Saturday, November 07, 2015

The Great Laminin Hoax: Sorry To Burst Your Bubble

I’m sad to say that I needed someone to point this out to me, but the very popular post and video going around from Christian speaker, Louie Giglio, regarding the cross-like shape of the Laminin molecule and how that is, supposedly, pointing to how Jesus is the one who “holds all things together” as referenced in Colossians 1:15-20, is totally false.

Sorry. It’s not true.

The first problem is simply that the the purportedly cross-shaped Laminin protein is not cross-shaped. Not even close.

Let’s back up and summarize the claims before we get going.

Here are the basic claims being made:

“Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue. Laminins are what hold us together, literally. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart.”

That part is true. No problem there.

The problem comes when people like Louie Giglio [and he is the originator of this growing myth these days] shows everyone a diagram of Laminin that looks like this:

Wow. That probably reminds you of something, doesn’t it? Well, yes. It is sort of “cross-shaped”. But that’s an artist’s rendering designed to help students and scientists understand the component structure of the molecule.

Here’s what the actual Laminin molecule looks like under an electron microscope.

Uhm…Err...uh...yeah. Well, that’s not very cross-like is it? 

No. Not really.

Does that mean that Jesus doesn’t “hold all things together” the way Colossians claims?

Of course Jesus holds all things together. But does he only do that through Laminin molecules? Does everything have to be cross-shaped to testify of Christ’s power or to point to Him?

No, that’s not how it works.

There’s no magic in the shape of a cross. The crucifix is not a totem or a talisman. It’s just a shape.

The blood of Jesus is what sets us free. The death of Jesus is what tore the veil in the Temple. It wasn’t the shape of the cross.

So, maybe we should stop sharing posts that make us look silly to actual scientists who know that we’re off-base and talking about things we really don’t understand?

That would be my suggestion, for what it’s worth.


NOTE: Special thanks to Grant Alford for pointing out this hoax to me.

See Snopes: Laminin Hoax


the alternative1 said...

No problem--its just another attempt to try to use science to prove the reliability of the bible gone too far.

Darryl Yates said...

Have you ever looked at electron micrographs of cells? If you have, you know that no two cells or oganelles, or in this case proteins, are ever in the same orientation. Even when they are the same cell type. The "cross" shape is an accurate shape of laminin if it were flattened out and made rigid.

I understand what you are saying, however, and I agree. The crucifix is just a symbol that Christians have taken up due to a popular verse. "Then Jesus said to his disciples 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up the cross and follow me'". Matthew 16:24. The cross itself is not what holds us together. It is the Holy Trinity that give us strength and holds us together. Laminin is a protein found in the basal lamina of the epithelium so it doesn't hold us together either. It's just one of many proteins that are responsible for holding your epithelial cells against the underlying connective tissue.

I also see Louis Giglio's point. He was demonstrating the reaches of our God and how he can be vast and "breathe the stars" into formation and simultaneously take the time to create a little molecule to remind us that no problem is too small to bring to God. I love that more scientists are trying to spread the message that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. In order to have the greatest understanding of this world, we need to understand both. Science can give us the "how" to the questions of this universe. Religion is complimentary and gives us the "why", gives us purpose.

If you would like a great read for the convergence of science and religion, I encourage you to read "The Science of God".

Keith Giles said...

I have read - and loved - Schroeder's "The Science of God". Thanks!

Joe Schmuckatelli said...

Polypeptides are vaguely shaped like swastikas. There are ten million non-carbon compounds, but, as carbon can bond with itself, ninety million carbon compounds. It isn't hard to find any shape and configuration your little heart desires in this chemical hodgepodge. It is known that Nazi Germany sullied what was once a symbol of wholesome spirituality. Anyone latching onto these laminin diagrams to cherry-pick factoids from fields of resesearch previously ignored due to the cancerous effects logic has on superstition aren't likely to tolerate the historical contamination long enough to resolve such impressions.

Unknown said...

Outstanding grammatical prowess...

Leslie said...

Mr Giglio was making the connection between Colossians 1:1hithat states .."He is before all things and in Him all things hold together..." with the fact that laminin is a cell adhesion molecules shaped like a cross that helps to hold our cells together. Quite an interesting connection and I am thankful for it. God's order is all over scripture and all over creation, why would it not be in our bodies as well?

Leslie said...

I really like what Darryl explained and I don't understand the need to try and prove Louie Giglio wrong. I do see the cross in the actual microscopic image and I believe Mr. Giglio was simply but profoundly trying to explain Colossians 1:17 that he is before all things and in him all things are held together. The fact that laminin is an adhesion molecule that helps our cells to stay together is information I am thankful for and it is not anything that supersedes biblical truth but just accents it. Gods order and finger prints are seen throughout scripture, throughout creation and why in the world would it not be seen in our very own bodies even on the minutest scale? It seems like there would be other Pursuits worth seeking more than this one Mr.Giles.

Heather Delhom said...

What you failed to point out Mr. Giles, is in the video where Mr. Giglio shares his thoughts about lamimin, he shows the artist's version of laminin, however he does show an actual picture of laminin just as you have. He was also informed about laminin by one of your fellow scientists; someone who shared this idea with Mr. Giglio. So call it a hoax if you must but when I saw laminin, I choose to believe that it was another way to prove that God loves us much, that not only did HE give his only son to die for our sins, but that we each hold a piece of our Savior deep within our very construction.

Katherine George said...

There is another picture of an actually protein under a microscope that does look like a cross and that one you've shown is just a bent over cross. It doesn't have to be a perfect shape to be the shape of a cross. I don't think anyway. I think it is still viable.