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Creationist Dmitri Kouznetsov: Scientist?

Copyright © 1992-2004

Dmitri Kouznetsov Is No Scientist

By Laurence Moran

Jim Loucks defends Scientific Creationism by quoting from an interview with a Soviet creationist lecturer named Dr. Kouznetsov,

Interviewer: "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."

Kouznetsov: "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,

Interviewer: "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."

Kouznetsov: "That's right."

Interviewer: "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."

Kouznetsov: "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 about them.

Jim Loucks continues to quote from the interview with Dr. Kouznetsov,

Interviewer: "Dr Kouznetsov, you once talked about the 'subjectivity' of evolutionary theory. Could you give an example?"

Kouznetsov: "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 criteria."

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 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 overlooked.

"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.


Dmitri Kouznetsov's Mystery Citations

By Richard Trott

[Dan Larhammar, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at University of Uppsala, has noted several unusual points about creationist Dmitri Kuznetsov's article "In vitro studies of interactions between frequent and unique mRNAs and cytoplasmic factors from brain tissue of several species of wild timber voles of Northern Eurasia, Clethrionomys glareolus, Clethrionomys frater and Clethrionomys gapperi: A new criticism to a modern molecular-genetic concept of biological evolution" (Intern. J. Neuroscience, 1989, Vol. 49, pp. 43-59). Dr. Larhammar has written a fuller critique than what I present here. Dr. Larhammar's fuller critique may be found in Intern. J. Neuroscience, 1994, Vol. 77, pp. 199-201. {Added May 2, 2004: This article is now online in a PDF format: Lack of Experimental Support for Kouznetsov's Criticism of Biological Evolution.}

Dr. Kuznetsov's paper cites an article by F. L. Solvarssen and B. Hjerten published in Uppsala University Research Reports in 1974. Dr. Larhammar could not find any such publication at Uppsala University (where he has worked since 1980) and he could not locate either of the authors in Uppsala University directories covering 1971-1976.

Dr. Kuznetsov cites an article written by himself and published in Allergologica Acta. Dr. Larhammar could locate no journal by that title. He did find a journal entitled Acta Allergologica, but the volume and year assignments of this journal are different from that given by Dr. Kuznetsov. Furthermore, Dr. Larhammar contacted the journal and was informed that they have not published anything by Dr. Kuznetsov.

In addition, the following five journals were cited by Dr. Kuznetsov, yet none could be located:

Immunochemical and Immunocytological Methods
International Journal of Applied Immunology and Immunochemistry
Biotechnologica Acta
Comparative Biochemistry, Biophysics and Genetics
Methods and Approaches in Clinical chemistry and Immunochemistry.

Dr. Larhammar was unable to locate yet another source cited by Dr. Kuznetsov, Scandinavian Archives of Molecular Pathology. Dr. Larhammar contacted the author cited in this instance, Prof. Holger V. Hydén. Prof. Hydén informed Dr. Larhammar that he did not write any such article as that attributed to him by Dr. Kuznetsov and that he has never heard of Scandinavian Archives of Molecular Pathology.

In addition to Dr. Larhammar's report, creationist Paul Nelson has reported that he was unable to find three additional journals not mentioned by Dr. Larhammar. These journals are Biogenesis, Darwin and Darwinism Today, and Studies in Evolutional and Developmental Biology.

The Creation Science Foundation, Ltd. issued a "public dissociation" from Kuznetsov in light of the events described above as well as "certain financial matters." The public dissociation was printed on page 2 of the May 1995 Prayer News.

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