In my research, I have recently come across the self-assembling proteins and molecular machines called nano-machines one of them being the bacterial flagellum…
Have you ever wondered what mechanism is involved in the self-assembly process?
I’m not even going to ask the question how the self-assembly process has supposedly evolved, because it would be offensive to engineers who struggle to design assembly lines that require the assembly, operation and supervision of intelligence… So far engineers can’t even dream of designing self-assembling machines…But when they do accomplish that one day, it will be used as proof that random, natural processes could have done too…in life systems.. lol
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch this video:
The first thing that came to my mind when I debating the self-assembly process was one of Michael Behe’s books The Edge of Evolution. I wanted to see whether he mentioned any known, or unknown, mechanism driving the self-assembly process of nano-machines, like the flagellum…
In the Edge of Evolution Behe uses an illustration of a self-assembling flashlight, which parts possess the many different types of magnets that only fit the right type of part into it; each part having the affinity for the corresponding magnet…something like that…
It’s not clear to me whether Behe questions that the magnetic attraction is sufficient for the self-assembly of the flagellum (I might have to read the parts of the book on the theme again). Behe seems to question the ability of Darwinian processes to be able to evolve the sequence and the fitting process of each part of the flagellum, by random processes of random mutation and natural selection…
This is what BIOLOGOS have to say on the theme of self-assembly of the flagelum:
“Natural forces work “like magic”
Nothing we know from every day life quite prepares us for the beauty and power of self-assembly processes in nature. We’ve all put together toys, furniture, or appliances; even the simplest designs require conscious coordination of materials, tools, and assembly instructions (and even then there’s no guarantee that we get it right!). It is tempting to think the spontaneous formation of so complex a machine is “guided,” whether by a Mind or some “life force,” but we know that the bacterial flagellum, like countless other machines in the cell, assembles and functions automatically according to known natural laws. No intelligence required.1
Video animations like this one (video no longer available) by Garland Science beautifully illustrate the elegance of the self-assembly process (see especially the segment from 2:30-5:15). Isn’t it extraordinary? When I consider this process, feelings of awe and wonder well up inside me, and I want to praise our great God.
Several ID advocates, most notably Michael Behe, have written engagingly about the details of flagellar assembly. For that I am grateful—it is wonderful when the lay public gets excited about science! But I worry that in their haste to take down the theory of evolution, they create a lot of confusion about how God’s world actually operates.
When reading their work, I’m left with the sense that the formation of complex structures like the bacterial flagellum is miraculous, rather than the completely normal behavior of biological molecules. For example, Behe writes, “Protein parts in cellular machines not only have to match their partners, they have to go much further and assemble themselves—a very tricky business indeed” (Edge of Evolution, 125-126). This isn’t tricky at all. If the gene that encodes the MS-ring component protein is artificially introduced into bacteria that don’t normally have any flagellum genes, MS-rings spontaneously pop up all over the cell membrane. It’s the very nature of proteins to interact in specific ways to form more complex structures, but Behe makes it sound like each interaction is the product of special design. Next time I’ll review some other examples from the ID literature where assembly is discussed in confusing or misleading ways.”
To me personally, the self-assembly process, especially that of the molecular nano-machines like the bacterial flagellum, involves much, much more than random motion of molecules and the affinity of their binding sites for one another…
There has to be not only some kind of energy directing force but also some hidden information source to direct that energy…I have a hunch what that could be and there is only one way of finding it out…
Does anybody know what I have in mind? No, I don’t think it’s Jesus …
I think we can all agree that this happens. And this has been seen to occur in Galapagos finch populations. But it’s not what I would call evolution. Evolution is much more than just this.
Okay. Still not clear. Not sure whether I qualify as a materialist, but I do agree that humans are conscious beings and capable of making decisions about their life style. You OTOH were proclaiming that organisms are machines, which are not really big on the conscious decisions front in my experience.
And suddenly you and Charlie are in agreement about humans being capable of making conscious decisions versus the materialist evolutionists who think we are all just mindless bags of chemicals? That doesn’t really follow, now does it?
Why in the world would anyone call that evolution? Evolve means to change or progress or develop, but your definition means none of those things. All it means is less of more of something that already exists.
Cat, hat, In French, chat, chapeau.
In Spanish, el gato in a sombrero.
In German, I’m a katze in a hut and don’t you know.
I’m a gwunka in a bunka-kwunk in Eskimo.
You’re a gwunka in a bunka-kwunk in Eskimo.
He’s a gwunka in a bunka-kwunk in Eskimo.
Ist das nicht ein bunka-kwunk?
Ya, das ist ein bunka-kwunk.
Yes indeedy, that is so.
He’s a gwunka in a bunka-kwunk in Eskimo.
Well, it is difficult to cram it into one sentence. But the basic idea that random genome changes can be spread or be lost depending on whether they improve breeding success leading to closer adaptation to a particular niche needs only to be supplemented by speciation and extinction to cover almost all we observe with regard to change and diversification over time. What is it you think is not explained by evolution?
What experience is that? I am not aware that the definition of machines precludes them from being conscious.
So I guess you don’t believe AI will ever obtain consciousness. Well, I agree with that part.
I left out the source of new alleles; mutations, shuffling, crossing over, duplication etc.
I do. I can even tell you what that purposeful activity of living things is: To ensure the transmission of their heritable information.
Cars don’t have that, ’cause they don’t reproduce.
Perhaps, but you were starting to use ID parlance, and the difference between internal and external purpose is pretty subtle. In fact, you may want to explain how you can tell the difference, because I am not sure you are talking about the same thing.
Yes, you often leave out the part of evolution your side is most embarrassed to embrace. The fluke part.
Most evolutionists do.
I guess you are not an evolutionist, because to them it is not a purpose, but rather an accidental result.
But like Alan, they don’t much like to mention it in public.
Me neither. But all machines I am familiar with do what I tell them, except my computer, who appears to have a mind of its own.
Inconsistency alert! If animals are machines, then what precludes other machines from acquiring consciousness?
That depends on your point of view. I don’t care either way.
Nonsense. What on Earth do you think is embarrassing about mutation being random?
No the random part that when coupled with the non-random selection process, results in change in allele frequency.
Anyway, phoodoo, I get that you don’t think much of the theory of evolution. It’s not very important, as biology carries on regardless of your approval, but do you think life’s diversity on Earth has an explanation? I mean if you think evolution doesn’t explain life’s diversity, there must be another explanation. Do you ever wonder about that?
Do you ever wonder how a bag of chemicals can alter the bag of chemicals through free will?
Then why did you leave that part out in your definition of evolution, when the definition you gave for evolution has nothing to do with evolving?
Now its your turn. How can machines that don’t have consciousness gain consciousness, if you believe
IMO evolution is a process of individuation, where individuals separate off and advance towards self-awareness at which point they can experience themselves and nature as being distinct. In a sense life grows out of nature and looks back upon itself and this can only happen through a sense of separation, of emancipation. We are not the fittest organisms in a Darwinian sense, but we are the most emancipated.
That’s a tough one. I am not sure that they can. If possible at all, they will do it the same way that animals do, I guess.
Why won’t the supernatural touch human-made machines?
What way is that?
I don’t know, phoodoo 🙂
I do wonder about how one can visualise chemical interactions in a meaningful way, as particles, atoms and molecules are not visible directly. Not sure what bags and free will have to do with molecules.
In fact I expanded a little on the “change in allele frequency over time” summary (which is well-known) to emphasise selection. I’m happy to confirm that the reiteration of random variation and non-random selection is the mechanism of the change in allele frequency.
What? What on Earth does that mean? If you mean God is the agent of change, why not just say so?
Thanks for responding, though I must admit I don’t follow what you are saying. Is this process of individuation observable? If so, I presume the difference is in interpretation rather than the data.
A change in the frequency of alleles is.. CHANGE. And it frequently happens for adaptive reasons, so you could also call it progress.
Less or more of something that already exists is a form of change.
Who is embarrased by mutations? That’s right, nobody is.
Define: “Free Will”. Then I will tell you whether I think that is possible.
Why would “the supernatural” prevent machines from gaining consciousness? And how do you know that?
Well if consciousness is the result of certain information processing structures (such as particular arrangements of matter in the brain, performing particular actions), then it could be possible to reproduce such information processing activities in silicon.
Now it’s your turn again: What makes consciousness? How did it come to exist?
If the brain is somehow a “receiver” for a supernatural consciousness signal (like an antenna picking up radio waves), then why should it not be possible to built such a receiver by scientists and engineers?
How does the brain-receiver know who’s consciousness signal to pick up? How does the consciousness-signal know to only interact with MY brain and body, and not some other person’s?
Do different brains receive at different frequencies? What force or law of physics governs the interactions of atoms in the brain, with the consciousness signal?
Why has the consciousness signal not shown any evidence of existing in the large hadron collider? How does the consciousness signal know to only interact with electrons and protons in the brains of humans and animals, and not interact with electrons and protons in particle accelerators?
Why doesn’t going deep underground shield you from the consciousness signal? How does it interact with the brain instead of just going right through it, if it is unhindered by kilometers of solid rock?
From where is it transmitted? What instrument is used to broadcast it?
David Bohm was an interesting character. Apparently:
He proposed a form of dialogue where he hoped participants would be able to learn not by judging what others were saying but by trying to understand their thinking processes.
I’m not sure that platforms such as this are suited to that form of dialogue, but maybe we can take something from what he says and even be thankful for the differences of opinion here.
Reminds me of the paradox of paranormal research. How do you detect ghosts? If you can see them or hear them, they can’t be supernatural!
Individuals who share the same “ inexorable fate”.
What other kind of opinions and beliefs are there? Just because they are shared does not make them less personal, it is support for those beliefs and opinions which make them more than “ just “.
It sounds like shared respect for the individual outweighs differing opinions.
Not sure about “should “ but life experiences form our beliefs, and unless one is willing to accept unquestioning the beliefs of others then differences are inevitable.
Was I the only person to notice this :
Immediately followed by:
Charlie, 32 minutes later
So is that your purpose in life, to pass on your genes?
Cars don’t have any purpose other than that which was built into them by humans.
The purpose of cytoplasmic dynein complexes is to transport material throughout the cell in an orderly manner in cooperation with other cellular complexes. Where is the source of this purposeful activity? I think we agree that this is a difficult question to answer. I would say that the source is within the organism unlike the source of the purposeful activity in the component of a car has been built into it from outside by humans. As for individual organisms themselves I don’t think that we can assign them any specific purpose in anything like the way that we can assign purpose to machines.
So why do people have surgery to have them removed?
A ghost detector.
Not sure why you think design has to be supernatural then.
You won’t believe this: I have added a few purposes of my own. Smart huh?
But as an explanation for the “behaviour” of proteins it suffices. The function of dynein motor proteins and DNA polymerases is to ensure the transmission of the genes that encode them. That is their purpose.
Oh I’d agree… however there may be a few people around here that would argue that the specific purpose of organisms also derives from an external source. So without any objective means to settle this, the difference between internal and external purpose suddenly appears to be on rather shaky ground, don’t you agree?
I don’t. Quite the opposite. That option is unavailable to me.
Hard to say, we cannot know what an unknown designer with unknown abilities and unknown goals is capable of. There may be no need to simulate anything is one can easily construct the physical manifestation, and the illusion of free will might be no different at some levels than pure will.
To me , existence is the point. We have a sense of being able to manipulate the physical environment.Whether it is an accident or an elaborate hoax or a test of good and evil.
The ability to stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon or turn the corner of a road an have Yosemite Valley revealed below is sufficient either way.
Wouldn’t we then need a ghost detector detector?
I hear more the whoosh of materialists who refuse to come to grips with explaining how chemicals can make conscious decisions about the state of the chemicals.
That in a nutshell is the hypocrisy of atheists calling themselves skeptics. What could you possible be skeptical of when you don’t even bat an eye at that magic. If all the stars suddenly aligned to spell out I AM GOD, in fancy roman script, I can’t see any difference in also saying, “Well, there must be a natural explanation.”
So, what explains consciousness? Explain it. I mean you’re scolding materialists for not being able to explain it but can you even do it yourself?
This will be a good point to make the day the stars suddenly align to spell out “I AM GOD”. Until then… 🙂
Ah! That explains a lot.
They already have, you just failed to notice.
If I understand you correctly, phoodoo, you are saying that humans do consciously control our molecular processes, and that materialists cannot come to grips with this fact.
Would that be a fair description of your position?
It is worked out by observing and comparing the organisms being observed. Prokaryotes are believed to have been around the longest, so let’s compare them with the later multi-cellular organisms. We determine that prokayotes are individuals because cellular membranes distinguish them from their environment. On the other hand multi-cellular organisms have a more complex barrier between them and the environment and this allows them to have greater control over their bodies in the face of environmental fluctuations. Higher organisms such as birds and mammals have the greatest capability of control witnessed by their added protection of integument such as fur or feathers. Even from the point of their conception they are shielded from the environment by being located within the body of the mother.
An example of an intermediate stage is seen in the external fertilization of organisms such as fish. It may be external to the mother’s body but the growing embryo is still protected and nourished by the membrane and contents of the egg.
Of course becoming separate is just the first stage on the path to individuality. Becoming an individual is also about being unique. Individual prokaryotes can be distinguished because they take up a unique position in space, but that’s about as far as their uniqueness goes within species. Individuals are pretty much indistinguishable. Humans as a group consist of individuals which have the most differences between them. Each individual is much more in control of their own destiny than any other living organism and therefore have more unique attributes when compared to each other.
If you think I am wrong about any or all of this then I’m happy to discuss any points you make.
I said “conscious decisions”. You can read right?
Are you disagreeing with conclusions reached in the video? Did you bother watching?
What delightful anthropocentrism! Thank you for not extending your argument to different races, that often gets awkward.
For procaryotes, I would note that a lambda lysogen is pretty different from a 434 lysogen, particularly if you are a lambda or a 434.
Moving up your scala naturae, I would note cannabis sativa which a number of U.S. presidents grew for its fiber production.
The world I live in is just as full of magic as the world they live in and I can be a skeptic, so why can’t they be skeptics and believe in magic too?
That’s right. You believe in fully natural designing forces. So there’s no in principle objection to natural design. It doesn’t require the supernatural at all.