11:22:40

Director's Introduction

The Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design, Dr Alastair Noble, introduces the Intelligent Design debate in this 4 minute video clip.

Dr Alastair Noble's introduction to ID

© Centre for Intelligent Design

How the Scientific Consensus can hinder Science

How the Scientific Consensus can hinder Science

This article seeks to discuss "Scientific consensus" as it is understood today and how, in the past, scientific consensus has had to undergo seismic shifts. Read more

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Dismissing Intelligent Design as 'Creationism' is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design. Read more

Was there a cause of the universe?

Was there a cause of the universe?

Cosmologists tell us that we now know a fair amount of detail about the conditions of the universe from the first split second, 13.7 billion years ago. Read more

The Fine Tuned Universe

The Fine Tuned Universe

The words ‘fine tuning of the universe’ have been around for quite a while and are greeted with bafflement, scepticism and wonder; in about equal proportions. What on earth (or in the universe) does it mean? Theoretical physicist Paul Davies calls it the ‘Goldilocks Enigma’.1 Is it real... Read more

University finds brain's complexity beyond belief

University finds brain's complexity beyond belief

RESEARCHERS  have found that a single human brain has more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! Read more

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Doubly designed?

Metamorphosis: the beauty and design of butterflies

Watch this 4' 22" video clip to explore the world of butterflies which, in the words of the commentary, are shown to be doubly designed!

Metamorphosis: The Beauty & Design of Butterflies

Academic Freedom

See the new menu item ACADEMIC FREEDOM. To quote from the lead in to the new page: ".... However, there is another key issue raised by ID.  It is the freedom of academics and science educators to explore and discuss the issues associated with ID.  The exploration of ID within science should not be dismissed as something it is not – a disguised religious position."

Press Release

The Centre for Intelligent Design on September 27th 2011 issued a press release and additional material relating to the call by Prof Richard Dawkins, Sir David Attenborough and others for a legal  ban on Creationism and Intelligent Design in Britain's schools. Click here for the Press Release page.

Meyer vs Fox on Premier Radio:

Is Intelligence allowed in Biological Science?

Don’t miss a most revealing debate on Premier Radio between Stephen Meyer, a leading proponent of Intelligent Design who directs the Centre for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, and Keith Fox, Professor of Biochemistry at Southampton University, who also chairs the UK Christians in Science network.

This programme was broadcast when Dr Meyer was in London recently for the Inaugural Lecture of the Centre for Intelligent Design, UK. That event focused on Dr Meyer’s recent book ‘Signature in the Cell’ – a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year - which claims to show that the DNA code is the product of intelligent mind, not naturalistic processes. Prof Fox disagrees strongly with ID, arguing instead that, given time, scientists should be able to work out a naturalistic explanation. The core of this debate is not just how life could have originated, but whether intelligent mind as a cause is allowed as an explanation in science. Click here to find the broadcast.
New research on protein folding demonstrates intelligent design

The journal Nature has just published a detailed and fascinating review about the way proteins in our bodies are helped by other proteins, known as chaperones, to become functional.[i]

Proteins are the most complex molecules in our bodies and are involved in virtually all biological processes. Our cells typically manufacture over 10,000 different proteins, synthesised on ribosomes as chains of up to several thousand amino acids.

For a protein to function it must fold to its ‘native state’ which is a complex three-dimensional structure.  If a protein fails to fold into its functional structure then it is not only without function but in many cases is actually toxic to the cell. It is thought that as we age, the systems for helping proper folding work less well, which is one of the reasons for the symptoms of ageing and some diseases.

The number of possible shapes that a protein can fold into is very high and folding reactions are very complex, involving the co-operation of many weak, non-covalent interactions. A high percentage of proteins do not fold automatically into the required shape and are at risk of aberrant folding and aggregation. As the abstract to this paper states: “To avoid these dangers, cells invest in a complex network of molecular chaperones, which are ingenious mechanisms to prevent aggregation and promote efficient folding.”

Not only do proteins require other proteins (chaperones) to fold properly, they also require chaperones constantly, after correct folding, to maintain their functional states. This is known as proteostasis.

There is also another whole system in the cell (involving more proteins) called the ‘ubiquitin-proteasome system’ which breaks down irreversibly misfolded and aggregated proteins for safe excretion.

There are a number of different classes of chaperones and one of these, the ‘HSP70’ system, is described in some detail in this review. Chaperones are described as multicomponent molecular machines that promote folding through ATP and cofactor-regulated binding and release cycles. HSP70 itself is a large and complex protein which interacts with partially folded proteins to promote precise and correct folding. It requires, at the same time, the assistance of other proteins such as HSP40 and ‘nucleotide-exchange factors’ (NEFs).

This is not the whole story either. Proteins that are still not properly folded are transported ‘downstream’ to another system of proteins: the chaperonins. These are large double-ring complexes that enclose one protein at a time in a sort of cage structure. Within this structure the protein folding is completed before the protein is released.

Those with biological training will want to read more detail in the review, in particular the signalling pathways involved and the way genes are turned on to produce the chaperonins when required.

The review in the journal Nature does not discuss the origins of these systems but we need to ask a question: how does all this fit with current evolutionary theory? One might think that such complex systems are confined to mammals or at least the higher orders of animals. This would be a mistake however, because chaperones and chaperonins are in bacteria and archaea also. Indeed it would seem that for any cell to function there needs to be not just proteins but, at the same time, these chaperone systems, which are absolutely essential for proper folding and maintenance of proteins. Without such systems, in place already, the cell will not function.

Now, as explained, these chaperone systems are themselves made of proteins which also require the assistance of chaperones to correctly fold and to maintain integrity once folded. Chaperones for chaperones in fact. The very simplest of cells that we know of have these systems in place.

Darwinian evolution requires step by step changes in molecular systems, with one step leading to another in a manner that is statistically reasonable to expect from selection of mutant strains. There is no Darwinian explanation however for the evolution of proteins which already have chaperone systems in place to ensure proper function.

This points very strongly to an intelligent origin of these ‘ingenious’ systems found in all of life.

Antony Latham, July 2011

[i] Hartl, F.U., Bracher, A,. Hayer-Hartl, M. Molecular chaperones in protein folding and proteostasis. Nature Vol 475. No. 7356. 324-331. (21July 2011).
 

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Prof Mike Behe UK Tour

Prof Mike Behe, Professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University, USA, toured the UK in November 2010.  He is author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. For one week he gave lectures and was a speaker at a day conference in Oxford. Click here for a report on the tour.

Full details of the tour and the day conference can be found at the associated website www.darwinordesign.org.uk.

Premier Radio interview

Mike Behe is adamant that the latest science proves Intelligent Design to be true. He recently spoke to Premier Radio presenter Justin Brierley, who will be hosting the London leg of the Darwin or Design tour on Monday November 22nd. Justin began by asking Behe how it feels to be labelled a "maverick" by the majority of the scientific community.

Hear Prof Mike Behe

Press comment

GUARDIAN - UK Centre for Intelligent Design claims it will focus on science, not religion



NATURE - Blogs - New intelligent design centre launches in Britain - September 24, 2010

Dr Noble says. "I would stress that we’re not targeting schools."