The picture I showed in that post was for larger species changes. There are a number of subspecies changes within the species Plasmodium Falciparum (the one that infects humans). I don't know what counts as the holy grail. These kinds of things are found all the time if you just look a bit. For example, in Malawi where the plasmodium became drug resistant, they found that the plasmodium had developed / evolved four mutations.
High prevalence of quintuple mutant dhps/dhfr genes in Plasmodium falciparum infections seven years after introduction of sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine as first line treatment in Malawi.
If you saw the the Intelligent Design show on NOVA, you will probably note that academics don't take Behe very seriously. To his credit, he makes statements that can be tested. However, for most of the academic community, they have been tested and he has been proven wrong. I doubt you could even get a paper published proving him wrong, because it would be like proving the earth really does go around the sun.
In my opinion, Behe's main misunderstanding of evolutionary theory is his failure to recognize the sequence of mutations that might lead to a particular trait. If you want to read a bit of evolutionary biology on the issue, you might try the article by Stephen J. Gould Leowentin here on page 73.
The basic idea is the following:
Suppose mutation A is somewhat useful for a problem #1 (e.g., makes you swim faster, more resistant to the ) so it spreads through the gene pool.
Mutation B in addition to A is even more useful (although B on its own is useless).
Ok now the interesting step.
Suppose new Mutation C with mutation B is magnificent. Imagine it is so good that the gene with Mutation A is not even required any more. And suppose C is not useful without B.
Each of these steps can be microevolutionary steps. However, if you looked at the finished system you might say this is irreducibly complex because B mutation on its own is useless and mutation C on its own is useless, and the probability of the two together is much too rare. The problem is that with the finished product you may not know that mutation A played a big role.
This may seem a bit odd, but it is argued by many evolutionary theorists that such a progression is quite common. I can give a few examples if you like.
Hope that helps,
p.s. if you are ever curious as to who is an expert in academia, or want to know what people think of some work, you can go Google Scholar and see who cites the work. For example, here is Michael Behe's academic work.
Over 50 citations is pretty good for a paper. Below 15 or so means that few if any outside the lab are integrating the ideas into new work.
And here is all the published work on google-scholar where Behe mentions the word malaria
As you will see, there are no entries. From this, I would not conclude he was an expert on malaria, but he has done some reputable work.
I feel the Nova show was propaganda and looked more like a Micheal Moore movie than serious science. I have seen Dr. Behe slammed in very personal ways by the intelligentsia. This frustrates me because personal attacks and propaganda are the tools of politics and IMO has no home in science. Science is becoming more and more political and less and less scientific: global warming, stem cell ...
Dr. Ken Miller was trying to discredit Irreducible complexity and Dr. Behe: he did neither The debate showed that evolutionist has no idea how flagellum has evolved.
(This is the flagship paper to discredit Behe)
See figure I in Millers paper for a picture and description of flagellum.
An irreducibly complex (IC) structure is defined as ". . . a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning." (Behe)This is Dr. Ken Miller argument in a nutshell:
Invading bacteria introduced one building block of flagellum into a cell by DNA or protein transfer. (See Figure II). This proves two things: (1) the flagellum could be built in large units using readily available building blocks and (2) the TTSS (see quote 2 below) is a functional system independent of the flagellum. So flagellum did not need to be made piece meal and its parts could survive outside the IC system.
Summary in Millers words:
The contention that the flagellum must be fully-assembled before any of its component parts can be useful is obviously incorrect. What this means is that the argument for intelligent design of the flagellum has failed.”
Now that a simpler, functional system (the TTSS) has been discovered among the protein components of the flagellum, the claim of irreducible complexity has collapsed, and with it any "evidence" that the flagellum was designed.
quote 2- what TTSS is from Miller
In order to carry out this diabolical work, bacteria must not only produce the protein toxins that bring about the demise of their hosts, but they must efficiently inject them across the cell membranes and into the cells of their hosts. They do this by means of any number of specialized protein secretory systems. One, known as the type III secretory system (TTSS), allows gram negative bacteria to translocate proteins directly into the cytoplasm of a host cell (Heuck 1998)
See figure II in Millers paper of TTSSRebuttal by Dr. Dembski
from Dembski's paper
Problems with Millers paper:
(I got most of the arguments from William Dembski paper) (I cut and pasted liberally)
Design theorists, in attributing design to systems that exhibit IC, are simply doing what scientists do generally, which is to attempt to formulate a causally adequate explanation of the phenomenon in question. Using flagellum as an example of IC is similar as Darwin using finch’s to describe evolution.
1. However, taking away the parts of the flagellum certainly destroys the ability of the system
to act as a rotary propulsion machine. Thus, contra Miller, the flagellum is indeed irreducibly complex.
2. The best current molecular evidence, however, points to the TTSS as evolving from the flagellum and not vice versa
(Nguyen et al. 2000). In other words: The first building block to flagellum was not available as a building block for the first flagellum. It follows that the TTSS does not explain the evolution of the flagellum
The whole point of bringing up the TTSS was to posit it as an evolutionary precursor to the bacterial flagellum. The best current molecular evidence, however, points to the TTSS as evolving from the flagellum and not vice versa (Nguyen et al. 2000). This can also be seen intuitively. The bacterial flagellum is a motility structure for propelling a bacterium through its watery environment. Water has been around since the origin of life. But the TTSS, as Mike Gene (see citation at end) notes, is restricted "to animal and plant pathogens." Accordingly, the TTSS could only have been around since the rise of metazoans. Gene continues: "In fact, the function of the system depends on intimate contact with these multicellular organisms. This all indicates this system arose after plants and animals appeared. In fact, the type III genes of plant pathogens are more similar to their own flagellar genes than the type III genes of animal pathogens. This has led some to propose that the type III system arose in plant pathogens and then spread to animal pathogens by horizontal transfer.... When we look at the type III system its genes are commonly clustered and found on large virulence plasmids. When they are in the chromosome, their GC content is typically lower than the GC content of the surrounding genome. In other words, there is good reason to invoke horizontal transfer to explain type III distribution. In contrast, flagellar genes are usually split into three or more operons, they are not found on plasmids, and their GC content is the same as the surrounding genome. There is no evidence that the flagellum has been spread about by horizontal transfer."
3. The TTSS is after all much simpler than the flagellum. The TTSS contains ten or so proteins that are homologous to proteins in the flagellum. The flagellum requires an additional thirty or forty proteins, which are unique. Evolution needs to explain the emergence of complexity from simplicity. But if the TTSS evolved from the flagellum, then all we've done is explain the simpler in terms of the more complex. (my add- TTSS accounts for 1/4 or flagellum, Miller made no attempt to account for the the 3/4 of the proteins that make flagellum)
4. All of this is highly speculative, and accounts for cell biologist Franklin Harold's (2001, 205) frank admission: "There are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculation
s." (Miller knows and respects Franklin Harold's: He is not an I.D.er.)
This is only up to page 4/13 from Dembski article.
Dr. Miller did not disprove Intelligent Design, irreducibly complexity or that flagellum was not irreducibly complex. The strongest arguement IMO was -"The best current molecular evidence, however, points to the TTSS as evolving from the flagellum and not vice versa." Dr. Dembski disproved Millers FFSS hypothetical and showed that evolutionist has no idea how flagellum evolved: zero idea.
What makes me mad is that Millers paper is the flagship paper which supposedly disproves I.D. and discredits Behe.