Chapter 1: Blood: The Incomparable Liquid of Life (3/10)
Red Blood Cells' Flattened Shape
The transportation of oxygen, as carried out by the red blood cells, is no ordinary process. No other type of cell is capable of carrying oxygen. With their unique shape, red blood cells have been specially created for this purpose. Being flat, round and depressed in the center, red blood cells are true marvels of engineering.
Many factors permit red blood cells to carry oxygen, but all of them are essential. One of them is their flattened shape. This shape increases the cell's surface area and facilitates contact with oxygen molecules, as well as making it easy for the cell to deposit oxygen at the right time and in the right place. Thanks to its shape, the red blood cell can load up with far more oxygen molecules than it could if shaped like an ordinary cell, and is able to carry them more easily to the tissues where they are needed.
Red blood cells' flattened shape is also vital in terms of these cells' unimpeded passage through the tiny capillaries. They are the smallest cells moving in the bloodstream. This is of vital importance for them to carry oxygen to every point in the body. Sometimes, however, red blood cells find themselves facing capillary vessels of very minute dimensions. These veins, which can sometimes be only 5 micrometers in across, are too narrow for red blood cells with a diameter of 7 to 8 micrometers to pass through.17 But red blood cells must pass through these capillary vessels, since—as shall be explained in some detail—these exceedingly important blood vessels enable nutrients and oxygen to reach all individual cells in the body.
Yet red blood cells are too large to fit through these vessels. Under normal circumstances this should cause a problem. However, in line with the superior design specially imparted in them, red blood cells experience no such difficulty. They are flexible, and can assume almost every configuration. Since they possess a large cell membrane in proportion to the amount of volume they carry, they can easily change shape.
Thus even if they enter areas where it would otherwise be difficult for them to move, their cell membrane does not stretch and tear, as it would in other cells.18 This is a considerable advantage. These blood cells which are able to flex and change shape can pass through veins narrower than themselves.
This advantageous ability is doubtless a very special feature. God has created two such entirely different structures as hemoglobin and the red blood cell to be compatible with one another, and has equipped each one with features that enable them to act together. The flattened shape of the red blood cell is one of the most important evidence of creation. There is no doubt but that God has the power to create the size of the red blood cell to be able to fit through the capillary vessels. However, the existing structure has the ideal values for the human body. This is the work of Almighty God, Who identifies and determines the states of every organism throughout the course of its life, and Who creates it accordingly, from nothing.
To better understand the importance of this magnificent structure, it will be useful to consider the possible effects of any problem arising in it. If the shape or flexibility of the red blood cell is impaired, this means that nutrients and oxygen will be unable to reach the tissues—and those tissues that which the red blood cells cannot reach are condemned to die.
In order to grasp the importance of the cell's flat shape, consider the case of sickle cell anemia, a very serious disease that occurs due to an inherited defect in the shape of the red blood cells.
The cells contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin known as hemoglobin S. When exposed to low oxygen, this hemoglobin breaks down into elongated crystals, causing the red blood cell to assume a sickle-like shape. This altered shape causes the cell to transport insufficient oxygen. In addition, cells with these altered shapes cause congestion by accumulating in the veins. The spiked ends of the crystals that cause the sickle-like shape sometimes rupture the cell membrane.19
The symptoms of the disease are very serious. Severe pains and attacks occur in the bones, muscles or stomach, lasting for days or weeks. When the red blood cells cannot pass through the narrow retinal veins, vision defects or even blindness can occur. Functional defects in the liver may give rise to jaundice. Growth in childhood is retarded. The body becomes prone to infections. Most important of all, damage may occur to certain regions of the brain because of congestion in the small blood vessels, which can sometimes even lead to paralysis.
Within just a few hours, this disease can reach dangerous levels. People who develop sickle cell anemia at very young ages must receive special treatment throughout their lives if the disorder is not to prove fatal. To remind you, the sole cause of this is a defect in the shape of the red blood cells.
Perhaps the most astonishing claim regarding this disease comes from evolutionists, who maintain that it represents an alleged proof of the evolutionary process!
Evolutionists' Erroneous Theory About Sickle Cell Anemia
The theory of evolution ascribes the origin of living things to two natural mechanisms: Natural selection and mutation. Evolutionists expect that mutations will, bit by bit, create new biological structures. According to the theory, at least a portion of these random mutations must be beneficial, must add new genetic information to existing organisms, and must lead to the development of new organs and biochemical structures that did not exist before. These beneficial structures will then be favored by natural selection, and evolution will thus take place.
This scenario is utterly imaginary. The most serious problem the theory faces with is the fact that in the real world there are no beneficial mutations. Ever since the development of the science of genetics, Darwinist biologists have long sought some example of a mutation that would verify their claims. However, after lengthy studies and experiments, they have determined that every example of mutation—far from improving on living organisms—has actually damaged them, sometimes fatally, or, at the very best having little or no impact at all. Yet Darwinists do not give up, even in the face of all these failed experiments. They blindly continue to believe that mutations can be beneficial and can bring new, advantageous features to organisms.
To keep their beliefs alive, the evolutionists do not hesitate to claim that sickle cell anemia—a very serious and even fatal disease—is an example of a so-called beneficial mutation. The factor in this disease that deforms the hemoglobin was originally a mutation, which damages hemoglobin's ability to transport oxygen. Therefore—as we saw in the preceding pages—oxygen cannot be carried to certain cells, resulting in severe diseases, even fatal health problems.
In a most peculiar manner, however, some evolutionist biologists describe the mutation that causes this defect as beneficial. (This erroneous information is even taught in biology textbooks in high schools.) The basis of this claim is that the mutation concerned represents a defense against another disease—malaria. People suffering from sickle cell anemia receive two mutated sickle cell genes—one from their mother and one from the father. However, those who receive only a single mutated gene from either parent do not develop the disease, but become carriers. In such individuals, the sickle cell symptoms of the disease are not very strong. However, their carrying only a single mutated gene makes them resistant to malaria.
Malaria parasite attacks healthy, round blood cells, but does not attack blood cells in sickle form. For that reason, even if the malaria parasite enters the bodies of such individuals, it won't cause the disease.20
Evolutionists regard the way that the sickle cell provides a defense against malaria as an advantage, and describe the mutation that caused it as a beneficial one. However, this mutation—which leads to severe and even deadly damage in the body, due to the blood's inability to nourish certain tissues, and which spreads by being passed on to subsequent generations—clearly harms those who carry it.
Evolutionists ignore all these factors and appraise the partial immunity as a gift of evolution. This is of course utterly nonsensical. According to that line of thought, one could claim that people born blind will not have to drive cars and therefore, enjoy a reduced risk of dying in traffic accidents. According to that irrational logic, being born blind could be regarded as a genetic gift. This is no more meaningless than evolutionists' interpretations of sickle cell anemia as a beneficial mutation.
David N. Menton, a professor of biology from Brown University, describes this so-called beneficial mutation as follows:
This mutation of blood hemoglobin is considered "good" because people who have it (and survive it!) are more resistant to the disease malaria. The symptoms of this "good" mutation include: acute attacks of abdominal and joint pain, ulcers on the legs, defective red blood cells, and severe anemia—often leading to death. One can only imagine what the "bad" mutations are like! No wonder that H. J. Mueller, who won the Nobel prize for his work on mutations, said: "It is entirely in line with the accidental nature of mutations that extensive tests have agreed in showing the vast majority of them detrimental to the organism in its job of surviving and reproducing—good ones are so rare we can consider them all bad."21
Another point regarding this claim made by evolutionists needs to be considered. The majority of carriers, who are not themselves affected by the disease, live in Africa, where the risk of malaria is very high. This allows any carrier of sickle cell anemia, thanks to the so-called beneficial mutation, to pass the defective gene on to his or her children.
The spread of the gene in this way increases the next generation's chances of receiving a defective gene from both mother and father. Defective genes being received from both parents means that the child will inevitably suffer from sickle cell anemia. Or else if healthy genes are inherited from both parents, that person will not be a carrier and thus will have no immunity to malaria.
Indeed, sickle cell anemia, which develops with a change in just one of the 287 amino acids in hemoglobin, leads to the death of 25% of those who suffer from it.22
Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahulu, a world famous authority on sickle cell anemia and author of The Sickle Cell Disease Patient, says these on the subject:
If you are resistant to malaria, you are more likely to survive to pass on your genes. Nevertheless, it is a defect, not an increase in complexity or an improvement in function which is being selected for, and having more carriers in the population means that there will be more people suffering from this terrible disease.23
Evidently, evolutionists are in a serious contradiction on the subject of the mutations, which they regard as a major mechanism in the emergence of new species. The way that they portray a genetic disease that is clearly harmful to humanity as evidence for evolution once again reveals the weak foundations on which the theory is constructed. It appears that the fanatical supporters of the theory, by now totally discredited, are desperately trying to keep it alive. Yet their efforts only serve to further humiliate the Darwinists.