Reasons to Believe

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of One-Liners

Movies and actors buy a bit of immortality when they produce a one-liner that becomes part of our cultural vocabulary. “May the Force be with you.” “I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” “Go ahead, make my day.”

Like a good movie, we want our words to be remembered when witnessing to others. But when it comes to science apologetics, using a one-liner—“It’s so complicated God must have done it”; “This argument disproves your position”; “A logical person wouldn’t believe that”—can make us ineffective, even damaging, witnesses to God’s truth. With spiritual consequences at stake, we can’t afford to be one-line apologists.

Recently, I gave a presentation to a class of high school science students using eight talking points gleaned from Fazale Rana’s book The Cell’s Design. Taken together, these examples of molecular design present a strong case for God as Creator. I hope you will find them helpful as you beef up your own apologetics approach.

  1. Molecular motors: William Paley’s famous “Watchmaker’s argument” states if you come across a watch on the ground, logic dictates the watch’s complexity reveals a maker. Recent discoveries of molecular motors containing rotors, pumps, spindles, and gears all operating within the cell have revived Paley’s analogy.
  2. Chicken-and-egg relationships: DNA cannot exist without proteins. Proteins cannot exist without DNA. Undirected evolution cannot explain how these two interdependent molecules emerged, but a Creator’s involvement would eliminate this dilemma.
  3. Molecular convergence: By its very nature, evolution cannot repeat results in unrelated organisms (e.g., echolocation in dolphins and bats), but a Creator can repeat effective designs. We see examples of repeated designs (convergence) throughout nature. The Cell’s Design includes 100 examples of molecular convergence.
  4. Preplanning: Some molecular structures, such as the flagellum’s tail, need to be constructed in a specific step-wise manner, involving genetic on/off switches throughout the process. One misstep or malfunction compromises the entire structure. Such precision indicates the need for preplanning by a Designer.
  5. Quality control: Internal checks guard against malfunction. Cells can identify and destroy erroneous proteins. Incorrectly spliced DNA code is corrected. Again, these systems indicate the hand of a Designer.
  6. Biochemical information: Simple as it seems, the cell wall regulates exports and imports to the cell, assists in cell metabolism and division, and regulates protein function. Such complexity suggests a Designer’s craftsmanship.
  7. Minimum complexity: In theory, the simplest life-forms could consist of just 500–600 gene products. However, each gene product is about 1,000 nucleotides (DNA molecules) in length, necessitating hundreds of thousands of nucleotides strung together. This complexity poses problems for evolution—and human researchers—but not for a divine Creator.
  8. Fine-tuning of the genetic code: The odds of finding the right genetic codes for life are 1.40 x 1070. Any conceivable change to the genetic code would be lethal to the cell, indicating the code couldn’t have evolved. Only a Creator could map and construct such an intricate system.

Article by Diana Carrée

Subjects: Argument from Reason, General Apologetics

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