Hi everyone,


First of all I'd like to say that I am new here so sorry if this post is in the wrong section!


Secondly, I know that this is a, "ahhh not that again", type topic, but I could really do with some advice on the subject. I am no scientist and I am by no means very experienced when it comes to the whole bacterial flagellum debate. I know the 'basics' and the argument on both sides of the fence.


I have been having this debate with a friend lately and I felt that this had been put to bed and debunked. However he has pulled out Demskis response to Millers claim that: "if the flagellum contains within it a smaller functional set of components like the TTSS, then the flagellum itself cannot be irreducibly complex – by definition. Since we now know that this is indeed the case, it is obviously true that the flagellum is not irreducibly complex."


Here is Millers article, debunking the bacterial flagellum theory of irreducible complexity.



And here is Demskis counter argument or reply to Millers:



His main argument against me is this, and I am quoting my friend directly:


"My point: Evolution currently has no explanation for how either the TTSS alone or the Flagellum itself evolved, so how in the world can one simply assume as much? It's crazy.

Sure, if one's background is rooted in evolution, one will look for evidence to support that view; but claiming gradualism when in fact they have no clue as to the nature of how it evolved is just plain lunacy??"



I am not asking anyone to read through the entire articles or really go out of their way. I'm just hoping there are a few people here who know about the subject and have recent findings or articles I can point my friend to, in order to get my point across that the bacterial flagellum is no longer a sound argument against evolution.


I thank you in advance for any replies and I look forward to learning more about this topic!




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I saw a video of R. Dawkins talking about this, and the evolution of the human eye.


I am not an expert in evolutionary biology since it is not thaught in the schools in my country, but in general it is very hard to figure out the steps a complex organit evolved. There can be many paths that lead to it. One thing is clear, the flagellum was selected naturally because it offered an evolutionary advantage.

I've seen the irreducible complexity arguments, and I think they can pose interesting and useful questions. I'd like to see how long creationists will cling to their arguments, as science will most likely be able to fill in the evolutionary gaps over time and research. Only over time will Creationists understand that their "science" is bogus because its main goal is to prove that God just did it with divine magical power, not science. I don't blame them for trying; at least they're sincerely trying to utilize the power of science to disprove mainstream science.

Or maybe we can deconstruct the opposing, simple presumption that God Did It. Why would God go through so much trouble (e.g.) to make all the fossil and genetic evidence available that illustrates how evolution can occur? It would not be illogical to presume that God wants us to scientifically find the evidence, and make sense out of it.

In any event, it's not science's intention to debunk God or Religion. Science discovers significant fossil and genetic evidence because it's there, to be found, in earth that's measured to be hundreds of millions of years old. Science's goal is to learn more about earth history and biology, including planet formation and how to diagnose diseases and cure them.

Medicine will someday mend and build organs, and save even more lives. They're already growing and transplanting human trachea and lung tissue! Would anyone sitting back and saying there's nothing to figure out because God just did it mysteriously want to go back a few centuries into the dark ages with plague, if possible, to just let God sort out their fate instead of modern medicine?

What good would science be, if it didn't take on the major projects of discovering what's out there, and how it all works? Science would suck pretty badly if it actually spend most of its time trying to debate people proclaiming "Don't Even Wonder How God Made Our World and Biology Work".

First of all, you have to realize the scale you're working at here. These are organisms that can literally interact with individual atoms and molecules. The Flagellum motor is not irreducibly complex because of this scale. The building blocks for the motor are present in the dna of the organism. It's like wings being related to arms. If you took your fingers webbed them, stretched them out, and covered your skin in feathers, (all of these traits are present in human DNA, just under a "commented out" section) then you would have a fully functional pair of wings. The Motor is made up of different traits, that work on a scale that small as well.

In and of itself, this is a fascinating video, and though nearly 2 hours long, well worth watching. However, you will find significant information regarding the flagellum at 106:50 - 115:+ --

A lot further on, you will find a new insight on irreducible complexity, this time, of a simple mouse trap (SPOILER ALERT: it makes a great, though somewhat cumbersome, tie clip!)

Does evolution have to explain everything? Why not simply reply, "Okay, something other than evolution may explain some things. How does the absence of an evolutionary explanation imply the existence of the Christian God?"

Many things may not have survival value and thus may not naturally select and thus may not have an evolutionary explanation. 

Want an example?

Why do we have the kind of loop and ridge patterns we have in the skin on our fingers? Did God put them there so that the police could eventually solve crimes using fingerprints? Of course that's ridiculous. At the same time, it's ridiculous to imagine that having those loops and ridges makes survival more likely than if our fingers were smooth and pattern free.

Does evolution have to explain everything?

It does a horrible job of explaining stellar fusion.

And the instructions on how to change the time on [insert device sitting near your tv here]

It does however explain quite a bit about how the environment can change an organism, and how miniscule changes can mount up over time. Gaps in the fossil record are like holes in a role of film that is from the 1920s. You can't expect to see exactly what is on the missing frames, but you can make educated guesses as to what they are by using what you have.

it's ridiculous to imagine that having those loops and ridges makes survival more likely than if our fingers were smooth and pattern free

Ridges grip better. Same for ridges on the feet. There's also millions of sweat glands on the palms and soles, which play a part in better gripping. It might seem like small survival value, but think about the sweating response in scary situations... those characteristics came into play in life/death situations.

They even did a study showing that when your fingers and toes prune up after a long wet period, it improves the ability to grip wet, slippery objects. An article on it is here.

Does having a flagellum, no matter how badly designed, offer any selective advantage?

Moving towards food, and away from danger could be at least two good reasons. Are there any others?

Could fluid mixing around the protozoa cell, offer another advantage?

I think at the very small scales of protozoa, many advantages might be hidden from the observer.


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