Continuing my last post on the 2019 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith, I’ll provide highlights from two more speakers- Ransom Poythress and Ann Gauger. My previous post focused on Michael Behe, Mike Keas and Vern Poythress as they presented on the difference between evolution and devolution, the influence of Christianity on modern science, and biological chance.
Ransom Poythress, Professor of Biology, spoke on language and communication, and how we can observe this process within our own DNA. He makes the point that language is ‘God’s invention’, and I appreciate that simple truth. God is the one who first spoke, bringing the universe into existence: “Let there be light”. He went on to prepare the earth, then created living organisms to reproduce after their kind, using DNA- the language of life, which serves as a blueprint. DNA is a molecule that forms a combination of base letters, approximating a written language.
It’s interesting to note that on June 26, 2000, when the first draft of the human genome project was announced, President Bill Clinton declared, “Today, we are learning the language in which God created the universe.”
This language is easily identified. Consider the mind-boggling storage capacity of DNA: it would take 9,300 books containing an average of 322,655 characters each to store the amount of information contained in one cell. Or, one gram of DNA could store the amount of data contained in 6,718,750 smart phones with 32 GB of memory each. Incredibly, all the information recorded throughout human history could be stored on DNA the weight and size of two pickup trucks.
The language of DNA becomes even more fascinating when we discover that the human genome operates in four dimensions. Human language doesn’t even exist in three dimensions, nor do computer programs. The first dimension resembles the order of letters in a sentence. The second is the way in which one section of DNA interacts with another, as if the words on a page provided meaning across the page, as well as up and down the page. The third dimension is when a molecule’s shape affects the expression and control of different genes, like a page in a book being folded to create a new meaning. And the fourth dimension changes the first three dimensions!
All this is necessary in order to provide instructions that can be interpreted and regulated with many layers of control. The process of applying these instructions is very selective, ensuring they’re not carried out in every cell, but can be differentiated in order to make different organs (liver, heart, lungs). The proteins are constantly changing in response to various needs within the cell, bending into position with the right combination of activators.
It’s exciting to examine all these processes occurring at the molecular level and recognize God’s amazing work and incredible design.
The next session complimented the language of life as Ann Gauger (Ph.D. in Zoology) pointed out how we can observe design in everything. I love using the design argument as evidence for God because design in nature is readily discernable; and that which was designed requires a designer.
Early scientists, like Louis Pasteur and Gregor Mendel, identified a simple truth: life only comes from life. It can’t be denied that cells come from other cells, and like things come from other like things (with some variation). Thus, we see a causal circularity. In order to get the thing you’re producing, you must have the thing you’re producing.
This is evident with DNA. DNA is needed to make RNA, RNA is needed to make proteins, proteins are needed to make RNA, DNA is needed to make proteins, proteins are needed to make DNA, and RNA is needed to make DNA. Therefore, evolutionists have a causal circularity that remains unresolved.
Other examples include ATP, a complicated molecule, which is necessary for its own synthesis. An amino acid called cysteine is necessary to make cysteine. The core elements of life are causally circular.
According to evolutionist Dan Tawfik, “Evolution has this catch-22: Nothing evolves unless it already exists.” He goes on to say, “Overall, what the field of protein evolution needs are some plausible, solid hypotheses to explain how random sequences of amino acids turned into the sophisticated entities that we recognize today as proteins. Until that happens, the phenomenon of the rise of proteins will remain, something like close to a miracle.”
In other words, evolution cannot explain the existence of sophisticated proteins and the complicated work they do. Evolutionists are left with an ‘evolution of the gaps’ problem. They don’t know how it happened, but they’re confident that it occurred naturally, without any assistance from a God or god(s)… “evolution did it!”.
On the contrary, I’d suggest that God IS the best explanation for our origins, and evidence of his design is stamped into our DNA.