The Flagellum is Not a Motor?



Really? For starters, the bacterial flagellum is not a rotary motor. Didn’t you know?

(John Mercer) #82

Golly. I was raised in a family of engineers, I’m a genetic engineer, I’ve worked for decades on a different group of “molecular motors,”

yet I have neither produced nor encountered any evidence that even suggests design.

How do you explain that, Dale?

Could it be because you’re deliberately placing yourself very, very far away from any evidence, and unwilling (or maybe afraid?) to engage directly with any of it, while I’m producing evidence instead of watching YouTube?

(John Mercer) #83

How so? Maybe you could be so kind as to list the identities.


The reason we have the scientific method is that human intuition is often wrong.

(Dan Eastwood) #85

PROOF of the divine ~holiness pastaness of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (May He Bless Us with His Noodley Appendange).


AAARRRGGGHHH!!! :slight_smile:

I notice that never stops you from joining in the game. :wink:

(Dale Cutler) #86

Exactly the sorts of responses to be expected, I guess.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #87

That statement of fact bears repeating.

And there is nothing wrong with—as long as one recognizes that it is a philosophical position based upon personal intuition and not a scientific position based upon the Scientific Method nor a mathematical position based upon a rigorous proof. However, that doesn’t render that philosophical position meaningless or inherently flawed. It just means that we must be careful that we not confuse philosophical positions about scientific topics with scientific methodology and scientific theories.

It is quite natural and to be expected that Christian theists would see the matter-energy world as designed by God—because we believe God created the universe. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind the difference between a faith position versus a scientific conclusion based upon empiricism and falsification testing.

(Herculean Skeptic) #88

Amen to that. Let design be proven… It’s okay to believe that something was designed or not. We just cannot insist upon it being so without evidence in a scientific discussion.

(Dale Cutler) #89

At least I keep you entertained! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


@bjmiller doesn’t say the flagellum is a rotary motor, he says the flagellum has a correspondence to a rotary motor. And he certainly doesn’t say that “the entire flagellum is a motor” nor does he say that “the flagellum is a rotary engine.” Those are misrepresentations of what he said.

Please try to do better.


i actually gave you one. here it again: say that we want to change a compass into a clock. can we do it by smell steps, or we will need at least several parts for this transition?

(Herculean Skeptic) #92

Are you disappointed by these responses? What responses were you hoping for?

I think that this has been a good conversation. I’ve learned a lot. I learned why many scientists are resistant to referring to the bacterial flagellum (for instance) as a motor. It’s not because it doesn’t function similarly and it is intuitive to refer to it as such, it is because of liberties taken by folks in the ID camp who make the inferential leap from motor to designer without evidence.

This is very telling. So, to avoid arguing about things that are unimportant (like does a flagellum act like a motor… duh, yes…), we can instead focus on the real issues.


I don’t see how watches or compasses have any bearing on biology.

(Herculean Skeptic) #94

So, similar to the label “motor” being used in relation to the flagella, this seems to be an analogy pointing to why it may have been designed (or may have been difficult to evolve), but not evidence that the flagella was designed, not evolved. Would you agree?


im not sure i got your this point. i if a flagellum cant evolve stepwise- then it can also be evidence that it was designed.


if one system cant be change stepwise into another system, then its also true for biological systems.

(Herculean Skeptic) #97

But, surely, you realize that stating that a “flagellum can’t evolve stepwise…” is not evidence, but an opinion, right? I’m incredibly impressed by how the bacterial flagellum is assembled, “designed” and works. I can have the opinion that it may be challenging for such a mechanism to evolve on its own, but I cannot (without committing a fallacy) state that it cannot happen.

If a flagellum can’t evolve stepwise, as you say, that is not proof that it was created. It would have to be shown that it can’t evolve stepwise or in any other manner. Further, you still need to prove that it cannot evolve stepwise, and not just state that it cannot.

At least for this to be a scientific conversation… do you agree?


I don’t see how not being able to change a watch into a compass has any bearing on any biological system.


in both cases we will need at least several parts at once to such a change. therefore a system a cant evolve into system b.


You haven’t shown that having multiple parts precludes the evolution of these biological systems. You have just asserted it.