Proteins argue against evolution


Evolutionists seem to want to brush off discussion about the origin of the first life. They confess they don’t know how it could happen by natural processes but claim this “abiogenesis” isn’t part of evolution.

That’s odd, but let’s go with it and consider the case where eukaryotic life (i.e. other than bacteria and archaea) already exists. If man evolved from a simple organism, thousands of new genes with new information had to have been added to express (synthesize) all the new proteins our bodies need.

Proteins are long precise sequences of amino acid molecules. How would evolution add one gene for one protein? Was one amino acid added to the protein (or more precisely, one codon added to the gene) per mutation? Was a whole gene added at once? (Selected how, from where?) Was an existing gene duplicated and then just that gene heavily mutated? (If the whole genome is heavily mutated the organism would die.)

For discussion, let’s assume one random amino acid per mutation is added to a partial protein being evolved. (If this seems hokey, please suggest a plausible scenario.) Darwin required “numerous, successive, slight modifications” so the whole thing can’t jump together at once. What’s the probability of creating the particular needed protein?

There are 20 amino acids to choose from, so for a relatively small protein with only 100 amino acids, there are 20100 possible arrangements or permutations, or 10130. Only a handful of those permutations will work for any particular function. The probability that the right protein will be added is a small number in 10130.

Even if the universe were a trillion trillion trillion trillion years old with a non-stop trillion mutations (generations) per second, that would still be way, way, way too few for evolution to have produced even a single small protein.

I’m not exaggerating at all. A trillion is 1012 so this hypothetical universe could only produce 3x1067 mutations. Dividing by the 100 amino acids gives the number of complete proteins tried, which is infinitesimally small compared to the 10130 possibilities. The math is shocking but it shouldn’t be that tough to verify.

But it’s worse. Proteins don’t duplicate from proteins. Their code is stored in DNA which molecular machinery reads to express the gene and build the protein. So each new amino acid must be encoded in a three-nucleotide codon. So the probability is lower.

Some have argued that natural selection acts as a filter which significantly improves the probability. They claim incorrect sequences will get removed and the correct-but-incomplete proteins are kept. But that doesn’t work. Incomplete proteins don’t perform any valuable function, so there’s no mechanism for natural selection to determine if they’re correct or not.

This is my favorite argument that life was designed. You have to have a lot of blind faith in evolution to believe in it.

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Wow. I’m totally blown away by your knowledge. Are you a scientist? I am a fond follower of Michael Behe’s intelligent design theory but haven’t read anything updated by him in many years. Could you recommend reading material either by Michael Behe or other intelligent design scientists?

I have never believed in evolution in my adult life. As a teenager and young adult, I would hear people talk about evolution as though it was a fait accompli. However, as an education student in college some years later I came to realize that something just wasn’t right about the THEORY of evolution. As I continued my studies, I came to the knowledge that evolution was not just a false theory, but it wasn’t SCIENTIFIC at all. From then on, I began my own studies into the origins of life. I devoured everything I could find on anti-evolution including some very bizarre Christian writings. (I am a practicing Catholic, btw.) I came upon Michael Behe’s works and for the first time I felt like a real scientist finally had a scientific repudiation to the anecdotal ideology of evolutiom.

Given the astronomical numbers you’ve provided, how is it that so many scientists seem to ignore these and still stubbornly continue to adhere to this non-scientific theory?

When pondering the origins of life, one of Behe’s strongest arguments is his premise that if one part of an organism is missing or deformed, the organism will die: irreducible complexity. Case in point, the mousetrap and the bacterial flagellum needed for the organism to survive. I find his arguments to be compelling and worthy of consideration, yet his work is referred to in many scientific circles as pseudoscience. I just don’t get it.


I was most recently fascinated by Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed by Dr. Douglas Axe. It’s a little odd in that several chapters barely mentions biology but discusses more understandable examples like a robots and pixels in a picture. And when he discusses astronomical numbers, he doesn’t use scientific notation, but rather the numbers of lines of text or numbers of pages it takes to print the number. It’s very philosophical and requires some thought. Fascinating.

I pretty much believed in evolution, theistic evolution, maybe fait accompli for me too, until a few years ago when I read Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box. Like you, I found it absolutely fascinating. His logic is unimpeachable. Evolutionists who attack irreducible complexity (IC) never directly attack it. They first redefine it and then attack their strawman.

That’s a very good question. The theory of intelligent design (ID) doesn’t address who the designer is and doesn’t rely on the Bible at all. But atheists know that if evolution is shown to be false and that life was really designed, there’s really only one plausible choice for who the designer is, so they fight it. In fact when I discuss this, atheists always want to skip the science and go straight to the who. They figure that if they can connect ID to God, the science is invalidated. Do you see the logic? They reject the existence of God a priori, so any science that suggests there is a God MUST be false.

Actually, I think an awful lot of scientists in biological and medical sciences know very well that evolution can’t be true. But they don’t really have to take a stand. It’s easier to go along to get along.

Prior to a few decades ago, there really wasn’t much science that showed evolution to be wrong. It takes a long time to overturn an accepted paradigm.


I will definitely look up that book! What angers me is that children are expected to believe this nonsense as science without question. So, this error is perpetrated and continued in public schools and has done so for decades.

I think one of the reasons that some scientists are obsessed with finding life on other planets or that aliens exist (don’t know if they do or not and really don’t care) is to refute the idea that Earth is not unique to life. Therefore, life begins anywhere in any environment through evolutionary processes. I just laugh at evolutionist such as David Attenborough when he constantly claims that “…this reptile traded his scales for feathers.” And POOF! a lizard takes to the skies. His inference is that evolution is alive and breathing and living in every form of life guiding the organism to seek mutations for survival. I could just scream when he says those things! LOL!

Also, I can’t stand that Neil deGrasse Tyson. There’s no question he is a brilliant man, but he’s also totally nuts. There are a few flagellum loose in his brain.


Bravo! I can tell that you’ve put quite alot of thought into this. Forgive me in advance, as I probably won’t be able to respond quite as eloquently as you’ve stated things here, but I’ll do my best. B)

First, I’d like to coalesce the discussion around the proteins to three main points. Please do point out if you think I’m misstating something, or have left out something from you argument that was crucial. However, I’ve put the discussion on genes intentionally to the side for now.

  1. Proteins are long precise sequences of amino acid molecules. ( The Amino Acid chain neccesary for early life is highly specific.)

  2. With only 100 amino acids, there are 20^100 possible arrangements or permutations, or 10^130. (It would take too long for Evolution to find the right combination of Amino Acids)

  3. Proteins don’t duplicate from proteins.


  1. The Amino Acid chain neccesary for early life is highly specific.

The target we’re taking aim at is actually relativly wide, as lots of Protein combinations work, and amino acids can happily substitute for others. Charged amino acids can be swapped with other charged amino acids, neutral for other neutral amino acids and hydrophobic amino acids for other hydrophobic amino acids.

Some molecules can have close to 50% of their structure replaced this way, and operate just the same.

You can swap bacterial proteins for yeast proteins, and worm proteins for human proteins, with the organisms involved being none the wiser.

  1. It would take too long for Evolution to find the right combination of Amino Acids

The smallest proteins have far fewer than a 100 amino acids (the smallest are around 50 I believe), so “100” isn’t what we’re looking for as a catalyst for early life. The smallest of the peptides, an even simpler structure than proteins, has just two amino acids. But that admittedly won’t self-replicate.

It turns out that the smallest possible replicator peptide has 32 amino acids. Thus the chances of this kind of peptide generating, is 1 in 4.29 x 10^40 (the odds were probably better than this, as there were likely only 7 or 8 amino acids at the time, but I digress.)

That’s still a big number of course, but then we get back to the issue I brought up in the previous thread of simultaneous trials.

We’re not waiting for one set of amino acids to take 3.7 billion years to generate the self-replicating peptide molecule.

Instead, here’s how it breaks down:

If the oceans on early Earth had a volume of 1 x 10^24 litres, with an amino acid concentration of 1 x 10^-6 M (which is moderately dilute), there would be 1 x 10^50 potential starting amino acid chains.

Within a year of interacting, it’s likely the peptide would have formed. And not just one, but 1 x 10^31 peptides that makes a copy of itself from two 16 amino acid long subunits.

  1. Proteins don’t duplicate from proteins

Technically true, but there’s two things that should be mentioned.

For the moment, we’ve observed proteins propagate (so not wholly responsible) Template-assisted replication (here’s an example I found from someone else, stating that these are the proteins responsible for Mad Cow Disease).

Petptides meanwhile could very well have self-replicated completely on their own through what are called foldable polymers:

And this is what we’re in the middle of testing.

Thanks to the invention of artificial polymers called peptoids, we now having a means of testing proteins and peptides in ways we simply couldn’t before. The inability to properly synthesize proteins has been the biggest obstacle in our own experimentation to see if they could have been the starting point for life (giving RNA, which is easier to test, far more of the spotlight for the last 40 years).

As it stands, the scientists are essentially split between; (1) an RNA-only world, (2) a RNA-peptide hybrid, or (3) Peptides first, which lead to RNA later on. In the RNA realm, there’s already been tests to produce two of its four nucleotides, with very simple chemicals that would have been in abundance on the early Earth.

But regardless of which mechanism it was, in any of these scenarios, you’re still looking at starting structures with just 30-40 amino acids. Simple enough for things to occur, and begin the process of bootstrapping into higher forms.

And there’s quite a few intermediary steps, it’s not just peptides/RNA-> bacterium:

The creation of monomers via prebiotic synthesis
The formation of polymers from those monomers
The formation of a self-replicating molecule
The formation of cells to encapsulate those self-replicating molecules

(Scientists may have gotten RNA to do the last two steps, and form proto-cells. Things are still very much in the air.)


Science is science until its proven false. All of science is theory, without exception.

I think there’s also something I need point out here about the situation scientists face.

Evolutionary theory ranging from small organisms to complex forms is something that’s far more robust than theory on early proto-life, because of the fossilized record.

With fossils, we have a cheat-sheet for knowing how nature got from step a to b, c and d. But there are no fossils for the proto-forms. There’s no record for us to go off of, thus there’s a far wider range possibility we have to eliminate, before we can distill the right answers.

Using fossils is like staring at a blurry puzzle, with some of the pieces missing. Without fossils, it’s more like stumbling in the dark.

And it doesn’t help that, as I said above, that we didn’t develop the right tools to properly test proteins until quite recently.

Feathers actually served a purpose before they were utilized for flight. We know thanks to fossils, that dinosaurs had them before they could fly.

This is because evolution feels free to reuse things (a process called Co-opting) from previous development. And sometimes, that results in it making mistakes.

In a Giraffe, the nerves that control its voice box runs twice through its neck, wrapping around the aorta , resulting in a nerve line 15 feet long even though the brain is less than 1 ft away from where those signals need to be delivered.

As any computer nerd would tell you, that’s poor cable management.

The reason for it? The vocal nerves were co-opted from nerves meant to regulate gills when mammals were a sea-bound species. Even when the gills went away, and the head came forward, the nerves didn’t fully re-position themselves. They just got longer.

So today, all mammals are stuck with longer nerves than we need for our voice box. Even us. The giraffe is just uniquely troubled because of its long neck.

Thus, evolution is not the survival of the fittest, so much as the “good enough.”

But it’s because it wraps around the aorta, that we can also say, we’re all speaking from the heart. :vb-tongue:


In that Undeniable book, Axe talks about the theory that maybe it only mattered if an amino acid was a hydrophobe or a hydrophile. If that were the case, it would be much much easier for a natural process to develop a functioning protein. But after much experimentation, he found that no, just making a few substitutions broke his enzymes and made them non-functional.

Apparently the specific amino acids used and the length of the protein are very necessary to do the job it does. I know there are shorter proteins, but most are longer and you need the right one. We’ll never know what percentage of the possible permutations are useful because it’s impossible to express even a tiny fraction of them in the age of the universe. Simulating them with a bank of super duper supercomputers would have the same limitation.

I’m eager to dive in in more detail, but I can’t today.

BTW, I didn’t intend to make a major point of “proteins don’t duplicate from proteins.” It’s just that if I started with DNA, I would have to account for the fact that different amino acids are coded by a different number of codons in the genetic code. That would make any discussion of probabilities very messy and distracting. So I started directly with the protein and then just mentioned the DNA. The absurdly large number of permutations makes any complaint about relative probabilities moot.


OK, y’all are way too deep for me. I was thinking this could be a thread about mixing my creatine and protein to maximize strength gains.

Aside from that, interesting information. Very informative. I’m not big on the evolution vs creation argument as I don’t see them as mutually exclusive.

I think the obvious answer is that we were created from pond scum that was impregnated by aliens. :wink:


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That seems to be at odds with what Dr. Douglas Axe found in his lab back when he believed in evolution. He tried to prove this, that the needed amino acids didn’t have to be very specific. What he found, and published, was the opposite. A few changes break it.

But even if this is true. If 50 of the 100 amino acids in our protein test case could be replaced with a specific replacement, that’s 250 or 1015 possible protein permutations that would work. That’s still doesn’t change the probability appreciably as I initially laid it out with a trillion generations per second (or maybe 60 trillion simultaneous generations per minute)

Are we discussing abiogenesis here? That is, there are no organisms yet, no real life as we know it, and we’re trying to come up a scenario that produces the first one? It looks like it. That’s not the case I was addressing. I was addressing the case where eukaryotic organisms exist and are evolving a new protein. I took that as my starting point because some evolutionists I’ve communicated with confess they don’t understand how abiogenesis could have happened and they don’t want to talk about it. Others wave their hands wildly.

But, OK, if we go back to before life, then I take issue with there being amino acids throughout the oceans. I doubt that any amino acids were ever formed outside of life, but I’ll allow that it may have happened to a limited degree. But by what mechanism do you make enough to put some in every liter of the oceans? And not only simple glycine, but 7 or 8 of them? That’s a HUGE jump. That’s like casually mentioning we need to go to the moon to get some moon dust to complete our project.

Also, the setup seems like the whole ocean is working together in harmony to try to produce life. That seems teleological or directed. My example also sounds a little directed, but I was being generous to try to give evolution a chance.

Listen to the confidence in that article you referenced. “The first primitive life forms that developed on Earth around four billion years ago had little in common with today’s organisms.” No “maybe”, no “it is believed”, just an assertion.

And this: “And the first proteins that formed in the following few hundred million years to become essential elements of the living world also differed from those of today: …” Rather than start where scientists are making wild assumptions based on their religious belief that life evolved, I started at some point where some eukaryotic organism similar to today’s existed. I had to make lots of assumptions, but this way, at least we know it’s a plausible starting point.

The article also describes work they did where they changed just two of the 100 amino acids in a protein which gave “the protein a clear selective advantage.” If changing just two amino acids can make a big improvement, then surely changing just two others can be very deleterious. This reinforces my understanding that the sequences that work for a particular function are pretty narrowly specific.


Fossils? The problem with fossils is that the official evolutionist position seems to be that different lifeforms exist in fossils, therefore life evolved. QED

Fossils are circumstantial evidence at best. They prove organisms existed, and not much else. If we are comparing the theories of evolution and intelligent design, the latter wins hands down on the fossil evidence because of the lack of transitions and gross deformations. If evolution were true, most of life would have to be grossly deformed on the path toward perfection. Instead we see almost every organism is well designed.

Fossil position might give some hint of relative age, but the worldwide flood thoroughly screwed up the record, and evolutionists generally don’t even accept that the flood happened so they’re starting with a very distorted view.


For most of my life I held a view like that. I avoided it because people quickly get emotional over a topic I found boring. But then I read Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box and then started learning how life works. I find it captivating. Now it’s quite clear that the mechanism of evolution can’t work.


We’ve successfully done what I spoke of:

Early life was likely very generalized in its gene composition; the newer Amino acids meanwhile were likely distilled in order to make more specialized genes.

Modern genes may be more temperamental because of that specialization, but primordial ones wouldn’t have been. The worm, which basically represents a preserved anachronism of evolution going back several hundred million years, is the perfect example of that.

Turns out, you can create the precursors of ribonucleotides, amino acids and lipids with hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, and ultraviolet (UV) light. Thus, both peptides and RNA are given the building blocks they need to form a replicator molecule.

Where is the Hydrogen Cyanide and the Hydrogen Sulfide coming from? Comets. They were bombarding the Earth in its early history (not an unusual thing for planets), so it was in abundant supply.

No more so than mechanical forces conspired to produce the same hexagonal shape we see in the Giant’s causeway, on the poles of Saturn. Nature has order, and natural selection isn’t truly random; it has ways of reducing error.

Partly by putting it’s work in parallel; not simply relying on sequential evolutionary innovations.

If you chanced down further into the article, you may have noticed where they mentioned that there actually can be as many as 64 amino acids, and nature has already produced two others on top of the original 20. There is a process to make them, and nature has decided that it isn’t done.


Fossils don’t just show different lifeforms but patterns ; audit trails you can follow along, to see how different innovations came to be.

For instance, this here is a story about a fish, with bony arms. The things about these arms, is that they have the same number of bones, laid out in the same arrangement, as primates; and even have similar joint construction.

It is not self-evident that arms would be built this way. There are other sorts of arms in the world, but the similarities in this one (and the timing of its arisal) suggest that it’s a precursor to what primates would later have.

On top of this, is what the video later discusses on genes forming the human hand during embryogenesis.

The fact that we see (briefly) the forms of our precursors in the human embryo as it develops, further establishes the link that fossils point out to us. Parts of our precursors were baked into us, and the thumbprints of their contribution to our design are still there, after all this time.


I find it amazing that so many scientists are atheists.


Gregor Mendel was a Catholic Monk, who uncovered genetic theory.

A priest by the name of Georges Lemaître proved Einstein himself wrong by theorizing & uncovering evidence of the Big Bang.

Saying nature creates, is in no way a rejection of God. No more so than pointing out how mechanical forces produce stars.


It didn’t used to be the case; most major scientific discoveries were made by Christians. I don’t know why so many of them devolved into atheists (I don’t mean that happened to any individual, but that more of the genre began to think that they were too “smart” to believe in God).


Uh, no. Science is science until it’s proven false is a false statement. Theories have to be proved true by the scientific method. If they are not proven true, then they are not theories anymore but just false guesses.


This is exactly how it works.

A theory remains, until evidence surmounts to disprove it. That is part & parcel to the definition Karl Popper gave to all of this over 70 years ago.

And evolution has been proven true. We find Mammoth DNA in Elephants, and T-Rex DNA in chickens.

There’s only one explanation for that.

Additionally, we now have CRISPR; a technology that takes advantage of evolution’s own mechanisms, to re-write genetic code, and makes animals take on aspects of their precursors.

Anyone who understands what it does, and how it does it, knows that its existence can only be possible thanks to Evolution.


BS. We don’t HAVE any “T-Rex DNA” to use as a basis for comparison. You conveniently forget that FROGS SHARE some of human DNA. That doesn’t mean that frogs and men are somehow related in evolutionary terms. It also doesn’t mean that chimps are human precursors because they share some DNA.

We don’t need to “disprove” theories for them to BE false. They either ARE or they AREN’T true…period.