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“Undeniable” author Doug Axe on the recent “directed evolution” Nobel for chemistry


Douglas Axe Doug Axe, Intro of recalls current CalTech winner Frances Arnold:

In a conversation in her office one day, I said that I wanted to do work on protein evolution. She was skeptical, for pragmatic reasons. “Is that the kind of work that people will want to fund?”, she asked. I smile recalling that, but up to that point she had been trying to modify enzymes (proteins that do chemistry) by thinking carefully about the effects certain changes to their amino-acid sequences ought to have.

She and the graduate students working with her soon found that it was much harder to anticipate the effects of designed changes than they had thought. That’s when she made the shift to what is known as directed evolution. The idea here is that by applying carefully designed biological selection to huge collections of variant genes that came from a suitably designed starting point, we should be able to find the one-in-a-billion variant that does what we want. If we do, then we can make a billion variants of that one and repeat the process.

Reflecting on the implications of her work and that of the other Nobelists, he adds,

It’s also fitting that words like “design” and “directed” be attached to their work. The truth is that by much hard work and careful thought, they accomplished what accidental processes would never accomplish on their own.

Equally true is that even these stellar scientists have not found a way to invent from scratch proteins that rival the ones we see by the thousands in living cells. As Frances Arnold once said with admirable candor: “[E]fforts to date to generate novel catalysts have primarily demonstrated that we are getting good at making bad enzymes. Making good enzymes will require a whole new level of insight, or new methodologies altogether.” Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Intelligent Design?” at Evolution News and Science Today

She can probably do it eventually, but not without designing and directing the process.

More info re Axe’s Undeniable (2016) here.

See also: One Nobel Reason for Believing that Artificial Selection is More Powerful than Natural Selection (PaV)


Matti Leisola on evolution and the recent Nobel Chemistry prize

What do we mean by directed (or guided) evolution (what some people refer to theistic evolution)? If you believe in descent with modification are you an evolutionist? Most people, including YEC’s don’t believe that God specially created cocker spaniels, so they at least accept so-called microevolution. Would make them evolutionists because they believe in some form of evolution? (The Darwinist with an airy-wave-of-the-hand just extrapolates from microevolution to macroevolution and says that explains everything even the things we can’t explain-- Huh?) What about ID’ists like Michael Behe, Michael Denton and our very own gpuccio who believe in common descent? Are they TE’s because of their belief in common descent? Denton as far as I know is an agnostic when it comes to religion. Behe is a devout Roman Catholic. What about gpuccio? I don’t know. Maybe he can tell us. Whatever label you put on it I think there are a number of ways you can look at evolution. First, evolution is guided and directed. Second, evolution is not guided or directed at all-- it is a totally mindless, purposive-less process. Third, evolution does not appear to be guided but got started by God who remains hidden behind the scene. In my opinion the third option is blatantly absurd. The third approach is the Francis Collins/ Bio-Logos “theistic” approach to evolution. John West I think provides a good summary.
The Collins/Barr Approach: A God Who Misleads? Stephen Barr identifies himself with the position of Francis Collins who argues that although evolution looks like “a random and undirected process,” it nevertheless could have been guided by God. “Evolution could appear to us to be driven by chance, but from God’s perspective the outcome would be entirely specified.” [Collins, The Language of God, p. 205.] Barr takes me to task for highlighting Collins’ use of the word “could” because I implied that “Collins is not sure whether God did in fact know beforehand. Anyone who has read Collins’s book, however, should realize that Collins absolutely and unequivocally holds the belief that God knows all events from all eternity.” Really? In the same book that Collins says that God “could” have known and specified the outcome of evolution, he also claims that much of our DNA is basically junk that certainly was not the product of God’s intentional design. In particular, Collins goes on at length about “Ancient Repetitive Elements,” which he disparages as “genetic flotsam and jetsam” that make up “roughly 45 percent of the human genome.” [emphasis added] Collins concedes that “some might argue that these are actually functional elements placed there by the Creator for a good reason, and our discounting of them as ‘junk DNA’ just betrays our current level of ignorance. And indeed, some small fraction of them may play important regulatory roles. But certain examples severely strain the credulity of that explanation.” [Language of God, p. 156] In other words, Collins rejects as credulous the idea that such DNA were planned by God for a reason. So much for the idea that God knew and specified the outcomes of evolution from eternity.
https://evolutionnews.org/2009/06/god_and_evolution_a_response_t_2/ In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins writes, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” As an ID’ist I ask, ‘If something appears to be designed isn’t it logically possible it really could be designed?’ Dawkins argues that the “design” is only apparent. Collins from the impression I got from reading his book leans more towards Dawkins view than the ID view. In other words, Collins believes that evolution is an unguided guided process. Again, that kind of view is logically incoherent. john_a_designer

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