Previous topic was locked and I was otherwise occupied, so I’ll continue here:
Eddie Edward Robinson :
Here is why the Mt. Everest analogy doesn’t apply: Everyone agrees that when one mass of matter pushes underneath another mass of matter, the lower mass can push the upper mass upwards. Thus, the formation of mountain ranges via such geological processes is not intrinsically improbable. That’s why no one demands step-by-step detail for a particular mountain, such as Everest; they are content with the general explanation of mountain-range building.
First of all I’m not sure what you mean by “intrinsically improbable”. The Mt Everest is a very specific and particular mountain. There are probably no other mountains exactly like it in the entire observable universe. It is too improbable. There are too many atoms, assuming the universe doesn’t undergo heat-death the forces that would have shaped the Mt Everest exactly like they did will probably not repeat again for an incomprehensible period of time.
But that is exactly why my analogy applies. The underlying principle is the same here. There is nothing in the evolution of molecular complexity that invokes something unusual. The mechanisms are observed and well established: Mutations such as gene duplications, insertions, transpositions, shufflings and so on, all being subject to natural selection.
That “not everyone agrees” is exactly why I bring in the analogy, to argue that you should agree, because in fact they are similar situations, that there is no difference in principle. We know of the kinds of mechanisms that can cause molecular complexity in general. Just like we know of the kinds of mechanisms that can cause mountain ranges in general. So we invoke those mechanisms as the explanation for particular examples. The mechanisms of plate tectonics, erosion and so on in the case of the particular and specific mountain we call the Mt Everest, and the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection for the particular and specific molecular complex we call the bacterial flagellum.
The flagellum’s evolution is not requiring any unobserved or hypothetical mechanism that run contrary to our understanding of molecular biology or evolution. The sorts of mutations that would cause the flagellum to evolve are all observed to happen. Mutations such as gene duplications, substitutions, insertions/deletions, transpositions, shufflings and so on. Exaptation between distinct genomic entities have been observed to happen, to create functional associations between previously disparate genetic elements. And finally natural selection is an empirical reality.
But not everyone agrees that complex, integrated, self-regulating biological systems can arise due to random mutations and natural selection. So naturally, when someone says that a marvelous machine like the flagellum arose due to blind searches for function, a proposal for a stepwise account will be demanded.
And such accounts have been suggested, and they draw on inferences from observed mechanisms in the same way that a demand for a detailed account for the specific structure we call the Mt Everest would have to.
That said, I give Matzke points for courage and for better logic than most Darwinists. He realizes that if Darwinian theory is to be taken seriously, it ought to try to provide at least hypothetical stepwise selectable pathways. He at least tried to meet the challenge posed by ID people. The rest of the biologists haven’t even tried. There is no other such article in any peer-reviewed literature on the planet, 22 years after Behe posted his challenge.
For the flagellum, perhaps not. But I think biologists simply don’t care to try to convince creationists with science. To them the matter has been settled for a century, life evolved, and because a die-hard religious community refuses to accept it probably just make them roll their eyes.
Presumably you wouldn’t consider such a publication to settle the matter to your satisfaction in any case. Do you think Matzke’s does? Apparently not. I think biologists think of it sort of like beating a dead horse.
I am not saying that the flagellum didn’t evolve, or couldn’t have evolved, via Darwinian means. I’m saying I will withhold consent to that proposition until I see a proposal I consider convincing.
How would that look? And why do you find the mechanisms inferred to have created the Mt Everest convincing? Think about it. Think about how many atoms Mt. Everest is made of, how they are all arranged exactly the way they are into the shape it has. All it’s cracks, faults, peaks, valleys, whatever countless miniscule surface features, texture, hardness etc. etc. Every cubic millimetre of that entire mountain from it’s core and foundation to it’s surface and peak. Made of rock, which consists of atoms, incomprehensible number of atoms arranged into it’s particular shape and structure. Any one particular atom could be in a different place. Any imaginable different place. But they aren’t, they’re part of the Mt. Everest, and not just arbitrarily, but they each have some particular and exact position. Litterally unique.
Yet you’re saying you’re fine with an inference that plate tectonics made the Mt Everest. But it is unacceptably implausible that mutations and selection have created the flagellum?