Friday, March 12, 2010

simple little lumps and pale blue dots

Scientific advances in very recent history indicate that even simple, single-cellular organisms are incredibly complex, raising serious challenges to undirected origins of life and naturalistic, Darwinian evolution. Darwin’s ideas were ingenious, but at the time he wrote, microscopes were not sufficiently advanced to distinguish the inner workings of a living cell. Ernst Haeckel, a great admirer of Darwin and popularizer of his theory, believed a cell is a “simple little lump of albuminous combination of carbon”. [1] He couldn’t have been more wrong. A "simple" cell has been described as functioning with the complexity of a small city. The probability of even one protein forming by chance is astronomical, to say nothing of all the other necessary components of a single cell. In fact, this one aspect of cellular development has been addressed by chemists Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, and Roger Olsen. [2] They determined that, in the absence of any chemical competition with non-amino acids and nonbiologically relevant amino acids – in other words, an ideal situation – the probability of aligning the correct amino acid in a specific position in a protein molecule is 1.25%. Calculating from there the probability of correctly aligning at least one hundred amino acids necessary to form even one simple protein, is roughly one chance in 10,191. This does not begin to address the numerous other requirements for the formation of even one single cell, such as: nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), homochirality of amino acids, cellular membrane, transport mechanisms, lipids, and so on. Scientific evidence is solidly in the court of intelligent design, leaving the burden of proof on those who advocate undirected, naturalistic origins.

Evidence for intentional design is not only greatly bolstered by technological developments on the microscopic level, but also on the astronomic scale. Carl Sagan believed that Earth is an ordinary planet circling an ordinary star in an ordinary galaxy. He proposed the idea that, if there is life on Earth, then many other planets probably also have life. Is that true? People have worked for years on the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Program to find signs of life on other planets. However, when we begin to examine the narrow parameters necessary for life to exist, it is abundantly evident that this planet is anything but an ordinary pale blue dot in the vast universe. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, has listed 93 parameters necessary for life as we know it to exist on a planet. [3] The list is obviously much too lengthy to quote here, but suffice to say, Earth is significantly more unique that previously thought. To give one example, too few gamma-ray burst events in the galaxy would lead to insufficient production of copper, scandium, titanium, and zinc necessary for complex life to exist. Too many gamma-ray bursts would result in too many mass extinction events on earth. Only 92 more until life is possible.

Astronomical parameters, combined with microscopic biological observations, present very strong arguments for intentional design and, therefore, an intelligent designer. As tourists recognize the purposeful design in the painting of the Sistine Chapel, study of the universe, and the exponentially higher level of design, leads one to agree with Paul: “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:20).

[1] Farley, J., The Spontaneous Generation Controversy from Descartes to Oparin, (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), 73.
[2] Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, and Roger Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories (Dallas, TX: Lewis and Stanley, 1984), 113-166.
[3] Hugh Ross, Fine Tuning for Life on Earth, at:, 2006,
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