The Flagellum: The Icon of Courage by Michael Behe

As most readers at TSZ may already know, I disagree with Michael Behe on several issues (that I’m aware of) the one being common descent… I have expressed my doubts as to why Behe views common descent as a no problem for ID… To state my opinion again, I find that Behe is ‘publicly neutral’ on issues he can’t currently scientifically defend. He simply focuses on the empirical evidence that supports his views, such as the inabilities of mutations and natural selection to evolve complex structures, such as a bacterial flagellum, in small, gradual steps of Darwinian Evolution… Too me, his philosophy is cost effective (very smart) as it probably saves him a lot of unnecessary ‘beatings’ that he taken from Darwinists over the years…

Thanks to Behe’s determination to expose Darwinian Ideology, the Iconic Flagellum became not only the trademark of Intelligent Design movement, but to many, like myself, the Icon of Courage of Micheal Behe, who as one of the very few put almost everything in his life on line in the famous Dover Trial, when most, if not all scientists sympathetic to ID, abandon him and declined to testify in court against the Darwinian Ideology…

This OP is a tribute to courage of all those, like Behe, who were willing to sacrifice their career to oppose and expose the so-called main steam ideologies, like Darwinism….

Although I have already alluded to it many times in the past that there are many possibilities of experimentally falsifying the theory of evolution, this OP is meant to go beyond of that…

Here is why…

Richard Lenski has been trying to experimentally prove the  theory of evolution in his lab for over 25 years by growing E-coli bacterium…We all know the results…bacteria is still bacteria…It has not changed into another species of life..

Why not do the same and try to help the bacterium without a flagellum to grow in the lab anything resembling a flagellum and prove the omnipotence of natural selection?

Great idea! 

As Michael Behe has stated himself, such an experiment would be a double-edge sword. It would not only prove the evolutionary predictions that the bacterial flagellum has evolved, it would, at the same time, totally discredit the ID movement for good by the same means…It’s a sufficiently simple experiment and very similar to Michael Lynch’s one just with a different goal in mind…

Why has it not been done so far?

Are Darwinists  perhaps resistant to the experimental falsification of their own theory? If yes, why would that be?

Is it perhaps because Darwinists are already aware that if a bacterium without a flagellum produced components that could later be used in a flagellum, unless those components were of immediate benefit to the organism, natural selection would tend to weed those bacteria out of the population because of the waste of energy that other bacteria are not experiencing? 

Let’s listen to what Micheal Behe has to say about that…

I can only add that the evolutionary theory faces another problem, which I have already mentioned in my previous OP: The self-assembling molecular machines, like the flagellum. It is not only obvious to an unbiased observer that the self-assembly process of molecular machines defeats any evolutionary speculations for the abilities of random process to evolve such a mind boggling assembly process not only in the gradual steps of Darwinian Evolution, but any other mechanism known today. It also clearly shows that life processes, like the self-assembly of the molecular machines in the living systems, reach beyond what we currently know about life and can’t be explain by any known forces, such as chemical bonds… I would argue that some know processes, such as quantum processes, including quantum entanglement, as well as quantum information, could be involved in the self-assembly process. The disruption of quantum entanglement or quantum information,before or during the self-assembly process would prevent the assembly of the flagellum, which would prove such a claim.

75 Replies to “The Flagellum: The Icon of Courage by Michael Behe”

  1. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    A beautiful example of convergent evolution is the Archaean flagellum. (Oops – pressed post by mistake) Exactly the same function and no homology.

  2. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    So what that some people don’t care that there is no evidence for their beliefs?! So what?
    The question still remains: Why would they waste others time? More so, why would they waste theirs? I guess it remains to be another evolutionary enigma after the origins of life, endosymbiosis, consciousness… 😉

  3. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Protein interactions are understood quite well. I don’t know why the author is trying to make this into a mystery. It’s also interesting that Behe thinks Intelligent Design has ceased and won’t be observed in the lab.

  4. Acartia Acartia
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    says:

    I forget the exact numbers, but there are only a couple of the proteins that make up the flagellum that don’t serve other purposes in other organisms.

  5. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    T_aquaticus,

    Welcome to TSZ, T-aquaticus

  6. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus: December 14, 2018 at 9:52 pm
    Protein interactions are understood quite well. I do

    Yes…quite but …not realy…

  7. DNA_Jock
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    says:

    This OP is a tribute to courage of all those, like Behe, who were willing to sacrifice their career to oppose and expose the so-called main steam ideologies, like Darwinism….

    I did not realize that Lehigh had fired him. That’s terrible! I guess he has the book sales to fall back on.

  8. Rumraket Rumraket
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    says:

    Imagine if someone wanted you to demonstrate how the Mt Everest formed, by having you first remove it (supposing that could be done) and then waiting for plate tectonics to recreate that exact same mountain again, and in a single human lifetime.

    This is basically what J-mac is asking for. It’s insane for all the same reasons.

    Geologists are afraid to test their plate tectonic theories, mountains are wished into existence by fairies with a hardon for rocks (pun intended).

  9. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket:
    Imagine if someone wanted you to demonstrate how the Mt Everest formed, by having you first remove it (supposing that could be done) and then waiting for plate tectonics to recreate that exact same mountain again, and in a single human lifetime.

    This is basically what J-mac is asking for. It’s insane for all the same reasons.

    Imagine that someone wanted to demostrate that life arose by the thermal vents? Whould he/she try to put the components of life next to the vents again to prove his point?
    What stops you Rum?

  10. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: Imagine that someone wanted to demostrate that life arose by the thermal vents? Whould he/she try to put the components of life next to the vents again to prove his point?
    What stops you Rum?

    I have a life and a job. Fund me, I’ll do the experiments. What stops you?

  11. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    From the OP:

    Michael Lynch has been trying to experimentally prove the theory of evolution in his lab for over 25 years by growing E-coli bacterium

    J-Mac, are you getting Michael Lynch mixed up with Richard Lenski?

  12. Mung Mung
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    says:

    …the so-called main steam ideologies, like Darwinism…

    It’s all just so much hot air.

  13. dazz dazz
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    says:

    Mung: It’s all just so much hot air.

    hahahaha

  14. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Exactly the same function and no homology.

    Pretty sure they are homologous (share a common ancestor).

  15. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: Why not do the same and try to help the bacterium without a flagellum to grow in the lab anything resembling a flagellum and prove the omnipotence of natural selection?

    Great idea!

    How do you think something like this could be done? Maybe a knockdown experiment to erase the ability of the bacterial flagellum to develop the flagellum, and then see if it can grow it back?

  16. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Pretty sure they are homologous (share a common ancestor).

    Not according to Wikipedia. Which settles it, of course …

  17. quarrion
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    says:

    To me, Behe is an icon of courage for his stance on evolution in the same way that Fred Hoyle was, for his stance on the steady state theory. Having the courage of one’s convictions is laudable, but laughable, when the paucity of evidence fails to support them. Yes – I know they laughed at Alfred Wegener ….

    Rumraket said

    Geologists are afraid to test their plate tectonic theories, mountains are wished into existence by fairies with a hardon for rocks (pun intended).

    But plate tectonic theory is tested all the time at the Large Hardon Collider.

  18. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: Not according to Wikipedia. Which settles it, of course …

    I don’t believe in convergence. It’s simply too improbable. 🙂

    Plus, homology is more parsimonious.

    Who did the probability calculations regarding the independent evolution of those flagella?

  19. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: I don’t believe in convergence. It’s simply too improbable.

    Plus, homology is more parsimonious.

    Who did the probability calculations regarding the independent evolution of those flagella?

    I believe in convergence for the opposite reason, evidence shows it’s not improbable at all.
    I know you were being facetious, but you really can’t make a consistent argument from improbability to save your life.

  20. Mung Mung
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    says:

    dazz: …you really can’t make a consistent argument from improbability to save your life.

    That I could make a consistent argument from improbability to save my life is simply too improbable.

    You’re lost, right? No clue about what is going on? That’s ok.

    Evolutionary arguments are probabilistic. Evolutionists, such as yourself, really can’t make a consistent argument from improbability to save their life nor can they make a consistent argument from probability.

    The best offering I’ve seen so far is the one from Allan Miller.

  21. Robert Byers
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    says:

    Interesting threads and well said. A minor point would be some, I think, evolutionists would not stress small steps but PE. Maybe PE is just small steps in a bunch and then HOLD. Its confusing sometimes.
    Yes bacteria stays , in species, bacteria. No evolution has happened to cross the important threshold.
    It does seem strange evolutionism ever was seen as plausibo HOWEVER its about invisable things and so not easily dismissed. Also they wanted to dismiss Christian foundations of origins.
    In our time evolutionism is coming to a intellectually boring end.

  22. Corneel Corneel
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    says:

    Alan Fox: J-Mac, are you getting Michael Lynch mixed up with Richard Lenski?

    All those Darwinists look the same, you know?

  23. Corneel Corneel
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    says:

    T_aquaticus,

    Yay! We get more visitors from PS. Welcome!

  24. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Personally, I do not consider Michael Behe courageous as a Catholic biological scientist, but rather naive & involved in a duplicitous ‘think tank’ with a largely Republican plot in the USA, and when invited through evangelical channels, minimally globally. Behe overshot his reach when he deemed ‘intelligent design’, which the rest of us know as ‘Intelligent Design’ (after founding father of ID Phillip Johnson announced an attack on ‘naturalism’) had & has ‘implications for all humane studies” (Preface to Dembski’s ID: THE Bridge between Science and Theology, 1999, which also overshot its reach, but Dembski still won’t admit that openly, now back employed by the DI after officially ‘retiring’ from ID not that long ago). Once Behe disqualified himself by generalising ID like this, the rest of the house of cards simply started falling slowly back down upon him. Of course, human-made design that design theorists & design thinkers do is important, yet publicly ignored by the DI’s ‘spokespeople’ & ‘scientists’! The rest of us, still a vast majority after 25 years of IDT, reject ideological IDism, which Behe is still pushing through the ‘safe channels’ of the DI.

    Behe’s critique of Charles Darwin is both limiting & misplaced once the non-biological ‘implications’ he is trying to promote are exposed for what they are. That’s over-reach; that’s ideological IDism. In championing IDism, which he just calls ‘intelligent design theory’ as if we are too stupid to not see thousands of ‘design theorists’ doing actual work & ‘design thinking’ who are not persecuted for rubbing their category error (usually through local school board inciting) up in everybody’s face, Behe forgoes the title ‘icon of courage’. The DI falsely believes, & Behe seems to be no different, that ‘design theorists’ are unfairly treated, not knowing they simply suffer from ‘Expelled Syndrome’ with its victimisation narrative. As a result, these people of the DI hide behind ENV & won’t have an open public discussion & debate with anyone who isn’t carefully filtered through their PR ‘think tank’ which funds & defends the IDM.

    Behe is thus partisan with the DI in trying mislead people and to stretch ‘Darwinism’ into something it is not; the main paradigm of evolutionary biology today. Biologists have moved beyond Darwin’s generalities to arrive at more specific breakthroughs (think Crick & Watson, Collins & team, Venter & team, etc.), though several key features & the overall historical narrative of his biological, field naturalist & botanical work remains. To paint Darwin for so many evils of the world as the proselytising DI does is part of the naive philosophy (of science) Behe has come out of the ID Movement with. Behe cannot be considered as a seriously coherent thinker; he’s a weak philosopher (much like Axe) & his ideas are already stuck in time. It was nice & clever ‘out of the box’; we’ve sadly just heard it on repeat from Behe since then.

    Endearing, somewhat noble, cuddly & cute, yes; but Behe is not courageous for what he is doing. He is now standing in the way of progress allied with the DI/IDM. We have long heard his complaints & predominantly negative arguments, along with what can only be called puffery & pretense for ideological IDism (with Dembski as his ‘Newton’!). His followers should realise the error of the religious-cultural-educational, quasi-scientific, design-fetished, double-talking Movement based in Seattle in which Behe stands & gives his efforts, voice & personality to, so much of his voluntary time, knowing that the CSC has made Behe’s career what it is today, rather than biological knowledge, competence or philosophical coherence.

  25. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    What exactly does J-Mac have against punctuation? (I refer not to varying rates of evolution but to periods, period.)

  26. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    The irony about the omnipotence of natural selection is that the very mechanism that Darwinists believe has created (for the lack of better word) the appearance of design in 10 billion species of life on Earth is the very same mechanism that would prevent the bacterium without a flagellum to evolve anything even remotely resembling a flagellum…

    So, unless Neo-Darwinists can find another evolutionary mechanism that would be able to instantly create anything resembling a flagellum that would be of immediate benefit to the organism, that organism is doomed to be removed from the population by the very definition of the selective role of the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection…

    This very notion proves again my very point about the evolutionary theory as being an ideology rather than anything even remotely close to a scientific theory… The very mechanism of natural selection that is worshiped by Darwinists is the same mechanism that makes an evolutionary beneficial change impossible and consequently the evolutionary theory false…

    No one, in the right frame of mind, would believe that evolution by random mutation and natural selection is possible, if he/she is aware that the very same process weeds out even the slightest change to the organism that has no immediate benefits to it…

    Another issue is the impossibility of the spontaneous increase of quantum information in a closed system, such as in a bacterium without a flagellum … as per the law of conservation of quantum information. It states that unless quantum information is already contained in the system: i.e. a bacterium without a flagellum to be able to add the quantum information to develop a flagellum, there is just no way to add that information, as per this law…

    In other words, the only evolution this law allows is the manipulation of quantum information-the quantum re-arrangement of quantum states of particles possibly by interactions with the environment or selective breeding, which can be observed in the genetic breakdown of genes leading from wolves to dogs…

  27. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman:
    What exactly does J-Mac have against punctuation? (I refer not to varying rates of evolution but to periods, period.)

    My adding ellipses in punctuation is the same type of evolution as the methylation process where H3C added to the DNA molecule… Just as my use of ellipses doesn’t change the meaning of my writing, neither does the addition of methyl group change the DNA sequence, but it screws up the gene transcription often leading to cancer…

    The addition of H3C is apparently viewed by Darwinists as an increase of complex, specified information leading to evolution…

    BTW: Do you have anything to say on the theme of the OP? Or, are you going to stick to your usual whining only?

  28. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,

    So adding unnecessary ellipsis screws up parsing? I’d agree. I have a mate who does it too. His stuff is hard to read … because there’s always … a kind of stuttering quality …

  29. timothya timothya
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:

    “No one, in the right frame of mind, would believe that evolution by random mutation and natural selection is possible, if he/she is aware that the very same process weeds out even the slightest change to the organism that has no immediate benefits to it…”

    Genetic drift contradicts your assertion. Genetic drift is an observable fact.

  30. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,

    So you’re saying that your ellipses are intended to cause cancer?

  31. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    timothya: Genetic drift contradicts your assertion. Genetic drift is an observable fact.

    Oh, yes! The drift…You forgot the word random.
    You have been reading too many fairytales by Larry Moran and the gang of wishful dreamers…😂
    Let’s see the evidence!

  32. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    John Harshman:
    J-Mac,

    So you’re saying that your ellipses are intended to cause cancer?

    Yes. It’s a very specific type of cancer called ignorance…

  33. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: Yes. It’s a very specific type of cancer called ignorance…

    Why do you want to cause ignorance? Or might I suggest that “confusion” is the better term, as your wit is incoherent.

  34. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    “The influence of this process (drift) on important evolutionary change, though, is probably minor, because it does not have the moulding power of natural selection. Natural selection remains the only process that can produce adaptation. Nevertheless, we’ll see in chapter 5 that genetic drift may play some evolutionary role in small populations and probably accounts for some non-adaptive features of DNA.”

    Jerry Coyne-Why Evolution Is True

    https://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649

    So, we are back were we started…

    Maybe Darwinists should become theistic evolutionists, like Dr. Swamidass?
    It’s much easier to overcome evolutionary chasms…
    All you say is: “…Maybe God guided the evolution of bacteria without a flagellum to a bacteria with a flagellum? ”
    It is much, much easier to defend theistic nonsense over Darwinian…All one needs is faith…no evidence needed… 😂

  35. timothya timothya
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: Oh, yes! The drift…You forgot the word random.
    You have been reading too many fairytales by Larry Moran and the gang of wishful dreamers…😂
    Let’s see the evidence!

    Google “genetic drift scientific papers”. You will find a Dover-style mountain of evidence.

  36. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Pretty sure they are homologous (share a common ancestor).

    If “they” refers to bacteria and Archaea, the answer is yes. If “they” refers to bacterial flagella and Archaean flagella, the answer is no. Both (bacteria and Archaea) share a common ancestor but developed flagella independently after the split from the common ancestor; two independent solutions to motility.

  37. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Behe is thus partisan with the DI in trying mislead people and to stretch ‘Darwinism’ into something it is not; the main paradigm of evolutionary biology today.

    Darwinian evolutionary theory sure seems to be the main paradigm of evolutionary biology today as expressed by commenters here at TSZ.

  38. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Both (bacteria and Archaea) share a common ancestor but developed flagella independently after the split from the common ancestor; two independent solutions to motility.

    Why do you believe this? Do you also think their common ancestor lacked motility?

    That flagella evolved once is more parsimonious.

    …two independent solutions to motility.

    As if motility was a problem to be solved by evolution, the problem solving algorithm. They both needed to become motile so they both evolved the same solution?

  39. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Why do you believe this? Do you also think their common ancestor lacked motility?

    Yes.

  40. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: That flagella evolved once is more parsimonious.

    Yes but the structures are not homologous. The differences are fascinating. They’re as fascinating as those between the vertebrate eye and the cephalopod eye.

  41. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Alan Fox: Yes but the structures are not homologous.

    So no evidence of any of the genes being present in the common ancestor, none at all?

  42. Rumraket Rumraket
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    says:

    I think the ATP synthase component is homologous. Dunno about the rest of the archaeal flagellum.

  43. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    Here’s a figure from this paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mmi.12486

    Figure 1
    Comparison of the archaellum to the flagellum and type IV pilus of Gram‐negative bacteria. Assembly of bacterial flagella occurs via a type III secretion system that channels flagellins through the inner cavity to the distal tip. In contrast archaella are type IV pilus like structures and assembled by insertion of the subunits (after processing by type IV prepilin signal peptidases PibD/FlaK) at the base of the structure in the membrane. In both, the archaellum and type IV pili, the cytoplasmic ATPases FlaI and PilB, respectively, provide the energy for the assembly of the filament. FlaX and FlaH have recently been shown to be components of the motor complex of the archaellum (Banerjee et al., 2013). The bacterial secretin is depicted to show how the type IV pilus crosses the outer membrane. Homologous proteins are shown in the same colour. Abbreviations: OM, outer membrane; IM, inner membrane; PG, peptidoglycan; M, membrane (figure adapted from Jarrell and Albers, 2012).

  44. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    Pretty clearly derives from a completely different structure than the bacterial flagellum. There’s no structural or sequence similarity except in the superficial sense that it’s a “tail” creating propulsion. They are convergent in function only.

  45. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    As quoted at EN:

    (1) There is a strong possibility, previously unrecognized, of further homologies between the type III export apparatus and F1F0-ATP synthetase. (2) Much of the flagellum’s complexity evolved after crude motility was in place, via internal gene duplications and subfunctionalization.

    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/12/advances-in-biology-discredit-argument-that-cooption-can-explain-irreducible-complexity/

  46. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Mung, there are two separate groups (domains) the Archaea and Bacteria. Some of both groups have propulsive systems that function very similarly. One interesting difference in the two systems is that bacterial flagellum filaments grow by protein subunits passing down the hollow filament and attaching at the tip. Archaea flagellum filaments add subunits at the base.

  47. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Doesn’t mention Archaea, though

  48. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: (1) There is a strong possibility, previously unrecognized, of further homologies between the type III export apparatus and F1F0-ATP synthetase. (2) Much of the flagellum’s complexity evolved after crude motility was in place, via internal gene duplications and subfunctionalization.

    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/12/advances-in-biology-discredit-argument-that-cooption-can-explain-irreducible-complexity/

    I like that article. He accepts inferences made on the basis of phylogenetics (such as the presence of cap proteins in the common ancestor of bacterial flagella-carrying organisms), yet it doesn’t occur to him to consider why it should be possible to construct a phylogeny in the first place. Why is there nesting hiearchical structure in the data of flagellar homologoues if the flagellum proteins didn’t evolve? We must be back to “GodThe Designer is intentionally causing particular mutations to happen in diverging lineages of organisms so as to individually produce homologous flagellum proteins… because reasons”.

    And he considers the flagellum, and it’s proteins, a “target”. So the whole article is one giant texas sharpshooter fallacy. So many words only to collapse under a single fallacy of logic.

  49. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Doesn’t mention Archaea, though

    Maybe they really have no flagellum. 🙂

  50. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    The self-assembling molecular machines, like the flagellum. It is not only obvious to an unbiased observer that the self-assembly process of molecular machines defeats any evolutionary speculations …

    And therein lies the problem. Where is this unbiased observer? The ones claiming that “it looks designed,” “was designed,” “it would be impossible to happen by natural selection,” “it would never happen by natural processes,” are deeply biased and deeply unaware of their own biases. They ignore that they grew up surrounded by a reality that was far from making them unbiased observers, that they grew up surrounded by a human society where things work in ways that bias their understanding of reality, that they’re so far removed from “natural” environments, that they grew up surrounded by designs, and houses, and cars, and ships, and computers, and all kinds of machines, and that, thus, they’d be biased to thinking that everything would be like that, made by humans for humans, etc. So, why not all of nature being built by something like a human, only larger, much more powerful?

    It takes quite an effort to get around those biases and look at nature as it is, rather than as we might want it to be, be biased to think that it is, etc.

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