Synthetic Life "Breakthrough" Just Demonstrates Design | The Institute for Creation Research

Synthetic Life "Breakthrough" Just Demonstrates Design

Dr. Cameron Alexander of the University of Nottingham recently used polymers to build capsules that imitate bacterial cell walls. Bacteria can interact with these capsules, absorbing chemicals from them. In the May 29, 2008, article “Synthetic Copycat of Living Cell Underway: Life, But Not as We Know It?,” Science News quoted Dr. Alexander as saying, “These are very primitive steps in the lab, and still a long way from a true synthetic counterpart to a biological cell, but we have demonstrated that we can transfer certain molecules from inside the synthetic capsule to the bacteria when they are in physical contact, which is an exciting development.”

What do Dr. Alexander’s “very primitive steps” demonstrate?

Actually, the fact that bacteria can interact with manmade capsules contributes very little toward the creation of synthetic cells, although it may lead to medicinal breakthroughs and is therefore a worthy endeavor. The fact is that bacteria were designed to interact with their environment. They have a remarkable capacity, for example, to scour about for loose bits of DNA that may contain “software” to help them survive when stressed. Their ability to absorb certain molecules from a synthetic capsule placed in proximity to them does not necessarily mean that the capsule is anything like a cell. It may be cell-like, but that would be because of its shape, size, and makeup—all design features.

Building a synthetic cell might be impossible. It is comparable to building a large city’s worth of infrastructure—including communication, transportation, waste management, data processing, recycling, manufacture, and sanitation—all with invisibly small machines. Biblically, there is no mandate that precludes man from attempting to build bacteria. The exercise might just force investigators to discover new intricacies of bacterial design, or to learn something of the complex and precise constructions required to manufacture even these smallest of life forms. With all the effort required by intelligent men in their attempts to build life, hopefully more will see that time and chance are not genius enough to create even the simplest of organisms.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on June 4, 2008.

The Latest
NEWS
Fossil Chromatin Looks Young
What are the odds that a buried animal would still have intact DNA after 125 million years? Researchers publishing in the journal Communications Biology...

NEWS
Inside October 2021 Acts & Facts
How is the Lord’s handiwork on display at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? Does the universe look old? What can we learn about science and...

NEWS
Two-Volume Series: Restoring the Truth about Origins
The subject of origins continues to attract interest from the public and the scientific establishment. Understanding our origins informs us of who we are...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Floods Form Fossils Fast
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
A Battle for Hearts
Since the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opened in fall of 2019, tens of thousands of people have walked through our doors. They...

APOLOGETICS
Eating Bugs Isn't Always So Simple
The Lord Jesus Christ deserves glory for why He made Earth’s diverse creatures, and He also deserves glory for the complicated details of how...

ACTS & FACTS
Does the Universe Look Old?
Since distant galaxies are billions of light-years away, some understandably assume that distant starlight must have taken billions of years to reach...

ACTS & FACTS
Hawaii Behind the Scenes
ICR Research Scientist Dr. Brian Thomas and ICR Video Producer Clint Loveness, with help from friends and family, recently shot footage in Maui, Hawaii,...

ACTS & FACTS
Mutation, Design, and Faith
Any alteration in a cell’s DNA sequence is a mutation. These changes can come from copying errors, exposure to chemicals or radiation, or from...

ACTS & FACTS
Another Function of 'Junk DNA' Discovered
For decades, evolutionists suggested that huge sections of our genome (about half) did not actively code for the production of proteins or polypeptides—and...