Sunday, 24 July 2016

Evolutionists Acknowledge They’re Proposing a Just So Story about Apoptosis

Apoptosis is anything but simple. Image courtesy of Pierre Fauquenot and Margaux Belhassen, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Joel Kontinen

What would evolution be without its just so stories?

It might probably sound a bit more boring. Stories make good headlines, even if their credibility might be questionable.

Recently, the journal Current Biology published a paper entitled Just So Stories about the Evolution of Apoptosis.

Apoptosis means programmed cell death. Without it, cells would keep on living past their due dates, causing cancer and other unpleasant diseases.

The paper’s abstract says:

Apoptosis is a form of active cell death engaged by developmental cues as well as many different cellular stresses in which the dying cell essentially ‘packages’ itself for removal. The process of apoptotic cell death, as defined at the molecular level, is unique to the Metazoa (animals).”

What it does not say is that like some molecular machines, apoptosis is irreducibly complex.

It could not have evolved through a stepwise Darwinian process. All parts had to be present at the start, or the mechanism would not work.

However, the paper attempts to explain why apoptosis can be seen in many different life forms:

Yet active cell death exists in non-animal organisms, and in some cases molecules involved in such death show some sequence similarities to those involved in apoptosis, leading to extensive speculation regarding the evolution of apoptosis.

Their use of the word 'speculation' seems to be an honest definition of what they are trying to do:

Here, we examine such speculation from the perspective of the functional properties of molecules of the mitochondrial apoptotic cell death pathway. We suggest scenarios for the evolution of one pathway of apoptosis, the mitochondrial pathway, and consider how they might be tested. We conclude with a ‘Just So Story’ of how the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis might have evolved during eukaryotic evolution.”

'Just so story' might also be a befitting description of what they’re trying to do. It is often used in an attempt to keep the Divine Foot outside, as professor Richard Lewontin famously suggested.

Controlled cell death is a very complicated process. In 2002 Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz and John E. Sulston were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for identifying genes that control apoptosis.

For more details, I would suggest you read Philip Bell’s excellent article on apoptosis in the Journal of Creation.

It shows how such a process could not have evolved.


Bell, Philip. 2004. The non-evolution of apoptosis. Journal of Creation 18(1): 86–96.

Green, Douglas R. and Patrick Fitzgerald. 2016. Just So Stories about the Evolution of Apoptosis. Current Biology 26 (13): R620–R627 (11 July).