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science

May 27, 2010

Craig Venter has recently claimed to have created artificial life. His name showed up in a book I read and reviewd not so long ago and I have received permission to post an excerpt from that book—Who Made God? by Edgar Andrews (read my review or read my interview with the author).

This excerpt begins on page 194 if you’re looking for it in your copy of his book.

Life in a cake mixer

We shall spend this chapter in pursuit of the jellypod. That’s my pet name for Haldane’s ‘minimal organism’ — the simplest entity that could be called ‘living’ and which we discussed briefly at the start of chapter 12. No disrespect is intended; jellypod is just more memorable than ‘minimal organism’.

In chapter 12, having pointed out the enormous complexity of even the simplest life-form known to us today, we put the jellypod on one side to seek out the essence of physical life. This turned out to be organised information — something, moreover, that cannot be stored, transmitted or put to work without the use of communication or ‘language’. This is just what we would expect on the biblical hypothesis of God, since the Bible attributes both the origin and maintenance of the natural world to God’s ‘spoken word’ — a metaphor that embraces the twin ideas of command and communication. It is no surprise, therefore, that the molecular foundations of life are stacked full of information and bear all the marks of advanced language.

November 23, 2009

Last week I wrote a review of the excellent new book Who Made God? by Edgar Andrews. This book is an intelligent, insightful response to many of the claims of today’s new atheists. I recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. Andrews and wanted to share that interview with you today.


What do all of those letters after your name actually stand for?
The first three (BSc, PhD and DSc) are earned academic qualifications while the remainder (FInstP, FIMMM, CEng and CPhys) are professional qualifications. My Bachelor’s degree was in theoretical physics; the ‘doctor of philosophy’ degree was awarded for research, and the ‘doctor of science’ degree is a higher doctorate awarded for eminence in a given field, as judged by the quality of peer-reviewed publications.

November 17, 2009

Who Made GodWhy should the Devil get all the good scientists? It sometimes seems that way, doesn’t it? We hear of scientists like Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins and others who are acclaimed as being at the top of their field and almost inevitably it seems that they are atheists or otherwise committed to explaining the world in terms of Darwinian evolution. Occasionally we find a great dissenting mind, but then we discover that that person is committed to beliefs that seem opposed to the plain account of Scripture. So we have Francis Collins who writes The Language of God but who in the book says that, though God exists, life and creation can be explained in terms of natural laws and processes that do not depend on the Divine hand of God. It is both tiresome and frustrating.