United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Scientists Thundering Silence

The more deeply scientists delve into the mysteries of the universe, the more their discoveries support the existence of God. But all too often they are remarkably silent about this aspect of their findings.

Recent breakthroughs in understanding the cell, the basic building block of life, are a case in point. Michael Behe, associate professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, after analyzing extensive research at the molecular level, decided to go public with its far-reaching implications. His recent book Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (1996) is packed with supporting scientific data, in clear layman's language, that substantiates his stunning conclusion. Here are several excerpts:

"In some ways, grown-up scientists are. . . prone to wishful thinking. . . For example, centuries ago it was thought that insects and other small animals arose directly from spoiled food. This was easy to believe, because small animals were thought to be very simple (before the invention of the microscope naturalists thought that insects had no internal organs).

"But as biology progressed and careful experiments showed that protected food did not breed life, the theory of spontaneous generation retreated to the limits beyond which science could not detect what was really happening. In the nineteenth century that meant the cell. When beer, milk, or urine were allowed to sit for several days ,in containers, even closed ones, they always became cloudy from something growing in them.

"The microscopes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries showed the growth was very small, apparently living cells. So it seemed reasonable that simple living organisms could arise spontaneously from liquids.

"The key to persuading people was the portrayal of the cells as 'simple: One of the chief advocates of the theory of spontaneous generation during the middle of the nineteenth century was Ernst Haeckel a great admirer of Darwin and an eager popularizer of Darwin's theory.

"From the limited view of cells that microscopes provided, Haeckel believed that a cell was a 'simple little lump of albuminous combination of carbon,' not much different from a piece of microscopic Jell-O. So it seemed to Haeckel that such simple life, with no internal organs, could be produced from inanimate material. Now, of course, we know better" (pp. 23-24).

How complex is the cell? Zoology professor and evolutionist Richard Dawkins notes that the cell nucleus "contains a digitally coded database larger, in information content, than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica put together. And this figure is for each cell... The total number of cells in the body (of a human) is about 10 trillion" (The Blind Watchmaker, pp. 17-18, emphasis in original).

Later in his book Dr. Behe discusses the complexity and intricacy scientists have discovered. "Over the past four decades modern biochemistry has uncovered the secrets of the cell. The progress has been hard won. It has required tens of thousands of people to dedicate the better parts of their lives to the tedious work of the laboratory..."

"The results of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell-to investigate life at the molecular level-is a loud, clear, piercing cry of 'design!' The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science. The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein, Lavoisier and Schrodinger, Pasteur, and Darwin. The observation of the intelligent design of life is as momentous as the observation that the earth goes around the sun or that disease is caused by bacteria or that radiation is emitted in quanta.

"The magnitude of the victory, gained at such great cost through sustained effort over the course of decades, would be expected to send champagne corks flying in labs around the world. This triumph of science should evoke cries of 'Eureka!' from ten thousand throats, should occasion much hand-slapping and high-living, and perhaps even be an excuse to take the day off.

"But no bottles have been uncorked, no hands slapped. Instead a curious, embarrassed silence surrounds the stark complexity of the cell.. When the subject comes up in public, feet start to shuffle, and breathing gets a bit labored. In private people are a bit more relaxed; many explicitly admit the obvious but then stare at the ground, shake their heads, and let it go at that.

"Why does the scientific community not greedily embrace its startling discovery? Why is the observation of design handled with intellectual gloves? The dilemma is that while one side of the elephant is labeled intelligent design, the other side might be labeled God" (Behe, pp. 232-233, original emphasis),

These discoveries reveal that the simplest living cell is so intricate, complex and marvelous in its design that even the possibility of its coming into existence accidentally is unthinkable. The evidence of an intelligent Designer is overwhelming.

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