Originally Broadcast, June 7, 1997 Revised, Feb. 24, 2001
INFINITY #15: Tiny Machines In You!by Daniel H. Harris, Ph.D.
I. The Questions.
Your body is made out of cells, tiny machines, of incredible complexity. What makes them alive? What do these tiny machines do, and how do they work? Do natural law processes provide an explanation for these tiny machines?
II. Living Cells: Tiny Factories In You.
Each cell in your body is a tiny factory, making complex chemicals essential for life. Like any factory, each cell must have a supply of energy, and a supply of raw materials. But what is even more important, is that this tiny factory, the cell, must have good management.
III. Cells Following Instructions
Each cell must be sensitive to its conditon, and have the right instructions describing exactly which chemicals to make. If a cell does the wrong chemistry, if it makes the wrong chemicals or the wrong amount of chemicals, then the cell can be damaged or die, or the cell will cause other cells in your body to be damaged or to die. And all the cells of your body must do the right thing, or your whole body could die. All it takes is one cell to go wrong to give you cancer. So how does each cell know what to do?
IV. The Control Systems of the Cell.
Each cell has many built in control systems, which measure and regulate important quantities like temperature, pressure, and concentrations of various chemicals. ;For example, if the pressure inside a cell becomes too great, the cell blows up like a balloon, and the cell could burst, killing the cell. If, on the other hand, the pressure inside the cell is too low, then the cell could be crushed, and its internal parts destroyed. To avoid either explosion or collapse, each cell is constantly measuring its internal pressure, and making adjustments by actively moving chemicals into and out of the cell, so that the internal pressure will be just right.
There are control systems for the uptake of food, control systems for the removal of waste. There are systems which actively transport certain vital chemicals across the cell membrane. There are systems which control the making new cell membrane, both membrane essential to the internal parts of the cell, and membrane which separates the cell from its environment. There are systems which control the production and transport of energy within the cell. And there are many communication systems within the cell, which carry information on messenger molecules from one tiny part of the cell to the other tiny parts of the cell. These communication systems coordinate the actions of the cell's various chemical manufacturing areas.
There is a system which makes copies the coded genetic information in the cell nucleus and then passes that information on to the next generation of cells. And each cell sends chemical messages to other cells in your body to keep all the organs and systems of your body functioning properly.
Each cell has hundreds of control systems, to control its own internal conditions and processes, and to control the movement of chemicals into and out of the cell. Each and every control system must work correctly, or the cell dies.
V. So Where Do Cells Get These Conrol Systems?
So where did the cells get these hundreds of marvelous control systems, that all work just right? These control systems are built into the cell when it is born by division from its parent cell. An electronics person might say these control systems are hard wired into the cell on the day the cell is made. When a parent cell divides to make two new daughter cells, information is passed from the original cell to the next generation of cells, instructing the two new cells what each ought to be, and how to manage all the control systems to stay alive, and to do its function in the body.
VI. The Library of the Cell.
The information describing what a cell is to be, its exact structure and composition, and how the cell's systems are to be run; is found mostly in the nucleus of the cell, as coded information in the form of chemicals on long spiral molecules called DNA. #9;That tells us where the cell stores the information. But it doesn't tell us the original source of the information.
VII. Lots of Coded-Symbolic Information.
Each cell contains on DNA molecules coded information describing the cell, the information necessary to keep the cell on track, doing its job properly, and information describing the proper functioning of the entire human body. The coded information contained in just one cell is equivalent to about 5 million encyclopedia pages of written text. (Ref. 1)
By contrast the specifications for even the most complex machines known to man, would cover at most a few hundred to a thousand pages. So then, the coded information contained within a single cell, is at least a thousand times more complex than the information describing the most complicated machine ever made.
VIII. The Accuracy of Library's Information.
Remember that any defect in the 5 million pages of coded information, can result in the cell's death, or your death. Many diseases are now known to be due to a change of just one letter in the genetic code. One mistake can be a death sentence.
IX. Symbolic Information Built Into Structure.
The classic argument is to imagine walking along a beach and finding a watch. The watch is very complex, and since it is still ticking, the watch shows us its purpose, as a time keeper. So, is it reasonable to imagine that the watch is a result of natural processes and chance? Or should we surmise that the watch is a result of intelligent design? In that situation I would conclude that the watch is a creation of intelligent design. #9;In the case of the cell, which is a machine of much much greater complexity, I believe a similar conclusion is warranted.
Evolutionists have often argued that the laws of nature and chance are enough for life to form, and for higher organisms to develop an ever increasing level of complexity. I find such an idea absurd. 9;A hundred years ago, when only light microscopes were available, and a cell was seen as just a blob of cytoplasm, then cells were thought to be simple. But now that we understand the amazing complexity of cell chemistry, and the hundreds of interacting control systems in each cell, we realize that cells are incredibly sophisticated machines.
Regarding the coded information in cells, called the genetic code, famous commentator on the origin of life, Dr. Leslie Orgel, Biochemist at the Salk Institute, Calif., in New Scientist Magazine, April 15, 1982, on p151, notes that; (Quote Book #93)
"The origin of the genetic code is the most baffling aspect of the problem of the origin of life and a major conceptual or experimental breakthrough may be needed before we can make any substantial progress."
H. Blum in his book, "Time's Arrow and Evolution" says, "The riddle seems to be: How, when no life existed, did substances come into being which today are absolutely essential to living systems, yet which can only be formed by those systems..." (Ref. 2)A hundred years ago it might have been possible to imagine that life and cells could arise from natural law and chance processes; but not today, when we understand the true complexity of living systems.
I am not alone in this view.
Pierre-Paul Grassé of the University of Paris, and former President of the French Academie of Sciences, in "Evolution of Living Organisms," Academic Press, New York, 1977, on p107 says; "To insist, even with Olympian assurance, that life appeared quite by chance and evolved in this fashion (also by chance), is an unfounded supposition which I believe to be wrong and not in accordance with the facts." #9; [inserted explanatory parenthesis by Dr. Harris]
Noted British Astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, in the journal Nature, vol. 294, November 12, 1981, p105 is quoted saying, "The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way [that is by chance] is comparable with the chance that a "tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein. "[inserted explanatory parenthesis by Dr. Harris]
To say that 5 million pages of perfectly functional coded information could arise by chance, reminds me of the old story of the fellow who, because he was so cheap, he put a hundred monkeys to work at type writers, thinking he would eventually have all the works of Newton and all the poetry of Shakespeare, and all the writing of generations to come. But I can tell you that chance doesn't produce anything; let alone the 5 million pages of perfectly functional coded information which precisely describes the structure, function and organization of the cells, organs, and systems of a human being.
No! We can confidently deduce that these 5 million pages of coded information did not arise by chance, over long evolutionary ages. 9;There must have been a designer, a master engineer who wrote this code in the beginning.
I've had a personal encounter with that master engineer and designer and He changed my entire understanding, making clear for the first time, answers to so many unexplained questions in the sciences. After exploring the religions of the world and many areas of the sciences, I can tell you that the Holy Bible is the only source which gives straight answers to the hard questions.
Regarding the origin of man the Bible tells us, in Genesis chapter 2 verse 7: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
The creator, who spoke the worlds into existence, then embraced the first man, as a loving father, and breathed life into him. The creator, who made all of space and time, the law of gravity, the laws of electricity and magnetism, and 150 billion galaxies, had no difficulty writing the 5 million pages of coded information in the first human cells. And so it was that man came to be. If you have finally realized the absurdity of the chance origin of life and of evolution, if you are now willing to shed your belief in evolution, then I invite you to put your trust in the one true God who gave us the Holy Bible. If you have not yet made Jesus, the creator, and the author of the Bible, your Lord and Savior, Now is the time! We ask you to turn from sin, and to ask Jesus to forgive you and to cover your sins with His Holy blood. Now, ask Him to come into your life and begin to direct your life. If you have just received Jesus as your Lord and savior, then please contact us. We want to help you.
Ref. 1 The Creation Evolution Controversy by R.L. Wysong, Inquiry Press Midland Michigan, 1987, page 99.
Ref. 2, ibid. p198