It’s Not About ScienceThinking about taking CHY 431—Structure and Mechanism in Biological Chemistry next semester at the University of Maine? If so you likely will be fed junk evolutionary science like this page:
The page compares the amino acid sequences from the protein cytochrome c across 38 different species. A few of the residues are conserved across all 38 species. For example, position 10 consistently has the amino acid phenylalanine. And what’s the conclusion? That “Clearly, evolution selects against any change at these positions.”
Actually this evolutionary reasoning has long since been demonstrated to be false with another, even more highly conserved protein—histone IV. If this was about science then students would at least learn what the observations, rather than the dogma, have to say.
Furthermore, the idea that the cytochrome c proteins from all of these species (from cows and ducks to yeast, fungus and bacteria) are related via common descent means that evolution must have created cytochrome c very early in evolutionary history. Certainly earlier than the advent of the electron transport chain (ETC) for which cytochrome c plays an important role. In other words, random mutations somehow created cytochrome c (a feat which itself has no scientific explanation), and then eons later the protein just happened to fit in with one of the most fantastic inventions in all of biology.
The serendipity is astonishing.
Later the page discusses the cytochrome c sequence positions that are highly variable. Here the student is told that “evolutionary drift randomizes these residues.” This is unfortunately yet more evolutionary dogma. In fact there is no scientific evidence that these residues have been “randomized.” That notion comes from the belief that evolution is true, in spite of the science. It may be true that those positions are neutral with respect to function and so can be “randomized,” but that is hardly obvious. Evolution has a long history of claiming structures are random and useless junk, only later to be corrected by scientific findings of function.
Finally the page compares the evolutionary tree based on the cytochrome c protein sequences with the traditional evolutionary tree and makes the ridiculously false claim that “Such trees tend to agree closely with those constructed by evolutionary biologists using morphological data, and provide independent evidence of common descent.”
In fact such trees often do not agree closely with trees based on morphological data. The differences are so significant that they cannot be explained merely as evolutionary “noise.” Therefore by modus tollens, according to the page’s own logic, the science falsifies common descent. No sense in telling the students about that though.
Religion drives science, and it matters.