Evolution of the bacterial flagellum

Dr. Ian Musgrave

Pace Michael Behe and William Dembski, bacterial flagella are not irreducibly complex. Here is Ian Musgrave’s clear explanation, “Evolution of the Bacterial Flagellum.”

Dr. Musgrave points out, “The specification of “ an outboard motor,” which provided the IC [irreducibly complex] system description of motor, shaft, and propeller, is a flawed human analogy to the actual flagellar system.” He also points out that Behe’s own definition of irreducibly complex systems excludes flagella, whose original function was not motility but secretion. Dembski, by building on Behe’s flawed description, in my opinion goes further astray into “Why bumblebees can’t fly” territory.

There’s much more! Read the article.

Quoting Robert G. Ingersoll

Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods, 1872:

Looks like Christopher Hitchens

A very pious friend of mine, having heard that I had said the world was full of imperfections, asked me if the report was true. Upon being informed that it was, he expressed great surprise that any one could be guilty of such presumption. He said that, in his judgement, it was impossible to point out an imperfection “Be kind enough,” said he, “to name even one improvement that you could make, if you had the power.” “Well,” said I, “I would make good health catching, instead of disease.” The truth is, it is impossible to harmonize all the ills, and pains, and agonies of this world with the idea that we were created by, and are watched over and protected by an infinitely wise, powerful and beneficent God, who is superior to and independent of nature.

Happy Canada Day!

“Quoth Pierre Berton:

“We are a nation of canoeists, and have been since the earliest days, paddling our way up the St. Lawrence, across the lakes, over the portages of the shield, west along the North Saskatchewan through the Yellowhead gap and thence southwest by the Columbia and Fraser rivers to the sea. When someone asks you how Canada could exist as a horizontal country with its plains and mountains running vertically, tell him about the paddlers. —Why We Act Like Canadians, 1982

Christopher Hitchens on losing his voice

Hitchens realizes that his voice, damaged by cancer, is an instrument of his personality.

Richard Dawkins is a genuine scientist and an excellent writer

Some columnist on redstate.com referred to Richard Dawkins as “mediocre science writer.” Ha!

Far from being just a science writer, Richard Dawkins has two doctorate degrees in Zoology, has been a lecturer in Zoology at the University of California, then a “reader” (professor) of Zoology at Oxford University. He was Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford until 2008, when he retired to concentrate on writing. His area of specialization is Ethology, or the evolutionary basis of animal behavior, and he studied under Nikko Tinbergen, one of the great researchers.

Dawkins gives lectures at universities and events around the world. His written and spoken work has also earned him multiple honors and awards including honorary doctorates from the University of Durham, the University of Hull, Open University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the University of Westminster, the University of St. Andrews and the Australian National University. He was elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Literature in 1997 and to the Royal Society (the U.K.’s top scientists) in 2001.

His books about evolution are acknowledged as a fruitful source of research ideas for new experiments. See the book “Richard Dawkins: the scientist who changed the way we think.”

For his science, he has received, the International Cosmos Prize for contributing to the understanding of ecology (1997), the Kistler Prize for contributing to the understanding of human genetics and human society (2001), and the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic (2001).

He has won several significant awards for his writing and communicating science.

  • In 1987, Dawkins received both a Royal Society of Literature award and a Los Angeles Times Literary Prize for his book The Blind Watchmaker. In the same year, he received a Science & Technology Prize for Best Television Documentary Science Programme of the Year, for the BBC Horizon episode ” The Blind Watchmaker.”
  • In 1989, he won the Zoological Society of London Silver Medal for contributions to the understanding and appreciation of zoology.
  • In 1990, he received the Michael Faraday Award for presenting physics in understandable form to the general public.
  • In 2002, he won the Kelvin Medal of The Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, for presenting the appeal and excitement of physics to the general public.
  • In 2005, the Alfred Toepfer Foundation of Germany awarded him its 2005  Shakespeare Prize in recognition of his “concise and accessible presentation of scientific knowledge.”
  • In 2006, he won the US-based Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science.
  • In 2007, he was the Galaxy British Book Awards’ Author of the Year.
  • Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2007.
  • In 2009, he won the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest.

If that’s their idea of a mediocre science writer, I want to be one, too!

Christopher Hitchens stares death in the eye

The Australian Broadcasting Network has a two-part video interview of Christopher Hitchens talking about his life and having cancer:

On reputation and history

Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber, 1951 (“Poor Superman”):

Everyone knows Newton as the great scientist. Few remember that he spent half his life muddling with alchemy, looking for the philosopher’s stone. That was the pebble by the seashore he really wanted to find.

Source: Heinlein, Robert A. (ed.), Tomorrow, the Stars, p. 208. SBN 425-01426-6, Doubleday & Company, Inc.

On magic and science

Fritz Leiber, 1951 (redacted from “Poor Superman”):

Consider the age in which we live. It wants magicians…. A scientist tells people the truth. When times are good—that is, when the truth offers no threat—people don’t mind.… A magician, on the other hand, tells people what they wish were true—that perpetual motion works, that cancer can be cured by colored lights, that a psychosis is no worse than a head cold, that they’ll live forever. In good times magicians are laughed at. They’re a luxury of the spoiled wealthy few. But in bad times people sell their souls for magic cures and buy perpetual-motion machines to power their war rockets.

Source: Heinlein, Robert A. (ed.), Tomorrow, the Stars, p. 207. SBN 425-01426-6, Doubleday & Company, Inc.

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