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Winding Up Paley’s Watch, One More Time

New Discovery adds to Evidence for Biochemical Design

When I was growing up, it was still common for people to have mechanical watches that had to be wound up periodically. Battery-powered, digital watches were a rare sight.

This week, I would like to return to the past and revisit an earlier article I wrote on biochemical evidence for intelligent design. This evidence centers on the discovery of a protein complex found in cyanobacteria that functions, literally, as a mechanical watch in both a structural and operational sense.

This watch regulates metabolic processes such as nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis as well as overall gene expression within the cyanobacterial cell in response to light-dark cycles (day and night).

As I wrote earlier, the existence of a mechanical time-keeping device inside cyanobacteria is provocative in light of William Paley’s Watchmaker argument for God’s existence. The strength of this argument rests on the machine-like characteristic of the biochemical time-keeping ensemble of proteins. A recent review article published in Science summarizes the current understanding of the protein complex that keeps biological time, highlighting its mechanical properties.

With discoveries like these, the future looks bright for the Watchmaker analogy.