An article at Phys.org claims that researchers have identified a common ancestral gene that enabled the evolution of life.
Articles like this are great at promoting evolution as plausible, but upon closer review, there’s nothing extraordinary; it’s simply story-telling.
To begin with, the study is met with uncertainty, as it should be. The title itself proclaims “Without ancestral gene life on Earth might not have evolved beyond slime”. So we can see that the researchers aren’t positive that this is the case because, even though they think this might have happened, the reality is that it might not have happened. In order for this to be the case, we must assume that Darwinian evolution is even possible.
So what do we really know about this “ancestral gene”? Well, the article explains that the gene is found in all complex organisms, such as plants, animals and mushrooms, and encodes for protein kinases- a group of enzymes allowing for larger cells and the rapid transfer of information from one part of the cell to another. This allows cells to unite and form complex systems, paving the way for all the different forms of life we observe today.
But how do researchers know that this ancestral gene came from a common ancestor? They say it’s because their genes are so similar. It turns out that about 500 genes sequenced in humans for different protein kinases all have similar blueprints, but is missing from bacteria.
In evolutionary terms, similarity is considered evidence for evolution- except when it isn’t. In some cases, we observe similarities between organisms, even though they’re not directly related, and it’s credited to convergent evolution, meaning that those organisms independently evolved similarities through different avenues to cope with their environment. Bats and dolphins, for example, have about 200 similarities in their sonars, yet they’re not considered to have followed the same evolutionary path.
But because humans have similar protein kinases, this is considered evidence of evolution. Steven Pelech, a professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, said, “Our new research revealed that the gene probably originated from bacteria for facilitating the synthesis of proteins and then mutated to acquire completely new functions.”
This assumed probability stems from a prior commitment to evolution, not from the ability to piece together what happened in the distant past. It’s a belief system or worldview that paves the way for advancing evolutionary ideas. What they’re proclaiming isn’t based on reality, but what they believe happened long ago. No one observed these genes mutating to acquire completely new functions, yet they assume this must have happened because all complex organisms have this gene. It’s circular reasoning. No experiment can verify their claims, so it must be believed by faith.
I think it’s more likely that God created complex life with similar genes and functions so that organisms would be able to survive and thrive in various environments. I don’t think the answer is as complex as its made out to be. Either God created life as he revealed in Genesis, or evolution did it. I think it’s appropriate to give credit to God for his creative plan.