Uh-oh…poor science alert!

There is considerable interest in a recent paper in PNAS that purports to have found some rather substantial homologies in the proteins that make up the bacterial flagellum. That would be extremely interesting if it were true, but it looks like there are massive methodological problems in the work. Matzke has put up a preliminary criticism; the gang at PT are working on a much more detailed analysis, and if half of what I’m hearing about the paper is true … well, it’s going to be rather thoroughly sunk.

If you are arguing against ID’s favorite example, the flagellum, do not use the data in this paper. It’s about to go kablooieee. Sorry, everyone, but that self-correcting stuff is the way science is supposed to work (and letting error-filled papers make it to press is not supposed to happen, but it does all too often anyway.)

Nick has posted more info — it’s still not the complete argument, but the problem in the author’s interpretation is rather stark.


  1. #1 David Marjanovi?
    April 20, 2007

    I pronounce it as a single syllable that starts with the pm/tm/km sound. The mouth only opens during the N. It’s a bit difficult, though.

    Not being used to pronouncing all unstressed vowels the same, I’ve never noticed the similarity… I just like pronouncing abbreviations as words. :-)

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?
    April 20, 2007

    Never heard of Pnin. I don’t read novels much.