Life in a Lab?

By James M. Rochford

Some biologists have successfully created life in a laboratory. For instance, J. Craig Venter stripped a bacteria (a yeast) to its minimum complexity. In order to identify his synthetic DNA and genome, he hid email addresses, names, and famous literary passages in the genome. Venter’s work was heralded as a major breakthrough in origin of life research:

However, whenever origin-of-life scientists construct life in a lab, they demonstrate how much the creation of life needs an intelligent designer! Rana and Ross explain, “All laboratory simulation experiments require painstaking design and care on the part of the researchers to produce measurable quantities of either amino acids or nucleotide bases.”[1] Likewise, agnostic Paul Davies writes,

Even if an entire autonomous microbe is eventually built… without any use of pre-existing life forms at all, it would still not settle the issue of the cosmic imperative. Life began in nature without the benefit of high-tech laboratories and delicate step-by-step procedures implemented under carefully controlled conditions. Above all, it got going without the use of an intelligent designer… Mother Nature created life in the grubby conditions of a newly formed planet (or somewhere else, we don’t know), exploiting natural, random chemical reactions, and with no pre-conceived ‘destination life’ to guide and shape the reactions.[2]

[1] Rana, Fazale, and Hugh Ross. Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face off. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004. 104.

[2] Harold, Franklin M. The Way of the Cell: Molecules, Organisms, and the Order of Life. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001. 35-36.