Feedback archiveFeedback 2020

Molecular motors show incredible design

Warwick and Pam G. wrote:

A friend sent this [a 40-minute YouTube video by Dr Ron Vale, University of California, San Francisco, on the mechanism of motility of the dynein molecular motor] to me just now. After reading some Creation Ministries articles on the ‘molecular motor’, I wondered if this particular detailed lecture had come into your purview. The lecturer is overt about considering evolution as the mechanism and ‘chance’ therefore as its ‘creator’.

Dr Don Batten responds:

Dear Warwick and Pam,

We don’t normally watch YouTube videos that folk send in; they are usually a total waste of time, with zealots who know very little science strutting their ignorance.

However, I had a quick look at the beginning of this one and ended up watching the whole lot, because this is informative, by an expert in molecular motors, or at least the dynein type.

I have trouble understanding how anyone could watch this and think that it supports the belief that mutations and natural selection could produce such motors. The video is full of evidence for incredible intelligent design! Perhaps your friend thinks that because a scientist knowledgeable in this area says that he believes in the evolution of these motors that this somehow ‘proves the point’. This is an argument from authority, and it is not a valid argument unless he can explain how the motors evolved.

The brief assertions about supposed evolutionary relationship of the components that make up dynein and kinesin are swamped by the sheer evidence of brilliant and stupendously complex design! And please note that because two things share some similarities does not prove that one was derived (evolved) from the other, or from some common ancestor (see Are look-alikes related?). Indeed, it is more consistent with the evidence to attribute the common elements to a common designer, just as a good engineer will re-use a good design concept in a new machine.

Nowhere does the video explain how dynein came about by an evolutionary process. The evolutionary claims amount to nothing more than hand waving. Indeed, the video is peppered with statements like “complex”, “difficult to study”, “poorly understood” (because it is so complex), “seems”, “maybe”, “not completely understood”, “tremendous number of unknown questions”, “many parts of the model are speculative”, “how more complicated a motor domain that it is” (compared to kinesin, which is in itself incredibly complex), etc. The comparison of kinesin and dynein shows the huge difference.

Very clever scientists have been working for decades on understanding these things, and they are still scratching around to fully understand how they work, and yet ‘it evolved’. Really? This is a statement of incredibly blind materialistic ‘faith’, not a conclusion from the science, which flies in the face of such evolutionary belief.

Note that the ATPase domains (1…5) in dynein are quite different. The only similarity is basically the part that hydrolyses ATP to ADP (releasing energy). Each one has a different function in the motor (some that are understood to some extent are explained). And it is clear that all the different components are all necessary for it to work.

Dr Vale states that mutations in domain #1 ruin the dynein functionality. That gives the game away. If the domain is sensitive to mutational degradation, how could it evolve from something else?

But there are many other things that are glossed over. For example, the cargo, which is a bag (‘vesicle’) of proteins or peptides (short proteins). This is mentioned in passing, that its means of attachment to the dynein is not known. But what would be the point of having kinesin or dynein linear motors moving around microtubules unless they were doing something useful for the cell? They would be using energy for no benefit, which would be a detriment to the cell; thus ‘evolution’ would be stopped in its tracks! For example, the cargo needs to be taken to its target destination, not just anywhere. So, proteins are manufactured with ‘address labels’ that specify their destination. These are ‘read’ by the cell (the Golgi apparatus is involved, and has been likened to a cell’s post office), and ones with the same destination are packaged together for delivery by the kinesin or dynein linear motors moving on the microtubule ‘roads’ in the cell. The whole system has to be functioning together for it to be of any use.

By Caleb Salisburycartoon

Kinesins and dyneins are also necessary for cell division (moving the chromosomes around, for example).

Dyneins are also responsible for the movement of cilia, which are tiny hair-like protrusions from cell walls that line lungs, uterus, etc. In the lungs they move debris trapped in mucous outwards. In the uterus, they help sperm move towards the egg to be fertilized.

These systems scream at us that they were designed by an incredibly intelligent, creative engineer who is far above us in ability.

Thank you for sharing this video; it reinforces to me that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”!

Kind regards,

Don Batten

Published: 5 September 2020

Helpful Resources

Inspiration from Creation
by Professor Stuart Burgess & Dominic Statham
US $14.00
Soft cover