Re: RES: [asa] Fw: book "By Design"

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Thu Sep 17 2009 - 15:39:38 EDT

Heya all,

I was hoping someone can clear this up for me.

It's my understanding that Behe has no objection to the idea that a given IC
structure may have parts that could perform another function. The supposed
issue is that an IC structure performs role X, and if an essential part is
removed, that specific role X cannot be performed. Not "X can be performed,
but less efficiently", but cannot be performed, full stop. To do X, you need
these specific parts at the absolute minimum - remove one, and role X won't
be getting done. So if a given structure really is IC, there's not really an
"intermediate" to speak of - a structure capable of performing role X will
be absent one day, present the next.

He's also not claiming that these parts could not evolve, or have precursors
(in the sense of 'parts in an IC structure were used for different roles in
a given biological history'). Just that this development is going to be an
awkward and tremendously improbable fit as far as "darwinian evolution" is
concerned - though it may fit easily under other evolutionary perspectives.
Maybe front-loading, maybe even something else, etc.

On Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 1:08 PM, Terry M. Gray <>wrote:

> I personally agree with Marcio's assessment; however, it is my
> understanding that the ID folks would probably argue that both the flagellum
> AND the TTSS are irreducibly complex when you look at the details.
> There's a sense in which I agree with that as well. The biochemical whole
> is irreducible (in its current "fine-tuned" (by natural selection) state).
> Most biochemists would agree with this. However, this says nothing about how
> the whole originated and whether or not a primordial new structure/function
> can be assembled out of pre-exisiting parts. That's the irreducible
> complexity non-sequittur (and the fundamental tautology of Behe's argument.)
> This is the basic point behind the title of my original critique (now 15
> years old) of Behe's work: "Complexity--Yes! Irreducible--Maybe!
> Unexplainable--No!"
> TG
> On Sep 17, 2009, at 9:12 AM, Marcio Pie wrote:
> From what I recall, Miller’s point has nothing to do with what came first.
>> If the flagellum is an irreducibly complex structure, if a part of it is
>> missing, it shouldn’t be useful for anything (hence the mouse trap analogy).
>> The fact that TTSS is functional is evidence that the more comprehensive
>> system (flagellum) is not irreducible complex. Notice that one does not have
>> to prove every single step in the process to refute ID. All one needs to do
>> is to show that intermediates are possible and functional.
>> Marcio
>> De: [] Em
>> nome de John Walley
>> Enviada em: quarta-feira, 16 de setembro de 2009 21:16
>> Para: AmericanScientificAffiliation
>> Assunto: [asa] Fw: book "By Design"
>> FYI This is from a biology prof friend of mine. Any response on the "The
>> fact that the bacterial flagellum came FIRST just blows away Miller's ideas"
>> comment?
>> John
>> ----- Forwarded Message ----
>> Am reading a book called "By Design" by Jonathan Sarfati.
>> The book is EXCELLENT.
>> Did you know that the bacterial transporter--Type III Secretory System
>> (TTSS) that Kenneth R. Miller (author of the book "Finding Darwin's God")
>> talks about actually evolved LATER than the bacterial flagellum? Miller
>> claims that the bacterial flagellum is NOT "irreducibly complex" because he
>> says the TTSS protein have significant components in common with the
>> flagellum. Only about 10 components of the 40 in the bacterial flagellum
>> are in common with the bacterial transporter. 30 proteins are brand new.
>> The fact that the bacterial flagellum came FIRST just blows away Miller's
>> ideas, and argues that the flagellum was a PLANNED, designed system for
>> bacterial locomotion.
>> "Scott Minnich, of the University of Idaho, a world expert on the
>> flagellar motor disagrees with Scientific American and Miller" p. 137 of
>> book.
>> The TTSS protein acts as a kind of molecular pump, which can inject toxins
>> into cells (Ex, Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of the bubonic plague).
>> According to the book, the TTSS secretory apparatus is a "degeneration from
>> the flagellum." If the flagellum assembly is diabled, "it can punch out
>> proteins (including toxins) in a haphazard way, as the TTSS does." p 138 of
>> book.
>> Also included: conch shells, turtle magnetic navigation, gecko feet
>> adhesives, the simplest life, the cell, etc.
>> ISBN # 978-0-949806-72-4
>> The Bible says that birds evolved before land reptiles, which is in
>> disagreement with evolutionary theory--that birds came AFTER reptiles. I
>> think I ready somewhere that some paleontologists have found ancient birds
>> which are, indeed, older than reptiles (but I need to check more on this).
>> I still think that evolution CANNOT explain the great degree of complexity
>> in life forms given our short period of geologic time.
> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
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Received on Thu, 17 Sep 2009 15:39:38 -0400

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