From Evolution News.
Excerpt: (links removed)
While intelligent design research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications. New publications continue to appear, now listed at our updated page.
The current boom goes back to 2004, when Discovery Institute senior fellow Stephen Meyer published a groundbreaking paper advocating ID in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. There are multiple hubs of ID-related research.
Biologic Institute, led by molecular biologists Doug Axe and Ann Gauger, is “developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology.” Biologic conducts laboratory and theoretical research on the origin and role of information in biology, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, and methods of detecting design in nature. That’s Dr. Gauger at the Biologic lab pictured above.
Another ID research group is the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, founded by senior Discovery Institute fellow William Dembski along with Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Their lab has attracted graduate-student researchers and published multiple peer-reviewed articles in technical science and engineering journals showing that computer programming “points to the need for an ultimate information source qua intelligent designer.”
Other pro-ID scientists around the world are publishing peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific papers. These include biologist Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin Superior, Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig who recently retired from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.
Researchers have published their work in a variety of relevant technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books from mainstream university presses, trade-press books, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books.
These papers have appeared in scientific journals such as Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Quarterly Review of Biology, Cell Biology International, Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, Physics of Life Reviews, Annual Review of Genetics, and many others. At the same time, pro-ID scientists have presented their research at conferences worldwide in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science.
This body of research is converging on a consensus: complex biological features cannot arise by unguided Darwinian mechanisms, but require an intelligent cause.
My favorite area of ID research is the area of protein formation. I like to read about the research done by Doug Axe and Ann Gauger in that area. Research performed by Doug Axe at Cambridge University, and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Molecular Biology, has shown that the number of functional amino acid sequences (ones that can form functioning proteins) is tiny:
Doug Axe’s research likewise studies genes that it turns out show great evidence of design. Axe studied the sensitivities of protein function to mutations. In these “mutational sensitivity” tests, Dr. Axe mutated certain amino acids in various proteins, or studied the differences between similar proteins, to see how mutations or changes affected their ability to function properly. He found that protein function was highly sensitive to mutation, and that proteins are not very tolerant to changes in their amino acid sequences. In other words, when you mutate, tweak, or change these proteins slightly, they stopped working. In one of his papers, he thus concludes that “functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences,” and that functional protein folds “may be as low as 1 in 10^77.”
The problem of forming DNA by sequencing nucleotides faces similar difficulties. And remember, mutation and selection cannot explain the origin of the first sequence, because mutation and selection require replication, which does not exist until that first living cell is already in place. I think that this very valuable research, indeed.
You can read more about the problem of protein synthesis in this previous post.