The Cell's Design: How Chemistry Reveals the Creator's Artistry
by Fazale Rana
Baker Books, 2008
336 pp., $16.99
The culture war between evolutionary science and creationism continues unabated in a new book by Fazale Rana, one of the scholars associated with the day-age creationist ministry Reasons to Believe. Rana coauthored Origins of Life with Reasons founder Hugh Ross; The Cell's Design is the sequel.
In its content, however, The Cell's Design really follows Michael Behe's now-classic Darwin's Black Box, which highlighted extremely complex biological structures, such as bacterial flagellum, that Behe argued could not have come into existence by the stepwise mechanisms required in Darwinian evolution. Rana builds on this foundation, marshalling a potpourri of additional highly complex structures and systems from biochemistry to illustrate what he assumes to be obvious: that these structures are designed.
The Cell's Design stands in a long tradition, going back to 17th-century naturalist John Ray and, most notably, 18th-century English philosopher William Paley. Paley, in Natural Theology, famously used the analogy of a pocket watch to represent something that must be designed, engineered, and put together by a maker rather than through a natural process. Rana argues that the machinery of cellular biology is, like a pocket watch, constructed according to the plan of a designer (who, in a departure from most Intelligent Design scientists, he explicitly names as the God of the Old and New Testaments).
In his 2005 book Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life, Christian theologian and writer Alister McGrath reminded us that Paley's ideas did not sit well with some of his contemporaries, including theologian John ...