The Role of Evolution in Biomedical Research is Highly Exaggerated

Robert L. Crowther, II

Darwinists claim that their theory is the foundation of all science. Indeed, we are often told that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of it.
In a news article last November, a Stanford biologist claimed he had been guided in his research by Darwinian evolution:

“Researchers at the School of Medicine uncovered obestatin [an appetite-suppressing hormone] by using the principles of evolution to pick clues from data held in the Human Genome Project, as well as the genome sequencing projects for many other organisms, among them yeast, fruit flies and mice. ‘Darwin led us to this new hormone,’ said senior author Aaron Hsueh, an endocrinologist and professor of obstetrics and gynecology.”

The Stanford press release continued:

“So why does Darwin’s theory deserve some credit? Hsueh explained that before he and his colleagues started the project, they used the genome projects’ information to create a database of GPCRs that grouped them according to their evolutionary relatedness.”

The actual report in Science (310 [2005]: 996) was more subdued:

“The discovery of amidated obestatin and its cognate receptor underscores the power of comparative genomic analyses.” The article’s only reference to evolution was a speculation that two of the molecules studied “could have evolved from a common ancestor but diverged in their functions.”

According to Dr. Jonathan Wells, a Berkeley-trained molecular biologist and CSC senior fellow , what really led the researchers to their discovery was comparative genomics, a combination of comparative biology and genetics that owes nothing to Darwinism. Evolution was brought in as an afterthought.
Last year, Dr. Philip Skell, Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University and a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences, wrote in The Scientist that he

“examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.”

Dr. Wells agrees. In his forthcoming book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Regnery, 2006), he provides many examples in which Darwinists take credit for advances in biology and medicine that owe nothing to evolutionary theory.
Here are two brief excerpts from Wells’s book, due out later this year:

“Bruce Alberts claims that Darwinism is ‘at the core of genetics.’ Yet Mendel had no need for Darwin’s hypothesis. How can Darwinism, which contributed nothing to the origin of genetics and resisted it for half a century, now be at its core? It is Darwinism that needs genetics, not genetics that needs Darwinism.”


“Darwinists sometimes claim that their theory helps us to understand which animals are most closely related… on the basis of their genetic and biochemical similarities. But this is just comparative biology at the level of genes and proteins. Linnaeus did comparative biology, yet he was a creationist who lived a century before Darwin; Owen and Agassiz did comparative biology, yet they rejected Darwin’s theory.”

So comparative genomics, like most other fields in biology, owes nothing to Darwinism. The obestatin research featured in the Stanford press release illustrates the points made by Skell and Wells.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.