THESE are desperate times for the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s infamous Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists — described here: Missing link: “cdesign proponentsists”).
The latest entry at the Discoveroid blog is by John West. It’s in his honor that this post is adorned with our jolly Buffoon logo. If you already know who West is, you can skip the next two indented paragraphs:
West is a winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award. He’s a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (the DI), where he is Associate Director of their Center for Science and Culture — the creationist public relations and lobbying operation that consumes almost half of the Discoveroids’ $4 million budget (see Their 2007 Tax Return). That makes West one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy.
West can be counted on most years to attempt Another July 4th Hijacking. He also seems to have a history of making — let us say — somewhat exaggerated claims. See: Wild Charges of Evidence Suppression. Then see Brave Struggle Against All Odds. See also: Censored by Vandals!
Okay, that’s who he is. Now let’s see what West has written. We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Behe Critic on Bacterial Flagellum: No Intelligence Required Because “Natural forces work ‘like magic'”, which appears at the Discoveroid blog. The bold font was added by us:
Over at BioLogos, biologist Kathryn Applegate has offered what has to be one of the more creative alternatives to the intelligent design of the bacterial flagellum: Magic. I’m not kidding.
Magic? Come on now, Westie. Is that the best you can do? Let’s read on:
Applegate readily concedes biochemist Michael Behe’s point that the flagellum “looks and functions just like the outboard motor, a machine designed by intelligent human engineers. So conspicuous is the resemblance that it seems perfectly logical to infer a Designer for the flagellum.” But, wait, she says: “The bacterial flagellum may look like an outboard motor, but there is at least one profound difference: the flagellum assembles spontaneously, without the help of any conscious agent.”
That’s right, Westie. Any biological structure can appear — to the uneducated observer — as if it were designed. That’s the ancient viewpoint which Darwin successfully explained away. You still don’t get it, do you? We continue:
Acknowledging that “the self-assembly of such a complex machine almost defies the imagination,” Dr. Applegate assures her readers that this is not really a problem because “Natural forces work ‘like magic.” Presto, chango, something appears!
Okay, at this point it’s necessary to go to the source. This is Kathryn Applegate’s article: Self-Assembly of the Bacterial Flagellum: No Intelligence Required. She says, with our bold font:
Despite the strong appearance of special design, most scientists, myself included, believe the evidence points to a gradual development for the bacterial flagellum.
The bacterial flagellum may look like an outboard motor, but there is at least one profound difference: the flagellum assembles spontaneously, without the help of any conscious agent. The self-assembly of such a complex machine almost defies the imagination. As I showed with an earlier blog on the self-assembly of viruses (much simpler contraptions by comparison), all such phenomena seem astonishing and counterintuitive.
Scientists are pretty clever at teasing out the workings of microscopic machines like the flagellum. The general order of assembly was meticulously worked out …
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.
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.
So where does Westie get “magic” out of that post? We had to search, but we found the only mention of the word in a sub-title to one of the article’s sections: Natural forces work “like magic.” That’s it. Applegate even put the word in quotes — to indicate that it’s being used sarcastically. That‘s what West quoted. Snatching at that sub-title, as a drowning man clutches at a straw, Westie constructed his entire sneering blog post. Amazing, isn’t it?
How far is Westie willing to go in order to carry on this forlorn little game of his? Here’s more from his blog article:
One wonders whether Dr. Applegate draws the same conclusion every time she opens a spreadsheet program and discovers that it “magically” adds and subtracts sums — no intelligence required. Or when her word processing program “magically” checks the grammar and spelling of her blog posts — no intelligence required. One further wonders whether Dr. Applegate has ever visited a modern assembly line, where robotic equipment “magically” assembles any number of amazing products — no intelligence required.
Westie likes his inappropriate analogies, doesn’t he? One last excerpt:
Of course, intelligence is required for each of these actions; the intelligence simply happens to be pre-programmed into the computer operations and assembly instructions. Similarly, the so-called magical assembly of the bacterial flagellum requires massive amounts of genetic information encoded in DNA, and as Stephen Meyer has persuasively argued in Signature in the Cell, that information cannot be accounted for simply as the product of a blind physical law. It requires intelligence.
West isn’t a stupid man. We suspect he knows exactly what he’s doing. And that tells you all you need to know about the Discoveroids.
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