Where Science and Faith Converge

The Cell's Design

Author: Fazale Rana

I watched helplessly as my father died a Muslim. Though he and I would argue about my conversion, I was unable to convince him of the truth of the Christian faith.

I became a Christian as a graduate student studying biochemistry. The cell's complexity, elegance, and sophistication coupled with the inadequacy of evolutionary scenarios to account for life's origin compelled me to conclude that life must stem from a Creator. Reading through the Sermon on the Mount convinced me that Jesus was who Christians claimed Him to be: Lord and Savior.

Still, evangelism wasn't important to me - until my father died. His death helped me appreciate how vital evangelism is. It was at that point I dedicated myself to Christian apologetics and the use of science as a tool to build bridges with nonbelievers.

In 1999, I left my position in R&D at a Fortune 500 company to join Reasons to Believe because I felt the most important thing I could do as a scientist is to communicate to skeptics and believers alike the powerful scientific evidence - evidence that is being uncovered day after day - for God's existence and the reliability of Scripture.

  • Q&A: Is Evolution Falsifiable?

    October 5, 2016

    I expected to get a reaction—and I did. Last week I posted the below ‘meme’ on my Facebook page and Twitter account, claiming that the evolutionary paradigm is unfalsifiable because of the stranglehold that methodological naturalism has on the operation of science.

    • Evolution
    • Intelligent Design
    • Creation vs. Evolution
  • Science News Flash: First Three-Parent Baby Born

    September 29, 2016

    Shocking headlines from around the world have announced the first-ever birth of a baby with three parents (two mothers and one father)! The research team who carried out this work will report the details about the conception and birth of this child at next month’s meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, to be held in Salt Lake City.

    • Ethics
  • Did Neanderthals Make Jewelry?

    September 28, 2016

    I was a troublemaker in high school. And that meant I spent more than my fair share of time in Mr. Reynold’s office—our school’s vice principal. It wasn’t long before we developed a bit of a dance that played out each time I was summoned to his office. Mr. Reynolds would accuse me of some misdeed (for which he usually had ample evidence) and I would respond with an elaborate defense, hoping to convince him of my innocence. I quickly learned that if my excuse was to stick, every detail of my story had to hang together.

    • Scientific Studies
    • Neanderthals/Hominids
    • Anthropology
  • Blood Flow to Brain Contributes to Human Exceptionalism

    September 21, 2016

    Are human beings exceptional? Are we unique, as the Bible teaches? Recent work by paleoanthropologists from Australia adds to the mounting scientific evidence for human exceptionalism. These scientists demonstrate that modern humans have an unusually high rate of blood flow to our brains, compared to other primates, including the hominids represented in the fossil record.

    • Human Uniqueness
    • Adam & Eve
  • Does the Evolutionary Paradigm Stymie Scientific Advance?

    September 12, 2016

    A common challenge I often hear is that creationism and intelligent design are showstoppers for science. If we conclude that “God did it,” skeptics complain, “wouldn’t that shut down scientific inquiry?” A few years ago, I had a brief email exchange with a prominent origin-of-life researcher who sincerely raised that concern:

    • Junk DNA & Bad Designs
    • Design
  • Science News Flash: 3.7-Billion-Year-Old Fossils Perplex Origin-of-Life Researchers

    September 7, 2016

    Good things can come from bad circumstances. This idea is beautifully illustrated by the research efforts of a team of Australian scientists. Climate change has triggered the excessive melting of ice and snow in western Greenland. This loss of snow and ice concerns many people, but, on the other hand, it has been a boon for the scientific community.

    • Origin of Life
    • Fossil Record
    • Earth's History
  • Have Origin-of-Life Researchers Found the RNA World "Money Train"?

    August 31, 2016

    As I write this blog post, amateur treasure hunters in Poland are trying to determine if a local legend is true. According to the lore, during the end of World War II, as the Germans escaped the advancing Soviet army, a train loaded with $200 million in gold, silver, and valuable art disappeared in a complex series of secret tunnels beneath a castle in the Owl Mountains.

    • Prebiotic Chemistry
    • Origin of Life
  • Piltdown Man: The Fact and Fantasy of the Hominid Fossil Record

    August 24, 2016

    In high school and college, I played my fair share of practical jokes. While a few of the victims of my hoaxes appreciated my sense of humor, most were “not amused.” (To quote my high school English teacher Mrs. Hodges who, in turn, was quoting Queen Victoria: “Mr. Rana, we are not amused.”)

    • Hominids
    • Fossil Record
    • Anthropology
  • DNA: Designed for Flexibility

    August 17, 2016

    Over the years I’ve learned that flexibility is key to a happy and successful life. If you are too rigid, it can create problems for you and others and rob you of joy. Recently, a team of collaborators from Duke University and several universities in the US discovered that DNA displays unexpected structural flexibility.

    • Life
    • Life Design
    • Design
    • Biochemistry
  • Can Keratin in Feathers Survive for Millions of Years?

    August 10, 2016

    I don’t like conflict. In fact, I try to avoid it whenever possible. And that’s part of the reason I never wanted to become directly involved in the young-earth/old-earth controversy that takes place within the church.

    • Dinosaurs
    • Fossil Record
    • Young-Earth Creationism
    • Age of the Earth
  • The Evolution of the Automobile: Evidence for Intelligent Design

    August 3, 2016

    “It’s déjà vu all over again.” As the story goes, baseball player and manager Yogi Berra first uttered this famous yogi-ism sitting in the dugout watching Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back home runs. Something that happened on more than one occasion.

    • Transitional Forms
    • Fossil Record
    • Creation vs. Evolution
  • Science News Flash: Are Humans Still Evolving?

    August 1, 2016

    Are human beings divinely created? Or are we the product of an evolutionary history? Or both? Nearly everyone has some interest in human origins. And for that reason, it’s not surprising that discoveries in anthropology frequently garner headlines and serve as fodder for popular science pieces.

    • Speciation
    • Macro vs. Micro Evolution
    • Human Origins
    • Evolution
    • Anthropology
    • Adam & Eve
  • Science News Flash: Has the Last Universal Common Ancestor Been Identified?

    July 28, 2016

    Researchers from Germany made headlines by announcing that they are one step closer to identifying LUCA (the last universal common ancestor)—the single-celled organism that anchors the evolutionary tree of life. Because an organism’s genes reflect its environment, these researchers attempted to partially reconstruct LUCA’s genome.

    • Origin of Life
    • Cells
    • Bacteria
  • Like a Fish Out of Water: Why I'm Skeptical of the Evolutionary Paradigm

    July 27, 2016

    I am skeptical that evolutionary processes can fully account for life’s origin, history, and design—and that often makes me feel like a fish out of water. “Mainstream” scientists view biological evolution as the organizing principle in biology. In fact, Russian geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously wrote, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” So, when I question evolutionary explanations, I become an outsider. I am outside the fish bowl, looking in. Because I’m a biochemist, my critics accuse me of being either dishonest or incompetent. Why else would I question the “fact” of evolution in the face of the overwhelming evidence for common descent? They claim that theological—not scientific motivations fuel my skepticism.

    • Convergence
    • Design
    • Evolution
    • Creation vs. Evolution
  • Historical Contingency and the Improbability of Protein Evolution, Part 2 (of 2)

    July 20, 2016

    A few weeks ago, Kathy Emmons of WORD FM in Pittsburg interviewed me about the connection between human evolution and human trafficking. During the interview, she asked me if theological or scientific concerns drove my skepticism about human evolution. My answer is both.

    • Molecular Evolution
    • Proteins
    • Evolution
    • Biochemistry
  • Science News Flash: Stone Tool Use by Capuchin Monkeys Challenges Human Evolution

    July 14, 2016

    I love cashew nuts! Apparently, so do capuchin monkeys. A team of scientists from Oxford University (in the UK) and the University of Sao Paulo (in Brazil) report that capuchin monkeys in the northeast forests of Brazil make sophisticated use of stone tools to extract cashew nuts from shells.

    • Human Uniqueness
    • Archaeology
    • Hominids
    • Anthropology

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