Color Me Skeptical

“A TEAM OF BIOLOGISTS AND CHEMISTS,” the news item promises, “is  closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.”


“A lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School,” it continues, “is building simple cell models that can almost be called life.”

Almost. I see. But let’s read on a little more…

“Szostak’s protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn’t anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.” (emphasis added).

So let me review. They’re going to bring non-living matter to life. But it will be life that’s nothing like the life on earth now. It could be self-replicating. It could satisfy “the conditions” of life. It might represent life as it first began—or as could exist elsewhere in the universe.

Sounds kinda “iffy” to me.

Call me not just skeptical, but if you so choose, narrow-minded, myopic, ignorant, or uninformed. But I’m planning to stay by the conviction that real life has only one Source and will never be successfully reproduced by even the most towering of human intellects.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” said the One who breathed life into the progenitors of the human race—the only One ever to resume living after dying.

I’m staying with Him.


6 responses to this post.

  1. So let me get this straight: a group of intelligent scientists are making non-living matter into living matter? Wouldn’t we call that “Intelligent Design”?

    By the way, where did you get this article from?


  2. Posted by litchik on September 9, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I’d love to color you skeptical, but you seem, instead, to be a person of blind faith.


  3. Shawn, I saw the article on Huffington Post, which linked to its original source at Wired magazine:

    And Litchik, I wouldn’t personally see my faith as blind, but rather based on a weight of evidence sufficient to convince me.

    Thank you both for your comments.


  4. Posted by litchik on September 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Hmmm. Weight of evidence? Is that from geology? Physics? Biology? What evidence, exactly, are you speaking of, and to what rigorous proof has it been subjected?

    Szostak’s work has been peer reviewed at the highest levels and published in science’s most respected journals. If your evidence stands up to the same scrutiny more power to you, but I’ve yet to see it.


  5. Thanks again, Litchik.

    One reality of being a human being is that we each have the powers of reason and of choice. With that, I weigh the evidence available to me (as time permits….few of us have the luxury of full-time research).

    And on the basis of that evidence—from whatever source: science, revelation, the writings of others—I choose to believe in the conclusion(s) to which that evidence leads me and that recommend themselves to my reason.

    I don’t choose to believe in where it leads anyone else—that is their choice. And while I remain open to examining the conclusions others have reached and the evidence that persuaded them, I will not personally remain open to such review if…

    1. Another person attempts to coerce or pressure, rather than simply presenting their viewpoint.

    2. Another person uses ridicule of my own conclusions—or any of its cousins (mockery, sarcasm, contempt, condescension) in an attempt to “win me over.” My openness immediately ends. And I do not imply by this that I believe you have employed this approach. Unfortunately, too often even those who claim to be believers employ these first two approaches.

    3. Another person wishes to engage in an ongoing dialogue over the issue in question. I actually can enjoy this kind of interchange, conducted with mutual respect. But these days, my time is at too much of a premium to allow it.

    Much of what we know, whether in science, religion, or any other area, is not absolute. Even science cannot always work on the basis of absolutes but of hypotheses. And good science keeps on open mind.

    The gulf between evidence and proof, between hypothesis and law, I choose to bridge with a choice called faith. I respect your right to view or conclude anything differently than I do. But I also, of course, have that same right.

    I do not see it as part of my life mission to be sure everyone else views things exactly as I do. But it IS part of my life mission to form views of my own based on the best evidence available to me.


  6. Posted by The Highwayman on September 27, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    “Szostak’s work has been peer reviewed at the highest levels and published in science’s most respected journals.”

    That, to a Christian, would be like asking one to acknowledge the latest ideas of the Flat Earth Society on our flat Earth. The hierarchy of the Humanism school will, naturally, assume their philosophies are superior over those of all others.

    Even if scientists could fashion something ‘alive’, they still had to work with pre-extant material, fashioning nothing of their own apart from that which already exists. All major scientific “discoveries” throughout history are just that… discoveries. The definition of discovery is having realized the presence of something that’s been there all along. No credit for creative work in that.

    Blind faith? Like that shown in the public schools over the dogma of socialist/humanist professors determined to override that hated sect of IT proponents? A scientist says it’s so… therefore, it’s so? How many of us actually search out and prove these teachings for ourselves, yet Christians are victims of blind trust and faith?

    Our political leaders seem to exact a huge portion of our faith, too, and that with the time-proven bent that they have for deceiving and robbing us! That doesn’t stop people from going to the polls every time there’s an election, does it? The process is flawed, but the game goes on!

    We travel the roads in vehicles hurtling along at hundreds of feet/second, sometimes INCHES from one another, and never give it a second thought… THAT is faith in action!

    A little self-analysis might be called for, here, as to just how much “blind” faith we ALL exert in this life.


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