In the Sydney Morning Herald, journalist Deborah Smith quotes Venter with this statement, “This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do.” The word “design” in this statement is what caught my attention. There has been plenty of debate in the scientific community about the origins of life. The main opposing camps of thought on the issue are those who support the theory of evolution and those who support the theory of intelligent design. Therefore, when I read Dr. Venter’s statement which included the word “design” along with the word “biology”, it immediately made think of these two conflicting camps of thought.
According to IntelligentDesign.org, intelligent design is defined this way: “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” I don’t begin to claim to have an even minimal understanding of the details of this ongoing debate, so what I have to offer are just some questions that came to my own mind as a result of Dr. Venter’s statement.
Human beings (intelligence) have created (designed) a living cell that has never before existed, i.e. life has been created by “intelligent design”. If we as human beings can be creators of new forms of life (the future results of which can only be speculated about at this point, and have some scary potentials), doesn’t it then become logical to accept the possibility that some other form of intelligence was involved in our own life origins? That some higher form of intelligence, some other type of being, may have purposely put together that which is the very core of our existence suddenly becomes totally plausible, does it not? To take it a step further: does it not also become plausible that this intelligent being may have created a variety of life forms that would be interdependent on one another?