Interdependent Systems in Nature
|Author: Doug Sharp
The existence of interdependent systems in nature is evidence for design by God. Living systems are dynamic. They are like a gasoline engine, converting energy into useful work. A gasoline engine “comes to life” only when many different independent conditions are met at the same time. Take away the spark plug, and it will not run at all. Leave out the pistons, and it will not run. Without oil or gasoline, it will not run. The list of interdependent conditions goes on and on. Even if all other conditions are met, it must be given an initial crank in order to start. Likewise, living creatures have inter-dependent characteristics which determine their very existence. Life does not exist without the conversion of energy into useful work, growth of the organism, or reproduction. An organism quickly dies when it fails to do any of these things. Death occurs when any of the organism’s interdependent systems break down.
It would be ludicrous to imagine a gasoline engine assembling itself as a result of an explosion. A piece of iron molds into a piston, another into an engine block, a spark plug forms, plus hundreds of other components. Next, we need a continuous source of fuel, lubrication and coolant. Then the engine fires by itself and chugs away, powering an assembly line which creates other engines like itself.
If I asked you to believe such a scenario, you would dismiss me as a fool. Why then do people believe in the spontaneous generation of life, which is infinitely more complex than a gasoline engine coming about by accident? Belief in spontaneous generation cannot be the result of unbiased scientific investigation. Instead, it is a conclusion reached for “religious” and philosophical reasons.
Compared to a living cell, a gasoline engine is extremely primitive. In order for life to generate spontaneously, the sum of the parts of a living cell would have to come together intact and the chemical reactions which characterize life would have to be started. This is much like believing that a gas engine exists because of an explosion.
In the Bible, God asks Job, “Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or has thou seen the doors of the shadows of death?” (Job 38:7). The answer is no. Science has not found an answer to death. Dead cells in a test tube will always remain dead, no matter what kind of physical and chemical experiments a scientist might do to them.
Yet all of the necessary chemicals are presumably there for life. Even if scientists could account of the assembly of a cell, they still cannot “turn the crank”, so to speak, to start the life of that cell going. Yet, these same scientists would have you believe that life started spontaneously, without the help of a creator. I find this incredible.
The natural behavior of dead cells is to disintegrate. In death, DNA and proteins break down into their components as a part of the natural process of decay. They do not assemble themselves, nor do they become more complex, even if they are isolated in a closed environment.
If you want dead cells to disintegrate, you have to do nothing. If you want them to disintegrate faster, put them in any of the environments as postulated by those who believe in spontaneous generation. Pour the test tube of cells on the ground, dilute them in the ocean, zap them with lightning or ultraviolet light. Sure enough, there won’t be much left of them. Certainly, they will not become more complex or ordered.
Because of that, I believe that life, in order for it to exist, needs the direct, continuous influence of God. If you start up a gasoline engine, then leave it and walk away, it won’t be long before it will sputter and stop. Like the person who runs the engine, God provides and keeps us going continuously. When death does occur, it is abrupt and irreversible, as if he turned off the ignition.
Ponder this: we draw our next breath only because of the grace of God. Even though man shakes his fist against Him, God continues providing basic needs for him patiently. Perhaps this is the most amazing thing of all.
Let us examine the makeup of a living cell. We would expect that the components which make up life would be homogenous throughout all organisms as creationists, otherwise there would be nothing to eat. If the chemical makeup of mankind was based upon amino acids, chickens on aldehydes, plants on silicates, and so forth, there would be no food chain.
The chemical building blocks of food need to be the same as the chemical building blocks which make up our body. That is why the components of life, the twenty amino acids, the nucleotides, sugars, and fats are the same throughout all species of life. Of course, it is the combination of these building blocks which produce the endless variety we see in life.
Combinations of the twenty amino acids produce a myriad of proteins which perform countless different functions in each cell. The DNA molecules in the cell is the computer which by the sequence of its nucleotides, determines the structure of proteins.
It is interesting to follow the sequence of events which occur as proteins are manufactured in the cell. The DNA molecule spreads apart in a certain place, and a RNA molecule is formed from it by matching opposite nucleotides in a long chain. This long strand is called messenger RNA. Other portions of the DNA molecule form transfer RNA. An organelle called a ribosome (made up of another type of RNA) proceeds down the messenger RNA like a car on an assembly line. At every three nucleotides on the messenger RNA, the ribosome stops and attaches a transfer RNA carrying an amino acid. This amino acid becomes the next link in the growing chain which will eventually become a protein. These proteins then go on to become part of the structure of the organism, catalyze reactions, and perform a multitude of functions.
One such protein, DNA polymerase, catalyzes the formation of DNA. This raises the question, which came first, DNA or DNA polymerase? This is only one of many such cycles which make up the chemical apparatus found in all cells. If any of these cycles were broken, life would not exist. I submit that these systems did not “evolve” gradually. They either exist, or they do not. This is another mighty gap which evolutionists cannot explain.
“Who hath put wisdom on the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” (Job 38:36). God did! A microminiature manufacturing plant cannot be the product of chance. When a computer system is installed in a manufacturing plant, and an attempt is made to automate, much wisdom and planning must go into it or the system will fail. A manufacturing computer system is crude and primitive compared to the setup each cell possesses. We do not expect to roll a computer into a company, push a button, and have it run itself. Likewise, we cannot expect to combine a bunch of chemicals together at random and have it produce meaningful information.
Even the building blocks which make up life testify of hand selection by our creator. If you create amino acids in a test tube, you will get an equal mixture of both “right handed” and “left handed” isomers of the same amino acid. But the only isomer which is used by living systems is the left handed one, even though the right handed isomer reacts chemically the same way.
The problem this creates for evolution-ists is enormous. It is like putting a million black marbles and a million white marbles in a big box, shaking it up, and pouring them out one by one randomly through a hole. The odds that the first 410 marbles through would be all one color are one in 2410 or 10123.
This is the probability of a protein of average length forming by chance with all left handed amino acids. Other isomer problems for evolutionists exist with sugars (all right handed) and lipids (all cis, not trans). This points to the principle of artificial selection by God. If you open the box and take out one white marble at a time, you will get 410 white marbles in a row.
The Bible says that “God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:25).
Each creature is an interdependent system designed to perform an intended function in nature. If we take a look at any creature, we can see compound characteristics which work together to provide the individual not only with life, but with purpose. In most cases, if any of these characteristics were taken away, it would severely handicap or kill the individual.
Take for example the evolutionary gap between birds and reptiles. If a reptile was born with wings and feathers partially developed, it would severely hamper its lifestyle, and it would die. Also, half-fledged birds would not be able to fly. They would die out, not being able to efficiently be either a bird or a reptile! One system does not gradually evolve into another system.
That is like converting from an old NCR mainframe computer running one kind of software to an IBM mainframe computer running another kind in a different language. In the computer world, this is usually not an easy task. The larger the system, the worse the conversion problem. The company running the computer would either have to run two systems in parallel for a while, or pull the plug on one and abruptly go to the new.
Evolution from one animal “kind” to another poses the same system problems that computer system conversions face. A new set of chromosomes are needed to provide the instructions for the new system. New instructions cannot conflict with old instructions, and new environments must be suitable for both systems.
As computer system conversions often cause trauma within a company even with experts handling them, so would an evolutionary “conversion” from one “kind” to another. This would take the expertise of an Expert Creator, even if He had chosen to do it that way.
There are millions of different species of creatures on this earth. Each is an independent, stable system designed for its place in the environment. Here we should distinguish between “species” as defined by scientists, and “kinds” as defined by the Bible. A Biblical “kind” may include several species which interbreed and produce many different varieties. Horizontal evolution, or minor varieties and traits which make up different species, does not conflict with the Biblical concept of “kinds”. Vertical evolution, on the other hand, does conflict with both the Bible and logical scientific thinking.
The duckbill platypus presents an example of a problem which occurs with vertical evolution. It is so unlike any other creature that it is impossible to establish an evolutionary lineage for it. But, the duckbill platypus is perfectly suited for his environment. Its duck like bill has a worm finding radar built right into it. Webbed feet in front aid in swimming, claws in back help the duckbill to burrow. They lay eggs, yet suckle their young and are fur bearing. This system is so different from any other animal that it defies any explanation other than creation by God.
A dolphin presents a similar problem. Here is a mammal which bears its young alive, breathes through a hole in the top of his head, is highly intelligent, can drink sea water, and dive to the bottom of the sea without getting the “bends”. He has a torpedo shaped body, flippers and fins instead of legs and claws, and a specialized metabolic system. Could the dolphin have survived an evolutionary system change from a land mammal to a sea mammal? It does not seem too likely.
Systems do not evolve. Systems may take on different characteristics and traits over a period of time, but unless a master plan is involved and all aspects of a system are considered in its integration, the system will break down with a vertical change. This is evidence against evolution.