Intelligent Design Irreducible Complexity

We are the “irreducible complexity” community, they now say

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It’s official now. Well, it appeared in a journal in a so far unretracted article:

Abstract: Bacterial flagella self-assemble a strong, multi-component drive shaft that couples rotation in the inner membrane to the microns-long flagellar filament that powers bacterial swimming in viscous fluids. We here present structures of the intact Salmonella flagellar basal body, solved using cryo-electron microscopy to resolutions between 2.2 and 3.7 Å. The structures reveal molecular details of how 173 protein molecules of 13 different types assemble into a complex spanning two membranes and a cell wall. The helical drive shaft at one end is intricately interwoven with the inner membrane rotor component, and at the other end passes through a molecular bearing that is anchored in the outer membrane via interactions with the lipopolysaccharide. The in situ structure of a protein complex capping the drive shaft provides molecular insight into the assembly process of this molecular machine. – Steven Johnson, Emily J. Furlong, Justin C. Deme, Ashley L. Nord, Joseph Caesar, Fabienne F.V. Chevance, Richard M. Berry, Kelly T. Hughes, Susan M. Lea Molecular structure of the intact bacterial flagellar basal body

Our signature line:

The bacterial flagellum is a fascinating molecular machine that is responsible for motility in many species, using a rotary motor to couple ion-flow across the inner membrane to rotation of a helical appendage on the surface of the cell 1-3. The immense complexity of this organelle, both structural and functional, is such that it became a poster child for the irreducible complexity community; yet at its heart is a remarkable structure that reveals a great deal about assembly of complex objects from modular components.

Tee shirts. Hats. Mugs. Mousepads?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Now at last, courtesy a science preprint, we have a name that makes sense to us. The “irreducible complexity community” — the ICs.

Hat tip: Pos-darwinista

2 Replies to “We are the “irreducible complexity” community, they now say

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    For some reason the anchors caught my attention. Bushings or journal bearings made of a distinct material and anchored by various types of keyways are a fairly recent development in human technology. They started around 1800. As usual we’re slow to catch up with Nature’s design studio.

    Funny, I don’t recall reading anything about bearings and shafts and commutators being a “poster child of the perpetual motion community”, implying that proper engineers should simply put a stick in a knothole instead of designing such structures.

  2. 2
    Fasteddious says:

    To be fair (and honest), the authors should at least reference Michael Behe! But of course, they do not.

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