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By Dr. Fazale Rana
In 2008, Baker Books published my book, The Cell’s Design. Overall, the reaction to the book has been positive. But there have been a few reviews that were critical. One of note was written by microbiologist Frank Steiner. A recent discovery regarding the structure of an enzyme by researchers from Germany helps address the central point made by Steiner, and in doing so actually strengthens the case for the intelligent design of biochemical systems.
I don’t like to be criticized—not. one. bit. But if I am honest with myself, there is almost always some measure of validity to the critical comments directed my way.
As my friend, who is a pastor, once told me, “criticism is a gift.” If you are willing to address your identified shortcomings, you have the chance to become an even better version of yourself. This principle also applies to Christian apologetics: If you take criticisms seriously and adequately address them, your arguments for the Christian faith become that much more powerful.
Generally speaking, the reaction to my book The Cell’s Design has been positive. But there have been a few reviews that were less than stellar. Perhaps the most critical of all was a review written by microbiologist Frank Steiner for the Reports of the National Center for Science Education.
After careful reflection, I have come to conclude that many of the issues Steiner has with The Cell’s Design are unsubstantial and largely unfounded. Nevertheless, one point he raised has some merit. Fortunately, a recent discovery by researchers from Germany about the structure of the enzyme F1-F0-ATPase helps address Steiner’s point—and in doing so, actually strengthens my argument for the intelligent design of biochemical systems.
An Important Criticism
I am not going to respond to all of Steiner’s criticism. Instead, I will focus on the concern I think has the most validity, the one that Steiner refers to as “the principle scientific problem that I have with Rana’s approach.” Namely, “Each of his ‘design’ examples—or what he produces as evidence for design—is presented in such general terms that he has glossed over the diversity represented in related systems or organisms, all of which can be accounted for by evolutionary mechanisms.”
To illustrate, Steiner’s complaint, consider the supramolecular architecture of…
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