February 21, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Watch a Ribosome in Action

A remarkable article about a remarkable machine: that’s what Chemical and Engineering News has published about the ribosome, a molecular machine vital to everything alive in the world.  Stu Borman’s article lavishes praise on the details of this assembly-line factory that translates RNA into proteins.  He surveys the history of investigation into the ribosome’s secrets.  The article includes several animations that illustrate current understanding of how the factory works.  Molecular springs and ratchets made out of molecules show off their robotic skill.  Things really get exciting when the translation movie revs up closer to actual speed.

There’s buzz inside the intelligent design community whether to use this as the new mascot of ID instead of the bacterial flagellum.  It surely has a lot going for it.  This is a case of “irreducible complexity all the way down” to borrow a phrase Jonathan Wells elaborated on Michael Behe’s concept.  The flagellum still has an advantage of instant recognition – everyone recognizes an outboard motor when they see one – but the ribosome is even more astonishing.  Plus, it is universal, essential to life, and unevolved from bacteria to man.
    If you remember that dazzling translation sequence in the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life, these new animations provided updated versions showing more detail from recent discoveries.  The mechanism gets more and more marvelous with each new discovery.  This machine is well worth getting to know.  The article admits there are many questions still to be answered: for instance, how are the correct transfer-RNAs called into position so quickly?  We have barely begun probing the depths of design of these molecular factories.
    The answers to these and more questions will not come from Darwinian theory, which was not even mentioned in the article.  The future of molecular biology belongs to intelligent design.  Charlie, hand over the keys.  You’re fired.  What for?  Fraud, thinking such things could happen by a series of mistakes.  Dr. Paley, hello!  Nice to have you back.

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