Behe Critic on Bacterial Flagellum: No Intelligence Required Because “Natural forces work ‘like magic'”

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. 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.” (emphasis added)  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 Read More ›

Zombie Genes?

On August 19, Gina Kolata reported in The New York Times that geneticists “have seen a dead gene come back to life and cause a disease.” According to Kolata, the human genome “is riddled with dead genes, fossils of a sort, dating back hundreds of thousands of years–the genome’s equivalent of an attic full of broken and useless junk,” though some of those genes “can rise from the dead like zombies.” Now a supposed “zombie gene” is implicated in a type of muscular dystrophy abbreviated FSHD–a hereditary disease that affects about 1 in every 20,000 people. Kolata cites a recent Science article that begins by reviewing work dating back to the 1990s that establishes a link between FSHD and a Read More ›

Newly Discovered Mode of RNA Replication Uncovers Previously Hidden Layers of Complexity

The mechanisms and processes of cellular information storage, processing and retrieval have always been a focus of ID argumentation and research. Indeed, it was the complexity and elegance of these systems which first captured my attention as a junior undergraduate as I became interested in the implications of information-rich systems in biology and the possible explicative powers of intelligent causation. In recent years, there has been a dramatic surge in our appreciation of genomics and the processes of information flow in the cell. Papers continue to flood in, reporting on a plethora of recent discoveries which take genomic complexity to a whole new level, leading many academics to tentatively re-evaluate the causal sufficiency of Darwinian mechanisms, the dual forces of Read More ›

Of Whale and Feather Evolution: Nature‘s Two Macroevolutionary Lumps of Coal

Links to our 9-Part Series Responding to Nature‘s Evolution Evangelism Packet: • Part 1: Evaluating Nature’s 2009 “15 Evolutionary Gems” Darwin-Evangelism Kit • Part 2: Microevolutionary Gems: Lizards, Fish, Snakes, and Clams • Part 3: Microevolutionary Gems: Bird-Sized Evolutionary Change • Part 4: Microevolutionary Gems: Flea and Guppy-Sized Evolutionary Change • Part 5: Microevolution Meets Microevolution • Part 6: Evolutionary “Gems” or “Narrative Gloss”? • Part 7: Muscling Past Homology Problems in Nature’s Vertebrate Skeleton “Evolutionary Gem” • Part 8 (This Article): Of Whale and Feather Evolution: Two Macroevolutionary Lumps of Coal • Part 9: Evolutionary Biologists Are Unaware of Their Own Arguments: Reappraising Nature‘s Prized “Gem,” Tiktaalik Download Our Full Response to the Packet as a PDF. Having now Read More ›