Enzymes and Their Perfect Properties
If Allah so chose, it could take us decades to produce just a fleeting smile. We would have to wait for years to be able to eat, to think, or to move and speak. If Allah so chose, a whole lifetime even might not be enough for us to turn over a single page of this book, nor even lift a single finger for the purpose of doing so.
Our bodily systems do not work at this slow pace, of course. We can smile whenever we wish, walk and run, think unrestrictedly, blink in an instant, and instantaneously begin to do everything we have planned. That is because Almighty Allah has blessed us with a system that permits our bodies, which He has created so perfectly, to perform all their functions at great speed. Enzymes, with their extraordinary structures, are one of the most important elements in this system's functioning.
In the chemical miracle known as enzymes, more than a hundred microscopic structures are combined in a three-dimensional form, whose details the human mind can grasp only with difficulty. Their function in the body is to accelerate all processes. Enzymes are essential in order for us to blink, move our hands, see, digest—in short, for us to pursue our lives. If the enzymes in your body were unable to function, you would perish.1
Billions of the chemical devices known as enzymes are at work within you, even as you read these words. They initiate countless functions essential to your survival by performing countless processes at the same time. Unless the enzymes in your body initiated their particular events, it would be impossible for you to breathe, read these lines or move your eyes from one letter to another, let alone understand their meaning. You possess a nose, windpipe, lungs, and red blood cells to transport oxygen—everything, in short, that you need in order to breathe. But if the enzymes in your body did not function properly, you would be unable to draw breath.
By the mercy of Allah, we have very superior helpers in our bodies that, by His will, are in a constant state of activity. Again by the mercy of Allah, these all help to keep us alive. Were it not for them, just one of the millions of links in the chains that keep us alive would snap, and our lives would come to an end. In providing details concerning the miraculous structures and functions of enzymes, this book aims to exalt the glory of Allah. That a protein too small to be seen with the naked eye can determine whether a person lives or dies, is an example of Allah's matchless artistry.
Allah demonstrates His dominion over humans by making the microscopic structures known as enzymes just means for this end. He reminds us of this important truth in a verse:
The Structure of Enzymes
When you wish to take just one single step, the events that take place in your body are truly amazing. Countless nerve cells inside the brain begin emitting tiny electrical impulses to set your legs in motion. By way of the spinal cord, these impulses are transmitted to other parts of the body, and thus to your legs. When this electrical signal from the brain reaches the legs, it causes the muscles in that region to contract and thus your legs begin to move.
All these events take place almost simultaneously. A constant flow of information from your legs and from your other senses continues to reach the brain, very fast and without interruption. At the same time, the brain controls the commands it has issued for your leg muscles to move and also the movements that take place in their wake.
The above paragraphs describe in a highly superficial manner the events that take place in order for us to take a single step. However, they all take place thanks to the presence of enzymes.
Dr. Edward Howel, who has spent many years studying enzymes, summarizes their importance and effects:
Enzymes are proteins that turn a cell into a highly developed miniature factory working within a highly ordered system. To date, over 2,000 enzymes have been identified.3 Working inside the arteries are 98 distinct enzymes, each with its particular job to do. No one has yet been able to determine how many enzymes control the heart, brain or liver.4
Enzymes initiate countless reactions within the cell, halt them when necessary, alter the shape of molecules, produce new combinations or eliminate ones that already exist. However, they themselves never suffer damage or undergo any changes. Having performed the needed tasks, they are ready to undertake new duties.
Enzymes function like catalysts: They accelerate chemical reactions without actually taking part in them. To better understand this concept, we need to understand just what catalysis is. In an environment where no enzymes are present, intense conditions—for example, extreme heat or highly acidic or alkaline conditions, and large amounts of what's known as activation energy are needed to break down a substance. In the laboratory, the production of activation energy depends on very critical conditions, of which the most important is high temperature. Yet inside the cell, thousands of reactions all take place at the same time and activation energy cannot be provided by way of body temperature, since the high temperatures needed would completely damage all other functions taking place within the cell.
A cell exposed to high heat will lose all its cytoplasm and moreover, heat would break down the hydrogen bonds, have a negative impact on DNA replication and disable many other systems within the cell. It is therefore impossible for the activation energy constantly required in the cell to be provided through heat. Enzymes are therefore essential for reactions to take place inside living organisms without the need for a rise in temperature, because they reduce the amount of activation energy such reactions need. Catalysis is the name given to the process performed through the reduction in this energy.5
Enzymes perform catalysis by establishing temporary unions with the molecules they interact—but do not react—with. This temporary union weakens existing chemical bonds and allows new ones to form, allowing for a low level of energy to be used in order for the reaction to take place.6 In this way, enzymes accelerate the reactions they participate in by a factor of 1 million to 1 trillion times, in comparison to uncatalyzed reactions.7 In just one second, a single enzyme molecule may catalyze tens of thousands of identical molecules. Processes that chemists can perform only with the aid of high temperatures, reagents and special equipment, are undertaken so easily and regularly by enzymes, with no need for any acids, special apparatus, extreme temperatures or long periods of time. They carry out their functions flawlessly in a fraction of a second by producing a very low level of heat. These special proteins process fats, alter the structure of sugar, break down starch, form new nutrients, expel wastes and purify the blood. At the same time, they assist in delaying ageing, increase the resistance of the immune system, strengthen the memory and eliminate carbon dioxide from the lungs.8 Enzymes are like special assistants, constantly working to keep a person alive, and are essential to the working of all bodily functions.
For that reason, the complex functions—and indeed, the very presence—of enzymes both represent major problems for the theory of evolution, which maintains that all of life's structures came into being in stages spontaneously, through a series of random genetic changes. But evolutionists' claim that life developed by chance starts from the assumption that the original structures were "simple" ones. However, modern medicine encounters new complexities regarding the human body with every passing day, further expanding the list of difficulties that evolutionists are unable to resolve. New discoveries constantly invalidate the 19th-century theory of evolution, which was invented in order to oppose the fact of creation.
Aware of this significant fact, the Cambridge University evolutionists Malcolm Dixon and Edwin C. Webb provide the following definition of enzymes, one of the major stumbling blocks confronting the theory of evolution:
What Dixon and Webb describe as "difficulties" are the complexities and perfections that evolution cannot account for. Evolution can offer no explanation for enzymes' mind-boggling complexity. Because the sole Creator of this sublime work is Allah, and He creates all things in a perfect manner.
Frank Salisbury, an evolutionist and biologist, expresses this extraordinary complexity in enzymes—for which evolutionists are unable to account—thus:
This information is most significant. Enzymes are proteins that, by the will of Allah, form and also act under the control of genes. Therefore, genes themselves must have as at least as much complexity as enzymes. These words will serve as a reminder of the sophistication genes possess:
Evolutionists claim that every structure in any living organism came into being as the result of long, slow stages and formed by chance by way of various mechanisms. (For more details on this subject, see Harun Yahya, Darwinism Refuted.) But the fact is that mutation and natural selection, which evolutionists propose as evolutionary agents, actually provide no evolutionary properties at all. No organ in any living thing has ever been observed to "evolve" by changing and assuming a form that could be of benefit to the organism as a whole. In addition, recent advances in medicine, biology and microbiology have revealed that any change in the protein or genes of an organism will only result in breakages, impairments and serious damage to its genetic information.
It is impossible for any gene or protein to turn into some other gene or protein with a completely different function. Evolutionists claim that the first protein was formed by chance under totally uncontrolled conditions, but they have never been able to produce one in the laboratory. It is unequivocally impossible for such a complex structure—which eminent scientists have been unable to reproduce using modern-day technology in state-of-the-art laboratories—to have come into existence spontaneously through random accidents.
Enzymes are all proteins, complex structures formed by way of extraordinary information contained in genes that themselves cannot have come into being by chance, and which function, at Allah's choosing, under the control of that gene. It is therefore impossible for them to have come into existence in stages, since the functions that enzymes perform are too precise, and the information that genes contain is so enormous.
Despite being an evolutionist, Sir Fred Hoyle, the Cambridge University mathematician and astronomer, summarized the fact that enzymes cannot come into being by chance:
Even if evolutionists possessed a great many more conditions than those Hoyle refers to; even if they ran such an experiment in as many laboratories as they wished; even if they added to the experiment all the existing organic substances, all the gasses and chemicals they could; even if they exposed them to whatever external influences they liked; even if they added as many amino acids and protein building blocks as they wanted; and then waited for centuries alongside the beaker or retort into which they placed all these substances, never will they be able to produce a single enzyme produced in a living thing. Evolutionists have not the slightest piece of evidence to offer as proof for the formation of a single protein.
We need to bear this constantly in mind as we examine the subject of proteins. Because the existence of one single enzyme is sufficient to do away with the nonsense of evolution—as well as being major proof that constantly displays the boundless might and power of Allah.
Enzymes take part in almost all an organism's chemical reactions, speeding them in an extraordinary manner. But again, they emerge from the reaction in the same state as they went into it—in other words, they remain unaltered. Once the reaction has taken place, newly formed molecules separate from the enzyme, and the enzyme continues on its way, ready to enter into still other reactions.
This feature is very important, because in this way, an enzyme is able to enter into countless reactions inside the cell and is able to keep the entire organism alive. In this way, hundreds of thousands of reactions take place constantly every minute, inside every cell.13
Every one of the 2,000 or so different enzymes in the human body is able to catalyze a specific chemical reaction. Understandably, cells with different functions have different kinds of enzymes. Cells work only with those enzymes that will carry out the required reactions. Therefore, the specific enzymes any cell produces are an important element in identifying that cell's actions and functions.
Fred Hoyle made the following calculation regarding the astonishing power of enzymes:
The probability of forming the 2,000 or so enzymes needed by a cell lies in the realm of 1 in 1040,000. This makes the conceptual leap from even the most complex 'soup' to the simplest cell in the time available (that is about 500 million years) so dramatic that it requires some suspension of rationality in order to accept it.14
All the structures of the living things on Earth have different levels of complexity. And the enormous variety of structures they possess reveal only a flawless creation. Living things possess molecular "handymen" that divide tasks among themselves, constantly communicate with one another, act dependently on each other and carry out true miracles of efficiency. It is impossible for them to decide beforehand how many reactions they will enter into, to then act in a conscious manner, know which cell to operate in, determine what processes to accelerate and by how much. Yet although this is indeed impossible, enzymes never make a mistake, because all their actions are inspired.
It is Allah Who constantly inspires them with what they have to do. And it is He Who continually creates them. In the same way that Allah gives a human being both a body and a soul, and creates him with all his perfect organs and senses, He also creates with the same perfection the extraordinary events that take place within the cell. For that reason, the enzyme system functions perfectly, just like the other systems inside the cell. No power apart from Allah's can create these, and Allah reveals this fact in one verse:
Flawless Harmony Between Enzymes and the Human Body
The Genes that Encode Enzymes
Enzymes are all proteins, and therefore have a protein structure, possessing the three-dimensional structural features unique to proteins. For that reason they are easily able to attach to other molecules and take part in reactions.
Although amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, what gives a protein—and thus, an enzyme—its characteristic feature is the order and number of the amino acids and the so-called peptide bonds that connect two amino acids together.15 Which reactions an individual enzyme will affect, as well as their speed, are determined by the features and arrangement of the amino acids. But what determines which amino acids an enzyme should consist of?
Imagine an enzyme consisting of 100 amino acids. Since there are 20 different kinds of amino acids in living organisms, these hundred amino acids can be arranged in 10020 different ways. Yet only one of all these sequences will constitute the proper enzyme. Here it is the genes that, by the will of Allah, determine the correct sequence. As already pointed out, enzymes are arranged and controlled by genes. All proteins, whether within the structure of the cell or those exhibiting enzyme activity, are synthesized by genes, which tell the enzymes which duties they are to assume. In other words, their encoded instructions determines which reactions enzymes must enter into. In light of this information, enzymes head for the specific molecules they will launch into reactions.
Here, it will be useful to recall that neither enzymes nor the genes that encode their behavior are conscious entities. It is impossible for genes, much less the enzymes that receive data from them, to act of their own accord, to think about making any decision, or to produce their own special codes. Made up of protein and fats, they are not conscious entities and have no way of knowing what a human being needs to live, how to intervene in a reaction, nor what purpose that reaction is to serve. They cannot have acquired their complex structure, nor accelerate thousands of reactions a second as the result of chance. Yet although lacking consciousness, they perform miraculous processes in every cell because they have submitted to Allah, their Creator. They obey Him, and act in the light of His inspiration. Keep this in mind as you read these pages.
Genes encode both the proteins inside the cell and also those that serve as enzymes. But what determines that a protein they manufacture will serve as an enzyme? In other words, what determines the enzyme's ability to become involved in chemical reactions and accelerating them millions of times?
In strictly chemical terms, this is explained by characteristics in the chemical structure of the amino acids. Amino acids consist of an amino group (-NH2) attached to a single carbon atom, hydrogen, a carboxyl group (-COOH) and varying side chains (-R) that can be composed of different molecules. What distinguishes one amino acid from another are its size, shape, electrical charge, water affinity and activity of the side chains it carries. The characteristic of the amino acids constituting enzymes is that they interact with one another, as a result of which they acquire a three-dimensional form that allows the chain to bend and curve.
How these amino acids are arranged gives the resulting proteins various properties. Accordingly, proteins assume what are called primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. In the primary structure, a flat polypeptide chain operates. In the secondary structure, the protein acquires a three-dimensional shape and its functions are determined according to its particular three-dimensional shape. The polypeptide chains are packed in the same horizontal plane and give the protein a helix shape. In a tertiary structure, that helix structure in question assumes a special shape by becoming bent. In a quaternary structure, all the emerging subunits come together, giving rise to a more complex structure.
Enzymes are proteins with a three-dimensional tertiary structure. By folding and bending, the amino acids making up their proteins endow enzymes with a special shape that's of the greatest importance, because they enable a great many life-giving functions to take place. Their three-dimensional tertiary structure permits polypeptide chains to fold over, knot together or wind around themselves, and permits enzymes themselves to vary greatly.
The tertiary structure endows an enzyme with still other properties. The primary structure of proteins consists solely of covalent bonds—a form of chemical bonding formed by the sharing of electrons between atoms. These powerful bonds decrease ever further in subsequent structures, until in a quaternary structure there are no covalent bonds at all. In a tertiary structure, the covalent bonds that form enzymes appear only in regions between adjacent chains. This enables only the surface regions of the enzyme to bond tightly to one another in order to grasp molecules and let them enter into reactions. The power of these bonds keeps them from breaking.
It is only the enzyme's "shape" that determines whether it's a blood-clotting enzyme or one that is involved in digestion. But how did any enzyme come to possess its highly specialized form? Out of millions of possibilities, how is it that enzymes always assume the correct shape? If evolutionists maintain that the first enzyme or the first gene that formed it appeared on Earth spontaneously and by chance, then they are forced to explain the development of all of an enzyme's complex details, as well as the three-dimensional form that determines its properties. In addition, they must account for the special abilities of the genes responsible for encoding this. If the special form in the very first enzyme came about by coincidence, through trial and error—impossible, though assuming that it actually did happen—then a simple calculation reveals that for a single enzyme molecule consisting of 100 amino acids to test out all the different possible permutations would take 20 billion years16—a much greater time frame than the age of the universe itself!
And that probability emerges only if we imagine that amino acids are consciously able to employ the method of trial and error. Yet it is completely impossible for amino acids to combine without any conscious method, to form a small enzyme molecule consisting of 100 amino acids. Therefore, evolutionists are totally unable to account for the formation of an enzyme and its particular three-dimensional form.
Duane T. Gish, director of the Institute of Creation Research, explains this impossibility:
One hundred amino acids of 20 different kinds can be arranged in 20100 (10130) different ways. If 1011 of these could function as the primitive enzyme, and if a billion trillion (1021) of the various protein molecules of 100 amino acids formed each second for five billion years (approximately 1017 seconds) the chance of getting a single molecule of one of the required sequences is 10130/1021x1017x1011, or only one chance out of 1081. This is, for all practical purposes, equal to zero probability.17
As this example shows, it's impossible for amino acids to come together by chance in the correct sequence to form an enzyme. Therefore, any one enzyme's existence and functions totally eliminate the idea of gradual evolution.
How Does an Enzyme Determine the Reaction It Will Affect?
In the structure of the amino acids that make up the enzyme, the various side chains accumulate in one region of the enzyme to form a three-dimensional structure known as the "active site." This is where the enzyme binds to other substances during a reaction.
That substance, on which the enzyme will act, is known as the substrate. The active site of any particular enzyme can fit into the substrate of only the molecule it will affect. It is impossible for this substrate to bind to the active site of any other enzyme. The enzymes' active sites possess two important components. One of them recognizes the substrate and the other, upon binding to the substrate, is responsible for catalyzing the reaction.
Within the body, in fact, the enzyme and the substrate are two structures that are entirely foreign to one another. Although they have never seen each other, the moment they meet inside a volume many billions of times larger than themselves, they can distinguish each another from among a very large number of molecules and bind together.
One of the main features that permits this bonding to occur is the enzyme's tertiary structure. The molecule that bends and assumes its own special three-dimensional shape possesses a gap of highly complex geometry into which the substrate will fit perfectly. The active site and the substrate fit together just like a lock and a key. In the absence of the key—the enzyme, in other words—the door can be opened only by forcing it, which inside the human body is impossible because of the high level of energy that would be required.
In the same way that any single lock can only open a single door, specific enzymes are compatible only with specific substrates. This compatibility also takes effect at an impressive speed—so great that an enzyme sometimes binds to 300 substrates, in a specific sequence, in just one second. It converts those substances into different molecules, then breaks away. This process will continue uninterruptedly throughout your life.
Within the cell, the numbers of enzymes and substrates are actually quite small. That being so, how are the enzymes and the substrates matching them able to locate one another? If the cell's inside structure were static, it might never be possible for enzymes and substrates to bond together, despite their both being in the same environment. But no such problem exists, since the contents of the cell is in a constant state of motion. Various movements caused by heat occur at the molecular level; and molecules inside the cell are moving constantly from one place to another. The interconnected atoms that compose these molecules vibrate in situ. Proteins, which are larger molecules, revolve around their own axes some million times a second. This astonishing motion leads to all molecules within the cell constantly colliding with one another.
As a result of these collisions around 500,000 times a second, the active site of an enzyme is subjected to a bombardment by the relevant substrate molecules, despite their low numbers inside the cell. As a result of this bombardment, the substrate fits into the surface of the relevant enzyme and these molecules immediately assume the form of an enzyme-substrate molecule, now ready to enter into a reaction.18
Enzymes bind to any substrate they meet—whether compatible with them or not—by means of very weak hydrogen bonds. The structure of the hydrogen bonds give the enzyme and substrate their own unique shape and property. In addition to the hydrogen bonds, however, when the enzyme encounters the correct substrate and the two join together, new bonds form—including such chemical interactions as van der Waals force, electrostatic force and hydrophobic bonds. Thanks to such bonds, the link between the enzyme and substrate is strengthened, reducing the possibility of their separating.
If one of the two colliding molecules is not a substrate of the other, then the conditions are rather different. Two molecules form a weak bond between their more or less compatible surfaces, as if they were attempting to join together. The energy released is insignificant. The moment the enzyme recognizes that it does not have the key to open the substrate in question, it breaks these weak bonds and rapidly moves away. This is a most important precaution, preventing incorrect or unwanted bonds from forming between incompatible molecules.19
Enzymes and substrates that fit together also take precautions. Recent evidence indicates that when an enzyme interacts with the substrate, it may change shape slightly, much as a glove that changes shape somehow to fit the hand it covers.20
The structures we have described here as seemingly conscious entities are simply two molecules, with no ability to see, hear, communicate or make any decisions. The abilities they appear to display successfully inside the human body actually belong to Allah, Who controls and supervises them at every moment. No substrate can bind to an enzyme unless Allah so wishes it, nor perform the processes that permit a person's vital functions. An enzyme only locates the component necessary for it, matches it and tries various ways of combining with it—exhibiting seemingly rational, conscious behavior under the direction of Allah.
The way that inanimate molecules display such behavior is a great miracle. Those unable or unwilling to see the evident miracle here look elsewhere by ascribing some extraordinary intelligence to molecules themselves, to atoms, or even to chance itself. In fact, however, all scientific endeavor declares that Allah is the sole Lord of Earth, the sole mighty and sublime Creator. Allah creates from nothing and manifests His own omniscience in the entities He chooses.
Yes, indeed! Everyone in the heavens and everyone on the Earth belongs to Allah. Those who call on something other than Allah are not really following their partner-deities. They are only following conjecture. They are only guessing. (Surah Yunus: 66)
What if the key did not fit the lock? What if the enzyme were in the correct location, but did not match the substrate? What if the enzyme reached the site of the reaction needing to be accelerated, but then passed by the relevant molecules? If because of just such a structural incompatibility, the enzymes necessary to coagulate the blood flowing from an open wound failed to perform their duties, then the blood would never be able to clot. No reactions essential for cell renewal could ever occur, nor could vital processes be maintained at the same rate and in the same order. For an enzyme to do what is expected of it, it has to recognize the substance—in other words, the substrate—on which it has to act and to match it completely. By the will of Allah, there is never any such problem in this regard in the living body. Every enzyme recognizes without difficulty the substrate it must react with and, since it acts under the inspiration of Allah, never makes a mistake in carrying out the process it needs to perform. The key always fits the lock; the needed reaction always takes place.
All this happens inside a cell with a diameter of just 0.01 millimeter. (A cell is between 10 and 100 microns in size.) Compatible molecules and the chemical bonds between them are all contained in a space just 0.01 mm in size. Three-dimensional structures, molecules attached to one another, cavities with specific geometries on the molecular surface, and other molecules with the geometric shapes to fit those cavities are all contained inside that area. Molecules that are compatible with one another—that are evidently aware of one another and can determine each other's requirements, that are capable of setting aside time, that never tire and are easily able to identify any molecule they encounter—all work within that environment. And recall that environment is only a cell less than 100 microns in diameter, in which electrons are in constant motion. A system inside the cell gives rise to a perfection exceeding all human capabilities, intelligence and knowledge, one that mankind can scarcely ever equal, which never goes wrong or makes a mistake—a totally conscious system.
That consciousness does not belong to the cell itself, of course. It cannot belong to molecules, mere collections of atoms that are unaware of one another inside the cell, nor to unconscious enzymes that come and go among these molecules. Neither does this consciousness belong to the human body that harbors all of these, nor to the human brain. The source of this consciousness is Allah, the Omniscient and Almighty, and He manifests His infinite might and intelligence in everything that He creates. He is manifest in the boundless universe as well as in enzymes just a hundredth of a millimeter in size. Great or small, it makes no difference—there is the same complexity, perfection and artistry in all, because Allah creates them all with His boundless knowledge.
Allah tells us this in a verse:
The Enzyme's Perfect Components
The detail, fineness and complexity observed down to the very smallest part of the cell is equally striking in all the components that make up enzymes. In the micro-world composed of molecules, even enzymes, which can be discerned only by the use of advanced microscopes, have components with their own complex and astonishing features. Every minute element that goes to make up an enzyme, that permits it to function and bestows upon it a three-dimensional structure, is vital to the enzyme's survival. The removal of any one of these parts, or a change in its shape or location, will mean that the enzyme can no longer function.
Some enzymes, referred to as "simple enzymes," are composed wholly of protein. Other enzymes, however, consist of two separate parts, known as the apoenzyme and the coenzyme. The apoenzyme part is made up of large protein molecules, and this section determines the nature of the enzyme. The protein structure that distinguishes this enzyme from all others—in other words, the types and arrangement of amino acids—is determined in this region.
The coenzyme is that part which gives the enzyme is catalytic quality, the part that enables it to serve as a catalyst. By themselves, apoenzymes exhibit no catalytic features. In the same way, although coenzymes endow the enzyme with its catalytic activity, coenzymes have virtually no effect on their own. Both components need to be present together in order for the enzyme to be active and functional.
The coenzyme section permits the bonding between the enzyme and the substrate. Basically, it is the portion of the enzyme that does the work. All vitamins serve as the coenzyme part of the enzyme in the cell.21 For example, Vitamin A is part of the enzyme that carries out reactions involved in vision. Vitamin A completes the enzyme protein by serving as a coenzyme and sets it in motion in order to carry out the processes that enable the eye to see. If Vitamin A is absent, even if all the mechanisms that permit sight are present, the result is night blindness.22 Vitamin C, on the other hand, serves in synthesizing the protein collagen that binds our tissues together.
Minerals also act as enzymes' coenzymes. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc are essential for some enzymes to function. For example, zinc is essential to the DNA polymerase enzyme, which we shall be examining in more detail in due course; and nickel is essential as a side chain for the enzyme urease. In addition to these basic elements, enzymes may become functional with the presence of many other molecules. The Illinois University biologist Dr. Gary Parker, who was formerly an evolutionist but who is now an advocate of the fact of creation, makes this remark about the enzymes' indispensable components:
An enzyme is an irreducibly complex molecule, all of whose components work together and must be present at the same time. When you remove any single component, the system will not just suffer minor damage but will cease to function. An enzyme has to exist together with all the systems within it, the amino acids, ribosome and all other organelles. Neither is it sufficient for it to exist with all its parts; it must be present in an environment containing the other molecules with which it will react and be suitable to the working conditions of that living environment.
This all goes to make the enzyme a complex structure that Darwinists are absolutely unable to account for. It is impossible for even one single component of this perfect system to develop independently of the others, to wait for the others to come into being, and for all the parts that have arisen by chance to combine—again by chance.
Moreover, certain enzymes are capable of functioning in different organisms with completely different characteristics. An enzyme devoid of consciousness and composed of inanimate atoms can assist in the human body's cell reproduction and also assist with the process of sight in another organism with a completely different structure and function. This is a literal miracle, because under normal circumstances, it is not possible for an enzyme to depart from its own normal working conditions, adapt to others and still continue to function. Even the enzymes in the human stomach are unable to change their working environment and operate in the muscles or the kidneys. This shows that the same enzymes were specially created for different life forms. It is Allah, the Lord of all the knowledge in the worlds, Who creates them in such a way as to know how they will function in which body and Who endows them with different functions, despite giving them the same appearance. The way that an enzyme knows how it must work in the human body and yet assumes the functions determined for it in another creature's body with no confusion arising is one of the awe-inspiring works of Almighty Allah.
That some enzymes can serve different functions in different organisms does not alter the fact that very different enzymes are constantly at work in all living things. It will be useful to recall that in addition to the 1 million living species on Earth, there are some 10 million more that have become extinct. Bearing these figures in mind, the variety of enzymes specially created for each living species is really astounding.
The late Isaac Asimov, one of the 20th century's best known writers on science, describes this great variety of proteins possessed by living things:
Recall that in addition to all this, enzymes work in a completely interconnected system. One enzyme merely initiates an event, and countless other enzymes subsequently become involved. During these stages, known as the metabolic pathway, there is perfect coordination and control among all the enzymes. But in order for this system to operate fully, it is vital that the enzymes setting one another in motion should know their tasks and the exact timings thereof.
An enzyme inside a particular metabolic pathway uses the product previously manufactured by another enzyme as its new substrate. To put it another way, the results of a reaction carried out by one enzyme is necessary in order for another enzyme to initiate its own reaction. When the whole chain has been completed, the final product emerging is the inhibitor of one of the enzymes that initiated the chain—in other words, it prevents its operation. In this way, the production within the entire chain is balanced. For example, the enzyme amylase turns starch into maltose, which the enzyme maltase then converts into glucose. Eleven enzymes become involved one after the other and eventually, glucose is transformed into lactic acid.
Another similar awe-inspiring chain can also be seen in the blood-clotting process, whose details we shall examine in due course. Thanks to the features in this metabolic pathway that let enzymes set one another in motion, the system functions with a perfect timing and division of labor. Clotting takes place over the wound site in just the right way. Evolutionists are unable to account for the existence of just one single enzyme, and have absolutely no way of explaining this entire "irreducibly complex" chain established by a number of interconnected enzymes, no component of which can be removed. They claim that chance carried out these extraordinary processes, shaping all their scenarios in the light of that preconception.
In fact, however, these scenarios have no scientific or logical foundation. The evolutionist physicist and astronomer Fred Hoyle openly states this fact:
All evolutionist claims regarding the development of life are based upon deceptions. They seek to expand this method of deception and to use it on readers and listeners. Yet the one truth that evolutionists are unwilling to understand is that chance cannot work miracles. Chance does not represent a mind, a consciousness or an intelligence. It is impossible for it to give rise to phenomena and functions that operate in any conscious manner. Allah is the Creator of all the astonishing and miraculous beauty on Earth.
Enzymes' Control Mechanisms
The thousands of enzymes inside a cell are in constant competition with one another for substrates. Each one is a part of a chain reaction or a link in a metabolic pathway; and different enzymes will compete for the same substrate. So complex is this system that keen organization is essential to determine the timing of each reaction and the speed at which it occurs.
For that reason, the sequence, number and timing of reactions are maintained under meticulous control. So well ordered is the catalytic activity of enzymes that the products emerging from their reactions are sufficient to meet all the cell's needs.26 There must be constant order if enzymes are to work together and carry out the requisite processes at such high speeds. All the stages are thus subject to strict control. Synthesizing reactions take place when a new product is needed in the cell, and destructive ones occur when molecules need to be eliminated. Generally speaking, enzymes are synthesized at low rates unless the cell has a particular need. If demand rises, however, new enzymes are synthesized at great speed.
Enzymes are also adapted to the equilibrium determined for them. The enzyme lipase, for example, breaks down fat, but also has the job of combining glycerin and fatty acids. Which reaction will take place is of great importance, because as energy is expended in one of the reactions performed, it is supplied by another. Any reaction requiring energy needs to occur at the same time as those producing energy, or else it must in some way be stored beforehand. The compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP for short) works just like a battery to conserve this energy.27
Enzyme control is established also by specialized inhibitors entering the equation. As will be examined in greater detail in due course, each enzyme has, in turn, its own inhibitor enzyme. These inhibitors establish an important balance inside the cell that prevents excessive production of enzymes.
Enzymes are not active until the need for them becomes felt. One example of this can be seen in the formation of purine and pyrimidine bases. Pyrimidines activate purine molecules, and equal quantities of both substances need to be present in the cell to enable the production of DNA and RNA. When a sufficient amount of purine forms, inhibitors halt further purine production by stopping the enzyme that releases it, and activate enzymes that initiate production of pyrimidine. In response to this, when pyrimidines halt their own enzymes, they also activate purine enzymes. The relationship between the synthesis of these two substances ensures that the same level of each is always maintained inside the cell.28
Regulatory systems constantly maintain the control system within each cell and make the requisite arrangements when the need arises. As you can see, it is not enough for enzymes merely to accelerate reactions and to obtain the substances that the body requires. Your body is so complex that while a series of reactions takes places uninterruptedly, their timing also needs to be determined at the very same instant. In regard to this timing, it is vitally important that the amounts produced should be regulated—neither a milligram too much or too little. Precautions must be taken so that there is high production when the body needs it, but that the production can be halted when it is no longer necessary...
First, of course, that need must be determined. So perfect is this determination that an enzyme "knows" and reacts in as little as 1/1000 second. All these occurrences continue on in an error-free manner, in complete order, without you ever being aware of what's happening.
Within the human body, there is a miraculous system wherein everything is planned and arranged to perfection. Every component monitors and appears to encode everything else. The presence of one component is essential to the functioning of all the others, and thus the chain system carries on its work. The human body is a perfect machine whose marvels are displayed at every point, right down to the smallest organelles inside the cell. The reason for this is that all components have bowed to Allah. All the elements comprising this system operate through His inspiration, performing the tasks determined by Him in the place determined by Him. It is Almighty Allah Who determines how much of which enzyme is required and how production should take place. All the control mechanisms discussed operate solely by Allah's leave, and all the systems that encode proteins and regulate enzymes are also under His control. Unconscious molecules clearly have no power to carry out the processes that take place in the cell every second. That power belongs to Allah alone.
Allah's sublime artistry prevails in all things. A person can see this everywhere he looks, in every cell he examines. Because this is the sole truth that prevails throughout the Earth and heavens. Allah has revealed this in another verse:
Enzymes' Extraordinary Speed
Were it not for enzymes, a whole lifetime would not be enough for a single chemical reaction to take place. Reactions that would otherwise take hundreds of years to occur are so accelerated by enzymes that they do so not in hours or minutes, but in a matter of milliseconds. Enzymes can accelerate a reaction by up to 1014 times.29 This is a number consisting of 1 followed by 14 zeros. Were it not for that speed, a simple five-second process, such as the reading of this sentence, would last 1,500 years.30
Were it not for enzymes, processes that cells can perform in seconds would take thousands of years. To put it more bluntly, life would be impossible. Enzymes have been charged with accelerating countless reactions essential for the vitality of any organism, to an extraordinary rapidity.
But what does an enzyme do to establish such speed? As we have already seen, enzymes reduce the energy needed for a reaction to take place. But just what is this activation energy? We can describe it thus: In terms of energy, under normal conditions, the most suitable molecule for carbon to combine with is carbon dioxide. When these two are present in the same environment they will act on one another and have a combustive effect. Yet even though these two substances are present in the same living body, they never combust. Although the book you are holding contains carbon and is in constant contact with carbon dioxide, it never suddenly bursts into flames. The reason for this is that the carbon-based molecules in living organisms and books have stable structures, and in the absence of new energy (i.e., heat) from outside, they cannot break those bonds and suddenly combust. New energy arriving from the outside in such a way as to destabilize the structure in question is called "activation energy." The activation energy needed to impair the stable structure we are discussing here—in other words for this book to ignite—is a burning match. For the molecules in the watery solution inside the cell, that heat energy is released as a result of the collisions of molecules around them.31 Enzymes are responsible for reducing the considerable energy released during these collisions.
In order to measure the speed of enzymes' activity, biochemists calculate the number of substrates an enzyme sets into reaction in the course of a second. This is known as the enzyme's turnover number, and this number varies for every individual enzyme. Many enzymes have turnover numbers in the tens or even hundreds; a few even have turnover numbers expressed in thousands.
One example is carbonic anhydrase. Nearly half the carbon dioxide produced by tissues is carried in a dissolved state to the lungs via the bloodstream. For this process, the level of carbon dioxide solution in the liquid environment is rather high for which reason carbonic anhydrase catalyses the system, speeding it up by 10 million times, setting 600,000 water molecules and an equal number of carbon dioxide molecules into reaction every second. In other words, the enzyme enters into a reaction every 2 microseconds—a truly astonishing speed. To make this more comprehensible (and dramatic!), if you expanded a second out to the length of a whole year, a microsecond would last the same amount of time as a soft-drink commercial.32
The breaking down of a molecule, the digestion of a foodstuff, or the elimination of a waste product is due to the enzymes that function every instant, non-stop, by Allah's leave. As you shall shortly see, the working of special digestive enzymes permits food to be digested in the stomach and intestines. The process of human digestion lasts between three and six hours, depending on the particular food involved. Were it not for enzymes, however, it would take you more than 30 years to digest a single meal!33 To make this enormity clearer, just 30 grams of pepsin, one of the chief elements in digestion, can digest 2 tons of egg white.34 Were it not for enzymes, you would need years to digest even a single egg; and a normally five-second reaction might last up to 1,585 years. For example, it would take you 115,000 years to read this page!35
Regarding this amazing speed of enzymes, the late evolutionist Carl Sagan gave the following description:
A living cell is a marvel of detailed and complex architecture. Seen through a microscope there is an appearance of almost frantic activity. On a deeper level it is known that molecules are being synthesized at an enormous rate. Almost any enzyme catalyzes the synthesis of more than 100 other molecules per second. In ten minutes, a sizeable fraction of total mass of a metabolizing bacterial cell has been synthesized. The information content of a simple cell had been estimated as around 1012 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.36
As you can see, a single cell containing more information than an Encyclopaedia Britannica consisting of some 100 million pages, is produced in 10 minutes, by the leave and under the supervision of Allah. The enzymes created flawlessly by Allah make this production possible.
Every enzyme accelerates reactions at different speeds. Actually, a major miracle lies in the information compressed into just that one sentence. Some of the body's reactions need to take place more quickly than others. With the help of catalyzers, for example, some reactions may last just one second. In the absence of catalyzing enzymes, this reaction would take 108 seconds, or approximately 3 years. In the presence of an enzyme, however, some reactions may take 10 minutes to achieve equilibrium. This is a relatively slow-working reaction in the world of enzymes, but in the absence of a catalyst, it would take 109 minutes to achieve equilibrium—a number of roughly 2,000 years.37
In the world of enzymes, the speed required for reactions that need to take place so quickly might have a damaging effect on reactions that need to take place relatively slowly. The enzyme that copies DNA, for example, cannot work any faster, while those enzymes that break down toxic substances in the body must not slow down at all. Also, some enzymes give off hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct of their reactions. And as we know, this is a combustive substance, powerful enough to dissolve and destroy all the organs in the human body. That such a dangerous substance emerges as the byproduct of cell metabolism is astonishing, but also potentially hazardous. For that reason, hydrogen peroxide needs to be eliminated before it can damage any of the body's tissues.
Therefore, an important precaution has been taken for the body. The enzymes that produce hydrogen peroxide are kept inside special organelles known as peroxisomes. These organelles contain a high level of the enzyme catalase, which breaks down the hydrogen peroxide before it can spread to body tissues.38 This enzyme can break down up to 5 million hydrogen peroxide molecules a minute, turn them into harmless water and oxygen. The activation energy required for this is 18,000 calories per molecule. If the enzyme catalase did not undertake this function, and if the iron atom attempted the task by itself, it would take some 300 years to break down a single hydrogen peroxide molecule.39
In order to break down 5 million hydrogen peroxide molecules, an activation energy of 5,000,000 x 18,000 = 90,000,000,000 calories would be necessary. Not all the food consumed and all the energy released by all the living things on Earth would be enough to provide that level of energy.40
Duane T. Gish expresses the importance of the enzyme catalase and how it could not have come into being by chance:
There could be no selection of any kind in an inanimate environment. For example, hydrogen peroxide, highly toxic to living cells, is a metabolic product of cellular activity. We therefore possess an incredibly efficient enzyme for catalyzing the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide. This enzyme, catalase, has a turnover rate of several billion per minute. Because of the high toxicity of hydrogen peroxide, our cells require an exceedingly efficient enzyme to catalyze its decomposition. We certainly couldn't survive without this enzyme.41
But what would happen if enzymes could not accelerate reactions that quickly? Would it be enough for them to carry out in, say, 100 years a reaction that in their absence would last 10,000 years in their absence? Would they be of any use to us if they performed their tasks in 10 years instead of a century? Leaving aside years, months and hours, could we stay alive if a single reaction lasted just 10 minutes?
In fact, an interruption of just a millisecond—let alone one of 10 minutes' duration—in the phase of the catalysis would be enough to impede the function in question. For example, if the enzyme catalase operated at the speed of the DNA polymerase enzyme, this would let all the hydrogen peroxide molecules escape to spread to the nearby cells, thus leading to their death.
The enormous time difference involved between the absence and presence of enzymes makes clear just what an important task these crucial proteins undertake. This phenomenon is far too extraordinary to permit any hint of coincidence. Indeed, it is even impossible for even a conscious human being to design and implement so complex a system.
A great many other details need to be considered here. How is it that every enzyme has a different accelerative force? How do enzymes know that they must carry out every reaction at a different speed? It is impossible for enzymes to know on their own, what purpose a given reaction serves and determine how quickly they need to accelerate it, and equally impossible for them to communicate that speed to other enzymes. It is wholly impossible for them to acquire all these characteristics by chance. Coincidence is supposed to be an event that takes place unconsciously and due to random influences, and any chance impact on a structural unit as complex as the cell will cause it to stop working and thus, to the death of the cell. Therefore, all the systems within the cell are controlled, just like the enzyme system—but that control does not lie with the cell itself nor with the organelles inside it.
There is only one explanation for the apparently conscious processes that are carried out in this microscopic system composed of unconscious atoms. If all of these literally know what they need to do, never make a mistake in their work, and maintain that same perfection in all humans from one generation to the next, then they exhibit the intelligence and flawlessness manifested in them. That intelligence and perfection obviously belong to Allah, their Creator. Since Allah wills enzymes to keep working inside the human body in such a perfect manner, and for each to function with different molecules and to engage in constant activity to keep humans alive, these molecules can successfully perform processes that require consciousness. Enzymes are all blessings from Allah, the Creator of all the entities on Earth, human beings, and the universe they inhabit—in short, of everything.
Allah acquaints us with His creative artistry through all the perfection on Earth and through His verses. One of our Lord's verses reads:
An Important Discovery Regarding Enzyme Speed
One of the most striking pieces of research into the speed of enzymes was carried out by Richard Wolfenden, a professor of biochemistry, biophysics and chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also a member of National Academy of Sciences. A statement he issued in 1998 helps us obtain a better understanding of the extraordinary speed possessed by enzymes. In his earlier research, Prof. Wolfenden calculated that in water containing no enzymes—in other words, uncatalyzed water—the biological transformation essential in the formation of the fundamental building blocks of DNA and RNA would take 78 million years. But his subsequent discovery was even more astonishing. In his own words: "Now we've found one that's 10,000 times slower than that . . . Its half-time—the time it takes for half the substance to be consumed—is 1 trillion years, 100 times longer than the lifetime of the universe. Enzymes can make this reaction happen in 10 milliseconds."42
Wolfenden published this discovery, made together with Chetan Lad and Nicholas H. Williams from Sheffield University in England, on the National Academy of Sciences website on 29 April 1998.
The enzyme that attracted Wolfenden's attention was phosphatase. The catalytic power of phosphatase increased the speed of reaction in water of a chemical group known as phosphate monoesters to an extraordinary degree. The phosphatase enzymes acting on these monoesters regulated the molecular cross-talk within cells and the cell signaling pathways. Wolfenden sets out the importance of esters as follows:
Wolfenden went on to express his surprise in the face of this discovery saying that the enzymes they studied in this report were fascinating for they exceeded all other known enzymes in their power as catalysts and that they had only begun to understand how to speed up reactions with chemical catalysts, and no one had even come within shouting distance of producing their catalytic power.
The reaction that would take 1 trillion years in the absence of enzymes made Wolfenden, himself an evolutionist, appreciate their astounding quality. This number achieved is an incomprehensible time period. As Wolfenden explained:
This number puts us way beyond the known universe in terms of slowness. [The enzyme reaction] is 21 orders of magnitude faster than the uncatalyzed case. And the largest we knew about previously was 18. We've approached scales than nobody can grasp.44
If a protein—a combination of several amino acids—can accelerate a reaction that would last 1 trillion years into just a few milliseconds, then its significance is truly extraordinary. If everyone in the world cannot achieve something that a single protein manages, much less fully understand how this comes about, then there is a perfection here that they must accept. Only Allah has the power to create this perfection.
In one verse, Allah tells us that He has created all things within an order:
He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the Earth belongs. He does not have a son and He has no partner in the Kingdom. He created everything and determined it most exactly. (Surat al-Furqan: 2)
In another verse, He informs us that all things are under His control:
[Hud said,] "I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path." (Surah Hud: 56)
Allah is He Who creates all entities, Who gives them the most perfect form and keeps them constantly under His control. Allah has endowed them with amazing features and matchless forms. Those who ignore this fact have no other alternative explanation to offer, however. To claim that these things are all a matter of chance, or to seek to portray them as miracles of so-called evolution, will not alter this truth in the slightest. Those who make such claims are clearly aware of the extraordinary state of affairs that confronts them. Chance cannot give rise to a living thing, nor can it give rise to a single living cell, a single enzyme within that cell, nor the chain reaction carried out by that enzyme. Allah creates all of these, and the work of each one displays His greatness and the perfection in His creations.
Enzymes Are Different from Hormones, Despite Having Similar Structures
Both enzymes and hormones are proteins, both encoded by DNA. Both fit their targets like a key fits a lock, and their shapes are of great importance in terms of their functions. However, hormones are informational molecules, manufactured in various regions of the body and forwarded to other regions by being released into the bloodstream. In this way, they signal for events to take place in far distant parts of the body. Growth hormone, for instance, sends out the necessary signals for cell division and bone growth. It has its effect only on cells that have proper receptors, or that have docking stations on their surfaces. Enzymes, on the other hand, are catalysts. They arrange for chemical reactions to be accelerated so that metabolism can take place at a useful rate.45
Hormones are very similar, though unlike enzymes, they do not constantly enter into and exit from chemical reactions. In addition, hormones have long-term effects on the organs they reach via the bloodstream. For example, if you do become hungry or thirsty while reading this book, these sensations are completely hormonal in origin. Hormones released from specific regions of the body reach the brain and begin setting up a sensation of hunger, making you want to eat. (For detailed information, see Harun Yahya, The Miracle of Hormones.)
What distinguishes these two proteins, which are almost identical in their structure and working conditions? Although they have the same characteristics and similar geometrical shapes, proteins manufactured in the body suddenly begin working as either enzymes or hormones. The body has no conscious apparatus to determine that one should act as a catalyst while the other should transmit messages. All the other organs in the body are no different from protein and fats. It is impossible for them to have intelligence, be able to plan and share labor, identify missing components in the metabolism and to engage in production accordingly. It is Almighty Allah Who tells the proteins produced what to do, how to behave and how to establish communications with one another. It is He Who fully knows the body He has created, what takes place in it and the reasons behind its operations. He determines the body's needs and how and where these will be satisfied. He inspires each with its own task and tells each one how to behave. Every structure in the body behaves accordingly. It is His inspirational direction that makes enzymes different from hormones.
Allah creates whatsoever He wishes out of nothing. Our Lord has revealed this fact in a verse:
Enzymes Are Constantly at Work in Our Bodies
The human body is known to contain more than 2,000 enzymes.46 Thanks to them, we can remain alive. The way we eat, breathe, hear sounds, see what is going on around us—in short, all the systems in our bodies function by way of enzymes. When you remove one enzyme from the system, the functions it performs are also eliminated. Nothing else can perform the tasks carried out by these proteins too small to be seen by the naked eye.
So exactly what is it that enzymes do, whose presence is so essential to the functions taking place in your own body and to the survival of other living things around you?
If you leave a green banana on the windowsill for a few days, it will turn sweet and yellow. This process, which we call maturation, takes place thanks to enzymes.
A dog buries a bone. When it digs it up again, that bone—which was previously very hard—has become softer and has assumed an edible texture. This too happens thanks to enzymes.
If you place green tomatoes that are still on their stems under the Sun, shortly afterwards they turn red. This happens thanks to enzymes being set in motion by the Sun's light and heat.
Seeds cannot sprout in the absence of enzymes. Fruit cannot mature, leaves cannot change color and we ourselves cannot come into being.47 In short, enzymes are one of the reasons why, by Allah's choosing, living things achieve life.
Enzymes are responsible for all the chemical processes that take place in all our bodies' systems, and are important components of the immune system as well. We depend on enzymes in order to be able to eat and digest, just as we do in order to see, feel, hear, breathe and move. Enzymes play a leading role in blood coagulation, the functioning of the heart and circulatory system, the function of the liver and kidneys, the expulsion of toxic substances, the functioning of the brain, the distribution of hormones throughout the body, and in your being able to think and even dream.
Enzymes convert the food you eat into small molecules that can enter your cells. These digested substances, spread throughout the entire body by entering the bloodstream, are transmitted to the cells by passing through their membranes. Thanks to enzymes, these ready-made components are converted into muscles, bones, nerves and secretory glands. Substances not used immediately are stored for future use, thanks to enzymes and the liver working together.
The transportation of foodstuffs in the body depends entirely upon enzymes. If they did not fully perform their tasks, you would suffer memory loss, be unable to think properly and would start suffering fatigue, because your brain would receive insufficient nutrients.48 However, such a problem never arises because under normal conditions, enzymes never neglect their duties, never neglect to evaluate the foodstuffs entering your body. They are aware of the importance of every nutrient, using every ingredient and wasting nothing.
Enzymes are constantly active inside the cells, breaking down, synthesizing and regulating. The division of labor among them is truly amazing. One enzyme uses phosphorus for bone building; another enables blood to clot, while still another bonds iron to red blood cells. Some enzymes carry out oxidation, combining other substances together with oxygen. Meanwhile, other enzymes eliminate carbon dioxide from the lungs; while still others are responsible for converting protein into fat, or sugar or carbohydrate into fat.49 The sperm cell has special enzymes that permit it to pierce the egg. Enzymes in the immune system take constant action against waste products and toxins in the blood and tissues.50
Still other enzymes carry out such chemical processes as breaking down sugar into carbon dioxide and water in a matter of seconds, hundreds or even thousands of times, non-stop throughout the entire course of your life.
An average of 40 separate reactions take place inside the cell every second, all by means of enzymes. But once they have accelerated reactions and discharged their duties, enzymes leave without themselves undergoing any changes and continue taking part in other reactions, and thus maintain a constant state of employment. This is a most important economy measure, since there is no need for enzymes to be manufactured constantly. They maintain their various stocks inside the body and continue to carry out their duties.
Enzymes heal wounds and cure infections.51 They also clear away the dead cells that are casualties in the immune system's war against microbes. Once the war is over, destroyed microbes, antibody-microbe compounds and toxins are all eliminated as the result of the scrupulous activity of enzymes. If these wastes are not expelled from the body, they will cause congestion of the arteries.
Enzymes also seem aware of situations in which precautions need to be taken and know how to behave during emergencies. For example, animals that hibernate cannot use food to meet their energy requirements, so their bodies' enzymes behave with deliberation. They begin converting stored fats in the body into carbohydrates that will give off energy52—an action they do not take at other times. They make use of this privilege when the body cannot consume nutrients, and Allah inspires in them the knowledge of when they need to do so. Enzymes in the human body have also been created in such a way as to take relevant precautionary measures when necessary. For example, if someone eats nothing for a long time, enzymes inside the body convert fats into carbohydrates. This process is a precaution that enzymes take to preserve our bodies, and you are never even aware of the methods they employ to keep your body alive and healthy. These miraculous substances constantly perform countless tasks and precautionary measures in order to keep you alive, possessing abilities that transcend any human intelligence.
It is Almighty Allah Who equips them with all these abilities. Allah calls upon people to reflect upon these facts they witness. Not to forget the blessings bestowed by Allah and to think deeply about these miraculous phenomena they see are some of human beings' most important responsibilities. Allah tells us of this in a verse:
Enzymes' Working Conditions
Specific enzymes are charged with every chemical reaction in the body. Since enzymes do not perform one another's work, a special enzyme charged with a specific duty has to be present on site. If enzymes were used up and not renewed, there would be no other enzymes to replace them. As already mentioned, reactions also depend upon one another, rather like dominoes. If one reaction fails to occur because of the lack of an enzyme, then the whole chain will come to a halt. For example, the absence of even a single enzyme that supervises the new chain of DNA being copied will lead to faulty copying. Subsequent enzymes will be unable to perform their own functions, producing flawed or functionless DNA in the body.
Enzymes are able to operate only within a specific pH level and temperature—generally between 30 and 70 degrees Centigrade, which is known as "optimum temperature."53 This is a rather special temperature range, because the average internal temperature of the human body is 36.5 degrees C, an ideal level for human enzymes to work. Indeed, because of the sensitive conditions under which some enzymes work, they demand a much narrower temperature range. Therefore, the slightest change in body temperature can affect the functioning of these enzymes. When the body feels freezing cold or has high fever, the rate at which enzymes work declines, along with the number of processes they can perform. Some enzymes even die. (See Harun Yahya, The Miracle of the Immune System.)
When the temperature rises by as much as 10oC, reaction speed doubles. To put that another way, increase in reaction speed is directly proportional to temperature. After this considerable rise, however, reaction speed suddenly slows to a standstill. Although reaction speeds show a sudden initial increase, this temperature is clearly not productive in terms of enzymes' working conditions. Although enzymes grow ineffective a little above optimum temperature, they can once again become effective when the temperature falls. But if that high temperature persists or even rises a little further, enzymes lose all their effectiveness, because they have a tertiary structure and at high temperatures, they lose that helical three-dimensional structure. The enzyme structure breaks down, their former order is destroyed, and as a result, they cease to function.
Enzymes also become functionless at low temperatures, but cold does not damage their structure. Efficacy is restored once the temperature returns to earlier levels. The frozen food industry makes considerable use of this fact.54 Foods are preserved for long periods by freezing, and when thawed, they regain much of their former nutritional value, thanks to the enzymes being reactivated.
Also important for enzymes, in addition to temperature, is the body's pH level. pH stands for "potential hydrogen," showing the concentration of hydrogen ions in a region or a solution. Concentration values can range between 1 and 14. A level of 7 indicates the presence of water and describes a neutral environment. Numbers higher than 7 indicate an alkaline environment, and numbers lower than 7 show that it is acidic. This distinction is of great importance for reactions taking place in a fluid environment, because while some molecules dissolve in water, others are unaffected by it and can dissolve only in acid.
Enzymes generally operate within a specific pH range, known as "optimum pH." All enzymes need an average pH level in order to be able to work, and some operate within a particular pH level appropriate to their own working conditions. For instance, pepsin—which breaks down proteins in the stomach—can work best only at a acidic pH of 2. Trypsin, secreted by the pancreas and which plays a role in protein digestion, works most efficiently at a pH of 8.5. But a powerfully acidic or alkaline environment will damage most enzyme's structure.55
Although enzymes demand highly sensitive working conditions, the living body possesses the ideal properties for these molecules to function. The fact that every one of the 2,000 types of enzymes in a living body can work in a manner appropriate to its environment shows that both body and the enzymes have been specially created. It is Allah Who creates the human body, Who determines the different conditions that apply in each of the body's different structures and Who creates enzymes accordingly. With His infinite knowledge, Allah has created all the conditions necessary for a human being to stay alive. It is impossible for these many enzymes to have come about or have become mutually compatible as the result of chance.
His sublime artistry is revealed in verses:
1 http://www.tuberose.com/ Enzymes.html
2 Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition "The Food Enzyme Concept," Avery, 1985, p. 33
3 "Information on Digestion," http://www.laidlawcorp.com/industrial/eisenrsr.html
4 Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition "The Food Enzyme Concept," Avery, 1985, p. 3
5 Prof. Dr. Ali Demirsoy, Yaşamın Temel Kuralları (Fundamental Laws of Life), Meteksan, Volume I, Part I, 5th edition, 1993, p. 55
6 Helena Curtis, N. Sue Barnes, Invitation to Biology, Worth Publishers, Inc., 4th edition, pp. 109-110
7 T. W. Graham Solomons, Organic Chemistry, Jonh Wiley and Sons, Inc., 5th edition, p. 1125
9 Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition "The Food Enzyme Concept," Avery, 1985, p. 32
10 B. Salisbury, "Doubts about the Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution," American Biology Teacher, September 1971, pp. 336-338
12 Sir Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1983, pp. 20-21
13 Biological Science "A Molecular Approach," BSCS Blue Version, 6th edition, D.C. Health Company, p. 36
14 S. Aw, CEN Tech. J., Vol. 10, No. 3, p. 303, 1996, (see Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe, Michael Joseph: London, p. 16, 1983)
15 Bilim ve Teknik (Science and Technique), Tubitak Publications, January 1994, pp. 42-43
17 Duane Gish, Ph.D., "Thermodynamics and the Origin of Life (Part II)," Impact; http://www.icr.org/article/140/
18 Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts – Johnson – Lewis – Raff – Roberts - Walter, 4th edition, Garland Science, 2002, pp. 77-78
19 Ibid., p. 78
20 Biological Science "A Molecular Approach," BSCS Blue Version, 6th edition, D.C. Health Company, p. 36
23 Gary Parker, Creation: Facts of Life, 6th ed., 1994, p.28, Master Books, Green Forest, AR.; http://www.trueorigin.org/dawkinfo.asp
24 Isaac Asimov, The Genetic Code, The Orion Press, New York, 1962, pp. 27–28
25 Fred Hoyle, "The Big Bang in Astronomy," New Scientist, vol. 92, no. 1280, November 19, 1981, pp. 521-527.
26 Molecular Cell Biology, 4th edition, Media Connected, 2000, p. 75
28 Arthur C. Guyton and John E. Hall, Tıbbi Fizyoloji (Medical Physiology), Nobel Tıp Kitabevleri, 1996, p. 35
29 Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts – Johnson – Lewis – Raff – Roberts - Walter, 4th edition, Garland Science, 2002, p. 76
30 Bilim ve Teknik (Science and Technique), Tubitak Yayınları, November 1989, p. 47
31 Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts – Johnson – Lewis – Raff – Roberts - Walter, 4th edition, Garland Science, 2002, pp. 75-76
36 Carl Sagan, "Life" in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-894
37 Harry R. Matthews, Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology (Biol. Chem. 410A) Lecture #5, October 2, 1996 10:00 a.m.
41Duane Gish, Ph.D., "Crack in the Neo-Darwinian Jericho Part II," Impact; http://www.icr.org/article/89/
42 "Without Enzyme Catalyst, Slowest Known Biological Reaction Takes 1 Trillion Years," May 6, 2003, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030506073321.htm
46 "Kinetics: Enzyme Catalysis," http://www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/Chemistry/Courses/General/kinenzyme.html
48 "What do enzymes do?", http://www.suzannes.com/whatdoendo.html
49 Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition "The Food Enzyme Concept," Avery Publishing, 1985, p. 34
52 Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition "The Food Enzyme Concept," Avery Publishing, 1985, p. 34
53 Bilim ve Teknik (Science and Technique), October 1999, p. 75