Is God Left-handed?

Chirality with hands artwork

Interview with peptide chemist Ken Funk Ph.D.

by Gary Bates

Dr Ken Funk attended Moody Bible Institute and graduated from Houghton College (New York State) as a chemistry major, zoology minor and then from Case-Western Reserve University (CWRU-Ohio) with both masters and doctorate degrees in organic chemistry. He is the owner of three patents and has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Although Ken started his thesis back in 1967, studies were deferred from 1969–72 due to his service in the US Navy during the Vietnam War.

Dr Ken Funk worked for over 28 years as a process development chemist at a major pharmaceutical company in the area of peptide chemistry. So what is a peptide?

The basic building blocks of much of the machinery that all life requires are called amino acids, of which there are 20 different ones in the human body. Proteins are long chains (100 or more) of these amino acids, whereas chains shorter than this are called peptides.

Ken spent his career leading a team of scientists synthesizing peptide drugs on a large scale. Peptides can be isolated from natural sources or synthesized. This can be in their natural form (such as insulin which has 51 amino acids), or chemically modified to enhance medicinal properties. For example, Ken’s work as a process development team leader helped develop a billion-dollar drug with the brand name of Lupron (generic name: leuprolide). It is a nine-amino-acid peptide analogue that is used to treat conditions such as prostate cancer, precocious puberty, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids.

Changing of the culture

Ken has been a Christian since responding at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1957. For most of his adult life, he has been an active witness for the Lord and serves in his local church. He recalls that in the early days of his career the subject of ‘science’ being at odds with the Bible was not discussed as much as it is today. He attributes this to the very strong Christian culture that permeated American society decades ago. The work he and his fellow scientists were engaged in involved “day-to-day experimental science, so discussion about origins or evolution rarely came up.” Except, he says, when a world-renowned peptide chemist he studied under, the late Miklos Bodanszky, told him, “Evolution could not have happened by chance but I am unwilling to invoke a god.” Ken says, “This is tragically like many today who willfully reject the clear evidence of God’s design in nature. Today, evolution and its deep time foundation is being taught as fact, and used as a justification to dismiss the Bible’s authority. The undermining of Genesis has had a dramatic effect on evangelical people’s confidence in Scripture and their witnessing. Most Christians are intimidated by their own inability in answering issues that evolution and its millions of years have raised in their own minds. Also, by not teaching the Bible as real history, the church is failing to equip believers in this critical area.”

Ken is frustrated that so many church leaders sit on the fence with regard to the age of the earth. He notes, “They don’t realize that the concept of millions of years totally undermines the credibility of Genesis, and thus the rest of Scripture and the Gospel, by putting eons of death and destruction before Adam and his Fall. It is especially sad that scientists who support biblical authority get so little support from today’s theologians.” …

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image credit: NASA