Friday, January 20, 2006

Is the bacterial flagellum Irreducibly Complex?

By irreducibly complex I mean that the production of a particular function (in this case selectively advantageous propulsion by a rotating propellor of some kind) requires many specific simultaneous changes in 2 or more proteins such that it is unreasonable to think of them happening by chance.

I am interested to know whether any readers of this blog have read useful articles on the web which take the argument further.

I have looked at these:
1. Evolution in (Brownian) space:a model for the origin of the bacterial flagellum by N. J. Matzke 2. Mike Genes Series on Evolving the Bacterial Flagellum Through Mutation and Cooption
3. Ken Millers - The flagellum Unspun
4. William Dembski's Still Spinning just fine

If you have any suggestions please paste your link in a comment....many thanks!


Blogger Peter S. Williams said...

Dear Andrew, here's a few relevant on-line references (I hope they all still work):

Dembski, William A., ‘Irreducible Complexity Revisited’ @

Minnich, Scott A. & Michael J. Behe, ‘Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type II Regulatory Circuits in Pathogenic Bacteria ’ @

Bracht, J. R., ‘The Bacterial Flagellum: A Response to Ursula Goodenough’ @

Smart, John A., ‘On the Application of Irreducible Complexity’ @

Gene, Mike, ‘Irreducible Complexity and Darwinian Pathways’ @

Macnab, Robert M., CRC Critical Reviews in Biochemistry, Vol. 5, Dec. 1978, p.291-341, quoted @

Yours, Peter S. Williams

8:49 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Thanks Peter!

9:16 pm  
Blogger inunison said...

" obtained by the Avida researchers that is not based on circular evolutionary assumptions, upon closer inspection supports, rather than refutes, Behe’s notion of irreducible complexity."

9:53 pm  
Blogger Lifewish said...

inunison: interesting article. I'm still trying to figure out what they mean by the idea that the Avida programmers assumed a pathway and that that led to the pathway existing. I'm probably misreading it, but surely if such a pathway couldn't exist then the algorithm wouldn't have "found" one? And if one could exist then doesn't that falsify the idea that irreducible complexity is unevolvable?

12:50 am  
Blogger beervolcano said...

IC is a flawed concept anyway.

1:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This might be interesting to read:

11:33 am  

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