Michael Behe, in his October 2005 testimony in support of Intelligent Design as science, confidently stated under oath that there is no research on molecular evolution published in scientific journals. Here are his own words as recorded on Page 20 of the court transcript (PDF) (italics mine):
“Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority. There is no publication in the scientific literature, in prestigious journals, speciality journals, or books that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations. Since no one knows molecular evolution by direct experience, and since there is no authority on which to base claims of knowledge, it can truly be said that… the assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.”
Is it flat-out perjury or is it just wilfully blind stupidity? I am not a scientist. Unlike Behe, I don’t have access to any academic Web subscriptions for research results. But my quick Web search gives the lie to his statement. It’s ignorance squared, first of the history of molecular evolution research and then of the results. Out in the real world of science:
He could read about the science and history of Molecular Evolution:
- Perspectives on Molecular Evolution (from MIT’s Web pages on the History of Recent Science and Technology): “Beginning in the 1960s, evolutionary biology was significantly transformed by the incorporation of ideas and techniques from molecular biology. This led to many novel views (and as many controversies) about phylogenetic relationships, rates and mechanisms of evolutionary change, and standards of inference and hypothesis testing.”
- Michael R. Dietrich’s article, The Origins of the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution, in the Journal of the History of Biology, 27 (1994), 21-59. “The first major conferences on molecular evolution were held in 1964.” (PDF)
|Molecular evolution of the Chlamydiaceae —Bush and Everett 51 in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, Vol 51, 203-220, Copyright © 2001 by Society for General Microbiology|
|Regional and accelerated molecular evolution in group I snake venom gland phospholipase A2 isozymes–Chuman Y, Nobuhisa, et al. in the Toxicon 2000 Mar;38(3):449-62, Copyright © 2000 by International Society on Toxinology|
He could find more scientific papers about molecular evolution in any of these journals:
|Journal of Molecular Evolution (published for 30 years, 8 of them available online). The Journal of Molecular Evolution (JME) covers experimental and theoretical work aimed at deciphering features of molecular evolution and the processes bearing on these features, from the initial formation of macromolecular systems onward. Topics addressed in the Journal include the evolution of informational macromolecules and their relation to more complex levels of biological organization, up to populations and taxa. This coverage accommodates well such subfields as comparative structural and functional genomics, population genetics, the molecular evolution of development, the evolution of gene regulation and gene interaction networks, and in vitro evolution of DNA and RNA.|
|Molecular Biology and Evolution, founded in 1984, publishes research at the interface between molecular and evolutionary biology. The journal publishes investigations of molecular evolutionary patterns and processes, tests of evolutionary hypotheses that use molecular data, and studies that use molecular evolutionary information to address questions about biological function at all levels of organization. Reports of work on comparative and evolutionary genomics and the evolution of molecular structure and function are particularly welcome. It is published by the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, an international society of molecular evolutionists.|
|Genetics publishes contributions that present the results of original research in genetics and related scientific disciplines.|
|Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) publishes the results of leading edge research into physical, chemical, biochemical and biological aspects of nucleic acids and proteins involved in nucleic acid metabolism or interactions… under the following categories: chemistry, computational biology, genomics, molecular biology, nucleic acid enzymes, RNA and structural biology…. The first issue of each year is devoted to biological databases, and an issue in July is devoted to papers describing web-based software resources of value to the biological community. NAR Methods Online provides a forum for the online publication of methods papers.|
|Applied and Environmental Microbiology publishes a substantial share of the most significant current research in the areas of biotechnology, microbial ecology, food microbiology, and industrial microbiology. Sections include “Genetics and Molecular Biology” and “Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology.”|
|Journal of Virology is a source of broad-based, high-quality, original research concerning viruses.The journal provides fundamental new information obtained in studies using cross-disciplinary approaches of biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, genetics, immunology, molecular biology, morphology, physiology, and pathogenesis and immunity. Sections include “Recombination and Evolution.”|
|Mathematical Medicine and Biology publishes original articles with a significant mathematical content addressing topics in medicine and biology. Papers exploiting modern developments in applied mathematics are particularly welcome.The biomedical relevance of mathematical models should be demonstrated clearly and validation by comparison against experiment is strongly encouraged.|
|Bioinformatics publishes the highest quality scientific papers and review articles of interest to academic and industrial researchers.
Its main focus is on new developments in genome bioinformatics and computational biology.
|Protein Science is dedicated to research on all scientific aspects of protein molecules. The journal publishes papers by leading scientists from all over the world that report advances in the understanding of proteins in the broadest sense.|
|Glycobiology provides a unique forum dedicated to research into the biological functions of glycans, including glycoproteins, glycolipids, proteoglycans and free oligosaccharides, and on proteins that specifically interact with glycans (including lectins, glycosyltransferases, and glycosidases).|
|FEBS Journal is an international journal devoted to the rapid publication of full-length papers describing original research in all areas of the molecular life sciences, including the subdiscipline of “Molecular evolution.” Preference is given to papers that advance new concepts or develop new experimental techniques. It is published by The Federation of European Biochemical Societies.|
|Journal of Molecular Endocrinology provides a wide coverage of research in all aspects of endocrinology. It is in the top ranks of global endocrine journals and publishes high quality, leading-edge research from all over the world.|
|Physiological Genomics publishes results of a wide variety of studies from human and from informative model systems with techniques linking genes and pathways to physiology, from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. The Journal encourages the submission of research that links genes to cell replication, development, metabolic function, cell signal transduction and intracellular signaling pathways, tissue and organ function, and whole organism function.
Physiological Genomics encourages the utilization of approaches ranging from expression profiling, assays for molecular interactions, natural and directed gene alteration, selective breeding studies, gene identification, and the assessment of gene/environment interaction.
The Journal welcomes important new technologies and concepts that enhance the study of functional genomics. The Journal encourages publication of new computational approaches, integrative models, and image analysis predictive of gene function.
|PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.) is one of the world’s most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. Since its establishment in 1914, it continues to publish cutting-edge research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers, and actions of the Academy. Coverage in PNAS spans the biological, physical, and social sciences. It is published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.|
|Annals of Botany is an international plant science journal with at least one extra issue each year that focuses on a particular theme in plant biology. Areas of plant science include those applying molecular, analytical, mathematical and statistical techniques to examine topical questions at any level of biological organization ranging from cell to community, from tissue culture to crop production, and from microclimate to ecosystem. Its scope extends to all flowering and non-flowering taxa, and to taxonomic and evolutionary questions particularly when these are addressed using molecular tools. The journal is managed by the Annals of Botany Company, a not-for-profit educational charity established to promote plant science worldwide.|
|The Biological Bulletin publishes outstanding experimental research on a wide range of organisms and biological topics from the fields of Neurobiology and Behavior, Physiology and Biomechanics, Ecology and Evolution, Development and Reproduction, Cell Biology, Symbiosis, and Systematics. Published since 1897 by the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, The Biological Bulletin is one of America’s oldest peer-reviewed scientific journals.|
|The FASEB Journal is a multi-disciplinary resource for the life sciences published by The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.|
|Journal of Clinical Microbiology publishes the most current research on the microbiological aspects of human and animal infections and infestations, with emphasis on their etiologic agents, diagnosis, and epidemiology. It is published by the American Society for Microbiology. Its Epidemiology section includes papers on molecular evolution. Sample paper from the current (Oct. 2005) issue:|
|Human Molecular Genetics. concentrates on full-length research papers covering a wide range of topics in all aspects of human molecular genetics. These include the molecular basis of human genetic disease, developmental genetics, cancer genetics, neurogenetics, chromosome and genome structure and function, gene therapy, mouse and other models of human diseases, functional genomics, and computational genomics. HMG also publishes research on other model systems for the analysis of genes, especially when there is an obvious relevance to human genetics.|
|Journal of Biological Chemistry. JBC publishes more than 55,000 pages per year of original research reports on biochemistry and molecular biology. It is published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.|
|Journal of Bacteriology, established in 1916, keeps pace with the times by advancing and disseminating fundamental knowledge of bacteria and other microorganisms. Sample paper from the current issue:|
|Journal of Biochemistry. It is published by the Japanese Biochemical Society.|
|Biophysical Journal. It is published by the Biophysical Society. Sample paper from the current issue:|
|QJM (QJM: An International Journal of Medicine) focuses on internal medicine. It publishes articles in clinical medicine and in molecular/cell science relevant to medicine. Sample article:|
|Protein Engineering Design and Selection (formerly Protein Engineering). Sample paper from the current issue:
|Journal of General Virology includes topics on all aspects of animal, plant, insect, bacterial and fungal viruses, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, molecular biology and immunology, virus–host interactions, and antiviral compounds. It is published by the Society for General Microbiology. Sample paper from the current issue:
|Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews is the definitive, broad-based review journal in the disciplines of microbiology, immunology, and molecular and cellular biology, keeping readers abreast of the latest findings about bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and other higher eukaryotes. It is published by the American Society for Microbiology.|
|Nature. This journal was founded by, among others, Charles Darwin. Sample paper:|
He could visit or join any of these organizations:
- Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, an international society of molecular evolutionists.
- International Society of Molecular Evolution
- Alan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution
- constituent societies of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
- The Center for Comparative Functional Genomics at New York University
He can attend meetings and conferences on Molecular Evolution:
- Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2005 or Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2006
- Foundations of Genetic Algorithms Conference 2005 (proceedings available for purchase in book form)
- Moscow Conference on Computational Molecular Biology (MCCMB’05)
- 47th Maize Genetics Conference
- regular, four-state Regional Molecular Evolution Meetings. which bring together molecular evolutionists from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to discuss their research and share ideas.
- 2006 Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Evolution (1996), (1998), (1999), (2002), (2004)
- Population Genetics/Molecular Evolution Journal Club at Berkeley
He could find and read books about it:
- classic texts on evolution, including some of the classic papers on Molecular Evolution
- Mark Ridley’s Evolution, a standard text for first-year biology with extensive coverage of molecular evolution.
He could keep up with regular science news, which frequently covers evolution, biochemistry, and genome discoveries:
- Science Daily
- Scientific American
- Discover magazine
- Science News online
- Quarterly Review of Biology
- New Scientist magazine
There are literally dozens more links that I could add, to
- university departments,
- peer-reviewed research papers,
- scientific organizations,
- university courses, and
- more journals.
But my typing fingers are getting tired. Whom are you going to believe? Michael Behe, with his flat statement that there is no research on molecular evolution? Or hundreds, thousands, of workers in the search for a real and complex truth? There’s one good thing about it: it was a Behe blunder of great importance in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial.