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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Cell That Binds Us



God gave us an intelligent mind to question and to explore the mysteries of His universe. He really left nothing to blind faith. As humans, we are free to be inquisitive about everything. And, why shouldn't we be? Given that we possess limited knowledge of any subject, we can expand our views or change them. Subjects large and small challenge our understandings. 

Consider the human cell. Often called the building block of life, the cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms and the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing. A typical human cell size is 10 microns of a metre (One micron is one thousandth of a millimetre.) while a typical cell mass is 1 nanogram. Some organisms are unicellular; others such as human beings are multicellular. Humans have an estimated 100 trillion cells. Still, we know very little about the complexities of the basic building block of the cell.

Hamlet, speaking of a human being, could be also referring to man's complex cellular structure in the famous quote: "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?" After all, human cells represent the origin of life. All  intelligence and other function spring from the lives of the cells.

According to their Greek derivation, two terms refer to the origin of life. Biogenesis is the theory that life originates only from pre-existing life; while the theory of abiogenesis implies that life may also spring from inorganic matter as such.

In the natural sciences, abiogenesis is the study of how life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter. It should not be confused with evolution, which is the study of how groups of living things change over time. Many people confuse these studies. They mistakenly argue that abiogenesis and evolution are one and the same. In fact, evolution is the body of theory that seeks to explain how life got to be so diverse. It begins where abiogenesis ends.

Whether people believe life came to be in a primordial soup of organic broth, in small molecules as metabolism first, in alien microbe panspermia, in deep sea vents, or in the hands of the Creator, to this day no one really knows the answer. 95% of biologists in the National Academy of Science are either atheist or agnostic. (Nature, Volume 394, No. 6691, July 23 1998)



Study of Life 

So, should our government be engaged in official promotion of the exclusively secular, materialist worldview inherent in neo-Darwinian theory in our nation’s public schools, universities and research institutions? Why? 

A 2005 national survey by the Harris polling agency found that 54% of U.S. adults say they do not believe humans evolved from earlier species, while 64% believe that human beings were created directly by a god. 55% of American adults believe that evolution, creationism, and intelligent design should be taught in public schools. (The Harris Poll Interactive, www.harrisinteractive.com, July 6 2005)


No one can rule out the role of a Supreme God responsible for Intelligent Design.The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of anintelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations.

Ben Stein in the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” rejects the notion that “the case is closed,” and exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy. (Ben Stein, www.expelledthemovie.com, December 31, 2009)

Stein presents a very apt question: "Should the enterprise of science somehow be treated differently from all other forms of human knowledge, and accorded a special privilege that exempts it from robust debate or inquiry, especially when such debate or inquiry may alter viewpoints that raise important questions concerning larger issues that extend beyond the limits of science itself?"



A Religious View


The Catholic Church (H. Muckermann, 1907. Biogenesis and Abiogenesis. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved December 31, 2009 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02571a.htm) stated the argument in the following manner:

"...assumptions are arbitrary. Scientific research has established the cell as the simplest and lowest unit of visible independent life. No living organism has as yet been discovered that did not contain at least two essential elements of great complexity: a granule of chromatin and some amount of cytoplasmic substance. Deprive of these constituents no cell continues to live. 

"Hence, if life ever originated from inorganic matter, it had to appear in the form of an organized cell. Invisible biophorids are no more capable of life than the visible chromatin granules, whose parts they are supposed to be. Even if such entities as biophorids could live independently, they could not have originated spontaneously; for however primitive an organism beimagined, it must at least be capable of nourishing itself, of propagating its kind, and of evolving into higher specific forms . But such a diversity of function supposes a differentiation of structure, made up of different chemical compounds of high tension and continuously unstable equilibrium. Besides, there must be in the most primitive biophorids aperfect correlation of parts and a purposeful anticipation of future ends, tending towards the gradual perfection of individual and species. 

"But crystals, as well as all chemical combinations and mixtures, show clearly that inorganic matter as such tends toward stability of equilibrium and homogeneity of structure. How, then, did those complicated chemical compounds of unstable equilibrium which composed the first organisms originate, especially since, at the beginning, the crust of the earth, totally burnt, was in the desolatecondition of perfect oxidation?

"Besides, it is hard to see how the energy of the sun could serve to reduce the ashes, since today that action depends on the presence of chlorophyll and similar substances, which again are products of cells. Even if some form of energy would at once commence continually to unite the atoms to such unstable and complicated bodies as the phosphoric proteids, there is still wanting a directive to build up, by means of existing matter and energy, the chemical compounds into correlated structures, and to make them active organisms. 

Matter, then, can never, not even under the most favorable circumstances, produce either living cells or living biophorids, and hence we conclude thatlife owes its origin to God, the Creator of matter and energy."


 
In Support of Intelligent Design

The truth is that a staggering amount of new scientific evidence has emerged since Darwin’s 150-year-old theory of life’s origins. Darwin had no concept of DNA, microbiology, The Big Bang, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or of the human genome. To simply accept Darwin's theory seems to deny new evidence related to his concepts.

Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection -- how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Random events and random mutations are really not good explanations for the origin of life. If life is meant to be purposeful, the inherent function of life leads to the explanation of its formation by one Creator. According to Robert Deyes and John Calvert, "Natural selection may do a reasonable job of fine-tuning an existing population, but it is not a friend of innovation." (Deyes and Calvert, "We Have No Excuse: A Scientific Case For Relating Life to Mind," November 28 2009)


"What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world."  -- Albert Einstein


 



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