The Amazing Cells, Bacterial Engines

It is easier to imagine a single cell evolving into complex animals and plants than a group of chemical substances forming a living cell. The leap from sea-water and sand to the living cell is much greater than the assumed evolution from the primordial cell to humans.

In Darwin’s day, scientists thought the living cell is a very simple organism that has a nucleus and some liquid around it, inside a membrane. Since then, scientists have discovered that cells are composed of hundreds of parts and have thousands of functions, but they are still very far from understanding the cells’ structure and functioning mechanism. Today we know that there is no such thing as a “simple” cell. Now we understand that a bacterium is far more complex than anything built by man. There is no laboratory on earth that can replicate the biochemical activity happening in the smallest living organisms. The more we learn, the more we realize that it is beyond our capacity to understand in detail the physico-chemical organization of the simplest cell.

Cells can be compared to a Boeing 747 aircraft, although cells are much more complex and efficient. (A Boeing 747 would not be able to make a perfect copy of itself—a great disappointment for the Boeing company). When we look at this airplane, we immediately think of the great design effort and intelligence needed to build it. It doesn’t even cross our minds that it has been built from sand by randomly sloshing sea-water. Then why don’t we see the intelligence and the hand of a Creator when we look at the living cells? How can the evolutionist pseudoscientific babble fool us?

The cell is a complex system that has power plants that generate the cell’s energy; factories that produce proteins; complex transportation systems that guide specific chemicals from one point to another. The cell membrane acts as a decision maker as to what should enter and leave the cell. The nucleus acts as the central genetic government and maintains the order. It also stores the blueprints necessary for reproduction.

The whole cell with all its components and functions should have appeared at once, fully functional; otherwise it would have been worthless. It must have been able to immediately and fully replicate its parts and reproduce entirely new cells. In addition, a long-term hereditary mechanism should have been there for the cell to pass on its secret of success to its offspring.
Irreducible Complexity

Michael Behe, who is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University, USA, introduced the term of Irreducible Complexity. By this we understand a functional system that requires a certain minimal number of interacting component parts. One cannot remove any of its components without causing the system to cease functioning. He uses the mousetrap example to present such a system. If any of the mousetrap components—wooden base, hammer, spring, holding bar, etc.—is removed, the trap does not function: it does not catch the mouse.

Irreducibly complex systems cannot be built in steps and still be functional in the building process. All their parts must be there in the first place. If we found such systems in living organisms that could not have been produced by the gradual accumulation of their components, the evolution theory would be defeated. Darwin himself stated the following in his (in)famous Origin of Species:

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

In his time, during the 19th century, biologists were very far from knowing how complex a living cell was, let alone understanding its biochemical mechanisms. They’re like children who consider the flight of the airplane very simple and natural; and when they mature, learn about its intricate and complex design.

There are numerous irreducibly complex systems in living organisms, like blood clotting, closed circular DNA, electron transport, the bacterial flagellum, telomeres, photosynthesis and much more.
Bacterial Motor

1There are a number of bacteria, such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli and some Streptococci, that use sophisticated propulsion mechanisms. In these diagrams we present the electrical motor-like bacterial flagellum used by the E. coli bacteria to swim. These extremely efficient motors very much resemble in their construction the electrical motors invented by men only one hundred years ago. Scientists still do not completely understand how these motors work, but studies have revealed the components shown in these diagrams. These motors are about 25 nanometers in diameter, that is, they are 3,000 times smaller than the diameter of the human hair. The motor shaft rotates the flagellum, which acts as a propeller, with speeds up to 100,000 rpm. In addition, these motors are reversible. Using this propulsion, the bacteria can travel ten times its body length in a second, which is equivalent to a human running at 40 mph (64km/h) speed.
2This is an example of an irreducibly complex system. All motor parts need to be in their place before it could function: rotor, stator, propeller, joints, “fuel”. These different parts are mainly composed of various kinds of specialized proteins; according to genetic studies, at least 40 types of proteins are needed for a working flagellum. All these parts could not have “evolved” in incremental steps through millions of years, for they would have been useless before becoming a functional motor. Natural selection, on the other hand, does not tolerate useless parts as these reduce the viability of the organism and the chance of its survival.If Darwin would have known what complex systems can be found even at this molecular level, he might not have dared propose his nonsense theory in the first place.
Images reproduced from Access Research Network: Michael J. Behe – Molecular Machines Museum, Copyright © 1998 Access Research Network.

References and Links:

Access Research Network: Molecular Machines Index of Illustrations, Graphics, and Animations

Living Technology, by the Center for Scientific Creation. Study of a bacterial motor.

The 1997 Albany Conference: Biomolecular Motors and Nanomachines