Why Evolution is Probably False (revised)

Miller and Levine’s Biology (2014) Clearly Demonstrates Why Evolution is Probably False

Texas’ high school biology textbooks—written to standards adopted in 2009—have finally been completed. Back then, Science reported “New science standards in Texas strike a major blow to the teaching of evolution.” (3 April 2009)Two months later, Science—quoting noted evolutionist and textbook author Kenneth Miller—reported:

Miller’s answer [to the standards]… is not to get too excited. The new Texas standards leave plenty of room for authors to explain the robustness of evolutionary theory, he says, and that’s precisely what he and his publisher, Prentice Hall, plan to do. “The advocates of these standards underestimate the strength of the scientific evidence for structures and phenomena that they mistakenly believe evolution cannot account for,” Miller says. “The new wording is an opportunity to make biology texts even stronger.

For example, Miller intends to “introduce more material on the evolution of organelles” within the cell to show that the cell’s complexity is in fact explained by evolution. (12 June 2009) Emphasis added

 One of the supposedly “major blow” standards—Biology 7G—simply requires the students to “analyze and evaluate scientific [evolutionary] explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.” To fulfill this new requirement, Miller followed through on his plan to “introduce more material on the evolution of organelles“—specifically the ribosome.

 Miller and  Levine and the Ribosome

The Assignment

Kenneth Miller and Joseph Levine, in their new textbook, Biology (2014), at the end of  Chapter 19 “The History of Life,” have an assignment for the students to “Think Critically and Evaluate” the evolutionary origin of ribosomes.

16. Evaluate Evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell. Ribosomes, which are composed of RNA (rRNA) and proteins, are part of the complex structure of cells. One hypothesis proposes that the earliest cells may have produced proteins using RNA alone, and that ribosomal proteins were added gradually. Evaluate the proposed explanation of the evolution of ribosomes based on evidence that has been presented to support it. Emphasis added (Page 565)

Miller and Levine’s Evidence for the Evolution of the Ribosome

Here is the text of the “evidence that has been presented.”

Ribosomes are complex organelles used by all living cells to translate the coded instructions of RNA molecules into the sequences of amino acids that make up proteins. Ribosomes in eukaryotic cells consist of four ribosomal RNA molecules and more than 80 different proteins. The origin of this complex structure has long been a mystery. New research, however, has led to some surprising findings. One of these is that the part of the ribosome where chemical bonds are formed between amino acids completely lacks proteins. This is true of other key places in the ribosome as well, so it is now clear that ribosomal RNA itself carries out the most important tasks in protein synthesis. How should we understand and evaluate this surprising fact? One interpretation supported by the evidence is that the earliest cells may have produced proteins using RNA alone. Over time proteins were added to the RNA in ways that improved the efficiency of the process, leading to today’s more complex ribosomes. Emphasis added (Page 557)


Figure 19-18 A prokaryotic ribosome Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) of the large subunit is shown in gray while rRNA of the small subunit is blue. RNA makes up the interior of the ribosome, where protein synthesis takes place. Ribosomal proteins (shown in lavender on the large subunit and purple on the small subunit) and largely confined to the surface of the ribosome. This revealing image was produced in the laboratory of Dr. Harry Noller, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Some Questions for Students

If you are a student, let us tackle this assignment presented by Miller and Levine; let us now “Evaluate the proposed explanation of the evolution of ribosomes based on evidence that has been presented to support it.” We need only ask some questions. You can then decide for yourself how compelling their evidence is for explaining the evolutionary origin of a functioning ribosome? You decide if the authors have demonstrated “the robustness of evolutionary theory?”

Here are a few of the questions that could be asked:

Life without ribosomes?

  1. Are there any cells anywhere that do not have proteins? NO
  2. Can you have life as we know it without proteins? NO
  3. Are there any proteins anywhere in a living cell today that was not made by a ribosome? NO
  4. Therefore, can you have life today as we know it without ribosomes? NO

RNA-only ribosomes?

  1. Is there a “pure RNA-only molecular machine” that makes proteins today? NO
  2. Do they have evidence it ever existed? NO
  3. Wouldn’t actual evidence of RNA-only ribosomes be better than speculating “that the earliest cells may have produced proteins using RNA alone?” YES
  4. Therefore, is their entire argument based only on speculation? YES

How robust is the single “surprising fact” they do provide?

  1. Even granting that “Ribosomal RNA carries out the most important task in protein synthesis,” what does this “surprising fact”  demonstrate?
    1. Does it explain the origin of the ribosome? NO
    2. Does it explain how the ribosome incorporated the “more than 80 different proteins?” NO
    3. Does it explain the origin of the original four RNAs? NO
      1. Does it explain how they were formed? NO
      2. Does it explain how they joined together? NO
      3. Does it explain how the messenger RNA (mRNA) with the coded instructions found them once they joined together? NO
      4. Does it explain how they were able to reproduce themselves? NO
    4. Since the evolutionary preservation of the initial rRNA-only ribosome is dependent on its operating on a coded mRNA string, does it explain the origin of the coded instructions for the first protein to be coded in the mRNA? NO
      1. Do they have an idea where the coded information came from? NO
      2. Do they know how the mRNA with coded information reproduces itself so it can make a more proteins? NO
  2. Were all the 80 proteins in the ribosome made by a ribosome? YES
    1. Do they know which of the 80 ribosomal proteins was added first? second? third? and so on? NO
    2. Can they add an extra protein today to “improve the efficiency of the process?NO
    3. Do they know the function of the ribosomal proteins? a frame?  a support structure? a chassis? THEY DON’T KNOW.
    4. Can you make a support structure out of pure RNA? THEY DON’T KNOW.
    5. Can RNA without proteins support itself and also make a protein? THEY DON’T KNOW.
    6. If not, how can you have a ribosome without a protein and how can you have a protein without a ribosome? THEY DON’T KNOW.

An Analogy

Consider an automobile. Couldn’t we say that its engine carries out the most important tasks?” How plausible is it then to conclude that the “engine” gradually added a chassis “that improved the efficiency of the process, leading to today’s more complex” automobiles? NOT PLAUSIBLE AT ALL.

 

Conclusion

Remember, if there are no ribosomes there are no proteins; if there are no proteins, there is no life as we know it. But there is life, there are proteins, and there are ribosomes. Science tests ideas by experiment and observation; Miller and Levine have produced neither; they have only provided a just-so story “the earliest cells may have produced proteins using RNA alone.” Given this evaluation “based on the evidence” available today, are ribosomes the result of evolutionary processes? YOU DECIDE.

A closing argument:

  1. All life—every single living cell—requires ribosomes
  2. If  you decide that as of today, evolutionary explanations “have not accounted for the origin of the ribosome and have failed the test of science,
  3. Then, the simple conclusion is that evolution itself “cannot account for” life and has failed the test of science.

One final question

According to Kenneth Miller, do “the advocates of these standards underestimate the strength of the scientific evidence for structures and phenomena that they mistakenly believe evolution cannot account for?” 

Or, do the advocates of evolution overestimate the strength of the evidence?

 

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5 Responses to Why Evolution is Probably False (revised)

  1. John Soames says:

    You do realize your arguments are totally specious, don’t you? Just inane religious dogma filled prating – lacking substance and signifying nothing. You don’t actually seem to understand that which you are arguing against – you just oppose it out of habit. Trying to understand a real scientific argument would be too difficult – much easier to embrace religious chants and slogans, and prattle about the lord and young earth creation and so on – as if any of that nonsense was probable or sustainable.
    If the bible is such a reliable source of information (how can it be – we don’t know who, or how many, wrote it, when, or even why? Even the gospels weren’t written by people called Mark or Luke etc.) then how come archaeological digs in the relevant areas have so far failed to verify any of the biblical stories? There is no contemporary evidence of the existence of Jesus or Paul or any of the disciples. The bible has no existing tracts that date back to when the earliest books were supposed to have been written, and since then what fragments that survive from later centuries have been copied and translated numerous times with consequent errors. So no-one knows what the ‘original’ was supposed to say.
    In addition how do you account for the innumerable biblical errancies and inconsistencies? Or I suppose with the eye of faith you don’t see them? Like when the gospels contradict each other frequently, when a star is supposed to guide the wise men to the manger (an astronomical impossibility you can try yourself) the ludicrous story of the ark (the impossibility of keeping carnivorous and herbivorous animals in the same boat and storing enough feed for them all for 11 months, not to mention the sanitation and foul smell problems with only one small window that remains closed. Oh, and how DID Noah get the kangaroos and other marsupials all the way over from Australia and back again before Qantas started flying?
    At the crucifixion the gospels mention a solar eclipse – another astronomical impossibility as there would have been a full moon (for passover). The Romans Egyptians and most everybody else at the time recorded eclipses diligently, and this was a corker apparently and lasted several hours – yet NOBODY outside the gospels seems to have noticed! Not in the real world. Neither did they notice the corpses getting out of the tombs and wandering into the city, or the temple curtain being sundered – kind of thing the local paper might have seized on don’t you think?
    Read the accounts of the tomb after the crucifixion – the three gospels are all different – so which do you think is right? It can’t be all three so my vote is none because we’re not talking about a real event here. I could go on and on and on.
    So when you say in all credulity ‘Jesus did rise from the dead – there were over 500 witnesses’ you are displaying a remarkable lack of perspective and intelligence. The bible is not in any infallible – it is full of contradictions and imbecilities, so nothing it says can be taken as true, least of all that ANYONE rose from the dead, and we only have the word of the bible that 2000 years ago there were 500 people to witness it. Do you realize how credulous that makes you? They could say anything – why does it have to be true????
    Go and lie down in a darkened room and stop poking in things that are beyond you.

    • Don Johnson says:

      John Soames … further to my previous comment.

      Have you not noticed that Mr. McLeroy’s article addresses the evolution question completely from, in response to, and in the context of the segments of the textbook in question?
      Have you not noticed that Mr. McLeroy’s article is devoid of any Biblical references or arguments from the Bible? None … nada … zilch!

      Let me rephrase that in case there may be a misunderstanding in what I have just said:

      Have you not noticed that Mr. McLeroy’s article addresses the evolution question completely from, in response to, and in the context of the segments of the textbook in question?
      Have you not noticed that Mr. McLeroy’s article is devoid of any Biblical references or arguments from the Bible? None … nada … zilch!

  2. John Botkin says:

    John Soames,
    Have you ever had someone teach you how to frame a thesis statement and then to marshal substantiated empirical evidence to support it? A repetition of some of the more common vituperative pratings of immature hate-filled sophomoric amateurs does not constitute substantiated empirical evidence, sir. Were you to actually engage in formal study of the Bible, you might come to recognize the narrowness of your present state of mind.
    Are you aware that intelligent design theory has about as much to do with Hindu spirituality or the philosophy of Lao Tzu as it does with Christianity? Christianity was certainly attacked by Darwinist theory, but the exposure of fallacies inherent in the Darwinist model does not restore Christian theological understandings. The exposure of the fallacies of Darwinist theory first and foremost restores rigorous application of inductive reasoning to the understanding of biology. Beyond that, it does not touch the discrepancies between the major world religions or between science and faith. Be not so quick to make yourself the expert on matters of history when you have so obviously not filled your garners with its basic outlines and sources. I offer the same admonition in regard to theology along with advice not to mistake the power of your passions for possession of established fact. When one in possession of a body of hard won knowledge lays himself down in the darkened room you speak of, he is likely to contemplate connections between what he knows and what he wishes to know and poking into things beyond him is what he does with great profit. However, when confronted by such commentary as you have offered such a person is most likely to contemplate with sadness and great sorrow the effects of ignorance on a juvenile mind directed by passion and disrespect for dignities.

  3. Pingback: McLeroy replies about the crucifixion « Why Evolution Is True

  4. Don Johnson says:

    John Soames,
    It’s telling when someone responds, not to the substance of the questions, but rather to attack who the author/writer is and what religion he subscribes to, and with answers to a totally different line of questioning.
    John Soames … go back and read the substance of what Mr. McLeroy actual says and refute those many statements of his. Tell us why Mr. McLeroy’s answers to his own questions are NO rather than Yes; and Yes rather than No … and provide counter examples showing us why your answers are “scientifically” correct and Mr. McLeroy’s are false. Answering these specific questions on the nature of life by questioning Biblical archeology shows a stretch in argumentation revealing that you have no such valid answers of your own.
    Accusing Mr. McLeroy as you do: “You do realize your arguments are totally specious, don’t you?” followed by a stream of totally irrelevant narrative points the finger of “totally specious” right back at you.
    John Soames … can’t you do any better than this?

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