Will RogersI favor teaching biochemistry from an evolutionary perspective and I was pleased to see that ASBMB considers evolution to be one of the fundamental concepts in biochemistry and molecular biology [ASBMB Core Concepts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Evolution]. (ASBMB screws up their description of evolution but at least their heart's in the right place.)
Unless they understand evolution, students can't really understand why some parts of a protein are the same in all species and other parts are quite variable. They certainly can't understand why you can construct a phylogenetic tree from sequences and why this tree closely resembles those trees made from comparing anatomy/embryology. They won't know why those molecular trees are consistent with a fossil record unless they understand evolution.
Students won't know why we can't make vitamin C and why we have a broken gene in our genome unless they understand how evolution occurs. They won't know how the complex photosynthesis system in plants arose unless they understand the more simple photosystems in bacteria and evolution.
Students will never understand how metabolic pathways form unless they understand basic evolution principles. They'll never learn to appreciate the genes and enzymes in mitochondria unless they know about evolution and endosymbiosis.
Don't bother asking students why most species can make all 20 amino acids. If they haven't been taught evolution they'll stare at you with a blank look. You'll get the same blank look if you ask them why DNA replication is so accurate and why it isn't perfect.
You can't possibly have an intelligent discussion in class about genomes and function unless the students understand evolution. And they'll never be able to refute the claims of people like Michael Denton, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, and Stephen Meyer unless they understand evolution. Many of those claims focus on biochemistry and molecular biology. Surely we don't want to be graduating students who know even less about evolution that the IDiots?
Biochemistry students will never be able to make sense of anything about life at the molecular level unless they understand evolution. In the absence of evolution, the best they can hope for is to retain information by committing it to memory. True knowledge and understanding will be beyond their reach.
It should come as no surprise that Evolution Is Irrelevant to Michael Egnor. That's because he doesn't believe in evolution and he certainly doesn't understand it.
You want proof? Read his latest post: In Which Larry Moran Learns the Difference Between Comparative Biology and Evolution.
I took a few biochemistry courses in college, being a biochem major and all. And Larry's right: I never encountered evolution in my biochem courses, even at the graduate level.We visited Catherine the Great's palace when we were in St. Petersburg a few months ago. By a strange coincidence, my wife and I were discussing Potemkin's village just the other night. (She's a big fan of Catherine the Great.) The story is a myth but it seems like an apt description of Intelligent Design Creationism—except that no IDiot is as smart as Grigory Potempkin.
If Darwin's theory of natural selection were acknowledged to be the empty tautology that it is, nothing fundamental to biochemistry would change. Species would still be similar or different, and their biochemistry would be similar or different. Biochemistry research depends substantially on comparative biology. Biochemistry research depends not at all on evolutionary biology.
Moran knows this, although his younger and less erudite minions may retain the delusion of Darwinism's grandeur. Old-guard Darwinists know that if they let down their guard and allow even a stirring of fresh air -- a bit of candor and transparency -- Darwin's whole Potemkin village will blow away like dust.
[Do I really have minions? Can I get them to mark exams and fetch coffee from Tim Hortons?]