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Spectacular New Animation Demonstrates Intelligent Design of a Molecular Machine in the Cell

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To see is to believe. There is something very powerful, cutting through endless words and arguments, about seeing a clearly designed molecular mechanism at work.

When Stephen Meyer published Signature in the Cell in 2009, he also narrated and released a companion animation, Journey Inside the Cell, showing how the digital information in DNA directs protein synthesis inside the cell. Produced by Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture, the animation offered a unique look at the evidence for intelligent design found in biological nanomachines and has since received more than 445,000 views on YouTube. Because of the video's phenomenal success, the CSC has now launched a sequel animation, freely viewable on YouTube. This one allows viewers to tour an amazing molecular machine known as ATP synthase.

Everything we do is driven by energy, whether it's eating a meal, going out for a jog, fighting a cold, or even the seemingly passive task of growing out our hair. The energy currency used by our cells to perform these and many other functions is adenosine triphosphate (ATP), considered by many to be second in importance only to DNA. The majority of ATP is produced by ATP synthase, a quick, efficient, and responsive energy system that is constantly at work to provide organisms with the energy needed for life. The average human body generates over 50kg of ATP every day.

Take a moment and watch the new animation, below.

As the video vividly illustrates, ATP synthase works like a rotary engine. It has many parts we would recognize from human technology, including a rotor, a stator, a camshaft, and the basic components of a rotary engine. Powered by protons, a driveshaft rotates, creating mechanical energy. This allows spent-energy molecules of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to enter the machine. The mechanical motion of the machine causes ADP to be joined with phosophorous, creating ATP. As the driveshaft continues to spin, the machine releases ATP into the cell, ready to power countless cellular tasks, including DNA and protein synthesis, muscle contraction, transport of nutrients, neural activity, and the generation of electricity in nerves.

"Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words," explains CSC associate director Dr. John West. "This stunning animation will provide viewers with compelling new evidence of the exquisite design that is pervasive throughout our bodies."

Created by Light Productions and narrated by someone who has worked on documentaries for the National Geographic Channel, the CSC's ATP synthase animation is the first of a projected new series of videos featuring molecular machines, funds permitting. Next up is an animation of the molecular motor kinesin.

"Although these videos are expensive to produce, we view them as opinion-changers," says West. "Simply by laying out the workings of molecular machines, the series will help students, and members of the general public, acquire a visual sense of the astounding complexity of living cells. After seeing how numerous parts work in coordination to perform vital cellular functions, viewers will find it difficult to believe that these molecular machines could evolve in the unplanned manner required by Darwinism."

Take a look now and pass it around!