Galactic Double Helix

Science story of the week: Cosmic ‘DNA’: Double Helix Spotted in Space, reported at Space.com.

Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a massive gaseous nebula near the center of the galaxy that is slowly spinning and shaped like the famous double helix of DNA. The Space.com article uses the phrase: “What we see indicates a high degree of order.” It also states, “The double helix shape is commonly seen inside living organisms, but this is the first time it has been observed in the cosmos.” Some in the Christian blogosphere are quite excited about this, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

Christians have jumped on this as one more evidence for the existence of a designer. Well… yes, as all creation points in one way or another to its Creator. This cosmic gas cloud, however, does not point to the Creator of the universe in the same way that biological molecules, such as DNA, do.

The double helix recently discovered in space apparently owes its existence to intense magnetic fields which occur near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. It occurs because matter and energy are obeying laws of nature, such as the laws of magnetism. High degrees of order occur throughout the universe, in things like mineral crystals or whirlpools, as matter and energy obey different laws of nature. Does this point to a creator? Yes, as those laws, the matter, and the energy had to come from somewhere.

This is different from what we see with biological DNA. The living world reveals a type of order and complexity that is not present in things like nebular double helices and mineral crystals. Unlike information-bearing biological molecules, the order in these non-biological structures is explainable by the laws of physics and chemistry.

For now, I am willing to look at the double helix nebula much like I look at patterns produced by erosion and deposition in a stream and say, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.” I look at the complexity of a cell, with its DNA and all the systems that surround it, and say, “It is absolutely incredible that one could believe that this came about apart from the work of a Creator.”

Grace and Peace

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