Cell biology Intelligent Design

Remember when cells were random blobs?

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Now they are a tightly orchestrated dance:

For decades, biologists had assumed that activity in the cytoplasm was essentially random; the cellular world churned with such dramatic speed that the right proteins would eventually bump into one another. But it turned out that some molecules in the cytoplasm weren’t randomly circulating. They were swirling in ways that brought related parties together. Suppose an important reaction involved five proteins out of ten thousand; the five tended to hang around one another, loosely attracted. (They sometimes had floppy regions that exerted a mutual pull, and which had been missed in images made of the proteins when they were in crystallized form.) Brangwynne and others found that, under the right conditions, groups of proteins could “phase separate,” like bubbles of oil in a salad dressing, forming structures. For decades, researchers had known that complex biochemical reactions tended to happen faster in living cells than in test tubes. Now they knew why: the lava-lamp-like conditions inside a living cell allow chemicals to take advantage of subtle attractive forces more efficiently than is possible in the looser and more uniform environment of a tube or a dish. We’ve long imagined a spark of life—but it could be the physical structure of cytoplasm that’s the key.

This new understanding has begun to open doors. In 2017, Glass helped found the Build-a-Cell consortium—a steering committee for hundreds of labs that are trying to build a working cell from scratch. Researchers in the consortium began combining nonliving parts—proteins, ribosomes, RNA, and other molecular constructions—into membranes that resembled cells, hoping that the mixture would come to life by expressing genes, doing metabolic work, and eventually dividing. Drew Endy, a professor of bioengineering at Stanford who is one of Glass’s co-founders, described the group as trying to solve the Humpty Dumpty problem: could the parts add up to a whole? Such artificial cells could be used as living factories for the production of biofuels or drugs, or as hyperefficient sites of artificial photosynthesis. But although the right parts are there, none have crossed the border from nonliving to living. Endy’s group was experimenting with slightly different ingredients; if that failed, the problem might be in how they’re physically arranged. He told me, “I think there’s a milestone right in front of us. I don’t think it’s that far away.”

James Somers, “A Journey to the Center of Our Cells” at New Yorker (February 28, 2022)

But if the researchers do create living cells, that’s intelligent design, not natural selection acting on random mutations (Darwinism).

Another friend draws our attention to this effort to create a minimal cell (depiction by David Goodsell).

You may also wish to read: Why do many scientists see cells as intelligent? Bacteria appear to show intelligent behavior. But what about individual cells in our bodies?

3 Replies to “Remember when cells were random blobs?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    “There’s a milestone just in front of us” is standard swindler talk. Every IPO and utopian community and bitcoin vendor and Nigerian Prince talks the same way. We need money so we can get through those last few obstacles!

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    From the article,

    A poster hanging in many labs shows the Roche Biochemical Pathways diagram, a flowchart of cellular metabolism. It’s oddly beautiful—like an engineering blueprint beamed down from an alien civilization.

    Here is the Roche Biochemical Pathways diagram he is talking about,

    ExPASy – Biochemical Pathways – interactive schematic
    http://biochemical-pathways.com/#/map/1 ?

    A Darwinists once challenged me to show him any evidence of Intelligent Design in the cell. So I showed him the preceding diagram.

    His response upon seeing that diagram was to go into ‘denial mode’ and say something along the lines of, ‘Just because it is ‘horrendously complex’ does not prove it was designed.’. ,,, To which I responded something along the line of, “Well such ‘horrendous complexity’ certainly does not support the VERY extraordinary Darwinian claim that such ‘horrendous complexity’ can possibly be the result of ‘selected chemical accidents’ either! Intelligent Design is, by far, the better conclusion to draw!

    The author in the article goes on to claim, “Each (cell of the human body) has been shaped to fit its niche by aeons of evolution.”

    “The human body contains brain cells and fingernail cells, blood cells and muscle cells, and dozens of species of single-celled bacteria. Each has been shaped to fit its niche by aeons of evolution.”

    This is a patently false claim. There is zero evidence that evolution has ‘shaped’ anything within the human body.

    Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic framework, don’t even know how any individual cell might achieve its particular form and/or ‘shape’. Much less do they, with their reductive materialistic framework, have any realistic clue how the human body itself achieves its particular form and/or ‘shape’.

    In the following article entitled ‘how do rod-like bacteria control their geometry?’, in the concluding paragraph, the authors conceded that, ‘We are still far from unravelling the fundamental “engineering” challenges that biology has to overcome in shaping single cells as well as multi-cellular tissues.,,,’

    Getting into shape: how do rod-like bacteria control their geometry? – March 31, 2014
    Excerpt from concluding paragraph: We are still far from unravelling the fundamental “engineering” challenges that biology has to overcome in shaping single cells as well as multi-cellular tissues.,,,
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1404.0015.pdf

    And in the following study, the researchers fully expected to confirm a widely-held belief, backed by strong theoretical predictions,, that (the) shape and motility (of bacteria) had co-evolved. (Yet, the researchers remarked,) to our great surprise we didn’t find any association between the two traits.”

    Reshaping our ideas of bacterial evolution – November 22, 2016
    Excerpt: “We fully expected to confirm a widely-held belief, backed by strong theoretical predictions, that rod-shaped cells would move more effectively than coccoid (spherical) cells, and that shape and motility had co-evolved. We used a number of approaches to confirm our findings, and to our great surprise we didn’t find any association between the two traits.”
    https://phys.org/news/2016-11-reshaping-ideas-bacterial-evolution.html

    In the following article it was found that ‘cousins’ of a type of single cell organism had the same morphology despite having very different DNA. Specifically they stated, “ placozoan genome was about as different from that of T. adhaerens as human DNA is from mouse DNA. “It was really striking,” Eitel said. “They look the same, and we look completely different from mice.”

    World’s Simplest Animal Reveals Hidden Diversity – Sept. 2018
    Excerpt: When the team finally had a full genome ready for comparison, the payoff turned out to be worth the wait. “We expected to find differences, but when I first saw the results of our analyses, I was really overwhelmed,” Eitel said.
    A quarter of the genes were in the wrong spot or written backward. Instructions for similar proteins were spelled nearly 30 percent differently on average, and in some cases as much as 80 percent. The Hong Kong variety was missing 4 percent of its distant cousin’s genes and had its own share of genes unique to itself. Overall, the Hong Kong placozoan genome was about as different from that of T. adhaerens as human DNA is from mouse DNA. “It was really striking,” Eitel said. “They look the same, and we look completely different from mice.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/worlds-simplest-animal-reveals-hidden-diversity-20180912/

    To repeat, molecular biologists don’t even understand how a single cell might achieve its basic form and/or shape, much less do they understand how a multicellular organism might achieve its basic form and/or shape.

    As the following 2020 article clearly stated, “At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.”

    On the problem of biological form – Marta Linde-Medina (2020)
    Excerpt: Embryonic development, which inspired the first theories of biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis, (neo-Darwinism) as irrelevant.,,,
    At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-020-00317-3

    In the article they go on to give an overview of their work,

    Why not create a cell with as few genes as possible, and use it as a model organism? If you wanted to understand a more complicated biological process, you could add the genes for it to your minimal cell. Their function would be easier to comprehend against a comparatively blank canvas.,,,
    The researchers bombarded millions of these (Mycoplasma) cells with special genes called transposons, which randomly splice themselves into a DNA strand, disrupting any gene they happen to land inside. Many of the bacteria died from this treatment, and the researchers sequenced the genomes of those which survived. It was like examining fighter planes that have returned from war: if you never saw bullet holes in the fuel tank, you knew that damage there was always fatal. By 2016, after a few revisions, they had devised a minimal Mycoplasma genome half the size of the original.,,,
    The bacterium that eventually resulted from the work was called JCVI-syn3.0. It was an engine bolted to some wheels.

    What is left completely out of the preceding description of their work is just how ‘un-Darwinian’ the results from Venter’s research into the ‘minimal cell’ actually were.

    For instance, one researcher commented that “If we’re already playing God, we’re not doing a particularly good job of it,” ,, “Simply streamlining what’s already in nature doesn’t seem very God-like and, if anything, is a very humbling exercise.” Even Craig Venter himself stated, “We’re showing how complex life is even in the simplest of organisms,”,,, “These findings are very humbling in that regard.”

    Minimal Cell Challenges Naturalism – March 26, 2016
    Excerpt: “If we’re already playing God, we’re not doing a particularly good job of it,” Elfick says. “Simply streamlining what’s already in nature doesn’t seem very God-like and, if anything, is a very humbling exercise.”
    Venter also felt the humility vibes, according to Live Science:
    “We’re showing how complex life is even in the simplest of organisms,” said Craig Venter, founder and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), where the study was completed. “These findings are very humbling in that regard.”
    http://crev.info/2016/03/minim.....aturalism/

    This ‘humbling complexity’ was simply completely unexpected under Darwinian presuppositions.

    Darwinists originally held that the minimal gene set would probably be around 265 to 350.

    John I. Glass et al., “Essential Genes of a Minimal Bacterium,” PNAS, USA103 (2006): 425-30.
    Excerpt: “An earlier study published in 1999 estimated the minimal gene set to fall between 265 and 350. A recent study making use of a more rigorous methodology estimated the essential number of genes at 382.,,, Given the evolutionary path of extreme genome reduction taken by M. genitalium, it is likely that all its 482 protein-coding genes are in some way necessary for effective growth in its natural habitat”
    http://www.pnas.org/content/103/2/425.full

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    And while 265 to 350 genes was already an impossible ‘probabilistic hurdle’ for Atheistic Naturalists to overcome,,,

    Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer – Book Review – Ken Peterson
    Excerpt: If we assume some minimally complex cell requires 250 different proteins then the probability of this arrangement happening purely by chance is one in 10 to the 164th multiplied by itself 250 times or one in 10 to the 41,000th power.
    https://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2009/10/06/signature-cell

    Yet, via Venter’s research, the minimal gene set turned out, in reality, to be around 473 genes, not around 250 genes as Darwinists had originally thought. Thus making what was already impossible for Atheistic Naturalists, to be that much more more impossible still.

    As Dr. Cornelius Hunter noted, “Now, this latest research has upped the ante. It is just getting worse. A minimal organism consisting of 473 genes is many orders of magnitude beyond evolution’s capabilities. Simply put, the science contradicts the theory. What the science is telling us is that evolution is impossible, by any reasonable definition of that term.”

    Mycoplasma mycoides Just Destroyed Evolution
    “We’re Showing How Complex Life Is” – March 24, 2016
    Excerpt: The origin of life problem can be divided into two broad categories: ground-up and top-down. In the ground-up approach, evolutionists try to figure out how the first life could have arisen spontaneously from an inorganic world. In spite of the evolutionist’s claims to the contrary, the century-long ground-up research program has utterly failed.
    That leaves the top-down approach. Here, evolutionists work with simple, unicellular life forms, carefully removing parts one at a time in their search for smaller, simpler life forms. If evolution is true, they should be able to reduce life to a very simple, basic form which could conceivably arise by chance somehow.
    This approach has been failing as well, as in recent years all the signs pointed to a minimal life form consisting of at least a few hundred genes—far beyond evolution’s meager resources of random change.
    Now, this latest research has upped the ante. It is just getting worse. A minimal organism consisting of 473 genes is many orders of magnitude beyond evolution’s capabilities. Simply put, the science contradicts the theory. What the science is telling us is that evolution is impossible, by any reasonable definition of that term.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....royed.html

    Moreover, Venter’s research also revealed the very ‘un-Darwinian fact that “The genome is not some one-and-only minimal set of genes needed for life itself. For one thing, if the researchers had pared DNA from a different bacterium they would probably have ended up with a different set of genes.,,,,,,”

    Microbe with stripped-down DNA may hint at secrets of life – Mar 24, 2016
    Excerpt: The genome is not some one-and-only minimal set of genes needed for life itself. For one thing, if the researchers had pared DNA from a different bacterium they would probably have ended up with a different set of genes.,,,
    The genome is “as small as we can get it and still have an organism that is … useful,” Hutchison said.,,,
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/s.....INNY_GENES

    In short, there simply is no genetic ‘tree of life’ to be found from, or to, ”simple’ life (or for anything else for that matter), as Darwinists had presupposed.

    A New Model for Evolution: A Rhizome – Didier Raoult – May 2010
    Excerpt: Thus we cannot currently identify a single common ancestor for the gene repertoire of any organism.,,, Overall, it is now thought that there are no two genes that have a similar history along the phylogenic tree.,,,Therefore the representation of the evolutionary pathway as a tree leading to a single common ancestor on the basis of the analysis of one or more genes provides an incorrect representation of the stability and hierarchy of evolution. Finally, genome analyses have revealed that a very high proportion of genes are likely to be newly created,,, and that some genes are only found in one organism (named ORFans). These genes do not belong to any phylogenic tree and represent new genetic creations.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....izome.html

    “The genomic revolution did more than simply allow credible reconstruction of the gene sets of ancestral life forms. Much more dramatically, it effectively overturned the central metaphor of evolutionary biology (and, arguably, of all biology), the Tree of Life (TOL), by showing that evolutionary trajectories of individual genes are irreconcilably different. Whether the TOL can or should be salvaged—and, if so, in what form—remains a matter of intense debate that is one of the important themes of this book.”
    Koonin, Eugene V. (2011-06-23). The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution (FT Press Science) (Kindle Locations 76-80). Pearson Education (USA). Kindle Edition.
    more studies

    etc.. etc..

    In the article they go on;

    In 2017, Glass helped found the Build-a-Cell consortium—a steering committee for hundreds of labs that are trying to build a working cell from scratch. Researchers in the consortium began combining nonliving parts—proteins, ribosomes, RNA, and other molecular constructions—into membranes that resembled cells, hoping that the mixture would come to life by expressing genes, doing metabolic work, and eventually dividing. Drew Endy, a professor of bioengineering at Stanford who is one of Glass’s co-founders, described the group as trying to solve the Humpty Dumpty problem: could the parts add up to a whole?,,,
    ,,, although the right parts are there, none have crossed the border from nonliving to living. Endy’s group was experimenting with slightly different ingredients; if that failed, the problem might be in how they’re physically arranged. He told me, “I think there’s a milestone right in front of us. I don’t think it’s that far away.”

    Talk about imagination being untethered to any sense of empirical reality.

    You just can’t make this up. They’ve already metaphorically described the minimal cell as being “an engine bolted to some wheels.” (And even that metaphor is a gross understatement as to the complexity actually being dealt with). Then, after the metaphorical parts, i.e. ‘engine, wheels, and bolts’, failed to spontaneously assemble themselves into “an engine bolted to some wheels”, they come to the ‘brilliant’ conclusion, “the problem might be in how they’re physically arranged.”

    Well, DUH! Do you really think so?

    Any mechanic on the face of earth knows that engines, bolts, and wheels NEVER spontaneously assemble themselves into “an engine bolted to some wheels”. It ALWAYS takes an ‘intelligent designer and/or mechanic’ to purposely arrange the parts in such a fashion so as to create the final product of “an engine bolted to some wheels.”

    In fact, according to Michael Behe, and I agree with him completely, it is precisely by the purposeful arrangement of parts that we recognize another intelligent mind has been at work

    Recognizing Design by a “Purposeful Arrangement of Parts”
    Michael Behe – June 10, 2021
    Excerpt: we can recognize that a mind has acted by perceiving a purposeful arrangement of parts. There is no other way that I can think of by which we can recognize another mind.,,,
    For purposes of detecting other minds, “parts” can be virtually anything. Examples include: the purposeful arrangement of sounds in speech; words and letters in writing; mechanical parts in machinery; the timing of events in a surprise party; combinations of all those things; and an infinite number of other ways
    https://evolutionnews.org/2021/06/recognizing-design-by-a-purposeful-arrangement-of-parts/

    Much more could be said about thermodynamics and the tremendous amount of ‘positional information’ that is required to explain ‘simple’ life, but I will leave that for another time.

    So thus in conclusion, IMHO, the article did a huge disservice to science by severely glossing over what Venter’s work on the ‘minimal cell’ actually revealed in regards to disconfirming what Darwinists had originally expected to find for ‘simple’ life.

    Why? Surely these researchers are smart enough to recognize that the Darwinian emperor has no clothes on? What are they scared of?

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