David Klinghoffer writes:
Professor Behe was present at a “semi-secret” scientific gathering “whose theme was a specific controversial question: Did Darwinian evolution have any limitations?” ATP synthase (pictured above) is a fearfully and wonderfully made molecular machine, the “power plant of the cell.” John Walker [a British scientist who has studied ATP synthase for over 40 years] had the floor and was discussing his area of expertise. Behe explains:
ATP synthase is not simple. Comprising thousands of amino acid building blocks in about 10 kinds of protein chains, its intricate structure carefully directs a flow of acid particles, beginning from outside the cell, through deep channels in the machine’s organization, into the cell’s interior. Somehow, like the cascade of water over a hydroelectric dam that turns a turbine, the flow of acid through the channels rotates a central camshaft. The cams push against multiple discrete areas of a stationary region of the synthase, distorting their shapes. The distortion forces together two bound feed-chemicals, ADP and phosphate, provoking them to react to yield the energy-rich-yet-stable molecule ATP. As the camshaft completes a turn, the ATP is released into the cell, and the machine begins another cycle. Incredibly, the many copies of the machine in each person produce about 150 pounds of ATP molecules every day, but each is used rapidly as energy — in effect, recharging each cell like a reusable battery.
And Walker’s more recent studies — using the newest, most powerful iteration of microscopy, called “cryo-electron” microscopy — would reveal its mechanism in unprecedented detail.
A Snipe Hunt
But there was an obvious problem:
By now, the scientists assembled before Dr. John Walker had run out of patience. The man had just held forth for nearly an hour on this miracle of biological architecture. Elegant and complex, precision-engineered, multiplied daily in the billions across the biosphere and on which the entirety of life depends. Finally, during the Q&A period, a questioner asked him directly: How could a mindless Darwinian process produce such a stunning piece of work?
Walker’s entire reply (paraphrasing): “Slowly, through some sort of intermediate or other.”
Far out of earshot I muttered two simple words: “Game over.”
If a Nobel laureate who has worked on one of life’s most fundamental systems for four decades can’t give an account of how it supposedly arose through a series of lucky mutations and natural selection — despite knowing its innermost workings in spectacular detail — then it’s reasonable to conclude no such account exists, and the effort to find one is a snipe hunt. [Emphasis added.]
A snipe hunt is a “fool’s errand” because the so-called snipe in the metaphor is an imaginary animal. And indeed the game is over for Darwinian evolutionary theory: an unguided evolutionary explanation for what Behe calls irreducibly complex structures, including ATP synthase, will not be found. It remains for Darwin’s apologists, some of them rather vicious, to recognize this and permit the public to hear it, too. Read the rest of Behe’s essay for World here.Full article at Evolution News.