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Douglas Axe chapter excerpt: Can proteins evolve?


This excerpt is from his chapter in The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos (2021):

What enables a long chain of linked amino acids to perform highly specific molecular functions with machine-like precision? The answer is machine-like structure. Figure 2 shows one example (among thousands) of these remarkable structures. The multipart machine depicted is an ATP synthase — an assembly of 22 protein molecules that produces the energy molecule ATP. Biochemists refer to this as an enzyme because it accomplishes a chemical conversion (making ATP from ADP). But it’s no exaggeration to call it a molecular machine as well. Operating as a sophisticated nano-generator, the ATP synthase has a rotor (consisting of the parts labeled c-ring, y, and E) that spins at 8,000 rpm! …

But how do long chains of linked amino acids form stable parts to make machines like this? The short answer is that it’s possible for the different amino acids to be arranged along the chain in such a way that the whole thing locks into a specific three-dimensional form. The process is called protein folding, with the term fold referring to the overall form. Figure 3 illustrates the basics.

I emphasized the word possible there for a reason. A random gene would specify a random sequence of amino acids, which would flop around without folding. Chains like that are rapidly broken back down into amino acids to keep them from interfering with cellular processes. Very special amino acid sequences are needed for protein chains to fold into stable structures.

Douglas Axe, “Can New Proteins Evolve?” at Evolution News and Science Today (October 8, 2021)

Of course complex groups of proteins can easily evolve! They can evolve just like cars and computers do!

See: Berra’s Blunder: “It started back in 1990 when Tim Berra illustrated Darwinian evolution by showing how Corvettes showed “descent with modification” between 1953 and 1955. Phillip Johnson was quick to point out that “every one of those Corvettes was designed by engineers.”

“Far from illustrating naturalistic evolution, he argued, they illustrate “how intelligent designers will typically achieve their purposes by adding variations to a basic design plan.” Casey Luskin caught Francis Collins and Karl Giberson committing this blunder in 2011. In 2014, Adrian Bejan confused airplane design with Darwinian evolution. And last year, the BBC News committed the blunder by applying evolution to robotics.”

One of the few easily observable instances of human evolution: Darwinians have evolved so as to be unable to see the problem with their reasoning in these matters.


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