by Brian Thomas, M.S.

One of the first lessons in plant evolution is that algae existed for millions of years before the more complicated materials and structures necessary to convert them into woody land plants had ever evolved. This lesson sounded more feasible when evolutionists thought that algae were missing a critical land plant tissue-building chemical. But when secular scientists discovered this very material in algae from the coast of California, they invented new lessons to replace the old. Changing evolutionary lessons illustrate important origins lessons.

In 2009, scientists found lignin in the algae Calliarthron. Lignin is an important ingredient because it enables this red alga to resist the wear and tear of living in tumultuous surf. Trees and tall plants use lignin to strengthen their cell walls. It is a complex organic polymer that acts as a glue to stiffen structures, allowing plants to climb high.1 And the discovery of this lignin in algae turned plant evolution into tumult.

A team of scientists from the University of British Columbia and Stanford published their discovery in the journal Current Biology.2 They expressed difficulty believing that plants’ abilities to manufacture lignin evolved two times—once in algae and once in land plants. The study authors wrote, “Because monolignol [lignin chemical] synthesis is exceptionally complex, it seems unlikely that Calliarthron and terrestrial plants evolved monolignol biosynthesis and polymerization completely independently.”2

But why should this be difficult for an evolutionist to believe? If evolution is powerful enough to produce people, pine trees, and pangolins from primordial protists, then what would hinder it from inventing lignin multiple times?…

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