The Flagellum is Not a Motor?


(Retired Professor & Minister.) #101

I’m curious. Do you believe that there is anything in God’s creation that is not designed in some way? Based on the criteria which many like to use, even a pile of dirt or a mud puddle would thereby be evidence of “design”, especially if one looks at the molecular and sub-atomic levels.

Moreover, if everything which God created—which is a very large set in Christian theology—was thereby designed by God, how useful is it to talk about the alleged scientific evidence for design? After all, if someone claims that everything is designed, that would mean that nothing is not-designed. And if that is the case, is the designed label all that descriptive?

[The flagella as motor discussion has already covered most of the bases for this thread so I feel comfortable about injecting this question to @scd. If there is sufficient interest, perhaps this tangent even deserves its own thread.]

(Dan Eastwood) #102

This can be accomplished by the addition of a stick - to cast a shadow - creating a sundial. We need only calibrate the directions/degrees indicated on the compass to the direction of the shadow to read the time of day.

Is that simple enough? :slight_smile:

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #103

Dan’s counter-example and refutation is yet another reminder that many intelligent design arguments are based on two logic fallacies: the Argument from Personal Incredulity and the Argument from Ignorance. (Even if one is personally unaware of step-wise processes which may bring something about, that doesn’t mean that no such processes exist.)

(For those who haven’t studied logic or read a typical undergraduate logic textbook, the Argument from Ignorance is NOT an implied insult. In this context, ignorance simply refers to a lack of knowledge. We all have ignorance about some topics, even many topics. The Argument from Ignorance is, among other things, when we make grand declarations despite a lack of important knowledge which is essential to the topic and the conclusion reached.)

(Dale Cutler) #104

A sundial is not analogous to systems with moving parts, biological or mechanical.

(Dale Cutler) #105

…is also not analogous to functional systems.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #106

Whether or not some particular analogy is truly analogous depends upon the purpose of the analogy. After all, an analogy Y for phenomenon X is not a claim that X and Y are identical.

Meanwhile, @Dan_Eastwood didn’t claim that a sundial is a good analogy for biological structures. Indeed, he was simply illustrating why the compass and clock analogy for biological structures and the entire argument Scd made about the stepwise development of systems is so seriously flawed. If you read the entire exchange you will see that your beef should be with Scd, not Dan.


What it does illustrate is that you don’t need all of the parts found in a wrist watch in order to have function as a clock. This is the same oversight that ID/creationists commit when they look at modern biological structures and assume these systems have always looked the same, have always required all of those parts for that function, or assume that the parts could never be a part of a different system with a different function.

(Dale Cutler) #108

That is not really the point in question. Pick any other mechanical system you desire.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #109

A pile of dirt has many function. Why don’t you think so?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #110

There are no “mechanical” systems in the cell, so why would it matter?

(Dale Cutler) #111

I don’t think it is a mechanical system?


The claim is that all of the proteins found in the modern bacterial flagellum had to appear all at once in order for there to be a functioning system. Do you disagree?

(Dale Cutler) #113

There are ‘mechanical’ kinetic sculptures using ATP, enzymes, etc. to engender conformational changes.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #114

Non mechanical systems can have functions, for example biological systems can have functions such as the many biological systems in the bacteria of said dirt.

(Dale Cutler) #115

That is not in question.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #116

You apparently think there are no functions in dirt. Perhaps you’ve never gardened. Nor perhaps have you done any landscaping.


In the same way, the mechanical movement of tectonic plates sculpts the geology of the Earth. All of this formed and proceeds through natural processes.

(Dale Cutler) #118

Nor is that in question. You digress.

(Dale Cutler) #119

Tectonics is not analogous to machines.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #120

Yes it is in question. I believe dirt has functions.