For those who may not know, a cell can divide in two ways. It can use a process called mitosis, or it can use the other method called meiosis.
The mechanics of the two processes are quite startling, and are very clearly designed to carry out their absolutely vital functions accurately.
Cells have to reproduce themselves in order for growth to take place, to repair damage, for simple maintenance and other needed functions.
When they divide, the number of chromosomes, and thus the genes on them must be replicated exactly in the new cells, otherwise damage and destruction will take place. A mutation damages the genetic make up of the cell, and such damage is destructive in 99.99% of the cases in which it occurs.
Which is only to be expected. If the plans for say, a car, become damaged in any way, and the construction continues despite the damage, we wouldn’t be too surprised to find the steering wheel up the exhaust pipe, or the engine in the passenger seat! Either way, the car will not function, or at best will be badly impaired.
Continued damage to the plans, does not, or is most unlikely to produce improvement in the car. No matter how many times we tear up and reconstitute the plans for a Honda Civic, we will never get the plans for a Boeing 747.
And there is another problem, the problem of size. A Rolls Royce is not simply a scaled up version of a Honda Civic. It is a completely different animal, whose physics, chemistry and metallurgy are entirely changed. The design of a mud hut cannot simply be enlarged to produce the Empire State Building. It would definitely look a bit odd, for starters.
In the cell, the damage can be of several well known kinds.
1 The chromosome may duplicate itself unnecessarily: so there is one or more than one extra chromosome in the make up.
2 The chromosome may have a section torn off or lost
3 The chromosome may break and rejoin the wrong way round, so instead of the genes being in the order AAABBBCCC, something else appears like CCCAAABBB. This also produces damage, much as if a page of the plans for the car was torn in 3, and the sections glued back in the wrong order.
In every case there is damage of one sort or another. Mutations occur frequently, but beneficial mutations are extremely rare, and never produce new species, far less new genera. Micro-evolution, like the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, is a very long way indeed from the macro-evolution of a whole new family, or phylum.
But back to mitosis.
In a normal body cell, let’s say there are 10 individual chromosomes. These are in pairs, so there are 5 pairs. In order to make sure that the daughter cells have exactly the same number of chromosomes, this remarkable process takes place.
A.A B.B C.C D.D E.E
Each pair of chromosomes copies itself exactly.
A.A B.B C.C D.D E.E ---> A.A A.A B.B B.B C.C C.C D.D D.D E.E E.E
So for a brief moment, the cell has 20 chromosomes, in 10 pairs. 5 pairs are exact replicas of the other five. The dot in the middle indicates that they are joined at a certain point.
Two structures called centrioles appear, and move to the opposite ends of the cell, and fibres begin to appear: they then join, believe it or not, to form what is called a ‘spindle’. The nuclear membrane disappears.
Amazingly, the chromosomes arrange themselves at the ‘equator’ of the spindle and are attached to the fibres of the spindle.
The spindle pulls them apart, and they separate, going to the opposite ends of the cell. So at each end of the cell there are now 5 pairs of chromosomes. The original number.
The nuclear membrane reforms round the chromosomes, and the cell pinches in the middle, and two new cells are now formed, each containing 5 pairs of chromosomes: A.A B.B C.C D.D E.E once more.
Here are still photographs of the process by Anne Bruce: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artaug99/mitosis2.html
And here is an animation: http://www.cellsalive.com/mitosis.htm >
There is very clear purpose in every move of this division process.
1 The chromosomes duplicate themselves, as if they knew that the new cell must have a copy.
2 The spindle is constructed, at the right time and in the right place SO THAT it can pull the chromosomes apart from their joint. It is a subject of much research, which is showing much protein involvement in the structure.
3 The nuclear membrane dissolves, with the purpose of getting out of the way so the division can take place.
4 The chromosomes arrange themselves at the ‘equator’ of the spindle, the maximum distance away from the centrioles SO THAT the maximum leverage can be exerted on them to separate them. They separate.
5 They move to opposite ends of the cell, SO THAT each new cell has exactly the same number of chromosomes as the original.
6 But number is not enough. Five DIFFERENT chromosome pairs must be in each daughter cell. This way of doing the division ENSURES that they ARE different.
7 The nuclear membrane reforms when the division is complete, and TO COMPLETE THE PROCESS, the cell wall itself pinches off to make 2 new cells.
At every step of the way, design, foreknowledge and purpose are displayed. The most surprising thing in my view, is that the exact numbers of chromosomes is preserved in each daughter cell. If they weren’t, then chaos would soon result.
Order, purpose, design, and intelligence are displayed in abundance in this process. There is nothing whatsoever left to chance. If it were, there would be, as I have said, chaos in the genetics of the organism, which would result in death, disease or sterility.
The probability of the biochemistry of this process having emerged by chance movement of molecules is ridiculous. The very possibility does not exist. Errors here, and even more so in meiosis, would result in the extinction of life itself.
But we here run up against the old, old evolutionary conundrum. Life could not exist without mitosis, and mitosis could not exist without life. Therefore, life and mitosis could not have come from inert molecules.
God designed them.
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