Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2016 — #6

The thrilling list continues, as the Discovery Institute posts about their greatest triumphs for the past twelve months. You can find links to items 10 through 7 in yesterday’s post, Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2016 — #8 & #7, and now we continue to follow their listing of the Top Ten events for the year. They just posted #6 of Our Top Stories of 2016: BIO-Complexity Addresses the Problem of Biological Innovation

It’s a repeat of something they posted back in January: New Article in BIO-Complexity Addresses the Problem of Biological Innovation, by Ann Gauger (a/k/a “Annie Green Screen”). Before Annie became Casey’s replacement in the blogging department, she had been toiling in obscurity at the Discoveroids’ clandestine creationist research facility, Biologic Institute.

The work done there sometimes appears in the Discoveroids’ captive “peer reviewed” journal, BIO-Complexity. Annie’s work was so sensitive that the interior of her lab could never be seen by outsiders. You can read all about that in Klinghoffer Defends Photo Trickery.

That lab, the journal, and the Discoveroids’ own “peer reviewed” vanity press operation (Discovery Institute Press) constitute their imitation of the accouterments of science, and have caused intelligent design to be described as a cargo cult.

The Discoveroids’ new post is just a copy of the old one, which was so silly that we didn’t bother to blog about it. But because it’s regarded by them as such a towering event, we’ll take another look. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

One of the toughest problems for evolutionary biologists is to account for what might be called the problem of innovation — the appearance of a new beneficial biological feature that did not previously exist. Put another way, evolution by natural selection can be defined as “the survival of the fittest,” but evolution is unable to select for something that is not already there. It can only select among existing traits. When some new trait is required in order to survive, can evolution explain “the arrival of the fittest”?

That question — to which the obvious answer is mutations — is regarded by the Discoveroids as so staggering that only the miraculous intervention of their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — is capable of solving it. Annie says:

The work of Doug Axe and myself has centered on this question. What is possible for protein evolution by purely natural means? Not much so far. [Link to Annie’s paper in BIO-Complexity.]

[…]

Our conclusion? Unless the starting protein already exists as a functional fold of the right design, the protein’s activity cannot be optimized to wild-type levels. In other words, you’ll never get an innovation optimized, even with a pre-existing low level of the desired activity if the innovation is not already present in substantial form.

If you bother to read Annie’s entire post, you’ll see that she was looking for a specific mutation. She obviously saw mutations, but not the one she was looking for. That’s not surprising, but concluding that any particular mutation is impossible merely because it didn’t happen while you were watching seems a bit of a stretch. The Discoveroid post concludes with this:

To get a new enzyme, and by extension any sophisticated complex thing, requires that the new enzyme be already there, in essential form, before it can be optimized by selection. It has to be shaped by intelligent design before selection can act upon it. In other words, evolution is incapable of innovation — only intelligence can invent a sophisticated new cellular structure such as an enzyme, or an eye.

Now we remember why we didn’t bother to blog about Annie’s post when it first appeared. We explained her error in: The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III). It’s the difference between serial and parallel processing.

Although Annie’s post is no better now than when it first appeared, the year has been so horrible for the Discoveroids that her “research” has made their Top Ten list. We’ve learned about the bottom five of the Discoveroids’ top news items for the year. There are five more to still go. What further wonders await us? Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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59 responses to “Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2016 — #6

  1. I like how Annie Green Screen jumps from an enzyme to the eye in a single sentence.

    At least Annie Green Screen provides us a time marker for a moment the Intelligent Designer, blessed be he, struck: 1935 – Nylonase.

    You gotta love the old Intelligent Designer, that rascally stocking muncher!

  2. michaelfugate

    Do you think Jesus did the water into wine thing by inventing new enzymes off the cuff?

  3. I don’t quite understand that #6 is an event of the year 2016. Didn’t the advocates of ID already claim to know this? What changed in 2016?

  4. To get a new enzyme, and by extension any sophisticated complex thing, requires that the new enzyme be already there, in essential form, before it can be optimized by selection. It has to be shaped by intelligent design before selection can act upon it. In other words, evolution is incapable of innovation — only intelligence can invent a sophisticated new cellular structure such as an enzyme, or an eye.

    First, what does “in essential form” mean?

    Second, if an Intelligent Designer has to have “shaped” a new enzyme or other “complex thing” before selection can operate on it, what’s the point of selection? Why can’t the Designer have built whatever-it-is perfectly at the start, so that it doesn’t need to be “optimized”?

  5. Those are some real slim pickings. Vague, poorly sourced blog posts that received less attention than a typical XKCD comic are among the top ten creationist achievements of 2016. Their donors must be so pleased with these results.

  6. The Bio Illogic lab is devoted to disproving evolution. Nothing they do has anything to do with “intelligent design” creationism. Yet, every experiment they perform only demonstrates evolution more clearly, like Annie Green Screen’s “leaky growth” some years ago. Totally laughable.

  7. Green Screen Annie reveals the DI’s compelling, paradigm-shattering, and irrefutable proof of Intelligent Design (my bolding):

    To get a new enzyme, and by extension any sophisticated complex thing, requires that the new enzyme be already there, in essential form, before it can be optimized by selection. It has to be shaped by intelligent design before selection can act upon it.

    I’m convinced! And, “by extension”, we now can see that exact images of Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln–and not the images of Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding, and George W. Bush– were designed and pre-loaded into the very rocks of Mount Rushmore before Gutzon Borglum merely ‘selected’ them out of the raw material shaped by the Intelligent Designer (Blessed be He/She/It/Them!).

  8. And the proof that the images of Washington et al. were intelligently designed serves to show that the trees on the mountain were also intelligently designed. That is, as far as ID is concerned, an image of Washington is no different from the trees.

  9. TomS notes

    as far as ID is concerned, an image of Washington is no different from the trees

    Indeed. And that probably accounts for the persistence of the false tale of Washington’s wooden teeth.

  10. And how about a genuine empirical test for the Discoveroids to conduct:

    Let’s take a sculptor, equipped with a pneumatic drill and other implements of ‘selection’, and turn him or her loose on a different, prominent rocky outcrop (say, Yosemite valley’s Half Dome) and find out if a pre-designed and front-loaded image resides therein.

    If Half Dome is thereby reduced to a incoherent mass of stone chippings, ID stands refuted.

    But if Half Dome is thereby rendered into a giant likeness of an American President, then we will all have to admit defeat, disown Darwin, and join the DI.

    …unless the likeness is of Richard M. Nixon, in which case all bets are off.

  11. Oops! On reflection, I see that the experiment proposed above needs some refinement:

    The Discoveroids allow that some small measure of ‘natural selection’ does occur, but it is “blind and undirected”; therefore, its role cannot be faithfully replicated by a trained sculptor in our experiment but should instead be represented by a large legion of blindfolded monkeys with jack-hammers.

    ID predicts that Half Dome will thereby be transformed into a colossal bust of Donald J. Trump. The granite promintory will thereupon be renamed Half Wit and will ever after serve as a sacred shrine worship for the monkeys.

  12. We didn’t blog about it at the time because we considered their reaction far too silly to bother with. That’s still our opinion…

    Now we remember why we didn’t bother to blog about Annie’s post when it first appeared. We explained her error in: The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III). [A post from almost 9 years ago!]

    Ah, I see what’s going on here. I call out the Curmudgeon on his conspicuous silence vis-a-vis certain ENV posts and now as a preemptive measure, he’s explaining why some blog posts weren’t worth his time: “silly”, “absurd”, wrote about it a decade ago. It’s a good formula. Let’s see if it comes in handy with the last 4 of the Top Ten.

  13. Annie Greenscreen has one unenviable Sisyphean task trying to come up with a “decalogue” of triumphs. No wonder Casey quit.

  14. Silly and absurd pretty much sums up the DI and ID.

  15. KevinC, our tireless fighter for TRVTH, Justice, and the Intuitive Way, describes his lonely crusade:

    I call out the Curmudgeon on his conspicuous silence vis-a-vis certain ENV posts

    Yes, you do seem to do that almost as often as you fail to answer challenges presented to you in the commentary here–but that’s no loss, so let that go.

    But prompted by your latest plaint here, I’ve done some initial analysis on the ENV blog. For the month of November, I find the DI posted fully 80 articles, authored as follows (this is copied from spreadsheet, not sure how formating will turn out; it’s in descending order of frequency, showing Author, Count of Articles, and % of Articles in November)

    AUTHOR – COUNT OF POSTS – % of Month’s Posts

    David Klinghoffer 37 46.25%
    Evolution News & Views 19 23.75%
    Wesley J. Smith 5 6.25%
    Michael Behe 4 5.00%
    Cornelius Hunter 3 3.75%
    Jonathan Witt 3 3.75%
    Paul Nelson 2 2.50%
    Ann Gauger 1 1.25%
    Brendan Dixon 1 1.25%
    Douglas Axe 1 1.25%
    Jonathan Wells 1 1.25%
    Michael Flannery 1 1.25%
    Richard Weikart 1 1.25%
    Sarah Chaffee 1 1.25%

    And then, roughly assigning topics to those 80 articles, the breakdown looks something like this:

    TOPIC – COUNT OF ARTICLES – % of Month’s Articles

    Can’t Get No Respect from the Royal Society! 16 20.00%
    Still Pushing Behe 20 Years On 14 17.50%
    Darwin Was Wrong 13 16.25%
    Science is Wrong 9 11.25%
    Human Exceptionalism 5 6.25%
    Buy Stuff from the DI 3 3.75%
    No Darwin,No Hitler 3 3.75%
    Respect at Last! Our own sponsored conference! 3 3.75%
    Intuition Trumps Evidence 2 2.50%
    Privileged Planet–especially USA 2 2.50%
    Proof We Came from Adam and Eve 2 2.50%
    “Junk” DNA Proves ID 1 1.25%
    Animals (Even Lizards) Can be Cute 1 1.25%
    Darwinists Censor Education 1 1.25%
    DNA Proves ID 1 1.25%
    Don’t Call Us Creationists! 1 1.25%
    Genius Envy (Stephen Hawking) 1 1.25%
    Grave Robbing (Fred Hoyle) 1 1.25%
    ID Can’t Get No Respect Generally 1 1.25%

    No doubt one may quibble with my categorisations–but that wouldn’t change the fact that the ENV endlessly recycles the same old dreck which either has been answered if merited (e.g. Behe’s mousetrap and flagellum) or ridiculed if deserved (e.g. the incessant whining about ‘can’t get no respect’).

    The above counts and percentages show that, in the sample month, there was actually nothing that we haven’t heard before from the DI, ad nauseum.

    It is often a challenge to come up with fresh jokes about the DI–but I for one will persevere in my own lonely crusade so to do…

  16. Splendid analysis, Megalonyx.

  17. In the name of peer review, I have made my analysis spreadsheet available for download here.

  18. Megalonyx says: “In the name of peer review, I have made my analysis spreadsheet available …”

    In the name of Darwinism, I shall bully, shame, punish, and oppress any who criticize your work.

  19. I have commented on Twitter about the number of articles on Royal Society, I lost count and said it was close to twenty. So they had 16 articles on it just in November, while I’m still waiting for 1 on there fake Cambridge Conference.

  20. @ Karl Goldsmith: I count 3 articles in November at ENV for their ‘Cambridge’ Conference. I categorised them as Respect at Last! Our own sponsored conference!

  21. What strikes me about the recycling in the context of the top stories of the year 2016.

    A top story of 2016 is a recycling of a story from the past.

  22. TomS and Megalonyx, you guys are quite nicely proving my point about TSC’s hyper-selectivity. Even if I were to grant that all the posts are recycled (which I don’t believe), along comes the Refuting Behe’s Critics post and what do we hear from the Curmudgeon? Nothing. If TSC were going to post on something, wouldn’t it be something not recycled such as this?

    I’m guessing the ENV article falls under your “Still Pushing Behe 20 Years On” category. I’d genuinely like to hear a response to that refutation, especially from the Curmudgeon.

  23. @KevinC
    I am very happy to have our beloved SC filter creationist news for me. Life is short, time per day is limited, I know that I can never hope to keep up with the floods of stuff on the web that might interest me, so as well as closely following sites that I can, in general, trust, I rely on others to give me selective access to, shall we say, less reliable sites.

  24. michaelfugate

    And did Meyer refute Behe critics? um no, he didn’t.

  25. And did Meyer refute Behe critics? um no, he didn’t.

    The short reply to Meyer’s “refutation” is this: WRONG!

    Meyer just made up a bunch of stuff and that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Sad for Meyer there is a 2009 paper that details the evolutionary differences between the flagellum components and proteins used in other structures. Alas, the actual science, experiments, analysis of genetic material doesn’t support Meyer’s fairy tales and “inference.” Behe is still wrong, he’s been wrong forever and there is not a single shred of evidence that supports his fantasy.

  26. Hey, but it impressed KevinC. He even believes that SC didn’t comment on that post and many others because SC knows they are devastating blows to evolution. SC is trembling in his boots. KevinC has an active fantasy life.

  27. Kev-D-Minus, poor ignorant twerp, doesn’t even know how to use Google. There should be a half-way house for him or some kind of 12-step program.

    Our Kev has NEVER offered any science to support his “claims,” only links to creationist websites and other trash.

    But, you know, give him credit. He wants to get out of his sandbox and roust with the big kids on the playground. Alas, he simply lacks the maturity.

  28. The redoubtable KevinC directs our attention to an ENV post (Refuting Behe’s Critics, Meyer Gives Four Reasons the Flagellum Predates the Type III Secretory System and declares:

    I’d genuinely like to hear a response to that refutation

    Well, I am not a biologist or even a curmudgeon, nor do I play one on TV—but then, few of the Discoveroids are biologists either (though they love playing at being such on video)—so I’ll have a crack at offering a response from a layman, equipped with little more than Google and a bit of free time over this festive Kitzmas season. Of course, lacking the background and qualifications, I can’t offer any insights into the science here, but I think the following does illuminate the disingenuous antics of the DI.

    The above-linked ENV post features a 12.5 minute (though it felt longer as it was rather repetitive) video of Meyer’s talking head. The article introducing this video states:

    Michael Behe’s signature argument in Darwin’s Black Box [hyperlink in original to Amazon listing for Behe’s 2006 reprint of his original 1996 publication] would be seriously bruised if it turned out the bacterial flagellar motor had a simpler evolutionary antecedent. Critics of intelligent design thought they had identified such a precursor in the form of the Type III Secretory System, found in some bacteria.

    Behe and others have since shown why it’s far likelier that the flagellum is the precursor, thus leaving Dr. Behe’s argument intact. In response, the critics either simply repeat their claim as if it hadn’t been refuted, or they go silent — an implicit admission they were wrong, and Behe was right.

    Neither the article nor Meyer in the video identify the “critics of intelligent design” nor the publications in which they claim to have “identified such a precursor”, but a little Googling turns up at least one likely candidate: Kenneth R. Miller’s 2004 article: The Flagellum Unspun:
    The Collapse of “Irreducible Complexity”
    (a recommended read, btw). And lo! Miller did indeed offer (with a raft of research citations) the Type III Secretory System (TTSS) in his argument against Behe’s ‘irreducibly complex’ flagellum (my bolding):

    Stated directly, the TTSS does its dirty work using a handful of proteins from the base of the flagellum. From the evolutionary point of view, this relationship is hardly surprising. In fact, it’s to be expected that the opportunism of evolutionary processes would mix and match proteins to produce new and novel functions. According to the doctrine of irreducible complexity, however, this should not be possible. If the flagellum is indeed irreducibly complex, then removing just one part, let alone 10 or 15, should render what remains “by definition nonfunctional.” Yet the TTSS is indeed fully-functional, even though it is missing most of the parts of the flagellum.

    Please note that Miller emphatically does not claim that the TTSS is the evolutionary precursor of the flagellum, or even suggest it might be a candidate for such. He’s pointing out that the TTSS, with its homologous proteins, looks like a simpler, stripped-down flagellum—and the flagellum is supposed by Behe to be ‘irreducibly complex’.

    Now, it may well be that others did make a different claim, but Meyer and the ENV post give no such references—and the whole of Meyer’s spiel is that the TTSS is not the precursor of the flagellum ergo Behe is vindicated. In other words, Meyer is ripping apart a strawman of his own making.

    And was it the Discoveroids beavering away in their green-screen labs that have established that the TTSS is not the precursor (but likely instead a descendant) of the flagellum? Of course not! Instead, and yet again, it was those evil materialists doing their misguided empirical science: see Pallen and Gophna (2007) Bacterial Flagella and Type III Secretion: Case Studies in the Evolution of Complexity, Abby and Rocha (PLOS – Genetics 2012) The Non-Flagellar Type III Secretion System Evolved from the Bacterial Flagellum and Diversified into Host-Cell Adapted Systems and many others.

    So what do we have here? Just another shedload of misrepresentation by the DI. Look again at the claims in the ENV post:

    Critics of intelligent design thought they had identified such a precursor in the form of the Type III Secretory System, found in some bacteria.

    Which critics make that claim, and where? Miller’s argument against ‘irreducible complexity’ neither makes nor requires that claim. And if others did claim the TTSS as the evolutionary precursor of the flagellum, then we now know that claim was wrong—but that claim is not the basis for rejecting Behe’s ‘irreducible complexity’, so where’s the beef here?

    Behe and others have since shown why it’s far likelier that the flagellum is the precursor, thus leaving Dr. Behe’s argument intact

    Strawman, as previously noted.

    How exactly do we know the flagellum came first?

    Actual scientists doing actual science.

    Mike Behe’s case for ID from irreducible complexity has stood the test of fire by scientists and others whose picture of reality depends on denying that biology bears evidence of design.

    Yes—and War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and 2+2=5!

  29. It has often been suggested that an “irreducibly complex” system could result from a more complex predecessor. Sometimes called a “scaffolding”: The example of natural bridges resulting from erosion.

  30. TomS notes

    It has often been suggested that an “irreducibly complex” system could result from a more complex predecessor.

    Indeed: that’s precisely the case made by Abby and Rocha (in the PLOS article linked above) about the derivation of the TTSS from the flagellum (I don’t claim to understand all the technical data they offer, but leave that to the experts). And it’s even one of Meyer’s points in the ENV video, in which he presents (without specific attribution) years old findings of real science in order to shred his strawman.

    I’ve spent far longer on this one than is conscionable for a layman, but still have not identified any scientist claiming that the TTSS is the evolutionary precursor of the flagellum, leave alone claiming that, as the evolutionary precursor, TTSS demonstrates that Behe’s ‘irreducible complexity’ is not valid.

    The only question remaining here is: why did KevinC think that a video of a Discoveroid ‘refuting’ a claim which either no legitimate scientist actually made, or, even if made, is irrelevant to the actual criticisms of Behe–and moreover is a claim refuted by legitimate science that does not support ID–why, indeed, did KevinC think this bit of dishonest fluff was so potent and unanswerable that our Curmudgeon had to “expel” it from his blog on any other grounds than that it isn’t sufficiently risible?

    I’d genuinely like to hear a response to that conundrum…

  31. Oops! Neanderthal fingers have tripped me up again. In above post, first paragraph, should read “he presents (without specific attribution) years old findings”…

    O Great Hand of Correction, wilt Thou aid me now in the hour of mine need?

    [*Voice from above*] I stretched forth my mighty hand and lo, all is well.

  32. Now that Megalonyx has established that the T3SS is not the evolutionary precursor to the flagellum, can I get a show of hands from those who agree with him?

  33. @ KevinC: You really don’t get it, do you?

    I haven’t established anything about TTSS, nor could I if my life depended on it. All I’ve done is Google up references to reputable and peer-reviewed sources about recent research on the topic.

    Whether those sources are ultimately correct or not will be determined by the continuing practise of science–not by a popular referendum amongst lay folk.

  34. Actually, Megalonyx, the doctrine of irreducible complexity is evident in the Discoveroids’ arguments, but not in biological phenomena. The Discoveroids’ claims are mere declarations, and cannot be tested or derived from observable data.

  35. There is a further question arising from this discussion, to wit:

    IF it were actually the case that science reject’s Behe’s formulation of “irreducible complexity” solely on the strength of the claim (which I have yet to find being made, but never mind) that the TTSS is the evolutionary precursor of the flagellum, then how on earth were Abby and Rocha ever permitted to publish their evidence to the contrary?

    After all, isn’t the all-powerful International Darwinist Conspiracy committed to suppressing the TRVTH in order to further their evil agenda of licentiousness, incest, abortion, genocide, mind-control, fascism, communism, cannibalism, and the heartbreak of psoriasis? And is not that fell cabal so ruthlessly efficient in rooting out dissent that ‘real’ scientists quake in fear lest they end up as fuel for the next gruesome auto-da-fé kindled by the godless materialists?

    Something doesn’t add up here…

  36. Just looking for a show of hands. Thanks and Merry Kitzmas!

  37. I am not a scientist, but ISTM that these are two very different examples of biological features which meet the definition of “irreducible complexity”, yet we know their natural origin. These examples are enough to show that IC does not imply ID.

    The Definitive Mammalian Middle Ear

    Mitochrondria

  38. Meyer is WRONG because he fabricates a false argument out of thin air (that the TTSS is a precursor to the flagellum – spoiler alert: it’s not) then claims without any evidence that his false argument is backwards. It’s called lying.

    The actual science shows a nested hierarchy of similar structures performing a variety of functions (the TTSS being one example) which point to a common ancestor of protein families.

    Behe asserts with no evidence that the flagellum had to come about all at once, by design, because it couldn’t evolve. It just couldn’t, Auntie Em!

    Science demonstrates with evidence from actual research that the flagellum is a member of a family of similar structures that evolved to perform different functions over time. Finally, there is not one flagellum. There are thousands, each different, across the bacterial and single cell community. Thousands.

    Behe’s argument was demonstrated to be wrong shortly after he proposed such a knuckleheaded idea. That Behe (and Meyer, and the IDiots) refuse to accept it is not a problem for science. Science moves on, and has, while Behe, Meyer and the rest of the IDiots watch from the sidelines.

  39. Why would a designer put an entirely different system in Archaea? Does that mean that there are competing designers?

  40. According to the DI’s 2013 tax report, Meyer makes north of $200,000. I suppose that’s not too bad for a flim flam man.

  41. “Meyer is WRONG because he fabricates a false argument out of thin air (that the TTSS is a precursor to the flagellum – spoiler alert: it’s not) ”
    docbill1351, famed SETI researcher

    For example, in the case of the bacterial flagellum, removal of a part may prevent it from acting as a rotary motor. However, Professor Behe excludes, by definition, the possibility that a precursor to the bacterial flagellum functioned not as a rotary motor, but in some other way, for example as a secretory system. (19:88-95 (Behe)).

    Kitzmiller ruling, p. 74.

    Somebody’s WRONG alright but it’s either docbill or Judge Jones.

  42. Comme d’habitude, KevinC dodges direct questions:

    Just looking for a show of hands

    Jeepers, man, if you can only shuck and jive (as is evident), at least have the decency to do so in true Disco’Tute style. You know perfectly well that the ever-vigilant Darwinist Inquistion would brutally stomp on anyone openly professing the TRVTH, so such a ‘vote’ as you ask for here would be meaningless.

    So do it Tooter style, and start up an on-line petition, Dissent from Megalonyx, viz.

    We, the undersigned, are skeptical of the claim that Megalonyx knows everything about everything. In fact, we marvel that Olivia sees anything at all in the chap, period.

    Hoardes of chiropractors, electrical engineers, realtors, and televangelists right on up to Nobel laureates would happily sign that.

    Hell, I’d sign it myself!

  43. KevinC proclaims

    Somebody’s WRONG alright but it’s either docbill or Judge Jones

    –or KevinC.

    I vote, “KevinC”, on the grounds that his quote from the Kitzmiller transcript still misses the point–and by several orders of magnitude.

  44. I don’t know, guys. I’m pretty sure that if every person on some Internet site can’t answer every question posed by an intelligent design proponent, than evolution us false. Clearly, the jig is up. I bid everyone farewell until we can shrug off our unsuccessful defense of Darwinism and regroup to fight for the lie that is powered flight. No Orville and Wilbur Wright, no Hitler!

  45. michaelfugate

    Whether or not the type-three secretion system is a precursor to the bacterial flagellum is currently unknown. We need a much better understanding of bacterial phylogeny to determine the relationships of the homologous proteins found in each. Does KevinC really believe evolution rises or falls on this one thing?

    An overview of bacterial secretion systems: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4804464/

  46. Nope, Kev-D-Minus (edging towards an F-Plus), docbill is right as usual as is Judge Jones. Nicely mined quote, by the way. A pro tip, if you don’t mind. Never include the “however” in a mined quote. Always replace it with an ellipsis

    What really happened in the transcript around the neat little snippet provided by Kev-F-Plus was this:

    In fact, the theory of evolution proffers exaptation as a well-recognized, well-documented explanation for how systems with multiple parts could have evolved through natural means.

    and this:

    By defining irreducible complexity in the way that he has, Professor Behe attempts to exclude the phenomenon of exaptation by definitional fiat, ignoring as he does so abundant evidence which refutes his argument.

    So, whether one wishes to be charitable and say that Behe was wrong or less charitable and say that Behe was spouting meaningless gibberish or downright harsh and say that Behe was full of [edited out] the total refutation of “irreducible complexity” stands.

    Signed,
    docbill1351, famed SETI researcher, and holder of a genuine SETI Certificate of Participation

  47. michaelfugate comes clean:

    Whether or not the type-three secretion system is a precursor to the bacterial flagellum is currently unknown.

    What?! You mean science doesn’t know everything right now!? What good is that?

    We need a much better understanding of bacterial phylogeny to determine the relationships of the homologous proteins found in each.

    Jeepers, it’s worse than I thought: that sounds like an awful lot of hard work! And maths is hard! It’s soooo much easier just to spackle in the gaps in our knowledge with oogity-boogity!

    Does KevinC really believe evolution rises or falls on this one thing?

    No, I’m sure he doesn’t. For all Creationists, its axiomatic that ToE is wrong; not only do they therefore feel no need to test it against empirical data, for the overtly religious ones it would be blasphemous to even consider that ToE could be correct.

    And Discoveroids like KevinC only differ from other Creationists by constructing Potemkin villages (green screen labs, captive ‘peer-reviewed’ publications) to try to cloak their anti-science agenda.

    And once again, on this very thread, we hear what we always hear from KevinC when he is challenged: a few plops of horse manure, followed by crickets.

  48. “a few plops of horse manure, followed by crickets”
    Megalonyx, once again making my point for me. This time proving that silence can be very significant indeed. Unfortunately you only allowed me a day of crickets; I gave TSC a full 3 weeks. Anyway I don’t think you realize just how much you’ve upset the Curmudgeonous apple cart with your own naive research into T3SS. The Darwinist narrative has always been: T3SS first and then the flagellum evolved from that.

    A few significant examples should suffice:
    1. You already mentioned Ken Milller, expert witness for the plaintiffs in Dover
    2. This is also the position of the eminent microbiologist “Dr.” John E. Jones 🙂
    3. Declaring that the irreducible complexity of the flagellum has been debunked, The Curmudgeon links to this gem of an article. I can’t find the original link from this blog. Maybe TSC can help me out here.
    4. Then we have docbill1351, who up until 2 days ago held the orthodox position. Consider this from only 18 months ago on this blog (I quote in full):

    Here’s the abstract of a paper I found after a 5-second Google search of “flagellum injectisome:”

    The bacterial flagellum and the virulence-associated injectisome are complex, structurally related nanomachines that bacteria use for locomotion or the translocation of virulence factors into eukaryotic host cells. The assembly of both structures and the transfer of extracellular proteins is mediated by a unique, multicomponent transport apparatus, the type III secretion system. Here, we discuss the significant progress that has been made in recent years in the visualization and functional characterization of many components of the type III secretion system, the structure of the bacterial flagellum, and the injectisome complex.

    As I recall, the Tooters discounted the relationship between these two structures by calling the injectisome a degenerate flagellum, that is, the flagellum was designed by Blessed-be-He, then degenerated, probably after the Flood, into the injectisome. However, genetic analysis of the protein families of both structures proved the opposite. I think the Tooters still maintain their myth, though, because, you know, who gives a flying [edited out]?

    And then you come along, Megalonyx, declaring that real scientists in real lab coats in real science labs scientifically showing in real science journals reviewed by real scientist peers that the Darwinsists’ little narrative is bunk. Forcing the odious docbill to take a new position on the matter, giving the Curmudgeon another opportunity for silence and showing that none of your other fellow commenters on this blog are willing to go on record to agree with your conclusion.

    A job well done, my friend. What a wonderful end to the Kizmas season!

  49. A Kitzmas bonus indeed! Fresh horse plops from KevinC in lieu of crickets! And I was afraid I was on the Naughty List! Let’s open the presents!

    The Darwinist narrative has always been: T3SS first and then the flagellum evolved from that.

    Citations, please; my naïve Googling couldn’t find that. Or is that what you meant by your list of “significant examples” of the “Darwinist narrative” that has “always been”, viz.

    [1] “Ken Miller”:

    I cited his 2004 paper, in which he emphatically does not claim the T3SS (or ‘TTSS’ as is sometimes referenced) as the evolutionary precursor of the flagellum.

    [2] Cute snark at Judge Jones—

    — but hey, just for accuracy, perhaps you could provide the court reference where he specifically endorses what you claim was the sempiternal “Darwinist narrative” that the T3SS was the evolutionary precursor to the flagellum?

    [3] The “gem of an article” at TalkOrigins:

    Indeed, that article offers “[o]ne plausible path for the evolution of flagella” in which a T3SS-like structure develops first. As you clearly have difficulties with basic reading comprehension, you may perhaps have read “one plausible path” for “the definitively established path”—but that is not at all what it says, at least, not outside the fertile imaginations of the Discoveroids.

    [4] I wouldn’t presume to speak for docbill1351—though it is manifest from the above that an “orthodox position” on the relationship between T3SS and flagella is a phantom of the DI’s making.

    So let’s review and summarise. Your claim:

    “The Darwinist narrative has always been: T3SS first and then the flagellum evolved from that.

    Bollocks.

    Complete bollocks, and demonstrably so. But that is the sole basis for the ENV/Meyer blog post which you think to be the lethal Kryptonite to finally slay all those legions of godless materialists and perverted “Darwinists.” Well, whatever floats your boat, mate.

    Well, this is fun! I now know vastly more now about T3SS than I did two days ago—and my knowledge on this rarefied topic is still next to nothing. Man, it is complicated stuff—I would have to devote a huge amount of effort to master the subject, and even then, my knowledge would be incomplete and provisional. But that’s the price of pursuing science over the simple comfort of embracing Creationist dogma…

  50. @Megalonyx
    One of the pleasures of pursuing the “controversy” is that one can learn so much about the so many things that creationists get wrong.

  51. Please, Mega, speak for me any time. As you so eloquently put it

    Bollocks!

    The argument has always been, as illustrated by the famous mousetrap, that all parts have to be in place for the thing to work. Nope, said Miller, this part-mousetrap works just fine as a tie clip.

    Thus, parts of the flagellar system work fine for the injector system. Same thing. Behe refuted by both analogy and by scientific evidence. The evidence is that there are thousands of flagellar systems, all different, but incorporating varying numbers of about 40 different proteins.

    Behe’s claim for non-evolvability of the flagellum is that all parts have to be in place for the likkle motur to work and, AND, AND, AND (this is important) it could not evolve in a stepwise manner because, to use the Creationist Anthem, “what good is half a flagellum?” Meaning a partial structure couldn’t get fixed in the population because half a whazit would confer no adaptive advantage.

    Only, there you have it, an injector system that’s, half a flagellum. Working, conferring advantage, fixed in the population, big as you please.

    Once again, Behe refuted.

    Judge Jones wrote correctly that Behe dismissed evidence to the contrary by definitional fiat, no different than putting his hands to his ears and singing “La La La!”

    Why IDiots like Kev-F-Minus don’t understand this is beyond reason. Except that they do understand, but they prefer to be little [edited out].

  52. TomS notes

    One of the pleasures of pursuing the “controversy” is that one can learn so much about the so many things that creationists get wrong.

    Indeed. But even more than knowledge of specific topics, the main thing I have learned is how and why science is allowed to get things wrong: that’s the price of exploring all options, and it’s allowed only because the methodology of science detects its own mistakes and can correct them with further empirical data. So it’s a perpetual work-in-progress, extending but never completing our store of knowledge, and therefore always to some degree provisional. The best we can do by way of knowledge is therefore imperfect, but it is constantly getting better. And, to the best of our abilities, science is grounded in the real world rather than a priori assumptions.

    Unlike ‘intuition’, or dogma accepted axiomatically, which must constantly claim to be invariable and correct. Hence the Discoveroids can only endlessly repeat the same old same old time and time again, it just has to be right because their intuitive dogma just can’t have it otherwise. And the inability of others to accept their dogma just has to be a vast conspiracy by folks who secretly know the Discoveroids are right but willfully suppress the TRVTH for evil ends, &c &c.

    Sometimes it does indeed seem, as Mark Twain put it, “Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”

  53. Amen Megalonyx, Amen.

  54. oops! please o’ mighty Hand of Correction fix mine errors! I beseech thee!

    [*Voice from above*] Your humility pleases me, so your wish is granted.

  55. You were very bold to write “Amen.”

  56. docbill1351 generously offers

    Please, Mega, speak for me any time.

    No no no, the weighty responsibility is far, far to great for these frail shoulders!

    Why, just look at how a casual posting you once made on the basis, as you said, “As I recall”, should surface 18 months later on this very thread as damning proof of faulty “Darwinist orthodoxy”–the compelling overturning of which by the fiendishly clever KevinC has immediately resulted in the complete and irrevocable vindication of Intelligent Design, the beatification of St. Behe, the total collapse of empirical science as we know it, and the triumphant birth of a new Age of Endarkenment!

    Such are the powers of your slightest utterance, apparently!

    The part I still don’t get, though, is the previously-posed question about how Abby and Roch were ever allowed to publish evidence challenging the strict Darwinist orthodox dogma re: T3SS. I simply can’t believe that the Argus-eyed Gestapo of the Darwintern could have let that one through, given how grave the consequences are!

  57. Would you guys stop groveling to the Curmudgeon every time there’s a typo in your comment? It’s really unseemly.

    @TomS, are you ready to go on record and state that you support Megalonyx’s conclusion, based on the evidence, that the flagellum preceded the T3SS? No one’s shown him much support here except myself and docbill (but he doesn’t count since his opinion is obviously malleable).

  58. Bless you, KevinC! Now you’re the one making my point far better than I could, viz.:

    docbill (but he doesn’t count since his opinion is obviously malleable)

    “Malleable”? You mean, ‘capable of changing one’s views and opinions in the light of further experience or fresh evidence’? And you call that a fault?

    The rest of us call it, ‘having an open and enquiring mind.’

    But you Discoveroids wouldn’t know anything about that. Within your pathetic intellectual straitjackets, intuition trumps empiricism, and dogma must not be challenged.

    So Behe will go on and on with his mousetrap, Wells with his peppered moths, and Klinghoffer bewailing persecution at the hands of the Global Darwinist Conspiracy, world without end, amen.

    And a polite reminder: there is no such “Megalonyx’s conclusion” to consider here vis a vis T3SS–oh, wait: I forgot, you Creationists think that a little casual Googling is sufficient expertise to pronounce authoritatively on any topic.

  59. michaelfugate

    Would you guys stop groveling to the Curmudgeon every time there’s a typo in your comment? It’s really unseemly.

    It’s a joke Kevin – like intelligent design.