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August 2nd, 2010


This past May the scientific world rocked with the news that Craig Venter and his team had created the first “self-replicating synthetic cell.”    The result of a 15-year-quest and 40 million dollars, Venter describes the achievement thus:   “This is the first self-replicating cell we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”   Venter is well-known for participating in mapping the human genome a decade ago.

According to science writer Logan Ward:

To make the manmade distinguishable from the natural, they imbedded DNA sequences that “watermark” the synthetic genome. Venter would not reveal the secret behind the code, but hinted that “this is the first species to have its own website encoded in its genetic code.” Other watermarks spell out complete sentences, including a quote by the physicist Richard Feynman: “What I cannot build, I cannot understand.”

Details of this achievement are outlined in a press release from the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Scientists agree that Venter has achieved a brilliant  technical feat in synthesizing the largest piece of DNA so far — a million units in length — and in making it accurate enough to substitute for the cell’s own DNA. According to Venter: “We created a new cell. It’s alive. But we didn’t create life from scratch.”

Dr. Stephen Meyer, Director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, has produced a simply beautiful video explaining the role of design in creation and the role of DNA in Venter’s work.

Link to Stephen Meyer’s interaction video as mentioned in the above clip.

As Bill Gates says, DNA can be compared to a software program in that it contains information. What Venter has done is produce an intricate DNA software program which works when inserted into a living cell, much in the way a downloaded program will work in your computer. He has not produced the computer.

It might be well to add that not everything downloaded into your computer is beneficial. Some software has been well-tried by time and does what you want it to do. Other software is appropriately labeled “malware” because it wreaks havoc. The Vatican has urged caution in this area and even Venter has urged government regulation to oversee the fast-developing synthetic biology industry.

September 3rd, 2008


Some scientists  spend their lives digging in the dirt hoping they will come across an artifact, some shard of pottery or a  stone chipped into an arrowhead.  When they do they exclaim, “Look, man was here long years ago!”  They know that these things did not occur by chance.

Some scientists  build billion dollar dishes and spend their lives listening to “noise” from outer space,  hoping that they will detect evidence that there are intelligent beings on some far star.  If they should, perchance, receive a snippet of the DNA code they might discern a pattern or even recognize its significance, and they would dance with joy at having received a sign of intelligence “out there.”

Some scientists  ponder and study until they discover the laws of the physical universe–laws of light, motion, gravity, and stuff like that.   They appreciate the existence of order and predictability.  Sometimes the laws bear their name and they receive awards for discovering them.

But what about the lawmaker?  How did these laws come to exist?

Scientists, it seems, are perfectly willing to recognize order and purpose when they can attribute it to other humans.  Who, on seeing Mount Rushmore for the first time, would  imagine that Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln appeared on those rocks accidentally?    But when the order is on such a grand scale or of such  complexity and beauty that it is far beyond what mere humans could ever accomplish, they get all scared inside and say, “No, it must have happened by itself by chance.”     They cannot even entertain the idea of intelligent design because it suggests a designer worthy of respect, to whom they might be accountable.  They cannot tolerate consideration of a creator behind the whole shebang because they have another religion, called atheism, that they are protecting.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.


The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.  Psalm 19:1

If [my disciples] were silent,  the very rocks would cry out.  Luke 19:40

April 5th, 2008


On April 18 a new documentary hosted by Ben Stein, former lawyer and speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, titled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (watch preview – 8 minutes) will be released by Motive Entertainment. These are the same people that marketed The Passion of the Christ and Chronicles of Narnia.

I look forward to seeing this because I have followed with interest the fate of scientists who dared to suggest that it might be appropriate to mention Intelligent Design when the theory of evolution is being discussed. I understand this will be covered in the documentary.
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