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More Similarities between Flagellum and Human-Designed Machines

Casey Luskin

In 1998, Darwinian biologist David J. DeRosier stated in the journal Cell, “More so than other motors, the flagellum resembles a machine designed by a human.” Firstly, it functions like a human-designed rotary engine that propels a bacterium through a liquid medium in the same way a propeller powers submarine through the ocean. A website devoted to rotary engine enthusiasts has observed that when it comes to the Rotary engine, “Nature always does it first.” The flagellum is basically a rotary engine, with a motor, a rotor, a stator, a bearing, a u-joint, and a propeller. Now it turns out that the flagellum has a clutch. According to recent Research Highlights from Nature:

“A protein that allows the soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis to quickly halt its propeller-like propulsion and thus stick to a surface has been identified by Daniel Kearns of Indiana University in Bloomington and his colleagues. EpsE, the protein, seems to act like a clutch rather than a brake; it leaves the rotors that drive the bacterium’s flagella unpowered but spinning freely rather than slowing them down.”

A schematic showing some of the common “engine parts” of the flagellum can be seen below, borrowed from the Access Research Network:

Perhaps now this diagram needs to add a clutch!

 

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.

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