By: David Bloomberg
To: Jim Powers
Re: Re: Science or bunkum?
JP> There is mention of a Dr. Dmitri Koustenov of the Sedov Biopolymer
JP> Laboratories in Moscow, but the article is mainly about the Turin
THIS idiot? Ok, time to dive into my file areas...
Author: Larry A. Moran (email@example.com)
Title: Russian Creationist Dmitri Kouznetsov is no scientist
Jim Loucks (firstname.lastname@example.org) defends Scientific Creationism by quoting
from an interview with a Soviet creationist lecturer named Dr. Kouznetsov,
"That's interesting, because most people in the West believe that
creationists are just trying to somehow make science fit the Bible
because they're Christians.
Well, I don't know about your country, but in Russia this
is extremely common -- for people to become creationists on
scientific grounds and then to become Christians afterwards,
at least in the case of the so-called 'intellectual community'."
I asked several Russian and Eastern European colleagues about this. It is
NOT common for intellectuals to become creationists in Russia. They are
just as smart as intellectuals in the rest of the world. Kouznetsov claims
that it is "extremely common" for intellectuals to become creationists - this
seems to be a flat out lie.
Jim Loucks continues with his quotation,
"Evolutionists believe that their imaginary one-celled first ancestor
has turned into fish and palm trees, and into frogs which then turn
into princes. They know that this means a lot of genetic information
has to be added to living things over time, and they teach that
inherited mistakes called mutations can add these new useful genes.
We don't see that, of course.
But they have to believe that it is theoretically possible. I
understand that some of your research indicates that even if it were
possible to get such an new gene, such a new packet of useful
information, it would have very little chance of being expressed.
That's correct. I found that the translation of a modified
gene into a modified protein involved a group of substances
in the cytoplasm (outside of the nucleus, which is where the
DNA resides) which are very powerful suppressors of the
slightest changes to the DNA."
I'll ignore the ignorant characterization of evolution and concentrate on
the bizarre idea that new genes are not possible and would not be expressed.
In my lab we routinely modify genes and make new proteins. Furthermore we
put mouse genes in bacteria and yeast, bacterial genes in yeast, and yeast
genes in bacteria in order to make foreign proteins. In other words these
new genes from different organisms are expressed. These are pretty drastic
changes to DNA - I wonder why Dr. Kouznetsov doesn't mention experiments like
these? Furthermore there are all kinds of examples of modified genes which
make modified proteins. The idea that such mutations are forbidden or
inhibited at the level of translation is quite silly. Incidently the wording
of this paragraph indicates that Kouznetsov is on unfamiliar ground. In other
words he does not know what he is talking about. No expert would make the
mistake of referring to "translation" of a "gene".
Every population contains considerable variation at the level of the gene.
For many genes there are multiple alleles and each one makes a slightly
different protein. This is why one sees morphological variation within
populations (eg. Homo sapiens), and this is the raw material of evolution.
If Kouznetsov knew anything about biochemistry, genetics or evolution he would
recognize that his statement is ridiculous because his postulated mechanism
would also suppress such variation.
I have no idea what kind of powerful cytoplasmic suppressors Dr. Kouznetsov
could be referring to. It is probably safe to assume that these are figments
of an overactive creationist mind. If such substances existed I would know
Jim Loucks continues to quote from the interview with Dr. Kouznetsov,
"Dr Kouznetsov, you once talked about the 'subjectivity' of evolutionary
theory. Could you give an example?
Yes, it's true that evolutionists are very subjective in which
data they decide to use as evidence for their theory. Take my
own field of brain cells, for instance. There is a protein --
creatinine kinase, or CK -- found in the brain cells of a very
large number of species. We are led to believe that when you
compare the same sort of protein in many different species,
there is this universal pattern -- as would be predicted by
evolution -- that the most similar proteins are from the most
closely related species. However, as reported at a conference
in your own country, in Perth in Western Australia about a
decade ago, when one puts in all the data related to CK and
asks the question 'Which are the two closest relatives according
to CK data?', the answer is -- 'the African elephant and the
ordinary domestic housefly.' Of course evolutionists don't
regard these as most closely related, but if the molecular
patterns were consistent with evolution, they would use it as
evidence. This is what I mean by the subjectivity of their
Creatine kinase (not creatinine kinase) is an enzyme that can be found in many
organisms. In most vertebrates it is abundant in muscle cells where it serves
to replace energy molecules used up during muscle activity. A different
but related enzyme is found in nerve cells which have a high ATP turnover.
Vertebrates also have a mitochondrial creatine kinase. The three different
proteins are encoded by three different genes that are found at different
locations in the genomes of vertebrates. The data indicates that there were
two gene duplications in vertebrate ancestors and this gave rise to three
different genes which have evolved independently from that point on. This is
a common pattern in the evolution of complex organisms; namely that additional
features are formed by copying and modifying existing genes. Most of you are
probably aware of the evolution of hemoglobin genes which is another
example of the same phenomenon.
I searched the nucleic acid sequence databases for all creatine kinase
sequences and found 74 examples that have been published in the past thirty
years. There are no published sequences for either elephant or houseflies!
I also searched the protein databases and found 22 more sequences, again there
is no record of an elephant or housefly sequence ever being published. So I
went to the primary literature on creatine kinase sequences but there are no
references to elephants or houseflies in the papers that I examined. Most of
the readers of talk.origins will realize that it is very unusual to have
molecular data on either elephants or houseflies. They are not popular lab
species and there is no particular reason why anyone would clone their
genes. Anyone familiar with evolution or biochemistry would recognize that
these are highly unusual examples. On the other hand, someone who was quite
ignorant of the field ....
There was an International Congress of Biochemistry in Perth, Australia about
ten years ago. None of my colleagues who attended that meeting recall hearing
a talk such as the one that Kouznetsov describes. I conclude that this
particular creationist is making up a story in order to suggest that
evolutionary biologists are as subjective as the average creationist.
Jim Loucks closes his extensive quotation with,
"There was more to the interview but that's about all I thought
you'd find interesting. Not only did I share this interview with
you because I thought it was interesting, but some of you think
that creationists can't possibly be decent scientists and this
interview offers an opposing viewpoint to such a belief. Also,
the FAQ on creationists credentials comes across in a negative
tone and I'm tempted to put together a positive FAQ on creationist
scientists with degrees and backgrounds that simply can't be
I think you can sum it all up and say that we're all going to
believe what we want to believe. Ken Ham appears to add to that
with: It's not whether you're biased or not, everyone is biased.
But which bias is the best bias to be biased with?"
Well Jim, I thank you for posting this interesting interview. However, I
regret to inform you that it only confirms what I already knew, namely that
creationists can't be decent (or honest) scientists. You are more than
welcome to put together a FAQ on creationist scientists whose degrees and
backgrounds simply can't be overlooked - are there any such scientists?
You have certainly convinced ME that you are going to believe what you want
to believe irrespective of the actual facts. Kouznetsov obviously falls into
the same catagory which means that he is definitely NOT a scientist. I also
accept your point that everyone is biased to some extent but there is no doubt
in my mind that some biases are more ridiculous than others.
In addition, I am pretty sure there was an article in the latest Skeptical
Inquirer looking into Mr. K's supposed publications and references, and finding