Tag Archive: Creating Life in the Lab

Three Days Left!

It’s important that I remind you that there’s only three days left to guarantee your cabin on RTB’s Alaska Cruise Conference this summer, July 30–August 6. The theme of our cruise is Future Faith Challenges. I’ll be speaking about Common Descent or Common Design? and, in a breakout session, on Creating Life in the Lab. To find out what the other RTB scholars will be talking about, visit reasons.org/alaska2011/lectures.

Nuclear chemist Dr. Jay L. Wile posted a thorough review of Creating Life in the Lab on his blog, Proslogion (named for a work by Anselm of Canterbury; its English title is Discourse on the Existence of God).

Had a great time discussing Creating Life in the Lab with apologist Greg Koukl during the last two hours on the Stand to Reason podcast. Listen to the interview here.

I will be speaking to the RTB Orange County Chapter about “Making the Case for Intelligent Design: A Three-Pillar Approach.”

Saturday, February 12
10:30 AM—12:30 PM

Location: First Evangelical Free Church

2904 N. Brea Blvd

Fullerton, CA 92835 Map/directions

This event is free of charge. Following the talk, I will be available to autograph my newest book, Creating Life in the Lab.

For more information about this event, click here, or email Virgil Robertson at OrangeCounty@reasons.org.

Had an opportunity to talk about Creating Life in the Lab on The Frank Pastore Show. You can listen to a recording of the interview by visiting the synthetic biology page on the RTB website.

Synopsis of Creating Life in the Lab: what it’s about and why I decided to write it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

When asked what makes the difference between a good hockey player and a great one, Wayne Gretzky replied (I’m paraphrasing): A good hockey player skates to the puck; a great one skates to where the puck is going to be.

One of our goals at Reasons To Believe is to skate to where the apologetics puck is going to be. We want to anticipate scientific advance before it happens. That way we can equip Christians with a ready response when a breakthrough does occur.

Baker Books recently released my latest work, Creating Life in the Lab. The book tells the story of scientists’ efforts to create artificial, nonnatural, novel single-cell entities in the lab. Anticipating their success, I explore how their research may impact Christianity.

Though it seems like science fiction, the quest for artificial life will soon reach its goal. In 2010, biologist Craig Venter’s research team announced the development of a methodology for generating synthetic bacteria unlike any that exists in nature. Other investigators have successfully used genetic engineering techniques to modify microbes, giving them novel metabolic capabilities. Biologist Jack Szostak of Harvard University heads up a research team on the cusp of “creating” (starting with simple chemical compounds) protocells that manifest many of life’s key properties.

The creation of life in the lab will usher in a biotechnology revolution with unimaginable potential benefit for humanity. Applications for medicine, agriculture, and industry will radically transform the world. But this potential advance also raises troubling questions. Are these artificial life-forms safe? Are human beings trying to “play God”? Is it ethical to make artificial life?

For many Christians, the most troubling question is theological: If life can be assembled in a lab, is God necessary to explain life’s existence? Some scientists assert that if we can make life, then there is nothing special about life. Our creative ability lends credence, they suggest, to the idea that life evolved from nonliving matter on Earth’s surface.

I disagree. In Creating Life in the Lab, I show that, rather than validating an evolutionary explanation for life’s origin, work in synthetic biology will unwittingly demonstrate that life must come from the work of an intelligent Agent. By working our way to where the puck is going to be in the synthetic biology arena, we have poised Christian apologetics to score an important goal in the case for the Creator.