Brian Miller: Co-option and Irreducible Complexity



but any spinning motor is evidence for design. so why it should be different in the flagellum case?

(T J Runyon) #82

Yeahhhh. You’re missing the point. And besides the chances that that stone came out to look exactly as it does is crazy improbable. Should I posit design? See the problem here?

(Mikkel R.) #83

Because it is not the case that any spinning motor is evidence for design. That simply is a question-begging assertion that assumes the conclusion you are trying to prove.

(T J Runyon) #84

Wow. Beg the question much?

(Timothy Horton) #85

Only if you define “motor” to be a designed object. In the case of biological rotary structures Science doesn’t define “motor” that way.


if we will go by wiki definition: a machine designed to convert one form of energy into mechanical energy". why do you think that definitions will help in this case?


so we cant conclude design if we will see a spinning motor then?

(Timothy Horton) #88

That is not the biological definition. In biology a motor is any muscle, nerve, or center which produces movement.

You are equivocating over definitions. That is not good science.

The Flagellum is Not a Motor?
(Mikkel R.) #89

If a motor is, by definition, a machine that was designed, then I dispute the claim that the flagellum is a motor, because I dispute the claim that the flagellum was designed. You don’t get to “prove” your case by using a particular word or category for the object.

Look, it’s really simple: We do not establish what is true by appealing to labels and definitions. What we decide to CALL something, or how we decide to categorize it, and what kind of definition we attach to the labels we use to categorize it, is not evidence for how the entity in question came to exist. Semantics does not establish or indicate origins.

Why does this have to be explained?

(Timothy Horton) #90

Correct. Not when you equivocate over the definition of motor.


so a spinning motor doesnt need design? fine. the problem with this notion is that we cant conclude design even if we will see a car. because there is no real difference between a car and a motor in terms of design traits. so if we cant conclude design when we see a motor then we cant conclude design when we see a car.


so a car isnt evidence for design too. right?

(Timothy Horton) #93

There is a huge difference between a car motor and a biological feature like a flagellum. You keep demanding we consider only the superficial similarities of function and ignore the massive differences.

(Timothy Horton) #94

It isn’t evidence of conscious design of a biological flagellum, no.


so if someone will design a flagellum you will consider it to be a motor then?

(Mikkel R.) #96

Yes we can, we just don’t derive that conclusion merely from the fact that the car contains a “spinning motor”.

We know that cars were designed because we know the designers. They put their names on the car most of the time. We can even see HOW the cars were manufactured most of the times. They have welding spots, mold lines, tool marks, attachment points fastened and tightened by screws and other forms of tools and instruments. All of these things are the hallmarks of human design and manufacture.

It goes further of course. We know what kinds of materials humans use to design things, we know how they use and process them and where they get them. Cars are usually made of plastic, metals, perhaps a few pieces of polished wood, maybe some polished, stitched, dyed leathers or other artifical fabrics for the seats and interior. All these pieces of information feeds into the conclusion that cars were designed. But you just can’t extract that conclusion merely from the fact that some object contains a part that spins, and another part that causes and powers the spinning.

I look at the flagellum. There are no tool marks, no mold lines, it isn’t painted, it doesn’t seem to have any aesthetic design features that exist solely for pleasure of appearance, it isn’t polished or sanded or lacquered, it isn’t made of metal or plastic, there are no manufacturing logos or copy rights, no patents are registered anywhere, no-one has stepped forward to claim credit, no artificial fabrics, no… anything at all that I recognize as hallmarks of design by the only designer I know of: Human beings.

(Timothy Horton) #97

The definition of “motor” doesn’t mean has to be designed.

Your word games are getting tiring.


if we will create a spinning motor in the lab. and i will make it from biological components like these found in the flagellum. you will not consider it to be a motor?

(Timothy Horton) #99

You’re still playing your silly word games and equivocating over definitions. Do you know what the word "equivocate’ means in English?

(Mikkel R.) #100

Then you will have created a motor from biological components, and we know that because you told us, but you didn’t make the flagellum, it predates the creation of motors by humans using biological components, so it wouldn’t tell us that the flagellum was designed.

Mate, come on. Please. Try reasoning about this for yourself for a bit.