how it evolved yet.

    I would call that an exaggerated claim. Without even knowing how the flagellum works, Talk Origins is claiming that it knows how it evolved.

  10. Hi Kris,

    My humor is because of my exasperation at the ignorance of Creationists on Scientific subjects. Creationists do not know science as well as 5th graders. That’s a fact.

    I find that to be a surprising fact. I had never seen anyone seriously claim that before now.

    If a fact comes across as insulting, can I really help that?

    If you thought that was a fact, then I guess you couldn’t help it.

  11. The reason I am not talking about the post is because Michael on previous posts has been refuted when he talked about this particular subject.

    I’d like to see your refutation here. It should be easy. Supposedly, he only knows as much as a 5th grader, so his claims about the lack of an evolutionary explanation here should be easy to refute. Obviously, you know more than a 5th grader, right? So, we should expect you to provide us with the detailed evolutionary path for the flagellum’s rotor dynamic turnover, ok?

    All in all, Michael pretends the refutations and problems to Creationist arguments do not exist.

    I am certainly open to your refutation here. Just show the peer-reviewed literature explaining the neo-Darwinian pathway.

  12. creationbydesign,

    I’d like to see your refutation here. It should be easy.

    I’d be happy to.

    Irredicible Complexity (the argument used for the flagellum) is NOT a barrier to evolution. . . It so happens that as early as 1918, Scientists had long used Evolutionary Theory to predict that biological structures may infact become Irredicibly complex.

    HJ Muller was the one who made that prediction as early as 1918, and it bares the same description as Irreducible Complexity. The only difference is the name. It was called “Interlocking Complexity.” — Muller used Evolutionary Theory to predict that structures may reach a point to where the removal of a single piece may cause a structure to become essentially non-functional.

    Now take into account this is before Scientists knew about the flaggelum and other structures, so HJ Muller WAS NOT trying to explain Irredicible Complexity away by ANY means.

    Now, my question to you is: If scientists in the early 20th century used Evolutionary theory to predict the existence of Irreducibly complex systems, then how can it be legitimately claimed that IC is a barrier to evolution?

    I already mentioned this to Michael several weeks ago, as well as Olorin (who Michael apparently banned), and he completely ignored us.

    So, we should expect you to provide us with the detailed evolutionary path for the flagellum’s rotor dynamic turnover, ok?

    You want a pathway for the evolution of the flagellum, then here is an extremely detailed one right here:

    http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/flagellum.html

  13. — And even if Scientists don’t know yet HOW a certain feature evolved, or even have a viable pathway, that woundn’t qualify as an argument against evolution, and therefore for intelligent design.

    We got to remember that the paper cited in the actual post is a NEW observation just recentely published, so evolutionary pathways would therefore be considered LATER. . . It’s therefore not fair to say “This is unexplainable through Evolution.” It would be intellectually bankrupt to say such a thing.

    You cannot expect us to know about an evolutionary pathway IMMEDIATELY or extremely soon AFTER the discovery. . . To claim that we should would be typical Creationist moving of the goal posts. — Research continues. . . Creationist cop outs however stay put.

    Besides, not having the answer is not problematic for scientists at all. Scientists do not claim to have all the answers . . . unlike Creationists who just cop out saying “God did it.”

    The fact remains that the evidence DOES back up the fact that ehe flagellum DID evolve. The great diversity of flagellam, as well as the homolygy in them . . . .The diversity of the flagella CANNOT be explained by the Creationist “cop out” of a “variety in a kind” because the different species of flagella ON AVARAGE share ONLY HALF of their protein constituents. . . . Hardly what we would expect if this were all of one “created kind.”

    Not knowing a certain aspect of how something did or could have evolved is not a refutation of the presumption that it DID evolve. . . . especially when weighed against the over whelming evidence that the flagellum did evolve.

    And most important, I have the entire paper cited in the article all printed out in front of me. . . It does not do anything to refute the evolution of the flagellum.

  14. I can only fully endorse the reply from krissmith777 …. he has stated all of what I would have said, and more !

  15. Eelco

    I can only fully endorse the reply from krissmith777 …. he has stated all of what I would have said, and more !

    That’s a real compliment, considering that I used to be a creationist ^^

  16. The evolutionary explanation for the flagellum you provided does not include the feature that was newly published last month. So, it cannot be a correct explanation. It’s highly speculative, at best.

    IC systems, by definition, cannot be built by successive, gradual addition of parts. If they exist, then they refute Darwinian mechanisms.

    And even if Scientists don’t know yet HOW a certain feature evolved,

    This is a common response that I see from evolutionists. You claim that scientists know how the flagellum evolved (even claiming that they know the evolution path of highly complex features which were just discovered months ago). You now say “even if they don’t know how” …

    That’s a concession that they don’t know how.
    But of course, you will insist that they do know how the flagellum evoloved. That’s why you posted an explanation which wasn’t even aware of a massively complex feature of the flagellum. For most evolutionists, a speculation on how something “might have evolved” is sufficent. This will be sufficient even if they don’t know how the feature works, of that it even exists. They can provide imaginary evidence to try to silence critics.

    or even have a viable pathway

    They don’t have a viable pathway. They didn’t know that feature even existed, so they couldn’t have explained it.,

    that woundn’t qualify as an argument against evolution

    It’s an argument against the claim that “we already explained the pathway”. It shows that argument to be false.

    You provided information that was badly outdated due to this new discovery.

    It’s like saying “I have just given a detailed explainion on how this V6 engine was built”.

    Then next week saying: “I have just discovered the existence of what is called a carburetor.”

    Obviously, your prior explanation would be false since you didn’t even know what a carburetor was.

    We got to remember that the paper cited in the actual post is a NEW observation just recentely published, so evolutionary pathways would therefore be considered LATER. . .

    This falsifies the claim that “we already explained the evolution of the flagellum”. Can you see that?

    Obviously, any prior explanation was necessarily false since it didn’t include this key feature. But you’re still claiming that the prior explanations are true or viable.
    So, even the discovery of new, complex features doesn’t change your assessment of the prior explanation.

    You cannot expect us to know about an evolutionary pathway IMMEDIATELY or extremely soon AFTER the discovery. . .

    No, but I can expect most evolutionists to lie about it, and insist that they “already explained the flagellum”.

    That’s exactly what they do. The flagellum includes this new discovery. Now you say I shouldn’t expect you to know that it even existed?

    Again, I expect evolutionists to be liars, so I was correct when I saw their claims about how they “explained the flagellum’s evolution already”.

    They didn’t explain it. They lied about what they knew. This story reveals their deception. They were ignorant about this new feature, but claimed that they “already explained” the evolutionary path.

    You have confirmed what I saw.

    The fact remains that the evidence DOES back up the fact that ehe flagellum DID evolve.

    You’re talking in circles now. This paper says nothing about the evolution of this feature. You have provided no evidence to support it either. Your claim is an assertion, contradicted by the paper.

    The great diversity of flagellam, as well as the homolygy in them . . . .[is evidence]

    This says nothing, Kris. Zero evidence or data is added. This is a new feature is not explained by “diversity and homology”. Nothing you have posted shows that.

    The diversity of the flagella CANNOT be explained by the Creationist “cop out” of a “variety in a kind”

    This is a very common tactic. You cannot defend the evolutionary claim so instead, you attack creationism. That’s a smoke-screen to cover-up your own lack of knowledge.

    There have been several different attempts to explain the evolution of the flagellum (why were several different explanations needed if “we already explained it”?) and none of them has been accurate.

    Not knowing a certain aspect of how something did or could have evolved is not a refutation of the presumption that it DID evolve. . .

    It’s a refutation of anyone who claimed that they knew how it evolved. It falsifies that claim. I showed that already. You and Eelco claimed that you knew how the flagellum evolved before you even could identify what this motor function does.

    And most important, I have the entire paper cited in the article all printed out in front of me. . . It does not do anything to refute the evolution of the flagellum.

    Again, you change the argument. As pointed out here, it says nothing about how it evolved.

    You have conceded the point.

  17. The most important thing for me is watching how you respond to the data.

    When facing this new information which exposes ignorance, the response is:

    “We know it evolved”.

    I can then ask “how did it evolve”, or “what is the evolutionary pathway”?

    The response …

    “That’s not important. We know it evolved. Plus, creationism is false.”

    That usually ends the discussion.

    Then, years from now, someone will create a speculative plan on how it “could have evolved”. This will be declared as “viable”. That means, evolutionists accept it as a believable story.

  18. creationbydesign

    The evolutionary explanation for the flagellum you provided does not include the feature that was newly published last month. So, it cannot be a correct explanation. It’s highly speculative, at best.

    Of course it’s speculative!! The flagella didn’t leave a fossil record, so ANY evolutionary pathway will be speculative!!!

    IC systems, by definition, cannot be built by successive, gradual addition of parts. If they exist, then they refute Darwinian mechanisms.

    Uhhh, Habla Ingles, Senor? — I already told you BEFORE that IC HAD ALREADY BEEN PREDICTED as early as 1918!!!!!!
    AND EVOLUTIONARY THYEORY WAS USED TO PREDICT IT!!!!!!!!
    You just dodged my the fact that IC is not just evolvable, BUT IS AN EVOLUTIONARY PREDICTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You still have not answered my question!!!! EVOLUTIONARY THEORY was used to predict the existence of IC . . So how can you possibly claim that IC is a barrier to evolution?!?!?!?!?!?!
    — If you deny that evolution was used to predict IC, then you are ignorant of the history of science.

    This is a very common tactic. You cannot defend the evolutionary claim so instead, you attack creationism. That’s a smoke-screen to cover-up your own lack of knowledge.

    And you cannot address the evidence if Flagella evolution that I gave you, so you have to ignore it.

    This says nothing, Kris. Zero evidence or data is added. This is a new feature is not explained by “diversity and homology”. Nothing you have posted shows that.

    WOW, your reading comprehension either is low, or you are deliberately ignoring what I said. . . YOU CANNOT EXPECT SCIENTISTS TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS AT ONES AS SOON AS NEW RESULTS COME OUT!!!!! IT IS UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT THAT!!!!! EXPECTING AN EXPLANATION IS UNREASONABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s a refutation of anyone who claimed that they knew how it evolved.

    It would be, IF anyone REALLY DID CLAIM TO KNOW how the flaggellum DID evolve. . . . Nobody ever claimed that. All there are are PROPPOSED PATHWAYS!!! — You are attacking a strawman

    When facing this new information which exposes ignorance, the response is:

    “We know it evolved”.

    I can then ask “how did it evolve”, or “what is the evolutionary pathway”?

    The response …

    “That’s not important. We know it evolved. Plus, creationism is false.”

    That usually ends the discussion.

    -HITS SELF IN THE HEAD- The fact that the the flagellum DID evolve is based on genetics, homolygy, and also by the GREAT DIVERSITY OF MANY SPECIES OF FLAGELLUM!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE TOO DIFFERENT TO BE A VIARIETY OF A CREATED KIND!!!!!!!!! EVOLUTION IS THE ONLY ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! — THAT IS NOT CIRCULAR REASONING!!!!!!!!!!!

    You still haven’t answered my main argument for the evolution of the flagellum. If it didn’t, and if the variety of flagella are only “variety of a created kind,” THEN ehy do flagella ONLY SHARE only HALF of the common protiens??????????? — Again, that can ONLY BE EXPLAINED BY EVOLUTION!!!

    No one is saying that pathways ISN”T important!! But not knowing the pathway is not a refutation of the fact it DID EVOLVE. —- Even if we do not have an explanation for how a certain thing on the flagellum evolved, that CANNOT OVER-RIDE THE REST of the EVIDENCE (I repete “EVIDENCE”) that is DID.

  19. By definition, IC is not evolvable. That’s what “irreducible” means. “Not reducable” to a step-like process. Not reducible to a gradual pathway. That’s what the term means.

    Again, this story reveals the lies from evolutionists who claimed to provide “credible proposed pathways” – like the Talk Origins article (not peer-reviewed either) that you posted — SINCE THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT THIS MOTOR FUNCTION IN THE FLAGELLUM EXISTED BEFORE THIS PAPER WAS PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, those proposals were false. All of the papers (Michael Behe counts 6 of them) that claimed to provide “viable evolutionary pathways” for the flagellum are obviously false for the reasons I gave, and for which you cannot have a response.

    if the variety of flagella are only “variety of a created kind,”

    You’re changing the topic now and questioning me about things that I never said.

    The point stands. The paper reveals that prior claims about proposed pathways for the Flagellum were false since nobody knew about these features.

    Apparently, you’re claiming that nobody proposed evolutionary pathways for this cellular machine (even though you posted a claim from Talk Origins, which is obviously false).

    You might find this article interesting:

    “Reducible complexity” in PNAS
    http://behe.uncommondescent.com/2009/09/reducible-complexity-in-pnas/

    Recall that last year Genetics published a paper purportedly refuting the difficulty of getting multiple required mutations by showing it’s quick and easy in a computer—if one of the mutations is neutral (rather than harmful) and first spreads in the population (http://tinyurl.com/mxjwdy). Not long before that, PNAS published a paper supposedly refuting irreducible complexity by postulating that the entire flagellum could evolve from a single remarkable prodigy-gene (http://tinyurl.com/l6kjh4). Not long before that, Science published a paper allegedly refuting irreducible complexity by showing that if an investigator altered a couple amino acid residues in a steroid hormone receptor, the receptor would bind steroids more weakly than the unmutated form (http://tinyurl.com/kjq4e4 and http://tinyurl.com/lqav6p).

    Notice again, a claim in Genetics that irreducible complexity was refuted. Then PNAS postulated that the flagellum could have evolved from a single gene (before they even knew about the function of these 30 FliM molecules published this year). Then Science made a similar claim.

    Even if we do not have an explanation for how a certain thing on the flagellum evolved, that CANNOT OVER-RIDE THE REST of the EVIDENCE …

    New evidence can falsify previous claims. That happens quite a lot. Evolutionists claimed at one time that human embryos had “gill slits”. New evidence falsified this claim.

    As for “what’s the alternative”, if evolutionary theory is falsified?

    You’re making a big mistake to think that Biblical creationism is the only other option.
    The development paths of various life forms could have been pre-loaded into initial cells by an intelligent designer. This would refute randomness and indicate that life emerged due to a plan or design.

    An intelligent designer could have created the variety of features we see in nature also. Darwinian evolution is not the only possible explanation. In fact, it’s a very weak and contradictory explanation that has many failed predictions.

  20. This post offers a list of what they claim are 40 irreducibly complex molecular machines in the cell.
    Do you agree that any or all of these are irreducibly complex?

  21. Ah, there is your list, from the Discovery Institute (a religieus organization, not a scientific one).

    In any case, there is a list of molecular machines, indeed, but there are no arguments given for *why* any of these should be irreducibly complex !

  22. Eelco,

    I have tried to point out to “creationbydesign” that Evolutionary theory (as early as 1918) had been used to predict the existence of organs that are IC. . . This was before people knew about biochemistry and melecular motors.

    I guess the fact that Evolutionary theory was used by H.J. Muller (a Nobel Pize scientist) doesn’t faze creationists in the least. . . It matters not to them that “Irreducible Complexity” was an obsolete argument EVEN at the very moment of it’s conception by Michael Behe. . .

    And speaking of Michael Behe, when an imformed person reads his idea of how Evolution works, it becomes VERY apparent that he doesn’t know how evolution works at all. . . He seems to think that the flagellum and other so-called “Irredicibly complex” systems had to have ADDED their parts. He implies then when he says that the removal of a single piece would cause the system to become non-functional. . . . The fact of the matter is, there are MANY OTHER possible evolutionary routs than just “adding a piece.”

    For example,

    1. IC system “x” may have started with MORE pieces, and the unnecessary ones would have been taken out by natural selection.

    2. The IC system could have started out with the same amount of pieces, and the pieces themselves evolved.

    3. The system could have started simple, and and NOT IC — and then adding a NEW piece that became MORE important that at least one of the older pieces in a pre-cursor, and then one of the pieces became obsolete and unnecessary and then taken out by natural selection, leaving the more prodictive piece. — This is the Mullerian concept — “Add a piece, make it necessary.”

    4. If the system DID add pieces, then there is no reason to assume that the pre-cursor NEEDED to have the SAME function as the system that we have today. . . It should be noted that EVERY PIECE DOES SOMETHING.

    An Important fact that ANYONE here has yet to mention is that the flagellum IS NOT EVEN IRREDUCIBLE. — In 1988, G. Kuwajima was able to remove ONE-THIRD of the 497 amino acids from the flagellum, AND IT STILL WORKED PERFECTLY!!!!! . . . Also, we know that the L and the P-rings can be taken away from the flagellum, and it will STILL work. . . .

    The Creationist icon for Irreducible Complexity is really one of the best refutations IC, ironically enough.

  23. Tim Cooley,

    How does one convince a creationist? — Trick question. You can’t, no matter what the evidence.

    It really scares me that I USED to be a Creationist!! I am a Christian, BUT since the time I accepted the science for what it is, I actually have had a sence of liberation. I mean, I no longer feel the need to try and defend irrationality.

  24. creationbydesign said, “By definition, IC is not evolvable. That’s what “irreducible” means. “Not reducable” to a step-like process. Not reducible to a gradual pathway. That’s what the term means.”

    Michael Behe stated in regards to irreducible vs reducible…

    Abstract

    “Some biochemical systems require multiple, well-matched parts in order to function, and the removal of any of the parts eliminates the function. I have previously labeled such systems “irreducibly complex,” and argued that they are stumbling blocks for Darwinian theory. Instead I proposed that they are best explained as the result of deliberate intelligent design. In a recent article Shanks and Joplin analyze and find wanting the use of irreducible complexity as a marker for intelligent design.”

    “Their primary counter-example is the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, a self-organizing system in which competing reaction pathways result in a chemical oscillator. In place of irreducible complexity they offer the idea of “redundant complexity,” meaning that biochemical pathways overlap so that a loss of one or even several components can be accommodated without complete loss of function.”

    “Here I note that complexity is a quantitative property, so that conclusions we draw will be affected by how well-matched the components of a system are. I also show that not all biochemical systems are redundant. The origin of non-redundant systems requires a different explanation than redundant ones.”

    “Again, this story reveals the lies from evolutionists who claimed to provide “credible proposed pathways” – like the Talk Origins article (not peer-reviewed either) that you posted — SINCE THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT THIS MOTOR FUNCTION IN THE FLAGELLUM EXISTED BEFORE THIS PAPER WAS PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Talking origins is out dated piece of bias who’s argument continues to diminish with advancing science and will continue to do so while we learn more about nature like the FLAGELLUM.

  25. Michael

    Talking origins is out dated piece of bias and will continue to be outdated while we learn more about nature like the FLAGELLUM.

    The only bias Talk.Origins has is in favor of real scientific research.

    I already showed in an earlier comment that that flagellum is NOT irreducible. . . Earlier, I pointed out,

    An Important fact that ANYONE here has yet to mention is that the flagellum IS NOT EVEN IRREDUCIBLE. — In 1988, G. Kuwajima was able to remove ONE-THIRD of the 497 amino acids from the flagellum, AND IT STILL WORKED PERFECTLY!!!!! . . . Also, we know that the L and the P-rings can be taken away from the flagellum, and it will STILL work. . . .

    Michael, if you want to cry “BIAS!!!” then you should do so ONLY AFTER refute this fact that I pointed out.

    From now on, i will be issuing a similar challenge to you that Eelco has issued to you, and one you have FAILED to take on. . . except it will be awaiting your refutation of the facts I pointed out about the REDUCIBILITY of the flagellum.

  26. Still waiting for those answers, Michael. Even just one.

    Or are you really just interested in monologues, in preaching ?

  27. Pingback: A New Challenge to a Creationist « evolution ID

  28. Good idea, krissmith777 – let’s see what happens.

    Probably nothing. But we like to be surprised !

  29. Another good article from UC on the subject…

    “The answer I would give to the above question is: no. The reason why blind evolution is unable to create a functional hierarchy is grounded in the fundamental nature of a functional hierarchy. In hierarchical systems, a sub-function exists only because the parent function needs and calls it. The parent function in turn exists only because a higher-level function requires it, and so on all the way up.”

    “At the top level is the concept of the system as a whole, which the designer originally conceives in his mind. Thus in a complex system, a functional hierarchy is simply incapable of being generated from the bottom. It has to begin at the top, with a complete view of what the final system will be (teleology).

    Unfortunately for Darwinism, random mutations and natural selection work only at the bottom level, and are devoid of the teleology required to create something for future use (foresight). Aside from the fact that their “work” mainly consists in damaging genomes willy-nilly and then sifting between the different kinds of damage generated, the unique overarching viewpoint necessary to create a functional hierarchy is completely missing at the bottom level. Unguided evolution is incapable of creating a functional hierarchy, because this type of hierarchy implies the existence of higher-level functions that are capable of guiding subsidiary functions, all the way down to the bottom. But how can a non-driver drive?”

  30. Michael, you are not anwering questions, just quoting others !

    Did you ban Olorin, and if so, why ? Is censorship the way to go for you ?

  31. creationbydesign

    The point stands. The paper reveals that prior claims about proposed pathways for the Flagellum were false since nobody knew about these features.

    Even if the propposed pathways are wrong (which I have no problem with), it does not follow that Intelligent Design is the answer.

    New evidence can falsify previous claims. That happens quite a lot. Evolutionists claimed at one time that human embryos had “gill slits”. New evidence falsified this claim.

    They are not technically gill slits, but that is irrelevant. They are evidence for evolution because the same structure appears in all vertebrate embryos.

    As for “what’s the alternative”, if evolutionary theory is falsified?

    You’re making a big mistake to think that Biblical creationism is the only other option.

    Uhh, it was never on my mind that Creationism was the only alternative.

    Darwinian evolution is not the only possible explanation. In fact, it’s a very weak and contradictory explanation that has many failed predictions.

    Oh really? What predictions has the God’s method of Creation (evolution) failed?

  32. Michael,

    Just answer the questions.
    Answer Eelco’s questions, and also mine!
    If you even know what you are talking about, it shouldn’t be too hard for you.

    Your constant quote mining is reminicent of Kent Hovind. . .

  33. Eelco,

    I didn’t ban him in particular, one of his screen names did get flagged by the spam filter. I left it there as I warned him before about posting in three different names. Then he wrote posts with only one word, testing the waters sort of speak. The spam filter flagged that too because one of his screen names was also flagged. If he wants to post normally again, he should post something more than one word with focus on content or other posts with content in one screen name! Is that too much to ask?

  34. OOOHHH AAAHHHH

    An answer ! Michael has done it !

    But judging from what Olorin previously wrote, a post with only one word is not something I would not expect from him.

    In fact, he wrote very long replies, full of content, all of which you completely ignored. So he actually did write a lot of content, just as you are asking.

    Thus, I do not believe a word of what you are saying about spam filters etc.

  35. Eelco

    An answer ! Michael has done it !

    WHOO-HOO!!! *aplaudes*

    I do agree. One word comments are uncharacteristic of what Olorin usually submitted. I’m skeptical myself.

    I’d be more inclined to believe Michael IF (and only IF) he tended to comment and run, BUT he did not. So, I am skeptical.

  36. Eelco: “Thus, I do not believe a word of what you are saying about spam filters etc.”

    krissmith777: “I’d be more inclined to believe Michael IF (and only IF) he tended to comment and run, BUT he did not. So, I am skeptical.”

    So you see what the problem is. Even when you tell the truth about one-word comments, no one believes, you, because of your reputation.

    What happened was that a long comment under the Olorin name was submitted and did not appear. When I resent it, a “duplicate comment” error came back. I have attempted several tests since then with one-word comments. If I receive “duplicate comment” errors, I know that the problem is not with my system, but with the blog site.

    I do not submit frivolous comments. If you require a single screen name, so be it. (I prefer Olorin, because that has been my e-mail name for 30 years—since 1980, after first reading Lord of the Rings.)

    .

    No promises however, as to going easy on you or the anonymous unattributed source who writes your material. If you think that scientists are hard on creationism, you should see how they rip each others’ theories apart. We call it “critical thinking.”

    I would appreciate a reply, in the blog or by e-mail. Absent a response, we shall assume that Eelco and krissmith777 are correct. AtDhVaAnNkCsE.

  37. Olorin,

    I do not submit frivolous comments. If you require a single screen name, so be it. (I prefer Olorin, because that has been my e-mail name for 30 years—since 1980, after first reading Lord of the Rings.)

    I have a screen shot of one of your screen names (click here) posted for some time now. I’m tired of your games, you will be banned! There is no reason why you need three different screen names!

  38. Micheal, I’m not quite clear what this screenshot is supposed to say, prove, indicate, or otherwise make clear to us …

    Olorin posted significant criticism on this blog, which was always on-topic, and focusing on content.

    Banning him is just plain censorship, nothing less.

  39. Eelco,

    The challenging pattern is quite poor, click on image if you can’t read it! Prove to me one has posts in different screen names indicates in what you are trying to defend! Censorship doesn’t apply here because it means deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor. I’m not the government, although there are rules!

  40. You have no idea about censorship either.

    Anyone can censor his/her publications, including a blog.

    Banning is a form of censorship.

  41. Eelco,

    If you go on a tv show that has to do with fashion and start talking about your job rather than clothes, they don’t allow you to continue because it’s off the topic, would you deem that as censorship? Let’s say you decided to bring a friend along to talk on the show with you but they don’t allow it, is that censorship to you?

  42. You can delete off-topic replies, but banning someone altogether, especially someone who provided detailed on-topic comments, is outright censorship.

    If you want to go that way, you loose your last remaining credibility …

  43. Eelco,

    The President of the United States doesn’t hold a joint press conference with Glenn Beck where Beck can display his viewpoint, however that is not censoring him or anyone else whom he restricts from his press conferences because they can still display his opinion to that same public!

  44. Michael,

    The President of the United States doesn’t hold a joint press conference with Glenn Beck where Beck can display his viewpoint, however that is not censoring him or anyone else whom he restricts from his press conferences because they can still display his opinion to that same public!

    But the President has not put himself in the same position as yourself to ban commentary on what he said in the same space that he says something. It would be suicidal (as far as public opinion goes) for him to do that.

  45. Eelco, it’s Michael’s blog. He can censor or ban for any reason, or for none.

    But you’re correct in calling him down for giving a false reason for the ban. If you’d like to establish a back-channel on this, you may e-mail me at olorin@frontiernet.net.

    .

    BTW, Michael: The new discovery in your post has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the E. coli flagellum is irreducibly complex, since it is independent of the operation of the flagellum. You might read the article, noting that the authors think this is important, because it may point to a general mechanism for replacement, shared by many different organisms.

    Therefore, your objection that talkorigins would not have known about the new mechanism has no relevance to the applicability of the talkorigins to the flagellum, much less to the concept of irreducible complexity in general.

    For four different ways in which irreducible complexity can evolve under known mechanisms, see my comment of March 22, 2010 under your previous post of March 22 on this topic

  46. Olorin: “Eelco, it’s Michael’s blog. He can censor or ban for any reason, or for none.”

    Of course he can: but my point is that it is a sign of weakness, and obviously a loss of credibility.

    Thanks for listing you e-mail address: it was nice meeting you on this blog, and perhaps we can even meet on my next trip to Mauna Kea. Who knows …

  47. Olorin,

    BTW, Michael: The new discovery in your post has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the E. coli flagellum is irreducibly complex, since it is independent of the operation of the flagellum. You might read the article, noting that the authors think this is important, because it may point to a general mechanism for replacement, shared by many different organisms.

    I get really annoyed when Creationists treat ANY new scientific discovery as a nail to the coffin of evolutionary theory.

    In earlier comments, “creationbydesign” was trying to make the claim that because this new discovery was not mentioned in the evolutionary pathways for the flagellum, then therefore the pathways were wrong, and that it therefore could not have evolved. —- He never stopped to think that even if the proposed pathways were wrong, that it didn’t follow that the flagellum did not evolve, much less that Inelligent Design was right.

    If one pathway is wrong, then that indicates that it took a DIFFERENT evolutionary rout. — How Creationists have trouble understanding this, I do not know

  48. Krissmith,

    You say, “BTW, Michael: The new discovery in your post has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the E. coli flagellum is irreducibly complex.” Your trying to build a strawman. The original post had to do with a specialized function, some side comments were brought up on the irreducible complex issue. How long do you think the E. coli flagellum would last without repairing itself at high speeds because an experiment like this will generally indicate if it’s a irreducibly complex issue or not…On the other hand, you make an assumption without any evidence!

  49. Michael,

    You seem to have low reading comprehension. I was quoting Orolin. . . Go look at my comment where you quoted and see. I was quoting Orolin, so do not attribute someone else’s words to me. . . So EVEN IF it is a strawman, it is NOT MINE.

    How long do you think the E. coli flagellum would last without repairing itself at high speeds because an experiment like this will generally indicate if it’s a irreducibly complex issue or not

    Again, you are showing that you have not read my other posts, or at least not very well.

    Your argument here assumes that evolutionary pre-cursors NECESSARILY had LESS pieces than the present day flagellum. . . Quiet frankly, I have already pointed out that pre-cursurs could also have had MORE pieces, then eliminating lesser necessary pieces through natural selection to the point that certain areas of the flagellum cannot lose anymore.

    Also, pre-cursors could have had the SAME NUMBER of parts and the modern flagella, but that the pieces evolved.

    I already pointed that out!!

  50. How long do you think the E. coli flagellum would last without repairing itself at high speeds….

    Well, if it lasts an hour, then no replacement is necessary at all. This is the time that E. coli need to reproduce themselves. They do this by mitosis—splitting in half. Since each daughter will have only half the flagella of the parent, they need to grow new ones every hour in order to maintain a steady-state number.

    Michael, do you have any evidence that this protein “motor” can survive less than an hour without replacing its parts?

    I thought not.

    .

    Here’s another interesting fact about the E. coli flagellum: It’s “propeller” consists of only one protein, flagellum. If this pure protein is dripped into a petri dish with no other ingredient save water, it will assemble itself into the propeller of a flagellum. You can watch it do that—no “story-telling” required.

  51. The E. coli flagellum is the poster child of irreducible complexity (IC). Yet creationists never stoop to identify exactly what are the specific components that make up this ICness. If the list includes all 40 proteins, then, as krissmith7777 points out, this flagellum is clearly not IC. At the other extreme, if the IC elements are motor + cell-wall structure + impeller, then there are many other types of motility apparatus that have very different components, some in common with E. coli, some not.[1] At that level, it is ludicrous to claim they all constitute a common IC combination. So where in between these extremes does the IC reside? What are its essential components?

    Michael? Care to hazard a guess for discussion purposes?

    .

    Of course, another problem remains, regardless of the components that Michael may include in his list.

    Suppose that the E. coli flagellum is IC. Suppose ABCDEF is the original IC combination posited by Behe many years ago—that is, long before the discovery of the replacement mechanism G in this new paper that Michael touts.

    If, as Michael claims, the combination with the new mechanism, ABCDEFG has the true IC ststus, then Behe’s original components, ABCDEF are not IC, because Behe’s combination lacks an essential element. On the other hand, if, Behe was correct in saying that ABCDEF without the new component G is IC, then clearly ABCDEFG includes at least one nonessential component, G, and is thus not IC.

    Pick one option, Michael. But choose carefully.

    ==========

    [1] Other types of bacterial flagella, include qrchaean flagella, eukaryotic flagella (e.g., in sperm cells), and bacterial cilia. They all have widely different architectures, protein complements, and propulsion methods—flapping, rotation, beating, etc.

  52. Michael,

    Before repeating the claim that the flagellum is irreducible, you should do somre reading on the subject that is not from Creationist lit.

    In the eubacterial flagellum, the propeller is made up of the FLaA, and also the FLaB. — The FLaB can be removed without harming it’s finction. The propeller is therefore NOT irreducibly complex.

  53. Oh, and Michael. . .
    One more thing.

    With all the proof that we have shown you that the flagellum is NOT irreducible, I would actually consider any more persistence from you that it is irreducibkt complex as pertetuating a fraud.

    As Tim Cooley calls it, “. . . . lying for Jesus.”

    — Now, Michael, I am NOT an Atheist. I AM a Christian. I accept Jesus as my lord and savior, and I do not see the need for God to have created us directly in order to still be called our creator. He only need started the process sometime in the infinite past.

    I don’t need to lie for God, or cover for him. My God works with natural laws for he created the laws that lead to our evolution, and the foundations of our universe. I do not limit him to my own preconceptions of how he works, and I am not certain God would appreciate anyone saying “God had to have created THIS way, or no way.”

    I pray to God that someday you will realize that accepting Science will not lead to atheism, because it does not.

    I understand why you are reluctant to accept Evolutionary theory. I used to be a Creationist myself. I understand how hard it can be, and I sympathize with that. And I admire that you have faith in God. That is a good thing.

    BUT, to ignore and reject a scientific theory and findings because it jives against your personal perceptions of how God had to have created, and also because it just is inconvenient for you is NOT the faith of the first Christians. It is simply willful ignorarance. . .

    If evolution were to turn out to be true, and it ruins your “faith” in God, then that would only indicate that your faith in him was never strong to begin with.

    Let me just leave you with the advice of St. Augustine:

    Blockquote>Be on guard against giving interpretations of Scripture that are far fetched or opposed to science, and so exposing the Word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers.

    You and other Creationists would do well to listen…

  54. — Now, Michael, I am NOT an Atheist. I AM a Christian. I accept Jesus as my lord and savior …

    That is good to hear Kris. At some point, though, I think you have to decide what God did within nature. If you’re a believer in the miracles and resurrection of Christ, for example, you know that God directly intervenes in nature. What does this mean versus the Darwinian claims that mutations are “random” or there is “no evidence of design in nature”? Obviously, Christ’s resurrection is evidence of design in nature. Also, could we say it is impossible for God to have built some features in nature? What influence did God have on nature — what influence does He have now? Does God answer prayers and work miracles today? If so, what does science have to say about that? Those are some of the big questions that we have to deal with. I don’t think it’s enough for a believer to surrender everything to an atheistic interpretation of the data (and evolutionary theory itself is mainly an interpretation of the data — that interpretation has its own biases).

  55. Creationbydesign,

    If you’re a believer in the miracles and resurrection of Christ, for example, you know that God directly intervenes in nature. What does this mean versus the Darwinian claims that mutations are “random” or there is “no evidence of design in nature”?

    I believe in miracles, BUT there is a huge difference between the acceptance of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and the acceptance of natural processes as the way God used to create us.

    Feeling the need to accept special creation is a non-sequitor to accepting Jesus’ resurrection.

    Also, I never said there was no evidence of design in nature. And NO evolutionist ever said that . . . Not to my knowledge anyway. There is design, but it is explainable through natural processes.

    What God did was START the process. He doesn’t need to constantly intervene in order to create. He has no need to design in order to bring anything about. . . . My God is greater than that.

    Your responce to my Christianity assumes that People who accept evolution are necessarily naturalists . . which is a gross oversimplification.

  56. Creationbydesign,

    Correct me if I am wrong, BUT it sounds like you are trying to insinuate that if I believe in Jesus’ resurrection, then I THEREFORE HAVE to believe in special creation. . . That is a dangerous position to take.

    I have never denied that God could ever work miracles, and I do not deny it now. — But the facts of biology and the fossil record all show that natural processes are the mechanism God used. I accept Evolution as God’s creation, therefore evolution is part of God’s miracles.

  57. Kris, Here’s the problem as I see it. As you stated:

    What God did was START the process.

    That is what we would call a special creation. If God was necessary to start the process, then God intervened in nature to create something. He made something happen that natural laws themselves could not.

    Now, if God intervened in nature to start the process, there is no logical reason to believe that He never did or would again.

    He doesn’t need to constantly intervene in order to create.

    Maybe not, but that’s a theological opinion. The problem here is that God doesn’t “need” to do anything. He created the world as an act of His love — and to communicate His presence to creatures.

    The bottom line: Once you have God as an actor in the development of nature, it is not reasonable to exclude the possibility of His direct action. We know He directly acts in miracles. Why? Clearly, to show His power and evidence of His “design” (plan/purpose/intelligence).

    I never said there was no evidence of design in nature. And NO evolutionist ever said that . . .

    That is actually the whole point of Darwinian evolution. There is no design (purpose, plan, conscious organizing principle in nature). Richard Dawkins admits that “it looks like” nature was designed, but that design is an “illusion”.

    Unconscious, unintelligent, blind, indifferent matter and physical properties cannot “design” things. What they produce is accidental. That’s how forensics, for example, tells the difference between a random occurence of nature and a deliberate (designed) crime.

  58. creationbydesign,

    That is what we would call a special creation. If God was necessary to start the process, then God intervened in nature to create something. He made something happen that natural laws themselves could not.

    Uhh, all he had to to was start the process knowing we would be the natural result. If he created the natural laws so this affact (us) would be the result, then then he doesn’t need to interfear later on.

    Now, if God intervened in nature to start the process, there is no logical reason to believe that He never did or would again.

    There reason to believe that he didn’t intervene IF the evidence shows that he didn’t, and it does show that it didn’t. I’m not saying he couldn’t have, I’m just saying that’s not what he did.

    Accepting natural processes in no ways exclused God. . . For example, I think you and I can agree that God created the stars, right? — Well, now we know that natural processes are what form them. Does that exclude God? Not at all. IT just shows the mechinism God used. The same is true of Human Evolution.

    That is actually the whole point of Darwinian evolution.

    Uhhh, thank you for showing you do not understand evolutionary theory in the slightest. The point of evolution is NOT to explain away a designer . . . Darwin was a Christian when he was beginning to formulate it, and he was an agnostic when he published. He did wake up one say and decide to explain God and design away. He simply reasoned that if natural laws govern the formation of mountains, seas and even the planet, then why are we any different?

    Richard Dawkins admits that “it looks like” nature was designed, but that design is an “illusion”.

    . . . . And to prove your point, you quote Richard Dawkins. . .Typical for a creationist that wants to show that evolution is godless. Quote the “high priest” of Atheism. That won’t work with me. Richard Dawkins is Richard Dawkins. He doesn’t even represent the majority in the field of evolutionary biology. I just wish Creationists would get that though their heads.

    Look, what Dawkind means is that when we first just look, nature looks intelligentely designed. The design hypothesis fails when we look closer at the alleged design. There we see plenty of bad and faulty design.

  59. I can respect your point of view — it’s not merely repeating the errors of materialism and I commend you for that.

    Personally, I don’t think the evidence shows that God was not involved. The mathematical fine-tuning of the universe and the unique position and characteristics of earth to support life are evidence of an intelligent plan. The alternative is that it was just phenomenal luck — and that doesn’t work for me.

    Personally, I believe in the existence of an immortal soul – designed to live forever with God. This cannot be the product of matter and physical laws, since the soul transcends nature. Jesus showed us this with His own powers that go beyond what nature or evolution could produce.

    Darwin was a Christian, at least for a while. The Origin of the Species states that God breathed His spirit into the first life. But there is evidence to show that he used his theory to argue against creation — and he eventually ended as an agnostic since he believed that nature could create and form itself. Most evolutionists today believe that.

    I mentioned Dawkins because most evolutionists admire him and consider him the ultimate expert. I am also glad that you are not one of those.

    God allowed “bad design” for a reason — to teach us something. He created beauty also, but even that is imperfect, for a reason. We taste beauty and seek the greater, unending beauty which is beyond this world. God allowed uglyness and disorder to help us understand what order and symmetry and harmony are. As for so-called Junk DNA and vestigal organs, we learned that Darwinian predictions about such things were falsified. What is considered “bad” or “faulty” design may not be the case.

    We can only fully judge the quality of the design when we know the purpose. But we need not know the purpose to determine that something required intelligence versus a random process.

    You quoted St. Augustine previously and that was a great quote by him. Here’s another:

    “Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: “See, we are beautiful.” Their beauty is a profession. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change?
    8 St. Augustine, Sermo 241, 2:PL 38,1134

    So, we can see the beauty and symmetry – -the fine tuning in the cell or in the galaxy. But beauty is also subject to change, so it is imperfect. This teaches us that there is a higher standard of perfection — which does not change.

    You offered many good points and I appreciate your insights.

  60. creationbydesign,

    Personally, I don’t think the evidence shows that God was not involved. The mathematical fine-tuning of the universe and the unique position and characteristics of earth to support life are evidence of an intelligent plan.

    I could be wrong, but I am assuming you are talking about William Dembski’s “Design Inference” when you talk about “mathematical” tuning. If you are, then it should be mentioned that Dembski’s method is considered unorthodox. (Scientists Confront Creationsm: Intelligent Design and Beyond, pages 250-71) — Again, I could be wrong about the origin of the argument.

    Also, the fact planet Earth has the conditions for life could be considered evidence of intelligence . . PROVIDING that there are no other planets (or future planets) that have the same features and requirments for life. . . But physicists are actually discovering candidates in distant areas of out universe that indicate that earth-like planets are forming, so the argument of Earth’s position for life is one I would avoid. .

    Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2008/0401-discovering_a_new_earth_430_light_years_away.htm

    Don’t give me wrong. I’m not saying particularly that earth isn’t the only planet with life or pontiential for life, but we cannot know that for sure. But as long as the possibility for earth-like planets with the same conditions are a real plausability, then the design argument in this case is questionable.

    I would actually be gleefull if Intelligent Design were to turn out to be true. . . . But I think a safer route for Christians to NOT use Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity as a “basis for faith,” because we would still have to confront the possibility that the argument from design is wrong. And if it is wrong, what will happen to the faith of Christians who depend on the Design argument as a basis of faith? It could really send them into an unnecessary “crisis of faith.”

    You offered many good points and I appreciate your insights.

    Same. Thanks.

  61. And, .

    As for so-called Junk DNA and vestigal organs, we learned that Darwinian predictions about such things were falsified. What is considered “bad” or “faulty” design may not be the case.

    I need you to clarify your understanding of the “darwinian prediction” before I can address this detail.

  62. I wasn’t referring to Dembski. I’m talking about anthropic coincidences that are facts about how the universe requires very exact conditions to support life anywhere — and they all come together on earth.
    The Privileged Planet is a good book covering it.
    The atheistic response is the proposal of a multiverse. That is, an infinite or huge number of universes exist so that eventually, one of them was very lucky to have a planet like earth — and that’s our universe.
    That’s really the only other way to explain it.
    But there is zero evidence that any other universes exist.
    The far more reasonable solution is that a very powerful intelligence planned the coincidences to work exactly as they do in our universe.

  63. I would actually be gleefull if Intelligent Design were to turn out to be true. . . .

    I think you would enjoy some of the more serious works on Intelligent Design that really deal with the science from a non-religious viewpoint.

    But I think a safer route for Christians to NOT use Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity as a “basis for faith,” because we would still have to confront the possibility that the argument from design is wrong.

    Here’s where I agree with you. ID does not provide enough for a full basis of faith. It offers some evidence and some strong probabilities, but faith should rely on many other sources as well.

  64. Creationbydesign,

    The atheistic response is the proposal of a multiverse. That is, an infinite or huge number of universes exist so that eventually, one of them was very lucky to have a planet like earth — and that’s our universe.

    I don’t know it that’s atheistic. To my knowledge, you are right that there is no hard evidence that there are muliple universes, but it’s more based on the logic of “if it happened once (the formation of the universe), then it can happen again.

    I think you would enjoy some of the more serious works on Intelligent Design that really deal with the science from a non-religious viewpoint.

    The thing is, i used to be a big supporter of Intelligent Design. (I still have my copies of “Darwin on Trial” and “Darwin’s Black Box” as well as “The Evolution Deceit” on my shelf just two feet from me. I would read any Intelligent Design and Creationist lit I could get my hands on when i was a Creationist, and that was as recent as one year ago.) And now I cannot help but see is as religion, whether the designer is named or not. — The thing is, whether the designer is called “God” or not, that would still be “God” to the avarage person.

    I can understand why people like Jonathan Wells, Stephen Meyer or Casey Luskin not wanting to identify the designer himself (or designers) because they want a “big tent” for everyone, whether YEC or OEC, or ID proponent, BUT the idea of the identity for God would still remain the same. I don’t think that Intelligent Design can escape the perception that it is part of the “God did it” crowd, even if that was not the intention for it.

    But, I’ll take their word for it that they don’t want to identfy the designer because they want to stay as scientific as possible. — Perhaps they THEMSELVES really believe it, so I won’t question that. . . Now, it’s another thing if it STARTED out as religious.

    Even as recently as 2 months ago, I would have agreed with you that ID is not inherently religious. Looking into the history if the ID textbook “Of Pandas and People” made me change my mind.

  65. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a scientific theory having a religious motivation. The purpose of Copericus’ heliocentrism was to demonstrate the glory of God’s creation. Linnaeus’ purpose in his classification system was to show how God had organized living things.

    The problems begin when the proponents refuse to subject their theory to tests having the potential to modify or falsify it. By this standard, intelligent design has transmogried from science to apologetics. Three examples:

    (a) Irreducible complexity. No ID proponent has offered a definitive list of which components at what level actually comprise the supposedly irreducible combination. Without such a proposed definition, its ICness cannot be falsified nor confirmed.

    (b) Complex specified information. Neither Meyer nor Dembski nor anyone else has ever defined such information. Is it like Shannon information? Is it like Kolmogorov complexity? Is it like the nested-hierarchy or fractal-dimension definitions from complex-system theories? Without such a definition, both sides can wave their arms about how much complexity is too much, and nothing can ever be confirmed or falsified.

    (c) The explanatory filter. This discriminatory test has a number of failings, most notably that ‘design’ is the only output that does not require any actual evidence. (There are other deficiencies, such as an obvious failure to detect multiple causation modes.) Regardless, neither Dembski nor anyone else has ever actually applied the filter to a system that is complex but known not to have been designed. Such a false-positive test would be very significant. Yet the ID acolytes refuse to subject it to a test that might falsify it.

    Science does not care where a theory come from, or what non-scientific implications it might have. But science does insist that a theory have definitions and descriptions sufficiently definite to subject to comparison with the physical evidence, rather than mere arm-waving or vague”common experience.”

  66. You could look at the many attempts to refute Michael Behe’s claims, for example, to recognize that his claims are scientific. In other words, it’s not a sufficient refutation merely to say “ID is religious”. Some very serious scientists also support ID theory as well, and they do so for scientific reasons. There are atheists who defend ID theory, most recently Professor Thomas Nagel and Dr. Bradley Monton who have both written papers supporting ID. Most famously, the atheist Anthony Flew actually became a theist due to Intelligent Design arguments — but it was based on the science. Agnostic, David Berlinski is a prominent supporter of ID. Agnostic James Le Fanu wrote a very pro-ID book recently (which aided the conversion of atheist, A.N. Wilson to Christianity).

    Here’s atheist Massimo Pigliucci, (about as anti-Creationist as you can get) in his “Design Yes, Intelligent No,”

    … Behe does have a point concerning irreducible complexity. It is true that some structures simply cannot be explained by slow and cumulative processes of natural selection. From his mousetrap to Paley’s watch to the Brooklyn Bridge, irreducible complexity is indeed associated with intelligent design.

    Dembski is absolutely correct that plenty of human activities, such as SETI, investigations into plagiarism, or encryption, depend on the ability to detect intelligent agency.

    … irreducible complexity is indeed a valid criterion to distinguish between intelligent and non-intelligent design

    The fact is, forensics and SETI use science to identify the presence of an intelligent agent in nature — that’s a scientific activity. The same can hold true for Intelligent Design.

    Here is atheist-physicist, Leonard Susskind (originator of the String Theory) who says in his book aimed at refuting Intelligent Design: The Cosmic Landscape and the Illusion of Intelligent Design

    “If String Theory itself is wrong, perhaps because it is mathematically inconsistent, it will fall by the wayside and, with it, the String Theory Landscape. But if that does happen, then as things stand now, we would be left with no other rational explanation for the illusion of a designed universe.” (The Cosmic Landscape and the Illusion of Intelligent Design pg 355)

    Mr. Susskind concludes that the apparent design of the universe is an “illusion” even though there is only one theory (his own, according to him) that could support that conclusion, and that theory is far from certain.

    He then goes farther and says that if his theory is wrong, there is “no other rational explanation” for the design that is obvious in the universe.

    That’s where we see the mathematical precision of the placement of earth and its suitability for life.

    A small example is the features of the moon which are exactly what is needed to enable the earth to have a life-supporting environment.

    The origin of the moon is through an extremely lucky collision with earth — at the right speed and trajectory to impact earth correctly and then break off, form itself and be found in the right orbit. If the moon was 10% larger or smaller, earth’s atmosphere would not support life. The moon deposited just enough iron to support the earth’s magnetic core, without damaging the possibility for life. The speed of the moon’s rotation affects earth tides allowing a distribution of rain to support life.

    So, there are about 6 lucky coincidences just in that one small feature of earth. When you add those coincidences to 30 or 40 more in various features of the universe, after a while the claim that it was just a lucky break begins to wear out.

    That’s where the claim of a multiverse steps in, but that’s a theory with no direct evidence.

  67. Kris — interesting, that was only one year ago. What was the biggest influence that made you change your mind?

  68. creationbydesign,

    Kris — interesting, that was only one year ago. What was the biggest influence that made you change your mind?

    The fossil record.

    I guess the bigger of the two was the fossil record. Looking into the intermediates between Homo Sapiens and human-like creatures that were in the fossil record such as the Austrapipithecines, and then to the genus homo with the gradualism between Homo habilis, homo erectus, and heidelbergensis. — The anatomical evidence that the australopithecines could walk upright like we do.

    Then there is the elephant fossil record. The fossils here show many creatures that are obviously related, but not identicle at all, like moeritherium, phiomiam deinotherium, gomphotherium, and others.

    What makes these fossil finds so convincing to me is that there is a certain order in which they appear in the fossil record that Creationists cannot explain.

    I’d Recommend the book “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and why it matters” by Donald R. Prothero.

  69. “Your Inner Fish” is quite good on the fossil record. Written by the discoverer of Tiktaalik, it has separate chapters on the evolution of hands, eyes, hearing organs, teeth, etc.

    More recently, genomes have been providing more accurate data on phylogeny. Daniel Fairbanks’ “Relics of Eden” is a recent (2007) guide to progress in this rapidly moving field. Several appendices introduce more advanced matters.

  70. Ok, that’s interesting – thanks. I’ve seen the Prothero book mentioned (I actually debated a little with him on a blog). I was just wondering what moved you to change.

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