The 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry recognized the intelligent design (what else would you call it?) of artificial molecular machines. These “nano” machines are impressive as technical achievements. Yet they are also exceedingly simple, “cute” but “useless,” as Nature reported that “some chemists” say. “We need to convince [researchers] that these molecules are really exciting,” as one scientist remarked.
Writing at CNSNews, Discovery Institute biochemist Michael Behe makes the point that Darwin advocates don’t want to hear. If scientists need to be “convinced” that nano machines are “exciting” and useful, the same is surely not true when it comes to the molecular machines familiar to biologists. That’s the nanotechnolgy that make continuing existence possible for chemists, Nobel Laureates, and every living creature on the planet:
Many of the pioneers of the [nanotechnology] field drew inspiration from molecular machines discovered in biology such as the bacterial flagellum, a whip-like outboard motor that can propel bacteria through liquid. Yet the molecular machines laboriously constructed by our brightest scientists are Tinkertoys compared to the nanotechnology found in living cells. That may change — with the expenditure of much effort and brain power the chemists’ machines may be improved in the future. But right at this very moment sophisticated molecular robot walkers à la Star Wars are transporting critical supplies from one part of your cells to others along molecular highways, guided by information posted on molecular signposts. Molecular solar panels that put our best technology to shame are found in every leaf. Molecular computer control systems run the whole show with a reliability that exceeds that of, say, a nuclear reactor. What’s more, unlike the artificial molecular machines that were painstakingly assembled by chemists, cellular molecular machines assemble themselves. As an astonished science writer once put it: “The cell’s macromolecular machines contain dozens or even hundreds of components. But unlike man-made machines, which are built on assembly lines, these cellular machines assemble spontaneously from their protein and nucleic-acid components. It is as though cars could be manufactured by merely tumbling their parts onto the factory floor.” Now those are smart materials!
No one needs to labor to convince anybody that kinesins (walking transport proteins) are useful. It sounds like he’s headed in a dangerous direction:
Here’s a question that’ll get you into trouble in a lot of places for asking it out loud: if brilliant scientists can manage to make only toy molecular machines, what does it take to make the sophisticated machinery of the cell? For the past several decades I and others have been arguing that the ultra-sophisticated systems at the foundation of life powerfully bespeak purposeful design — and for the same reason that the much simpler machines made by Nobel prize winners do: it takes intelligence and planning to arrange multiple parts into a working machine.
Yeah, smart guy, but billions of years!
Critics retort that, given billions of years and the whole world to work with, Darwin’s mechanism of random mutation and natural selection could do the job. But there’s no good reason to think so. The best, most recent laboratory and field evolution experiments show that random mutation most often breaks or damages genes that already exist and, counterintuitively, that sometimes helps a species survive. Needless to say, a process which most often breaks genes isn’t going to build much of anything.
What are you, Behe, some sort of creationist?
Another common objection I hear is that the conclusion that the molecular foundation of life was purposely designed has religious implications. But so what? Science is supposed to be a search for truth based on our best understanding of nature. Science isn’t supposed to shy away from a conclusion just because it doesn’t fit some people’s philosophical preconceptions.
The sophisticated design of living nanotechnology exceeds by light years that of human nano-inventions. Yet evolutionists deny that the former offers scientific evidence of intelligent direction, even as the latter, child’s play by comparison, obviously do.