This is an article that I wrote and posted on Triond in 2011.
And the Scientists said: “Let there be life...”
...And ten years, twenty scientists, and $40 million later, there was life! Not a whole lot of life, just one cell, and not exactly created from ‘scratch,’ but, still, a major scientific breakthrough. Enough of those and maybe someday science will catch up with theology...
In May of 2010, Dr. Craig Venter and his team at the J. Craig Venter Institute, UCSD, announced that they had created the first synthetic self-replicating bacterial cell. It was a unique life form with 1.08 million chemical base pairs (human DNA has about 3 billion base pairs). But it was alive, and according to the report published it replicated over a billion times, producing copies that contained the new synthetic DNA.
Evolutionists celebrated this announcement as proof positive of the primordial soup theory – that the first life forms developed out of inorganic chemicals present in the gases that formed the earth’s atmosphere after the Big Bang. These chemicals were attracted to each other in totally random sequences, until finally the perfect sequence came together to form a DNA molecule that was self-replicating. If 20 scientists working under ideal conditions only took about ten years to design a self-replicating cell, then surely it could happen in the wild, given enough time. No more need to rely on some intelligent designer or God.
But Venter and team did not actually make their artificial life form from scratch. The “synthetic” chemicals they used came from...where? The Big Bang may have initiated the expansion of matter across the universe, but where did the matter come from?
Plus simple single- celled organisms are not actually all that simple. A single molecule of DNA, removed from a cell and stretched out can be about six feet long (Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator). Even a bacterial cell with “only” a million or so chemical base pairs is complex. Venter’s researchers came up with a unique DNA sequence, but only after spending more than ten years and $40 million dollars studying the ones that God made first.
And Venter and his team still have not been able to replicate a functional cell membrane to contain their uniquely designed genome (that’s all of the stuff that is inside a cell). Cell membranes have turned out to be a lot more complex than scientists thought they were. The wall of a cell is not just a bit of tissue holding the innards together. It has to be selectively permeable, which means that it takes nourishment in and lets waste material out. So for now, the scientists had to scoop out the innards of some existing bacteria cells, and replace the genome with their synthesized DNA constructed from chemicals in the laboratory.
If well-educated human scientists with the cumulative scientific knowledge of hundreds or thousands of years of studying the universe and the life it contains still cannot explain or replicate the membrane of the first single celled organism that they claim initiated the whole process of evolution that resulted in the unique DNA of every single life form that has ever existed on this planet – how could that happen by random chance? Too see actual numbers of the possibilities, see this site:
Primordial Soup Theory
My intention in writing this rant is not to denigrate the scientists who have spent their lives studying DNA and the human genome and the wonders of the universe. I am just saying that the more we learn, the more we realize how much more there is to learn.
My intention is to point to the designer of these wonders. He not only created this ginormous universe to put us in, he gave us an innate curiosity about this creation, and he gave a few people in each generation a bit of extra gray matter to expand the collective knowledge about the universe.
So while I applaud the accomplishment of Dr. Craig Venter and his team, and I acknowledge that this is a giant leap forward for science, in my opinion they have not created life.