The follow-ups to Schulz’s Bio-complexity paper are now available.
The second one consists almost entirely of a description of the components and operation of a typical flagellum. As such there’s not much scope for fallacies and fantasies. There are a few noteworthy details though:
The paper contains a “Future work” section. Normally this would describe the author’s proposals for follow-up research. Schulz’s “future work” section is unusual in that he describes future work for other people (evolutionary biologists, molecular biologists and molecular modellers), and can’t seem to think of anything that needs to be done from an ID point of view.
Schulz quotes Cohen et al in support of the flagellum being irreducible:
The use of the knock-out experiments in hampering operation of the flagellum to identify protein functionality suggests the generally irreducible nature of the flagellum. Cohen et al. state:
The bacterial flagellum exemplifies a system where even small deviations from the highly regulated flagellar assembly process can abolish motility and cause negative physiological outcomes. Consequently, bacteria … [possess] robust regulatory mechanisms to ensure that flagellar morphogenesis follows a defined path, with each component self-assembling to predetermined dimensions.
Quoting the first sentence of the abstract immediately raises doubts about whether the citer read the whole paper, especially since the paper has got nothing to do with any irreducibility, but is about how the flagellum components become correctly sized. There’s also that suspicious use of [bracket]s. Cohen et al didn’t say that bacteria possess robust regulatory mechanisms, they say
…bacteria have evolved elegant and robust regulatory mechanisms…
Disagreeing with the cited authors’ views is ok; erasing them and substituting something different is quite another thing.
- Having suggested that evolutionary biologists provided a scenario for stepwise evolution of flagella and then claimed that “the evolutionary biological community has yet to hypothesize a likely, detailed, step-by-step scenario to explain how the flagellum and its control system could have been blindly engineered naturalistically” it’s (not in the least bit) surprising to find that Schulz has not cited a single one of the published papers that are tackling this question - not Pallen/Matzke, nor Liu/Ochman, nor anything else. Not even to say why those papers fall short. It’s as if he doesn’t want his readers to think there has been any such work. I’d reject Schulz’s paper immediately for that omission.