Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

Tan and Stadler’s recent book tackles claims of life from the lab

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From a review of Stairway to Life: An Origin-Of-Life Reality Check by Change Laura Tan and Rob Stadler:

Before introducing the 12 stages natural processes would need to resolve, Tan and Stadler discuss in detail a specific example of how a cell was allegedly manufactured in a laboratory. This helps to understand some key principles, such as the need for careful planning to ensure desired intermediate outcomes, based on pre-known goals. Deep expertise is necessary coupled with chemical ‘tricks’ which are not found in nature. Most significantly, if the work resembles real cells, at some point biochemicals deriving directly from cells are needed or must be manufactured with the help of cellular materials.

The example involves a 15-year project by the J. Craig Venter Institute, using a crack team of approximately 20 scientists headed by Nobel Laureate Hamilton Smith (chapters 1–5). The hype which accompanied the publication in 2010 of what they dubbed Synthia overlooked how nothing of relevance to support evolution was accomplished. In a nutshell, the DNA sequence of a living bacterium was duplicated synthetically, and then transferred into a living cell. This would be comparable to copying a program from one computer to a different one, and then giving the impression the entire system, including hardware and operating system, could have originated on its own.

How the DNA sequence was manufactured could be too technical for some readers, who may wish to skip to the next section. Others may benefit by reflecting on how origin-of-life researchers are forced to use intelligent strategies to overcome fundamental chemical realities which otherwise produce the wrong outcomes.

Royal Truman, “Twelve rounds, twelve knockouts” at

One Reply to “Tan and Stadler’s recent book tackles claims of life from the lab

  1. 1
    zweston says:

    Not exactly related…but check out this op-ed in scientific American…

    The author posits the universe was made in a lab…. hmm, like a super smart agent created the universe? Weird. 🙂 Running out of gaps, naturalists.

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