This seems to me to be arguing that because Australia fits so neatly into it's coastline the shape was intelligently designed. (Apologies to whoever on here used that before, I would give you credit, but I can't find the post.)
Probably me, and there's no need to apologise. However, I use it for general fine tuning arguments, and although I can see how you made the connection, the precise "engineering" of flagella is not quite the same thing. Variation and selection certainly can "fine tune" things for very efficient function in a way though, which, coupled with the fact that they want to, is why I.D.ists can see an analogy to "rational engineering" in many biological systems.
In essence, hooah asked why I think the bacterial flagellum displays properties of rational design. I provided a couple of reasons, citing the efficiency of the flagellar motor and the fact that the structure and location of the ATP synthase complex in the flagellum allows the flagellum to function efficiently. Thus, since efficiency is a hallmark of rationality, the flagellum displays properties of rational design. This doesn't necessarily mean that the flagellum was indeed rationally designed.
So far, I largely agree with you, especially with the last sentence.
But it's a clue in favor of the telic hypothesis, and it answers hooah's question.
I don't think I can give you that because efficiency is also strongly favoured by Nature, and she's a superb non-telic engineer.
An intelligent designer could easily look at the bacterial flagella that you've implied are sub-optimum, and quickly engineer them up to the standards of E. Coli. But Nature's scatty, and although those lesser flagella may well gain increased efficiency over time, she can't act as quickly as an intelligent agent.
When we know of one designer in the biosphere (Nature) it requires very good positive evidence to bring in an apparently unnecessary second one. Will you be arguing that Nature is incapable of doing what we see in life around us, or will you merely be arguing from analogy with reference to our own engineering efforts?
It might be a good idea to start a thread setting out your own ideas of front-loading, because we're more accustomed to the heavier interventionist intelligent design favoured by people like Michael Behe. The board should welcome an I.D. advocate who writes good English (for some reason I can't quite fathom, many creationists can't do this).
If poor design is evidence against the telic hypothesis, then any system that displays rational design is evidence in favor of the telic hypothesis. There's no reason why the road can't go both ways.
If a system actually displayed rational design, that might be closer to proof than just evidence. Perhaps you meant to say "the appearance" or "hallmarks" of rational design?
Intelligent designers can do silly things and nature can hit brilliant solutions, so neither are evidence for or against intelligent design per se.
However, life shows certain designs that are characteristic of evolutionary "bricolage", examples being exaptation of a feature from one function to another, sometimes giving results which certainly are not hallmarks of rational engineering, especially given the time scales involved.
Let's have a front-loading thread, and welcome to EvC.
Efficiency is indeed favored by Nature - but hodge-podge systems also result from non-teleological processes. So if you cite poor, sloppy design (e.g., the backward wiring of the vertebrate eye) as evidence against the telic hypothesis, then rational design would be a clue that would count in favor of the telic hypothesis. At least, that's what it seems to me.
Remember how I'm using the "illusion" of rational design. I'm not using it as a knock-out punch or as a strong line of evidence in favor of teleology. Instead, I'm using it as a clue that is one criterion of several that would strengthen our suspicion of design.
I understand that you're not making a strong claim at this point. But the problem with seeing the "hallmarks" or "illusion" of rational design as actual rational design is that the known natural designer (variation and selection) can produce that effect.
Take an example often pointed to because it illustrates very well that animals with necks evolved from animals without them: the giraffe's recurrent laryngeal nerve, which goes on a fifteen foot detour to get to a point just a few inches from where it started.
We see that example of irrational design alongside many examples of design in a giraffe that could be said to have the hallmarks of reason. Other nerves take routes from the brain to body parts that make perfect sense, and muscles that didn't exist in the neck-less fish ancestor seem very well designed and placed for their functions. So while the bizarre design of some features like the R. L. nerve tell us that the organism was "designed" with the constraints under which Darwinian evolution must operate, the apparently rational stuff alongside the bizarre shows us that a non-telic design process can also easily achieve effects that some describe as the illusion of intelligent design.
Further, at the level of molecular machines, it's a bit hard to see how Nature could produce novel multi-part molecular machines that also display properties of rational design. For example, out of all the possible ways to construct a motility organelle, the vast majority will seem hodge-podge and jury-rigged. Yet the bacterial flagellum is not hodge-podge. It's structure gives a very strong appearance of rational design. Thus, given that there are far more ways to build jury-rigged, sloppy, hodge-podge biological machines than there are ways to build biological machines that appear to be structurally rationally designed, we must wonder why Nature happened to land on so many of the latter class of biological machines. I find it interesting that, for example, in TalkOrigins articles like "Evidence of Jury-Rigged Design," none of the biological features they list are molecular machines. It seems that the core architecture of life - the molecular machines - have a very strong illusion of rational design. And I find that suspicious.
Perhaps you ought to consider the numbers and rapid reproduction speeds of single cells. Take E. Coli, for example.
From memory, there's an estimated 10^20 of them in the wild at any one moment, and I think they go through about 2,000 generations per. year. It doesn't surprise me at all that such an organism could refine a "machine" to the impressive level of its flagellum by mutation and selection.
Thanks - I'll post a front-loading thread as soon as possible.
I'll look forward to it, especially to seeing what predictions the theory might make that either differ from Darwinian predictions or couldn't be explained by Darwinian processes.