Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 Harnessing the power of evolution

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is being awarded to Frances H. Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes” and jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.”

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Doug Axe comments on 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


Axe’s response reminds me of one of the 10 laws of Creationism:

  1. The Law of Reproducible Results : Anything found in nature was Designed, unless it can be reproduced in the lab. Corollary: Anything intentionally done in a lab is not natural; it’s a purposeful result. Therefore, all lab results are evidence of Intelligent Design.

It seems that cancer might get around both objections. Interesting. I’m curious to see how this plays out: Computing the Functional Information in Cancer.

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One of the great applications of phage display is for screening random combinatorial polypeptide libraries for some sort of function. ID theory says that this would be a pointless exercise, since it is technically impossible to screen enough individual phage to come close to approaching the numbers needed to identify, say, a protein binding site (one CCC, about 10^20 phage needed, according to Behe), or something with a modicum of enzyme activity (many orders of magnitude more phage needed, if one believes Axe’s work).

But it works. Quite nicely, in fact. And the approach is within the capabilities of even someone who “has nowhere near the experience in the field as Axe’s JMB reviewers.”. Studies such as this pretty clearly contradict the ID party line regarding the rarity of functional sequences in sequence space.

I am one person who is very grateful for the development of phage display.


Jerry Coyne hammers Axe on 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

I have no words. I’ll just tell you what reader Denis wrote when he sent me this link from Evolution News (an Intelligent-Design site), written by the always amusing and deeply benighted Michael Egnor. Denis’s comment:

“Have you seen this preposterous piece of dishonesty posted on Evolution News ?”

Yep, here it is, as preposterous and dishonest as touted. (Click on the screenshot.)

Coyne says it different than I would, but he is correct.

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Unfortunately, this is what we have come to expect from ENV.

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In the interests of fairness, here is the EVN commenting on Coyne’s comments

That article is pretty bad. Egnor goes so far as to credit Behe for the Nobel. This is really nonsense.


Trying to claim “It’s ID!” for the scientific work of others is pretty much all the DI does. The author of that latest dreck isn’t known as “Egnorance” for nothing.

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To me, that raises far more questions than it answers, the first two being:

Why didn’t an ID enthusiast do the work?

Why won’t any of the alleged ID scientists use this work to build their own research upon?