Stephen Meyer has just published a new essay about Craig Ventner’s recent claims to have created synthetic life. Not so quick, Meyer says.
A biologist in California has summoned headlines around the world, some distressed and some celebratory, by supposedly doing in reality what Dr. Frankenstein did in fiction: giving life to lifeless matter.
The Vatican worries that, by swapping artificial DNA for the real thing in a simple bacterial cell, Dr. Craig Venter is “playing God.” But most voices from the media welcome his success. Bioethicist Arthur Caplan applauds the end of the myth that life is “sacred, special, ineffable.” According to Caplan, Venter has shown that life can be readily produced from its material parts, thus refuting “the argument that life requires a special force or power to exist.” Others have called Venter’s achievement “a complete victory for materialism,” predicting that many atheists will cite it as evidence that life can arise without a divine creator.
But are these assessments correct? Did Venter create life artificially? Did he show that life can arise without help from an external agent?
In fact, he did neither.
Not so fast…
Read the full piece here.