Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Realistic Cooption.

It seems clear to me that, at the very least, Behe’s book “Darwin’s black box” stimulated interest in, thinking about and probably research into - the origin of complex integrated biological systems.

As I understand it the current Miller/Matzke etal explanation for the origin of the rotary motor propulsion systems in bacteria is a series of cooption events.

Function 1 (1 or more proteins)

← Function 2 (1 or more proteins)

Function 3 (2 or more proteins)

There is an assumption that all the proteins which form the motor have all been collected and modified from other purposes in the bacterial cell. In the words of the New Scientist article- it was “cobbled together.” Some of the proteins in the motor have not been found to have any homologues elsewhere but let us assume that homologies for all the proteins will be found at some point.

My big question is whether this explanation is realistic. Obviously we can imagine it happening providing if we try hard enough. The big question that remains to me is whether this is just wishful thinking. Is it realistic to imagine this happening? How can we know when a series of imagined cooption events is realistic or not.

Obviously if we find compelling examples of intermediate stages this helps but is there a way in which we can test whether our evolutionary imaginations are being kept within realistic limits?


Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Excellent Andrew.

You seem to have picked up the principle of falsification!

Now how are you going to apply it to the theory that god did it that way because he felt like it?


4:11 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

wot no comments rss feed? ;-(

4:13 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...


I have said that I believe the best way that ID can be tested in biology is the sort of work that Doug Axe has done/is doing (I hope).

Can you explain what a comments rss feed is?

11:04 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...


What work is this? Can you point us in the direction of more details?

- - -

Do you know what a basic RSS feed is?

Not trying to be patronising - honest.



12:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now how are you going to apply it to the theory that god did it that way because he felt like it?"

....I've read a bit on ID. Can you please point me to where I can find the 'theory that god did it?' I must have missed it.

8:03 pm  

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