Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Magic is Gone... Once the molecules are unraveled, god goes obsolete

What mystery is left in the world for the credulous to point to and say, “There be God!”? It would seem only the “miracle” of life remains. Science has laid waste to the divine watchmaker in virtually every other aspect of nature. During the days in which the books of Moses were penned, humanity needed gods to hold up the sky and keep the sun and moon going around. Centuries later comes this guy named Johannes Kepler who uses simple observation and deduction to begin working out the properties of the universe. The man didn’t realize it at the time (and might not approve if he had) but that was the moment when the gaps for gods began to shrink

And even life (whether YECs want to believe it or not) is not so mysterious as it was a mere two centuries ago. We now know a great deal about how life changes, how it explored and developed, and how it still seeks and always, always hopes for new beginnings. This new shrinking of the gaps was kicked off by (as if I needed to say) Charles Robert Darwin. Like Mr. Kepler or Isaac Newton our great benefactor didn’t have a perfect explanation burst full-blown from his mind. He observed and deduced a simple truth, that you don’t need a designer to mold life; life will mold itself once it gets going. So there we come to the crux. The origins of life are the last bastion of those who need to explain something by appealing to gods, but it seems that gap is closing up as well:

“Now researchers are poised to cross a dramatic barrier: the creation of life forms driven by completely artificial DNA. Scientists in Maryland have already built the world's first entirely handcrafted chromosome -- a large looping strand of DNA made from scratch in a laboratory, containing all the instructions a microbe needs to live and reproduce.
In the coming year, they hope to transplant it into a cell, where it is expected to "boot itself up," like software downloaded from the Internet, and cajole the waiting cell to do its bidding. And while the first synthetic chromosome is a plagiarized version of a natural one, others that code for life forms that have never existed before are already under construction.”

The entire article can be read here. Of course, it isn’t really a satisfying genesis story. We created a molecule that will hijack the machinery of a cell by copying a natural molecule from a living cell.

Ahh, but friends just wait! This is just the first step toward the goal any inquisitive mind must persue. I invite you to peruse the next step. Again, this isn’t real genesis, but it is one more tool that will eventually seal this gap forever. And then folks, belief in gods really will be optional.

No comments: