Biologists are trying to determine which direction ATP transport occurred in the evolutionary precursors to mitochondria. Is this problematic or not?
Biologists doing research to answer questions is not a problem. It’s the entire point of doing science.
Scientists embrace the idea of questioning long held ideas. I tend to think that is a strength, not the weakness that Reasons.org would make it out to be. If scientists said that all of our previous ideas dealing with the origin of mitochondria were wrong that would be extremely exciting. This would open up all new avenues of research.
It already has of course. The origin of mitochondria and the selective pressures that drove endosymbiosis is very much a hot topic. One frequently mentioned issue is how, often times, models are driven by limited data. Data which have previously, numerous times, suffered from artifacts of poor sampling diversity. Particularly the archaeal clade has been historically undersampled, but this is an area that sees a lot of change now with new technologies for sequencing.
I found the article very disappointing—not in its description of the scientists’ search for better explanations but for its use of a well-worn creationist trope that culminates in this final paragraph:
In light of this uncertainty, can the origin of mitochondria, and hence eukaryotic cells, be better explained by a creation model? I think so, but for many scientists this is a road less traveled.
It is an old script: Explain to the layperson audience that scientists investigate many mysteries and they don’t currently have every answer to every question. It is the popular tactic of saying, “Science doesn’t know everything. Therefore, they are prone to be wrong.” Predictably, the final paragraph implies that “a creation model” provides the answers. Of course, this is not all that more sophisticated than the old creation science explanation that “X was poofed into existence by divine fiat. Question answered.” Obviously, Rana doesn’t actually say that—after all, he merely poses a question, right?—but I know lots of people who would read the article that way: “Those silly evolutionist biologists are so confused! They should simply accept Biblical creation and then all of these problems go away.”