An international team of researchers, including Monash University biochemists, has discovered evidence at the molecular level in support of one of the key tenets of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

… that it happened …

Trevor Lithgow said the breakthrough, funded by the Australian Research Council and published recently in the prestigious journal PNAS, provides a blueprint for a general understanding of the evolution of the “machinery” of our cells.

“Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

A non-Darwinian explanation, from believers of Intelligent Design, proposed these complex machines to be “irreducibly complex”. In other words they are so neatly complex and complete that they couldn’t have evolved but rather must have been designed by an intelligent entity.

“Our research shows that these machines although complete and complex, were a result of evolution.
Simple ”core” machines were established in the first eukaryotes by drawing on pre-existing proteins that had previously provided distinct, simplistic functions. They therefore stand as proof that Darwin’s theory of evolution breaks down at the molecular level,” Professor Lithgow said.

More details here.

Comments

  1. #1 MadScientist
    September 29, 2009

    “How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial”

    Mysterious only in that people are still working on discovering more details. “Controversial” – that’s 100% pure bullshit; only ignoramuses claim it is controversial. I think it’s a blight on the article that people even wasted time to mention the IDiots, and even more so to parrot the statement about controversy. Then again – did the researchers really say that or is that a journalist trying to get attention?

  2. #2 David
    September 29, 2009

    Oh no. “…proof that Darwin’s theory of evolution breaks down at the molecular level.” I see quote mining in the near future.

  3. #3 Gray Gaffer
    September 29, 2009

    “They therefore stand as proof that Darwin’s theory of evolution breaks down at the molecular level” – is this a typo? All prior text says the opposite.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    September 29, 2009

    Just think “NOT” at the end.

  5. #5 travc
    September 30, 2009

    Wow, horrible press release. Didn’t even have a link to the paper as far as I could tell.

    On the actual paper… well, not my specialty, but it seems rather “meh”. Looks like a fairly standard molecular analysis sexed up. Oh, and I’m a bit miffed since they didn’t cite the original “irreducible complexity” smackdown The Evolutionary Origin of Complex Features published in Nature back in 2003.

  6. #6 KBHC
    September 30, 2009

    Yeah, Greg, can you provide a bit more detail? I’d love to share this with my students!

  7. #7 Noam GR
    October 1, 2009

    The problem with these press releases is that each new discovery is touted to the general public as “the new definite proof of evolution”, as if any more proof was needed in the first place. Evolution has been proven for decades now. This is tantamount to proclaiming “now I’ve REALLY proven gravity” every time you stand up and don’t float up into the sky.

    If someone is so deluded so as to not see it by this point, no amount of proof will do it. For some, no fossil will ever be “transitional” enough, no ocellus will ever be rudimentary enough, and no molecular apparatus will ever be sufficiently “reduced” into simpler functional forms to satisfy their demand for “evidence”– because they don’t understand what the words evidence and proof mean in the first place.


    http://noamgr.wordpress.com

  8. #8 Ron Krumpos
    February 27, 2010

    There are three excellent books related to this topic, written by contemporary scientists who are also deeply religious. Intelligent design need not mean creationism; evolution need not mean lack of intelligence.

    “The Language of God,” by Francis S. Collins (Free Press/Simon & Schuster 2006). Dr Collins was head-Human Genome Project. He believes that faith in God and science can co-exist and be harmonious.

    “Let There be Light,” by Howard Smith (New World Library 2006). Dr. Smith is a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center. He explains how modern study of the cosmos complements the Kabbalah.

    “Intelligence in Nature,” by Jeremy Narby (Jeremy P. Thatcher/Penguin 2005). Dr. Narby has a doctorate in anthropology. He makes a reasoned connection between shamanistic beliefs and modern science.

  9. #9 Stephanie Z
    February 27, 2010

    I can point you to a book Linus Pauling co-authored about Vitamin C and cancer, too. It is, in fact, an excellent warning about listening to scientists outside their field of expertise.

  10. #10 Ron Krumpos
    March 18, 2010

    From Prof. Lithgow’s microscience to macroscience: Earth is a tiny part of the Universe.

    Most people, especially in the West, view life in linear time with a beginning and an end. To some in the East, life is cyclical and continuous; time repeats itself endlessly in an altered form. For them the Universe itself is infinite and eternal, a continuum of expansion and contraction.

    The Oxford American Dictionary defines “brane” as: an extended object with any given number of dimensions, of which strings in string theory are examples with one dimension. Our universe is a 3-brane.

    “Endless Universe / Beyond the Big Bang” (published by Doubleday 2007) was written by Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein professor of physics at Princeton, and Neil Turok, Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge. They write:
    “The big bang was not the beginning but the moment separating our current period of expansion and cooling from a previous one. …the universe has an extra dimension [beyond space-time] bounded by branes…the branes collided with each other to create the bang.”

    In “The Fabric of the Cosmos (published by Vintage Books 2005), Columbia University professor of physics and mathematics Brian Greene says:
    “…if cosmological evolution on our three-brane [universe] is driven by repeated collisions with a nearby brane, time as we know it would span only one of the universe’s many cycles, with one big bang followed by another, and then another.”

  11. #11 Daniel R Colgan
    May 18, 2011

    Quantifying The Argument!

    Science Is Inside A Reality (Inside The Controlled Enviroment)

    Science Is Measuring Reality Using Tools From That Reality (Part Of The Controlled Enviroment)

    Science Can Only Measure Something Accuratly If It Is Outside The Controlled Enviroment!

    If The Lord Manifested A Rock At This Moment! Then Science Would Measure It And Say Its A Billion Years Old! It However Did Not Exist Until The Lord Manifested It At This Moment!

    The Lord Controls Our Reality, Time And Space, He Has The Remote Control! To The Lord A Billion Eternities Could Be a Day!

    He Is The Dreamer, We are The Dreamed!

    Science Has A Major Role As It Teaches Us About The Reality And The Rules That We Are Governed By The Reality We Are Subject To And A Part Of!

    There IS NO Argument Both States Exist Both Are Correct

    Science Simply Cannot Measure That Which Created The Controlled Enviromen Because Science Is Inside The Controlled Enviroment!

  12. #12 Stephanie Z
    May 18, 2011

    Well, all those capital letters are sure convincing, aren’t they?