There’s been quite a lot of conversation about our three newest recepients of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, partially, if not principally, because one of the three was a woman, Dr. Francis Arnold.
We’ve also read that Dr. Arnold, having gotten nowhere using “rational design” then turned to “evolution,” and with this switch in methodology went on to win the Nobel.
Here’s the NYT’s article where we read such things. Let me quote a section which illustrates what is being implied:
At first, Dr. Arnold attempted “rational design,” employing logic and knowledge of how proteins function to try to build new enzymes — proteins that act as catalysts for chemical reactions. But enzymes are large, complicated molecules — some consisting of thousands of amino acids — and it is hard to figure out how a shift in one twist of the molecule affects how it works.
In desperation, she said, she turned to evolution.
Then we read more:
“I copied nature’s inventions, this wonderful process of evolution, to breed molecules like you breed cats and dogs,” she said.
For this “directed evolution” research, she inserted the gene that produced the enzyme she wanted to study into fast-reproducing bacteria. With mutations of the gene, she could then examine how well variations of the enzyme worked. She chose the one that worked best and repeated the process — just like evolution chooses the survival of the fittest over succeeding generations.
When we take the two “bolded” sections together we see that, in fact, Dr. Arnold is consciously equating what she’s doing to artifical selection; i.e., “like . . . [breeding] cats and dogs.”
Doesn’t this work contradict one of the basic tenets of Charles Darwin by indicating that an intelligent observer of nature can modify nature in a way that nature itself cannot accomplish? IOW, that contrary to Darwin’s writings, ‘Artificial Selection’ is actually more powerful in practice than is ‘Natural Selection’.
If Darwinism is to be taken seriously, then, IMO, it is important that biologists demonstrate how the barrier separating lower taxa from higher taxa can be breached in a natural, and not a ‘lab,’ setting.
We don’t find ‘breeds’ of dogs produced in natural settings; we don’t find the enzymes manufactured by Dr. Arnold in naturally living organisms. Isn’t this not confirmation that intelligence at work in nature is more powerful than what nature, left unaided, can bring about by itself?