Life Itself (The Living Cell)

In “Deluded By Darwinism” Martin Down has simplified the issue between science and faith for the general reader. Deluded by Darwinism has 176 pages divided into 29 short chapters that deal with the relationship between faith and science.

Science is often pitted against faith, as if they are in disagreement; science being fact and faith being fiction. That would be the militant atheist viewpoint. But there are too many Christians who are also scientists who see faith and science as complementary rather than contradictory, a sample can be read here.

Martin Down is not an ‘Intelligent Design’ scientist but as his bio on Amazon points out, he writes to bring the subject matter down to the level of “the ordinary person without an academic theological background who wants to understand more about God and the Bible and wants to see both the individual and the church reborn.” In my reading of the book I felt the author achieves his objective. To show it is an easy read I have typed 4 pages of the book (chapter 8), which gives proof of his handling of what seems a difficult subject to some, in a very readable style. There are 29 chapters with chapter 8 in full to give a feel of the author’s style.

There are reviews on Amazon that are dismissive of the book, but to be expected coming from an opposing view but I concur with the positive reviews. The objective reader is better informed and personal faith in God strengthened by reading ‘Deluded by Darwinism’.

Chapter 8: Life Itself (The Living Cell)

“Life is the ability of an organism to reproduce itself from within, to take in chemicals from outside and to use them to replicate itself. The basic unit of life is the cell. Most cells are so small they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Yet they are far from simple. Television often shows a single cell extracted from a soup of cells under the microscope. The cell looks like a minute blob of jelly. But inside each cell is a truly astonishing world.

“Each cell is like a miniature city. It is enclosed by a wall all round it (called the membrane), but the wall has many gates in it through which goods are brought in and taken out. Inside the city there is the central square and the city hall (called the nucleus). In the city hall is filed all the information for the organising and functioning of the city (stored in DNA). From the city hall little messengers (mRNA) carry information to the factories (ribosomes) where hundreds of different proteins are manufactured. Proteins are complex chains made up by joining together anything between 50 and 1,000 amino-acid molecules. It is like threading beads on a string. There are about 20 different amino-acids used to build proteins, and they have to be joined together in special sequences to make different proteins. Proteins are the stuff out of which living things are built. There are thousands of different proteins. They are amazingly adaptable and complex; depending on their composition, they coil, or fold, or are internally cross-linked. (But proteins are degraded at a temperature over 60 C, which demonstrates the importance of temperature control on a planet that supports life). Materials are transported around this city-cell on mini-trains (called Golgi apparatus), and the whole city is powered by energy from mini-generators (called mitochondria).

Let Michael Denton describe the cell in his own way:

“Magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometres in diameter and resembles a giant airship. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the portholes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organised corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory banks in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units.

“We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilised for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction.

“We would be witnessing an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth. However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equalled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of hours.”

“And that is just a single cell, the simplest form of life!

Evolutionists give the impression that all that is needed to generate life is a chemical soup, supposed to have existed on Earth long ago but unfortunately now off the menu, and a flash of lightening. The lightening is supposed to synthesis some amino-acid molecules, and hey presto! We have the building blocks of life. Never mind the idea of such a primeval soup, which is itself problematical – the description above of the simplest living organism, the cell, should be enough to show that a few amino-acid molecules floating in a pond does not constitute life. When Darwin wrote the Origin of species in 1859 he could offer no explanation for the transition from inanimate matter to living creatures. Today, 150 years later, evolutionists are even further away from being able to imagine, far less to demonstrate, how life began. The advances in our study of molecular biology and our knowledge of the living cell and how it works have put the origin of life as a matter of chance right off the map.

“Some evolutionists have recognised the extreme improbability of life arising spontaneously from inanimate matter. The mathematician and astronomer Fred Hoyle famously compared it to the probability of a hurricane picking up pieces in a scrap-yard, whirling them round and leaving behind a fully functioning jumbo jet. . . . Fred Hoyle, however, did not draw the obvious conclusion, but preferred to take refuge in the theory that life must have instead have originated in outer space (pansermia). He realised that the possibility that so complex a mechanism as the living cell should have originated on Earth by chance was so small as to amount to an impossibility. But why should it be more likely that life should arise and survive in the inhospitable regions of outer space, than on this hospitable Earth?

“In The God Delusion Richard Dawkins also admits the extreme improbability of life originating spontaneously on Earth, but then goes on to suggest that to believe in a God who created life is to believe in an even greater improbability. The logic of this is impenetrable. Let us say that we all acknowledge that the probability of a monkey typing the works of Shakespeare by chance is extremely small. Richard Dawkins then says that to believe that an intelligent being wrote them deliberately is to believe something even more improbable. Most people would conclude that we are forced to believe in Shakespeare, simply because we can read his works.

“The living cell demonstrates two principles that are the keys to the theory of creation: that of intelligent design and that of irreducible complexity. We have looked at evidence for intelligent design already in four fundamental forces of the universe. We have seen more evidence of intelligent design in the properties of water, and in the properties of the sun, the moon and the Earth itself. No more convincing evidence of intelligent design can be seen than the design of the living cell. Every little blob of jelly that you see being sucked into a tube under the microscope is a miracle of nano-engineering, smaller, more cunning, more reliable, more brilliant than anything invented or even imagined by humankind. The cell is an example both of intelligent design and of irreducible complexity.”

(Irreducible Complexity is the following chapter).

Ref: Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Adler and Adler. 1986, pp.328-9, abbreviated.


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