In his book The Edge of Evolution, Michael Behe documented the growing empirical evidence showing the sharp limits to Darwinian natural selection. He also discussed these limits in his peer-reviewed article in the Quarterly Review of Biology linked below.
Since the late 1980s, Michigan State University biologist Richard Lenski has been running a long-term evolution experiment with E. coli bacteria. A supporter of Darwinian evolution, Lenski wanted to follow a population of bacteria over time and see what new functions would evolve. By 2014, Lenski and his researchers had grown over 60,000 generations of bacteria. Although often cited as providing evidence for Darwin’s theory, scientists who support intelligent design like Michael Behe argue that Lenski’s experiments actually show just how limited the creative power of Darwinian evolution actually is.
Michael Behe, “Richard Lenski and Citrate Hype—Now Deflated”
Douglas Axe earned his PhD at Cal Tech. He then spent 14 years doing research in molecular biology at top labs in and around Cambridge University. Axe was sceptical of Darwinian evolution, and he wanted to find ways to actually test what it could and couldn’t do. When Axe returned to America, he formed Biologic Institute to do just that. Axe and his colleagues Ann Gauger and Marci Reeves have conducted experiments that help address the feasibility of Darwinian explanations of the evolution of biological functions at the biochemical level. The research by Axe and his colleagues shows that co-opting even one existing protein to perform a slightly new function is likely beyond the reach of the Darwinian mechanism.
Douglas D. Axe, “The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds”
Mariclair A. Reeves, Ann K. Gauger, Douglas D. Axe, “Enzyme Families—Shared Evolutionary History or Shared Design? A Study of the GABA-Aminotransferase Family”
Ann K. Gauger, Douglas D. Axe, “The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzymes Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway”
Ralph Seelke is a Professor of Biology (Emeritus) at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He earned his PhD in Microbiology at the University of Minnesota, and he has conducted research in experimental evolution at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Stanford University Medical School. He has published peer-reviewed articles in journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Journal of Bacteriology, and Molecular and General Genetics. He is co-author of the textbook Explore Evolution. Using the links below you can find out more about Seelke’s experiments with E. coli bacteria and how those experiments show the limits of Darwinian evolution.
Ann K. Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F. Fahey, Ralph Seelke, “Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness”