The Language of Technology

It is difficult to escape the use of technological language in discussing cellular functions. Stephen Meyer has a section on information theory in Signature in the Cell and basically uses technological language or metaphors to describe DNA. The best language for describing DNA uses analogies to writing, copying and pasting, and software. Another example of this is in Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box, where he uses a rotary motor to describe the function of a bacterial flagellum. This brings to mind an interesting question: what is the relationship between the development of technology and the discovery of the inner workings of the cell? They seem to go hand-in-hand.

Intelligent Design as State of the Art

[NOTE: Today we welcome a new contributing writer to Evolution News & Views, Guy Coe. Mr. Coe graduated from the University of California at Davis with a B.A. in Rhetoric and a minor in political science. As a lifelong student of argumentation and logical analysis, his career has taken him from Executive Salesman, to News Reporter, to U.S. Senate Communications Aide, to Tour Guide, to Retail Management, to father of a budding teenager, “where all communications logic begins to break down.” With a lifelong interest in the issues of intelligent design and origins theories, his status as “interested layperson” allows him to continue to follow the evidence where it leads, while showing proper respect for the lifelong dedication displayed by Read More ›

Shape-Shifting Protein in Bacterial Flagellum Controls Spin Direction

It’s been long known that the bacterial flagellum can spin in one direction and then quickly reverse directions and spin in the other. A recent issue of Nature has an article titled, “Structure of the torque ring of the flagellar motor and the molecular basis for rotational switching” which elucidates some of the biomechanical properties of the FliG motor protein that allows this rotation switch to occur: The flagellar motor drives the rotation of flagellar filaments at hundreds of revolutions per second, efficiently propelling bacteria through viscous media. The motor uses the potential energy from an electrochemical gradient of cations across the cytoplasmic membrane to generate torque. A rapid switch from anticlockwise to clockwise rotation determines whether a bacterium runs Read More ›