A recent news feature in Nature described the work of molecular biologist Joe Thornton, who studies the biology of toxins. He found that they often operate by mimicking very specific chemicals that fit into receptor proteins like keys into door locks. He told Nature, "I wanted to know where that system came from."1 But his specific research questions clearly show that he was only willing to entertain evolutionary origins, even if the data suggested non-evolutionary causes.
For example, Nature wrote that Thornton "set about comparing receptor genes from living organisms to piece together a detailed history of how the receptor family had evolved." Similarly, "Thornton wanted to delve deeper into the puzzle of how complex systems with tightly interacting molecular parts evolve."1 Thus, the "conclusion" that receptor proteins, and the genes that encode them, had evolved was built in to the research question before any examination began.
Nature further indicated that Thornton and his colleagues "wanted to know how an essential part of the [receptor] machine—a ring of proteins that spans cell membranes—evolved from an ancestral form."1 It appears that the concept of the supernatural creation of this feature was not even given a chance.
Despite an anti-supernatural bias, Thornton's lab efforts have actually highlighted exactly why living systems like protein receptors had to have been created. For example, his 2009 experiments demonstrated how one particular protein could not evolve into another by incremental changes, inadvertently refuting evolution.2 He found receptor proteins specified to a degree of precision that was orders of magnitude finer than the finest man-made specifications, clearly showing their origins by design, not by natural processes.
And earlier in 2012, Thornton's lab reverse-engineered mutations in a degraded protein. The lab replaced the putative original single protein with a less efficient conglomeration of broken-down proteins.3 The resulting cellular machine could do the job, but not nearly as well—like two men running a sack race against one man running normally. And both the cells and the scientists started with fully formed proteins—the very items whose origin was supposed to be under investigation.
Thornton's work shows that some of the best "evidence" for evolution merely assumes it.
- Pearson, H. 2012. Prehistoric proteins: Raising the Dead. Nature. 483 (7390): 390-393.
- Thomas, B. Irreversible Complexity—Evolution Loses Another Round. ICR News. Posted on icr.org December 16, 2009, accessed March 29, 2012.
- Thomas, B. Study Finds Molecules Evolving in Wrong Direction. ICR News. Posted on icr.org January 23, 2012, accessed March 29, 2012.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on April 20, 2012.