Joined: Jan. 2006
Missing the point of Dembski's and O'Leary's posts is fairly common. They often miss the point themselves and the posting you're referring to is an example.
Apparently Nick Matzke has done a comprehensive search of the literature on the evolution of the flagellum. (This is the literature that doesn't exist according to Behe.) He found at least one evolutionary pathway in that data that produces a modern flagellum.
And the pathway looks pretty plausible. The video points out that,
1: Of the 42 proteins required to make a flagellum, 40 have been found so far to have homologues in other systems, so the proteins don't have to be made from scratch.
2: Every step in this evolutionary pathway requires the modification of only one protein at a time.
3: Each step produces a selective advantage to the bacteria.
So Matzke's theory is pretty good stuff and it's definitely something that the evolutionary community wants to advertise as much as possible.
Now, Enter the Dembski: Apparently, a videomaker named "cdk007", who has posted several pro-evolution videos to YouTube, made a video illustrateing Matzke's proposed evolutionary pathway using an animated slide show and darn, it all looks pretty plausible!
Dembski apparently finds out about this video, skims through it, definitely not viewing for comprehension, and decides it's an unconvincing digital EMULATION or SIMULATION of evolution and posts it to UD, leaving out the audio, which is a copyrighted song - click on the picture to go directly to YouTube and see it in full.
Not recognizing the difference between a digital ILLUSTRATION and digital EMULATION or SIMULATION, Dembski also posts a link to the Michigan State University Digital Evolution lab for information on Avida, which has absolutely nothing to do with this video.
Then, just in case anyone might think that he has even a fraction of a clue about what he's doing, he posts a link to his 2002 article, "Evolutionary Logic" in which he resorts to his usual "argumentum ad throwing up mocking scarecrows only an ID theorist would believe".
After the dust settles, the score looks like this:
1: A lot of people never would have heard of Nick Matzke's evolutionary pathway to a flagellum or this video if not for Dr. Dembski. They have now had an opportunity to see a very good illustration of Nick's theory and have information on where to find out more.
2: Anyone who clicks on "cdk007" to the right of the YouTube picture, will go to the videomaker's home page where he has posted several other videos explaining reality to creationists.
3: A lot of ID sympathisers have been exposed to a good video covering a good theory of how the flagellum could have evolved. The hard core won't be swayed, of course. Like Dr. Dembski, they won't even watch it for comprehension. But someone who's on the fence and who thinks that ID might be right because how else could you get something like a flagellum, now knows one pretty good way it could have happened.
All in all, I thank Dr. Dembski for this very welcome Christmas Present and wish him and his family the happiest of holidays. And the same to Denise, Salvador, Dave and all the other UD regulars.