June 20, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

Error Correction: Simplistic Darwinism Misses the Point

Darwine addiction reduces the
reasoning ability of scientists
and creates tunnel vision


Today’s episode of Darwin Looney Tunes is a doozy. Because evolutionary biologists envision Natural Selection with godlike powers, they are not fazed in the slightest by observations that shout intelligent design. ‘Error correction? It evolved. In fact, the original versions were faster and more accurate,’ these evolutionary biologists will claim. “It’s sort of a free lunch,” one will say. No kidding.

A normal reaction from a sober human being would look more like the “Wow!” icon: raised eyebrows, open mouth, a look of astonishment, incredulity, disbelief, awe, wonder, maybe even worship of a Creator who could make such a thing. Error correction? In a tiny cell? In the tiny nucleus of a cell? That’s incredible!

To a simple-minded Darwinist, though, ‘it evolved.’ It just evolved. Stuff Happens. Charles Darwin (pause and chant: may his memory be forever blessed) gave us “understanding” of such things.

A surprisingly quick enzyme could shift our understanding of evolution (New Scientist, 1o June 2024). Someone should have leaned over and whispered in the ear of reporter Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, suggesting she might want to rethink what she is about to write:

By trying to speed up, molecular processes can become more reliable – a phenomenon that may have helped life evolve from relatively simple chemicals. Understanding how speed plays a role in cellular replication could add a crucial variable to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, in which natural selection drives reproductive success.

She’s describing an irreducibly complex molecular machine that zips along a DNA molecule and corrects mistakes—a proofreading machine. To imagine that evolving from “relatively simple chemicals” by blind chance: well, there is not a big enough font to spell SIMPLISTIC for that notion.

Critique of her statement: Natural selection is not a driver; it’s a post-hoc rationalization, a narrative gloss smeared on an observation. It cannot play roles or help anything. It doesn’t care if a process becomes more reliable. Being impersonal, it is incapable of caring! Extinction is always an easier option for natural selection, because there is no Selector to care. One must think beyond the simplistic claims of the Darwinist, using their own theory against them.

If her first paragraph comes under attack, she can just toss the hot potato to some PhD evolutionary biologists to handle.

The finding comes from Kabir Husain at University College London, Riccardo Ravasio at the University of Chicago and their colleagues, who were frustrated by an experiment that defied their intuition. They were studying an enzyme called DNA polymerase, which helps copy strands of DNA, keeping track of how fast it worked and the number of mutations that arose from its errors.

They found that different versions of the enzyme didn’t always work at the same speed, but those that copied most quickly also made the fewest errors. This was completely counter to what they expected – they had assumed that enzymes that are more accurate would be slower since it takes time for them to “proofread” and correct errors, just as it takes time for people to do this.

Behold; we see a fast, accurate proofreading machine. It must have evolved! Isn’t science wonderful.

Well, their evolutionary model works in the computer. It must be a fact, therefore, that blind, unguided, aimless, purposeless processes hit on accurate proofreading by mistake—by chance.

The finding shows that the systems evolve the right structure just by naturally aiming to grow quickly, without a “sense of a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ output”, says Suraj Shankar at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the research.

“It’s sort of a free lunch, you get some order, and it speeds you up,” says co-author Arvind Murugan at the University of Chicago.

Goofy knows something is wrong here. Even he knows there is no such thing as a free lunch. He knows, because he read No Free Lunch by William Dembski, an explication of the “no free lunch theorems” by mathematicians. One cannot get information for free without sneaking it in the back door. The genome is a treasure store of complex, specified information (the hallmark of intelligent design), and proofreading shows that accuracy in its sequence is essential for the function of preserving information from degradation.

Another Example of Simplistic Thinking

To show that we are not picking on one article, here’s a paper in Nature Communications that came out on June 18: “Structural basis for an early stage of the photosystem II repair cycle in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii” by seven Chinese scientists. Notice how dismissively they describe a multi-part repair system by saying it evolved:

To restore the function of PSII upon damage, oxygenic phototrophs have evolved a highly sophisticated process known as the PSII repair cycle. The cycle is fairly conserved in various oxygenic photosynthetic organisms from cyanobacteria to higher plants. In green algae and higher plants, the PSII repair cycle may include the following steps: a) dissociation of LHCII from PSII-LHCII supercomplex (PSII-SC), b) degradation of the damaged D1 apoprotein, c) regeneration of the D1 subunit, and d) reassembly of PSII-SC. More than 60 auxiliary factors were reported to be involved in PSII repair cycle and de novo assembly, suggesting that the process may involve a highly complex and dynamic system with multiple intermediate states.

Do they explain how pre-autotrophs evolved this multi-intermediate-state repair cycle by chance mutations? No. Do they explain why this cycle is “fairly conserved” (i.e., unevolved) from bacteria to higher plants, despite millions of years of “selective pressure” on all organisms? No. Do they mention natural selection or explain how, without foresight or design, it “gave rise to” this sophisticated process? No. Do they stand in awe of the design of this “highly sophisticated process” with more than 60 auxiliary factors? No. Do they relegate this awesome wonder to the simplistic explanation, “it evolved”? You just read so yourself.

For relief from the pain of watching evolutionary biologists foist such simplistic nonsense on the public without criticism, please watch the new video from the Discovery Institute’s Long Story Short series on the Origin of Life, Part 8. It just came out today. It’s about “Recognition, Recycling, and Repair” in the cell’s genome. Yes, the style is cartoony and somewhat goofy, but sometimes goofy is smarter than eggheads in academia who believe in the Stuff Happens Law. Actually, no matter the style, this short video has a lot better science in it (and logic, too). The content is reviewed by five PhDs in science.

If you wish, you can watch instead a more formal video about this by tenured biochemist Michael Behe from his Secrets of the Cell series. Here at CEH, you can read Dr Jerry Bergman’s article about DNA repair (14 June 2023), and search on “DNA repair” in our search bar for many past articles about it. Sunlight on this key topic is the best disinfectant against simplistic explanations.

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