January 12, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

How Enzymes Work – But Don’t Ask Where They Came From: Just Believe

Enzymes are protein machines in the cell that speed up reactions that normally would proceed very slowly or not at all.  Four biochemists publishing in the Jan. 9 issue of Science1 describe the exquisite power of these biological catalysts: “Enzyme catalysis, which can produce rate accelerations as large as a factor of 1019, involves molecular recognition at the highest level of development.”  That figure represents a speed increase of 10 quintillion (see also 05/06/2003 entry).  After a brief review of efforts to understand enzymes, they remark that “An overview of our present understanding of enzyme catalysis is particularly timely because of the increasing number of articles that propose a variety of origins for enzyme catalysis,” of which they list the names of some proposals.  Their paper offers a framework that incorporates these proposals.
    They used rate theory and computer simulations to characterize some of the methods enzymes use to perform their specific reactions.  Their table lists sixteen different mechanisms used by sample enzymes from plants and animals.  Here is an example for tyrosine-tRNA synthetase:

Enzyme-transition state and enzyme-intermediate complementarity help to stabilize the transition state of tyrosine activation and to shift the chemical equilibrium by seven orders of magnitude in the direction of the intermediate.  Loop motions induced by the chemical process are essential in creating these interactions and permitting access to the active site. (For more on the tRNA-synthetase family of enzymes, see 07/21/2003 and 06/09/2003 entries.)

After providing detailed mathematical analyses of these mechanisms, they conclude, “Evolutionary selection makes possible the development of enzymes that use a wide range of molecular mechanisms to facilitate reactions.  Although, in principle, such rate enhancements could arise from lowering the quasithermodynamic free energy of activation or increasing the generalized transmission coefficient, the present analysis shows that the former plays the dominant role.”  They feel that modern transition state theory is adequate to describe these processes.


1Garcia-Viloca, Gao, Karplus, and Truhlar, “How Enzymes Work: Analysis by Modern Rate Theory and Computer Simulations,” Science 09 Jan 2004, 10.1126/science.1088172.

It takes great faith to be an evolutionist.  In fact, their faith is so great, evolutionists could co-opt Jesus’ phrase to his disciples to admonish the average Christian: “O ye of little faith.”  Here, these scientists have just described protein machines so efficient and so accurate, they can speed up reactions by a factor of 10 quintillion.  They have described precise hand-and-glove fit of these protein machines, knowing that proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids whose sequence is critical to function.  They have described some that actually bend and twist as part of the mechanism, and listed numerous diverse ways they can work.  But then they attribute all this complexity and specificity to chance and unguided natural processes, saying “Evolutionary selection” makes it all possible.
    We had hoped they would help explain how these mechanisms arose from a random pool of chemicals.  After all, they had said in the introduction that an overview of enzyme catalysis was timely because of all the interest about its origins.  But you can search this paper for any explanation, and all you get are assumptions that natural selection did it somehow.  For instance: (1) “Studies of enzymes show that natural selection has developed many ways for lowering the quasithermodynamic activation free energy,” and (2) “Evolutionary selection makes possible the development of enzymes that use a wide range of molecular mechanisms to facilitate reactions.”
    It appears, therefore, that genuine faith in natural selection requires no theory or explanation.  It is an article of doctrine in which they can place implicit, child-like trust.  This is another example of the ubiquitous credulity of evolutionists.  These scientists are obviously smart people as evidenced by their skill at math and chemistry, but they show the most insipid easy-believism when bowing down to worship their idol in the Temple of Charlie, chanting “natural selection, natural selection the omnipotent, who alone works wonders.”  Talk about checking your brain at the door.
Suggested reading: Evolution: Possible or Impossible?, portions of which are available online here.

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