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An Open Letter To Professor Eric S. Lander, MIT, And A Case For Intelligent Design

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Letter to: Professor Eric S. Lander, Director The Broad Institute of MIT And Harvard

Dear Professor Lander:

I very much enjoyed your MIT150 TechTV lecture on the explosion in our knowledge of the relationship between biology and computer programming.

Your attitude and enthusiasm and achievements are so great I trust that you do not mind working with people for the common good, even though they might disagree with you on evolution - and this because of the new discoveries of computer programming constructs evidenced in the genome, such as - a gene is similar in function to an object in computer programming; that both are designed with a view to perform specific tasks and to help make software re-useable. For example, you can take the gene that codes for insulin and insert it into bacteria and the bacteria will produce insulin. And this is how the world gets its supply of insulin today to treat diabetes.

This design hypothesis has great predictive value. It predicts that all mutations will be harmful, just like a copying error in a computer program will be harmful. (However, some mutations like sickle-cell anemia can have a beneficial side effect (resistance to malaria). Also a mutation in a bacteria (making it weaker) can have the beneficial side effect (for the bacteria) of making it resistant to a particular antibiotic.

The design view predicts that there will be great similarity of genetic code between species just like there is great similarity of code between any two iPhone apps because the apps all contain many of the same code objects to handle the routine tasks of any program. Therefore, the similarity of the genome between species is probably not evidence for evolution or common descent, but rather it is probably evidence of a style of programming we use ourselves; object oriented programming, and that's evidence for intelligent design.

Unfortunately, current science education tries to limit science to the study of only natural causes. However we know that everything is not the result of natural causes, the act of computer programming being a prime example. And we humbly submit that science that studies the relationship between the genetic code and computer programming, (an act of intelligent design), is true science.

In your MIT150 talk you mentioned that the next step is "reverse engineering" to help understand the genetic code for control and sequencing.

OK, do the genes that code for protein all have a "class" or category type marking and can this class type marking be deciphered to help discover genes (objects) of other classes? I love all the MIT Videos and your opencourseware and the enthusiasm of the young people to "serve the world". The point is, the world can be served by both the "natural causes" view and the "design" view, as both views have their merits. So please encourage your students who know Java programming to spend a few days applying Object Oriented Programming concepts to the genome. Who knows, perhaps some discoveries for the common good will be forthcoming.

I think the design view can help advance medical research. And we should appreciate with good humour that the design view has proven it's merits by correctly predicting that all organs are functional and that no organs are vestigial. (If I was a patient, I would want my doctor to assume all organs were functional, just in case.)

The design view does however raise hard questions about why the "designer" doesn't stop genetic diseases in the first place, and that perhaps God's apparent nonintervention now, is the terrible price of our freedom.

I do not have any easy answers, but I have appreciated Professor John C. Sanford's book Genetic Entropy (here is a link to professor Sanford's web page at Cornell University.)

Sanford's evidence from peer reviewed papers that the genome is deteriorating due to the accumulation of near neutral mutations is good science and merits further research even though it counters what has been so intuitive about evolution for so long.

I have also appreciated Professor Sanford's personal testimony in the book Persuaded by the Evidence where he recounts his journey from atheism to faith. As a Christian is John Sanford biased or is John Sanford a Christian because of his scientific mind and science itself led him?

As Christians, we suffer the same genetic and other diseases as everyone else. And we learn that sometimes we lose the very good fight to save a life, and that God's intervention often comes later, even for his saints and martyrs in the New Testament, and our heartbreak remains for now. And yet we are encouraged, as Dr. David Menton would say, that the designer of hearing can hear, and that the designer of sight can see, and that the author of the ideals of true love, loves us truly. For many, convinced by the evidence for the design view, we find faith here, In God, whose word in the Bible we praise, and in the claims of Christ, we trust.

Of course, everyone who considers the design view useful for medical research and practice, does not automatically become a Christian, but it does open up for them the wonder of the universe, of who the designer might be.

Good luck in your researches.

Thanks and all the best.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Haines