The Flagellum is Not a Motor?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #161

Keep going. We can learn a lot from this activity.

(Dale Cutler) #162

That makes it no less a motor.

Why don’t you give me one?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #163

Because this is a test of your knowledge of biology. I don’t want to help you cheat! That would ruin your opportunity to learn something.

(Dale Cutler) #164

Patronization is not endearing. You want to play a gratuitous quiz game.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #165

Nope, just trying to help you understand why your argument falls flat on people who actually understand biology. That is the purpose of our forum, to understand and be understood.

(Dale Cutler) #166

Maybe you don’t want give any answers to reveal that it absolutely is in essence analogous to a motor.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #167

Haha. Nope. Not at all. I’m a computational biologist. This is my bread and butter and my professional reputation is at stake. I can justify everything I’ve written here.

(Dale Cutler) #168

So specify how it is in essence different than a motor. At least in one respect?

(Dale Cutler) #169

I’m thinking you can’t, unless demonstrated otherwise.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #170

It is not assembled by an intelligent designer, but instead by a biological system.

I agree God created everything, including that pile of dirt you disparage so much. I am merely pointing out that the proximate ontology of the flagellum is assembly by natural law, not a designer.

(Dale Cutler) #171

We were talking about the end product, I thought. I have learned something. :wink:

(Dale Cutler) #172

We need my ET evaluator to come and give us a reprise. He/she/it is only looking at the ‘hardware’.

(Dale Cutler) #173

Okay, you’ve indicated one difference that is not essential to the function of a motor.

And I did not have to be a postdoc in biology to understand it.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #174

Actually no, we are talking about the “Essense” of the flagellum as it relates to ontogeny. We can’t even imagine how a rotary motor would self assemble because it’s constituent parts are so fundamentally different than flagellar proteins. Given that ID arguments are entirely about ontology, the fact that they have different onologoies should be front and center in discussing them.

And yes it is essential to its function, because without this difference a flagellum would not work.

That is just one major difference. There are many many more. I’ve give one you not even considered. Others have been given in this thread. Perphaps you need to start attempting to list out some important differences yourself.

(Herculean Skeptic) #175

Hahaha… okay. It seems like two steps forward and three steps back. What I thought we were talking about was whether or not one could or should refer to the bacterial flagellum as a motor or bacterial flagellar motor. And, if so, could we avoid leaping from there to the conclusion that motor = designer. I thought we had gotten a good consensus on that.

You say: “I do not agree a flagellum works like a human-designed rotary motor.”

I get that there are major differences… but, that said, can we agree that this diagram (below) is an accurate depiction of the flagellum? I don’t know well enough to answer and will rely upon your opinion!

Source: this document titled “The Bacterial Flagellar Motor.”


Dear Professor Swamidass,

In this discussion I saw this interesting looking picture you posted in comment #28:


What is that? Is that a drawing from a construction project?

In any case, it looks pretty cool.

Please, forgive me if my questions are off topic for this discussion. I’m just curious.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #177

4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Centriole? Huh?

(Dale Cutler) #178


I had “not even considered” it because, as @Michael_Callen elucidated, you were talking about function, not ontology. You’ve moved the goalposts and/or hidden the ball. Perhaps you need to stand still.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #182

No change in goals posts. Part of the flagellum’s function is to assemble itself.

(Dale Cutler) #183

Why is that not still ontology? The motor assembly is not functional without all of its pieces intact and in place.