6.20.2008

Intelligent Designer or Auto Mechanic?


A story guaranteed to whip the intelligent design proponents into a frenzy:
Microscopic "Clutch" Puts Flagellum in Neutral
It has been long been known that bacteria swim by rotating their tail-like structure called the flagellum. (See the swimming bacteria in the figure.) The rotating motion of the flagellum is powered by a molecular engine located at the base of the flagellum. Just as engaging the clutch of a car connects its gear to its engine and delivers power to its wheels, engaging the molecular clutch of a bacterium connects its gear to its engine and delivers power to its flagellum.
We await the discovery of the bacterial four-bladed propeller...

Image credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

2 comments:

Erica said...

This puts me in mind of by Irwin Moon in his 1955 educational film, Carniverous Plants. Comparing a Venus flytrap to a large, complicated mousetrap, he points out how clumsy Man's imitation of God's invention is. I'm personally of the view that there are lots of mechanisms in nature that can and should be imitated, but Moon's lecture just makes you want to throw things at him :)

The skepTick said...

To put this in some perspective, if the IDists are correct (that there really is an intelligent designer), then we humans invented the clutch long before discovering the designer's handiwork. So, in at least this respect, we didn't need the designer to tell us what the plans were...we came up with them on our own. Give us a few hundred years, and we'll improve on these designs, inventing better ones ourselves, and become greater than the designer. At least, that's the conclusion one can draw if you stick with "ID science".