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Yet another astounding production by Evolution


I have over a dozen new discoveries like this in my email backlog that I skimmed and saved as likely to be blogworthy here so expect more in the next few days as I work through it. I go into a political blogging frenzy for a few months once every four years and I’ve been derelict in posting science articles here as a result. It won’t happen again until 2012. I joined this blog shortly after the 2004 presidential election was over.

This science article is one those where the researchers variously describe themselves as “stunned”, “amazed”, “surprised” or something else that conveys the notion that theory didn’t predict whatever it is they found. I also watch for discoveries that are described as “unexpected” which conveys the same meaning – the underlying theory of evolution is deficient. Sound theories don’t result in unexpected observations.

Biologists Discover Motor Protein That Rewinds DNA

ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2008) — Two biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered the first of a new class of cellular motor proteins that “rewind” sections of the double-stranded DNA molecule that become unwound, like the tangled ribbons from a cassette tape, in “bubbles” that prevent critical genes from being expressed.

Read the whole article at the source above. Here’s the revealing part (my emphasis):

What this protein, called HARP for HepA-related protein, did astounded Kadonaga and Timur Yusufzai, a postdoctoral fellow working in his laboratory. The two molecular biologists initially discovered that this motor protein burns energy in the same way as enzymes called helicases and, like helicases, attached to the dividing sections of DNA. But while helicases use their energy to separate two annealed nucleic acid strands—such as two strands of DNA, two strands of RNA or the strands of a RNA-DNA hybrid— the scientists found to their surprise that this protein did the opposite; that is, it rewinds sections of defective DNA and thus seals the two strands together again.

Forgive me for focusing on a single statement in this post. "Sound theories don’t result in unexpected observations." I don't know of a single theory in the history of science that didn't have unexpected observations of some sort, no matter how sound it was. To this day the theory of gravity has it's share of unexpected observations (Pioneer 10 and 11 for example). It doesn't necessarily mean that the theory is wrong, though that is a possibility. More likely it means that there is something about the observation itself that we don't yet understand. The fact that we see something unexpected is a good thing...it means that we can try to come to a better understanding of what led to such a surprising result, and even why it surprised us. KRiS
MaxEntropy: IMO you are partly right and partly wrong. It is true that those scientists were surprised at the mechanism, and not specifically at the idea of complexity, but it is also true that, while the function of helicases in separating DNA strands has been known for enough time, a new protein which "rewinds sections of defective DNA" is a real surprise, because it is a new function which was completely unknown of. That certainly adds new complexity to the scheme, not only the specific complexity of the protein, but the incresed complexity of a system which every day seems to include new and unsuspected sophisticated functions. That's what I mean when I say that the general complexity of living beings, as we can understand it, seems to grow exponentially. I do believe that will go on for a long, long time. So the question is: how many interrelated sophisticated functions in a same system do we need to be convinced that, maybe, the system is designed? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions? Billions? Or what? How many times are scientists capable to be "surprised" before they start asking different questions? gpuccio
"Intelligent Design may not be able to predict why a cell would have such complexities, but it does not come as a surprise that they do." Which misses the point in the original posting - "the scientists found to their surprise that this protein did the opposite" i.e. they were not surprised at finding complex mechanisms but surprised to find that one of these mechanisms did the opposite of what they expected. MaxEntropy
MaxEntropy, Perhaps Davescot is simply teasing evolutionists because of their surprise at finding such discoveries within cells. Intelligent Design may not be able to predict why a cell would have such complexities, but it does not come as a surprise that they do. Evolutionists on the other hand tend to be surprised and baffled by such complexities. But I, for instance, do not find them baffling or really even surprising, but rather amazing and beautiful. Plus I don't really need to worry about how random chance and natural selection could provide such results, but rather I see that citing intelligence behind it is a perfectly legite answer. Domoman
Helio, you said,
I am certainly not sarcastic. Evolutionary theory does not address,”from where comes complexity?” To assume that it does….. is the dominion of ID.
I'd be weary of telling that to somebody such as Richard Dawkins. Neo-Darwinian theory via random mutations and natural selection does indeed try and explain the complexity of organisms through those measures. Now, whether it may or may not explain where the complexity of the simplest cell came from, I'd have to say no. (Although some scientists try to posit similar methods for abiogenesis.) But neo-Darwinism certainly tries to explain biological complexity from there on up. Domoman
jerry, how lucky you are... At present I must stay satisfied with a couple of beautiful corals in my sons' new aquarium. They are so beautiful! My ID spirit is literally reinforced each time I look at them. Indeed, the mediterranean has its great beauties, but coral reefs have a special place in my heart. gpuccio
I’m a bit confused by DaveScots posting. As I understood it evolutionary theory isn’t about cellular mechanics in the sense that the theory doesn’t attempt to explain and predict how particular mechanisms in a cell work. As such there seems to be no reason why it would predict that a particular mechanism in a cell would perform a particular function. In a similar fashion ID theory isn’t a theory about the mechanics of cells and also (unless I’m mistaken) wouldn’t predict that a particular cellular mechanism works is a particular way. Is ID deficient for not predicting the results in this paper? Would these scientists still be surprised that this mechanism worked differently than they thought if they believed the cell was intelligently designed? I get the fact that that these cells are incredibly complex and hard to explain from an evolutionist’s point of view but I think this research, and the researchers surprise at their observations, doesn’t relate directly to evolution. They are investigating how the cell works, not how it came to be. MaxEntropy
gpuccio, Passed James Cook University today on my way to the Great Barrier Reef. Saw lots of coral but few fish. The campus of JCU I saw is a branch one north of Cairns. The main campus is in Townsville a few hundred miles south of here. Interesting thing is that there are thousands of bats in the trees in Cairns on the main streets and they are not related to any other bats in the world and in reality are not bats but another type of flying mammal. Supposedly they are primates hanging out in trees but that is controversial and they are not blind nor do they use sound to navigate but they sure are loud and are big. Another of Australia's unique species. jerry
Just found this one, of May 2006: "Coral genome throws up surprises" "Based on the rate of gene discovery, we estimate that corals have as many as 20,000 or 25,000 genes, compared with the human complement of 20,000 to 23,000" said David Miller of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland." "Corals add to a growing number of seemingly-simple organisms, such as the single-celled amoeba and the pathogen trichomonas – as well as some insects and plants – which have as many, or more, genes than mammals." "So, why do corals need such a large genome? "That's really the $64,000 question," said Miller. He argued that they probably use this genetic complement "in far less sophisticated ways than do mammals." " Well, the "the $64,000 question" is already a pearl, but look at what comes after: "An "emerging view" is that animals have a tendency for this number of genes, he said, "unless there's an evolutionary advantage for them to have lost some." This dispels the idea that organisms which look simple have relatively simple genomes, and that as organisms became more complex, they accumulated genes." How lucky we are, that wrong ideas are being "dispelled" by brilliant "emerging views"! gpuccio
Dave, Don't forget variations on "perplexed", (it was used in the article about the proteins with feedback loops. es58
Helios: -"Evolutionary theory does not address,”from where comes complexity?”" Darwin, Origin of Species p.85: -"Slow though the process of selection may be, if feeble man can do much by artificial selection, I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and complexity of the coadaptations between all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of life, which may have been effected in the long course of time through nature's power of selection, that is by the survival of the fittest" Now, off you go and evolve. mad doc
I am certainly not sarcastic. Evolutionary theory does not address,"from where comes complexity?" To assume that it does..... is the dominion of ID. Helio
Helio, I hope your being sarcastic, otherwise I might have to say your comment "is simply absurd". Evolutionary theory is a joke as far as explaining biological complexity. Domoman
"the simple fact is: growing biological complexity has always been an embarrassment to evolution theory." that...is simply absurd Helio
"Refuted" is the word they are looking for. Vladimir Krondan
thud: the simple fact is: growing biological complexity has always been an embarrassment to evolution theory. Current darwinian theories are already incapable to explain the present scenario of biological complexity (largely incapable, I would say!). Their best hope would be that it remains approximately stable. But that's not the case. The complexity is growing each day, at an esponential rate. The "surprise" Dave speaks of is just an expression of the growing and unexpected functions, regulation levels, or completely unexpected features which are daily discovered, thanks to the ever growing capabilities of molecular technologies. However you put it, that's not good news for current evolution theory, and everybody knows it. gpuccio
I think you're reaching, DaveScot. Where exactly does the article state that evolutionary theory posits that an annealing helicase cannot exist? In fact, where does this article mention evolution at all? I very much doubt that these scientists were "stunned" because they believed such an enzyme was impossible. thud
It is completely mystifying how so many scientists still propose that chance and necessity (i.e., accumulated errors) account for this technology. It is simply a preposterous hypothesis based on what we know and continue to learn. The only explanation for this continued adherence to the demonstrably absurd is a combination of sociological, psychological, philosophical, and theological factors. GilDodgen
Yes, excellent. Thanks for posting. There is an almost limitless supply of this sort of thing in the medical literature (basic research). Love to see more of it featured on UD. allanius
Man, I just love this stuff! To see such advanced technology in living organism is just beautiful. :) Domoman

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