Intelligent Design advocates are fond of using the bacterial flagellum as, in Dembski’s words, a “mascot” of the Intelligent Design movement. In particular, during the recent TV debate between Behe and myself, Behe showed pictures of flagella and triumphantly asserted that they looked exactly like man-made machines, and therefore they must be designed. What ID advocates, including Behe, fail to mention is that the images of flagella they endlessly demonstrate are heavily doctored, and that the real observed flagella do not look like “machines” at all. In fact the structure of flagella is more typical of a bacteriophage virus. Seeing the actual cryogenic electron micrographs of flagella, as well as the images derived from X-rays analysis immediately reveals that showing artificial machine-like images of flagella, without explaining the degree of idealization applied, is sometimes perilously close to committing a fraud.
Read Flagella – Real and Fictional, at Talk Reason.