Food for thought #9

Orchestrating an Animal
FOR BIOMIMETICISTS, nature’s school room regularly puts on a clinic we might call “How to Build an Animal.” I refer not to the building of a fundamentally new animal form, such as the first birds far in the distant past, but just to the ordinary birds-and-bees process of embryo development. We know, of course, that each animal starts as a fertilized cell that develops to an adult individual made of many cells. It’s during this period of embryonic development that the basic body plan of an animal is formed. Proteins are organized into higher-level structures. Different cell types are formed. Out of them arise different tissue types. And from these arise different organ types and, finally, the fully formed animal. This complicated series of events during embryonic development cannot be explained simply by considering the origin and functioning of genes. To understand how an animal is built, we also have to understand what happens during an embryo’s development.
During this phase, the right types of cells have to be made at the right times and brought to the right places. The correct amount of each is also needed. In this process some genes are expressed while others that are not needed in a certain growth phase are repressed. During the development of a human, for instance, embryonic red cells contain hemoglobin that is different from that in mature red cells. Brain cells produce enzymes involved in transmitting nerve impulses, while intestinal cells produce enzymes to degrade food in the alimentary track. These proteins function in totally different environments and have completely different tasks.
And those are just three examples. A human being has hundreds of different cell types. Each needs to be formed at the right time, in the right amount, and delivered to the right place during embryological development. If the orchestra doesn’t perform exquisitely, the animal self-destructs. How could such an extraordinary orchestra, complete with its unseen conductor, have evolved one micromutation at a time? Evolution-ists haven’t a clue, but the dogmatic ones are certain it must have happened somehow because the alternative, intelligent design, is for them verboten.
Quoted from HERETIC, ONE SCIENTIST’S JOURNEY FROM DARWIN TO DESIGN, by Matti Leisola and Jonathan Witt.

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