Thursday, 17 November 2016

Synthetic Life Would Prove That Intelligent Design Works

Ours cells are anything but simple. Image courtesy of Mariana Ruiz (public domain).

Joel Kontinen

Some scientists have a strong bias against the supernatural. This became obvious during the recent Royal Society meeting New Trends in Evolutionary Biology. They were unwilling to accept real design even though evolutionary explanations do not work.

While Neo-Darwinian mechanisms cannot explain nanomachines or the other intricate features of the cell, for instance, participants were unwilling to acknowledge that genuine design is the one and only credible explanation of the wonderful integrated systems in biology.

This same bias is also seen in the attempt to create life in the lab.

The goal is to “prove pretty decisively that life is nothing more than a complicated chemical system” as Mark Bedau, a philosopher of science at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, puts it in a recent article in New Scientist.

But chemicals don’t turn into life.

Geneticists have made some remarkable breakthroughs. They have removed the DNA of a microbe and replaced it with the genome of another microbe.

That is a far cry from creating life.

Instead of modifying existing organisms, their real quest is to make life from scratch:

A more ambitious effort starts with nonliving, chemical ingredients – sometimes familiar nucleic acids and lipids, but sometimes radically different structures such as self-assembling metal oxides. The researchers aim to coax these chemicals across the Darwinian threshold where they begin to replicate themselves heritably and evolve – the key criteria for calling the system alive. If this can be achieved, the implications would be enormous.”

They seem to be blind to the enormous amount of intelligent designing they are putting in their effort. Whereas the Darwinian watchmaker is absolutely blind, the attempt to make synthetic life is clearly teleological.

It has an explicit goal, and that is something that Darwinian processes cannot have. So, ironically, if they do manage to create synthetic life, they will simply prove that intelligent design works.

We shouldn’t forget that the naturalistic origin of life is wrought with severe problems.

Darwinians have suggested many solutions, such as water world, molecular midwives, RNA world etc., but they all require many lucky turns of events and none of them works.

Moreover, complexity does not increase gradually and spontaneously.


Holmes, Bob. 2016. The world in 2076: Human-made life forms walk the earth. New Scientist (16 November).