Consciousness in The Cell (11-20)
11. Cells that Commit Suicide to Keep the Body from Harm
Many cells produce a series of proteins in order to destroy themselves when they become superfluous, defective or diseased. However, so long as a cell is beneficial to the body, these proteins are obstructed from doing their deadly duty. If the cell becomes diseased, turns renegade or cancerous, or begins to threaten the health of the organism, the fatal proteins are released and activated to kill off the offending cell.
The cell's ability to make the right decision at the right time and place is very important. In the event that it can't, that is, when the killer proteins are activated in a healthy cell, then healthy tissue will die, and the result will be death of the whole organism. But if the harmful or diseased cells are allowed to survive, then the organism may die too.
A cell that has "decided" to commit suicide and activated its killer protein, first shrinks and pulls away from its neighbors. Soon blebs appear on its surface, and it appears to boil. Then its nucleus and finally, the cell itself break apart. Other surrounding cells immediately ingest its remaining fragments.
A more interesting event is that the other living cells do not clean up all the dead ones. Some are deliberately left alone, because they have not yet completed their duties. For example, tissues such as the lens of the eye, the surface of the skin, and the nails are all composed of dead cells. But because the body has need of them, they are not destroyed. The important fact that trillions of cells in the body all make decisions about which dead cells to destroy and which to leave alone is a point worth reflecting on.
What gives the cell consciousness to make and apply such vital decisions? Who taught the cell to recognize conditions that bring harm to the larger organism it finds itself in? And Who inspires this microscopic life form to ward off harm?
As has been explained here, all cells have been programmed in the best fashion to let organisms continue their existence. But in that case, Who is the Master of that program?
Evolutionists have become blind enough to believe that the master of this extraordinary program is unconscious coincidence. But God's unique creation and infinite knowledge are clearly manifested in every detail of a living organism.
12. Bacteria-Destroying Machines In the Liver
Bacteria that we cannot see enter our bodies through the food we eat, via the air we breathe, or by any number of other ways. Harmful bacteria must be neutralized before they upset the workings of the body. For this reason, certain cells in the body, whose sole duty is defense, have been endowed with perfect memory. However, as an example of the body's faultless design, many additional defense measures have been set up. One line of defense is provided by certain cells found in the liver—a strategic point in the circulatory system.
In less than 0.01 of a second, the so-called Kupffer cells digest and neutralize any harmful bacteria that pass through the bloodstream from the small intestine to the liver. Out of all of the countless bacteria that enter the body, how can these unthinking cells distinguish those that can cause harm from those that are beneficial? How can these cells destroy some bacteria, but leave others untouched—without knowing the bacteria's characteristics or what they will do, once inside the body?
At this point, another important fact requires consideration: that Kupffer cells are found in the liver. But why the liver, and not any other organ? Here is still another proof of our bodies' perfect creation. Had these cells been placed in any other organ in the body except the liver, the cleansing of the blood from bacteria wouldn't have been as effective. Because after being cleansed in the liver, the blood then enters the general circulatory system, to circulate throughout the entire body. And so, fewer than one in a hundred bacteria ever succeed in reaching the general circulation. What sort of blind coincidence could have ensured the placement of Kupffer cells in the liver, out of all the organs in the body? The cells themselves can't determine the most appropriate place for them to go, much less set about going there. The body is composed of approximately 100 trillion cells, and it's not possible for any one of them to possess consciousness enough to determine a spot for itself and travel to settle there. Such a faultless plan requires the existence of a superior mind, one that belongs to the One Who knows every inch of our body and Who created us from nothing in the most appropriate of designs—that is, God.
13. You Are Never in Control of Your Breath, Because Some of Your Cells Control It for You
If regulation of our breathing were left up to us we would probably die of asphyxiation from forgetting to breathe, falling asleep or being preoccupied with other activities.
For every human being, this crucial process is regulated by the respiratory center, which is the size of a lentil bean and is located in the brain stem (an extension of the brain). It is made up of three different groups of neurons.
The first group determines the basic rhythm of breathing and gives the lungs and the chest the signal to inhale air. In this way, we breathe in the air we need.
The second group of cells determines the speed and pattern of our breathing. When this second group comes into play, however, the cells signal to the first group to halt their activity. This controls the air capacity of our lungs, and our breathing speeds up.
The third group, on the other hand, is not normally active. They come into play when a high rate of breathing is needed and they ensure that the abdominal muscles participate by sending them signals.
Is all of this enough to keep us alive? No.
Respiration is also controlled chemically. Breathing's aim is to maintain the correct balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood. Any change in this balance activates a group of cells in the respiratory center, bringing the levels back to normal with very sensitive adjustments.
But the amount of oxygen in the blood has no direct effect on the respiratory center. In that case, how does the respiratory center become aware of the change in oxygen level in the blood?
At this point, another group of cells comes into action, displaying a miraculous consciousness. In large veins outside of the brain, such as the jugular, highly sensitive receptors send signals to the respiratory center when the blood oxygen level falls below a certain level. In this way, respiration is regulated with very finely tuned adjustments.
How can a group of cells know how much oxygen is needed for the body to stay alive?
How can these cells have used such a mechanism, which has been in place from the first human until now, when only in the last 20 years has science discovered this mechanism?
Moreover, this mechanism is so sensitive that for the entire duration of our lives, no mistake is ever made when sitting, running or sleeping. It ensures that at every second, vital oxygen is carried to the 100 trillion other cells in our body, and that harmful waste products like carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions are speedily removed.
Even though they know the truth, some scientists, fanatically committed to the theory of evolution because of their obsession with materialism, claim that this perfection came about as a result of blind coincidence. Whereas the Creator of this perfect order is clearly the Possessor of infinite intelligence—that is, God.
14. Your Cells Can Do What You Cannot
Pretend that various samples of powdered metal are placed before you, and you are asked to determine what each metal is. Would your analysis be correct?
If you haven't been educated in the field of metallurgy, this would be impossible for you. But this analysis, which a conscious being like you cannot perform, is done quite easily by the approximately 100 trillion cells in your body—and without any thinking, or calculations, or difficulty. Moreover, not only the cells in your body have this ability, but so do the untold trillions of cells in the bodies of the billions who have ever lived on Earth.
Your cells can easily recognize iron, which your body needs, and can absorb it for use. With the same ease, cells can recognize phosphorus, nitrogen, oxygen, sodium, potassium and other substances and can gather them together to use, or else store the excess. They can even send out any extra material that isn't needed.
Consider that the cell is a structure made up of proteins, molecules, and atoms and is about a thousandth of a millimeter in size. It has no hands or arms, no eyes, ears or brain. Unlike you, it has no consciousness. If so, how can it recognize these substances?
This ability is brought about by God's inspiration to each cell. It is the Possessor of knowledge and power Who confers this ability requiring clear insight and consciousness, upon blind and unconscious atoms.
15. Your Life Continues Because of the Conscious Division of Labor of Your Cells
Vitamin B12 is very important for the continuation of life because it is used in the production of blood. Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to anemia, which can lead to death. However, the body cannot use this vitamin on its own. This is why stomach mucous secretes a substance that allows vitamin B12 to be absorbed and play its vital role in blood production. In a special place in the small intestine, there are cells whose sole duty is to absorb vitamin B12.
Now, blood production, after a series of complicated processes, takes place mainly in the bone marrow. But most bone marrow is located far away from the stomach. How can the use of a vitamin needed by the bone marrow depend on a substance made by stomach cells? And how is it that a few cells, at a specific site in the small intestine, take upon themselves the duty of absorbing this vitamin?
For all of this to occur, cells in both the stomach and the small intestine must possess knowledge, being aware and in control of the details of blood production—a process that takes place a very far distance away. In addition, they must realize how important this production is for the body. In short, in the deepest and darkest of places in your body, systems and amazingly conscious processes take place between cells, leaving scientists dumbfounded upon learning about them.
Without a doubt, these cells cannot will such clear consciousness and faultless processes to take place. It is God, the Lord of the heavens and the Earth, Who created the vitamin B12 and programmed cells with the knowledge to be able to use it.
16. For Events to Take Place in Your Cells, Knowledge Is Required
Digested food that has come from the stomach to the small intestine contains very strong acids—posing a serious danger to the duodenum, because unlike the stomach, the duodenum has no special lining to protect it from acid.
So how is it that the duodenum escapes damage from the acids in digested food? Determining the answer requires us to examine the events that take place during digestion, and an awareness of the amazing processes that occur in our bodies.
When the level of acid reaching the duodenum from the stomach becomes dangerously high, the walls of the duodenum release a hormone called secretin, which protects the duodenum and is found in the walls of the small intestine in an inactive form, called prosecretin. On contact with acid, prosecretin is converted into secretin.
Released into the bloodstream, secretin travels to the pancreas where it stimulates the release of enzymes. The pancreas, on learning by the presence of secretin that it is in trouble, sends to the duodenum bicarbonate ions that neutralize the acid and thereby protect the duodenum.
How did these processes, so vital to human life, come about? Located in the pancreas is "knowledge" of the substance needed by the duodenum cells, and the formula to activate them. The way the pancreas "understands" the message sent by the duodenum, and its subsequent release of bicarbonate ions are all miraculous.
Here, in talking about the intestinal cells, we use terms like "knowledge" and "understanding" to emphasize the events that take place in the human body. However, as every conscious person can appreciate, it is impossible for a cell to think, to possess the will to make decisions, or to be aware of what's transpiring with other organs and produce enzymes and hormones in response.
The unique Possessor of knowledge, Who created these cells together with these capabilities, is God. With these features that He has created in our own bodies, He demonstrates to us His infinite power.
17. When You Eat Sugar, a Giant Factory Goes to Work in Your Body
If you happen to eat food that contains more sugar than you need, what prevents a rise of sugar in your blood?
1. First of all, cells in your pancreas locate and isolate the sugar molecules, out of hundreds of other molecules in the blood. In addition, it decides whether the number of these molecules is too great or too small—that is, they are effectively counted. Tiny cells that you can't even see with your naked eye, that have no eyes, brains or hands, can calculate the number of sugar molecules in the blood plasma—this is certainly something worth thinking about!
2. If these pancreas cells determine that the blood contains too many sugar molecules, they decide to store this extra sugar. They cannot carry out this storage process themselves, however, stimulate other cells located very far away to do this for them.
3. But these distant cells will not store sugar unless they receive an order to do so. So the pancreatic cells release a hormone that tells these distant cells to start storing sugar. The formula for this hormone, which we call insulin, is encoded in the DNA of the pancreas cells since they were first formed.
4. Next, special enzymes, or worker proteins found in the pancreatic cells read this formula, then begin producing insulin according to its directions. To effect this synthesis, hundreds of different enzymes go at work on different tasks.
5. The synthesized insulin is then dispatched to the target cells, through the blood—which is the most reliable and speedy manner.
6. Other cells that read the insulin's order to store sugar obey this command without fail. Gateways open up, allowing the sugar molecules to pass through into the cells.
7. These gateways don't open up indiscriminately, however. Out of the hundreds of different molecules in the blood, storage cells isolate, capture, and take in only sugar molecules.
8. Under no circumstances do the cells disobey the orders that reach them. They don't misread the order, or try to capture other molecules, or try to store more sugar than they need to. They work with great discipline.
When you drink tea that has too much sugar in it, this extraordinary system goes into action and stores the excess. If this system were not working, your blood sugar level would rise to the point that you would slip into a coma and die. This is such a perfect system that if need arises, it works in exactly the opposite direction. If your blood sugar level falls below normal, the pancreas produces a completely different hormone called glucagon, which sends a "Release sugar into the blood" command to those same cells that had stored it previously, and these cells obey.
How is it that these cells, possessing no brain, nervous system, eyes, or ears, can carry out such fine calculations and perform them so perfectly? How can this unconscious tissue, the products of protein and fat, carry out amazing functions that even people cannot? What is the source of the obviously great consciousness displayed by these unconscious molecules? All these events are evident signs of the existence and power of God, Who is Ruler over the whole universe and all creatures.
18. Clear Proof of Creation: Kidneys that Distinguish Between Glucose, Protein and Sodium
Throughout your life, your two kidneys cleanse the blood flowing throughout your body.Some of the material that they filter out is sent back to the body, while the rest, of no further use, is discarded into the bladder. But how do the kidneys distinguish between protein, urea, sodium, glucose and many other substances?
The structure that filters waste products from the blood is a cluster of capillaries, called the glomerulus. Unlike capillaries in other parts of the body, these are surrounded by a membrane composed of three layers. And with great meticulousness, these three layers decide which substances will be filtered and excreted, and which will be retained and sent back to the body. Now, on what basis—and with which mechanism—does a cell membrane analyze, one by one, substances coming through the bloodstream and decide where they need to go?
In any liter of blood, there are dozens of dissolved compounds that reach the kidneys, including glucose, bicarbonate, sodium, chlorine, urea, and creatine. The kidneys excrete from the body some of these substances entirely, remove only parts of some others, and still others they return to the bloodstream in their entirety. But how does a piece of tissue decide which substances to discard, and how much? The answer lies in the fact that kidney tissue has been created with a perfect plan.
The glomeruli's selectivity is determined by the electric charge and size of the molecules it detects in the blood. This means that the glomeruli have the ability to determine the molecular weight of the sodium and glucose and the negative charge of the proteins all mixed up in the blood. In this way, proteins vital to the body are not discarded, but retained for further use.
But the glomerulus is made up of capillaries only. How do you suppose that a structure can possess such superior discrimination, even though it's never been educated in chemistry, physics or biology? The glomeruli can carry out such functions faultlessly because they act through the inspiration given to them by the One Who created them—that is, God.
Under no circumstances is their selection of substances left to chance. If it were, by the time these unconscious organs located the correct molecules, our bodies could no longer function. All of this is just one proof of the perfect creation of God.
19. What Goes on in Your Body When Your Blood Pressure Drops?
In our daily lives, frequently we hear people complain, "My blood pressure's too low" or, "I've got high blood pressure." Very few of them are even aware that regulating their blood pressure is the duty of the kidneys.
Aside from many other bodily functions, the kidneys have also taken up the task of adjusting blood pressure or tension. In determining blood pressure, the most important factor is the amount of fluid in the blood vessels. Along with any increase of fluid in the veins and arteries, blood pressure increases—thereby causing long-term harm to all organs in the body. Hypertension—that is, an increase in the amount of fluid in the blood vessels poses a dangerous situation for human beings. If measures are not taken, death will result.
The body's able to sense an increase in fluid in the blood vessels, thanks to receptors located in the front chambers of the heart. The heart stretches when a large amount of fluid enters it and, in response to this, receptors send a signal to the brain, which responds by causing the renal arteries to increase their filtering action. An increase in blood pressure causes the heart to stretch even more. With this stretching, the muscle fibers are extended, releasing messenger molecules trapped within them, which then enter the bloodstream.
This "message" thus reaches the kidneys through the circulation. In response, the amount of fluid excreted from the body increases. In this way, blood pressure returns to normal, and the heart can resume its normal beating.
The kidneys' duty in regulating blood pressure doesn't end there. In circumstances where the blood pressure is too low, an enzyme called renin is secreted by specialized cells of juxtaglomerular apparatus, or JGA located in the kidneys. Renin has no direct effect in raising blood pressure, however. It combines with angiotensinogen, another substance secreted far away in the liver, to form angiotensin I in the blood.
Once again, angiotensin I has no major effect on blood pressure. This hormone is in turn converted to angiotensin II, by the action of another substance present in the lungs called angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ACE. This enzyme's sole duty is to degrade angiotensin I.
And so, the end product of all of these steps is the only molecule that directly affects blood vessels and actually brings blood pressure back to normal. If this "ultimate' molecule is not synthesized, none of its precursors can have any effect on blood pressure. Again, only when the angiotensin II molecule binds to specific receptors on the cell surface, do the vessels constrict and blood pressure increases.
Here, the most important point to consider is that each of these substances' effects are interdependent. Since the absence of one molecule means the absence of all, how could even one of these steps have evolved through chance? For if even one step cannot come about by chance, then it's impossible for all the others to arise at the same time, in one single body.
No one could argue that coincidence can confer upon the kidneys the ability of understanding, or to take precautions or make decisions. That all these details exist at the same time is a clear indication that they were created by God.
He is God—the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and Earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Qur'an, 59: 24)
20. The Consciousness of the Circulatory System
Oxygen is one of the most important substances needed for the life of body tissues. For this reason, oxygen must be delivered to the tissues constantly, and in sufficient quantities. One of the body's most important components is the perfect circulatory system, which faultlessly performs this oxygen-carrying duty. When the oxygen levels in the tissues fall, an immediate, automatic and substantial increase in blood flow ensues. It's a known fact that if the need arises, the blood flow can increase by a factor of seven.
The working components of this system include tissues, cells, blood vessels, and proteins—none of which has any consciousness, knowledge, or decision-making mechanism. Most people live out their lives ignorant that such a mechanism even exists! So Who is the possessor of the knowledge, mind, and decision-making ability to perceive the drop in oxygen level in the tissues, inform the circulatory system, order it to increase blood flow, and finally bring the flow back to normal after the danger has passed? Who determines what type of information should be sent to which cell? And how can the cells that receive the message read, understand and apply it? No cell can possibly have the ability to read or understand. Much more can be researched about this topic, but the conclusion will always be the same: No cell has the consciousness able to conduct these processes to maintain the balance in the level of oxygen.
As with all other creations in the universe, animate and inanimate, the structures and systems in our body all act according to God's commands. The consciousness in every atom, molecule, and protein in the cells, organs, and bodies of all creatures is a product of God's creativity.