Janice Boekhoff
 

Life comes from Life

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Have you ever heard the term abiogenesis? It refers to the possibility of life coming from non-life. Not exactly like your iPad popping out eyeballs and asking for lunch, but similar.

In the 1800’s, people used to believe in abiogenesis (also known as spontaneous generation) mainly because of fruit flies. One minute their house was free of the little pests and the next they were swarming all over the fruit. The common wisdom was that fruit flies generated themselves spontaneously.

2551040609_f8a150b10f_sKind of crazy, I know, but people really believed this until Louis Pasteur completed his famous experiment in 1859 showing microorganisms existed and that some were airborne. He conclusively demonstrated that life comes from life, at the same time falsifying the idea of abiogenesis (life from non-life).

Every scientist today believes abiogenesis (this kind of spontaneous generation) is false … unless we’re taking about evolution. Even though, we’ve never seen an example of spontaneous generation, many people believe in it as the source of life because evolution demands it. Obviously, life had to come from somewhere. Either you believe a living creator breathed life into inanimate materials or you believe in abiogenesis—a principle proven false over a hundred years ago.

Is the idea of a living creator somehow more crazy than the idea of spontaneous generation? What do you believe?

 

Photo Credit: Cells: ID 32464791 © Michael Manzano | Dreamstime.com

Photo Credit: Louis Pasteur: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/25053835@N03/2551040609″>Portrait of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), Chemist</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/”>(license)</a>

The Grand Designer

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If evolution is so grand a designer, I want to ask it a question. I want to know why I don’t have massive teeth like a T-Rex (I wouldn’t need steak knives any more) or why I can’t carry five times my body weight like an ant (that would really help with the laundry). But seriously, why didn’t humans get more advantages like the other animals?

If evolution is so grand a designer, why are species disappearing at an alarming rate? I find it hard to believe it’s all because of us, humans. Species have gone extinct for thousands of years (some would say millions) and was that always us?

If evolution is so grand a designer, why do I see the same old animals? Why aren’t any animals evolving extra appendages or new abilities? It’s not because all the animals are perfectly adapted to their niches. It that were true, we wouldn’t see much extinction of species at all.

If evolution is so grand a designer, why did it use random processes? Oh wait, if something is designed it’s not random. So, how could evolution design things at random? Isn’t that kind of like me throwing a bunch of Legos together in a bin and calling the parts that stick together randomly designed?

If evolution is so grand a designer, couldn’t God have used it? Yep, He could have, but He didn’t. How do I know? Because the Bible says He created us whole. Not little by little, but as whole functioning human beings.

Evolution is no grand designer. Why believe in a theory that has only assumptions with no evidence? And yet, scientists want to convince you, it’s true. Why?

Because it’s the only way to take God out of the design.

You are a masterfully built biological machine run by a dual core processor that’s out of this world, and hidden inside of you, like the special prize in a cereal box, is an eternal soul. How can we downgrade the miracle of one human being’s existence by calling it random?

There is nothing haphazard in your perfect, intricate body plan. You appear designed because God is your designer.

Photo Credit: © Dukepope | Dreamstime.com – Creation Of Adam Photo

Unicorn of the Sea

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3D computer rendering of a Narwhal

How many of your out there have seen the Sprint commercial with the cartoon characters singing about Narwhals? If you haven’t (and actually want to), click here, but be warned—the song may not leave your head the entire day. It goes something like this:

Narwhals, Narwhals swimming in the ocean

Narwhals, Narwhals causing a commotion, because they are so awesome

Narwhals, Narwhals pretty big and pretty white, can beat a polar bear in a fight

Weird, huh? I watched it the other day with my 11-year-old son and he went nuts for the song. He looked at me and said, “You know a Narwhal is a real thing, right?”

Uh, actually, no I didn’t know that and it stinks when your kid is smarter than you, but don’t tell him I said that. So, of course, I had to go look it up. And I’m glad I did because these guys are seriously one of God’s most amazing creatures. The above picture is just a computer rendering, but the real thing is awe inspiring. Please, please, please click here to see the pictures taken by Paul Nicklen from National Geographic. They are stunning.

A Narwhal is actually a type of whale with a bony protrusion coming out of its head. Because of the protrusion, which can get up to 10 feet long, it’s sometimes called the Unicorn of the Sea. This tusk is actually an enlarged tooth with millions of nerve endings. Most males develop tusks after the first year of life when it starts to grow outward, twisting in a counter clockwise direction and leaving a hollow interior. This is a sensory organ, not an instrument for breaking through the ice, as I first thought.

They live in the Arctic waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia where ice is prevalent. They eat halibut, cod, squid and shrimp and can spend up to five months below the ice, breathing through the cracks.

You might notice the Narwhals in the commercial are white, which is the color for old Narwhals. They are born blue-gray, juveniles are blue-black and adults are a mottled gray. The name Narwhal means “corpse whale” in Old Norse, perhaps a reflection of its skin color.

These majestic animals weigh up to 4,200 pounds and can grow as long as 17 feet in length. And they can also dive in the ocean a mile-and-a-half deep.

I never cease to be amazed by the creatures that God has created. How many more live in the oceans that we’ve never seen? They say it’s the final frontier.

 

Reference: http://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/unicorn-of-the-sea-narwhal-facts

Shocking Eel

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Have you always wanted an electric personality? People are attracted to others with energy, but somehow that hasn’t helped to make the electric eel more popular. Even so, God gave this animal what it needed to survive.

Electric eels are both electroreceptive and electrogenic in that they can detect electrical fields and generate them. An eel can hunt its prey undetected by measuring subtle changes in its own electrically generated field (electroreceptive). It then immobilizes the prey with a powerful electric shock (electrogenic).

Most of an eel’s body is made up of organs involved in making and storing the electrical charge. Using separate organs, it generates electricity from food by charging cells called electrocytes, in much the same way that muscles generate energy, and then stores it for later zapping of prey.

Just about everyone has the same questions about electric eels. How does the eel keep from electrocuting itself while it shocks its food?

Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but they have some theories. First, the eel’s brain is located far away from the electric-producing organs and is insulated with fatty tissue. The animal’s skin also seems to have insulating properties. Some scientists also think there might be an internal switching mechanism for the eel to turn off its own electricity during mating.

Are the complex electrical organs in this animal the result of random chance mutations? It’s hard for me to believe that mutations would have come about simultaneously to generate electricity, store it in a specialized organ and develop measures to protect the eel from shocking itself. For supposedly random mutations, that sounds pretty purposeful. When I look at the electric eel, I see a perfectly designed creature made by God, even if we don’t completely understand it.

What do you think? Is the electrical system of the eel evidence of design? Or did small mutations add up to one shocking creature?

 

 

Reference: Stratham, Dominic. “Stunning and Stealthy: the amazing electric eel.” Creation 36(1), 2014, p.29.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/table4five/1285873218/”>Elizabeth/Table4Five</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Billions of Beats

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The other day while lying in bed cuddling with my nine-year old girl, I put my hand on her chest. The steady thump, thump of her heart pulsed below my fingertips. How many times have I taken for granted the miracle of that heartbeat? Not just in her or my other two kids, but in myself, as well.

Our hearts are designed to work hard, to grow with increased demand and to never miss a beat. Made up of a special type of muscle (not found anywhere else in the body), the heart doesn’t tire out because the muscle has a large number of mitochondria, myoglobin and available oxygen.

How many times has your heart beat in your lifetime? How many more steady, faithful pumps will it give before you die?

If you want to know how many times you heart has beaten in your lifetime, click here for a simple calculator. I did this and discovered my heart has beaten more than 1.5 billion times already in my lifetime. If I live into old age then it will probably push blood through my body for almost 3 billion times. That’s an amazing, automatic miracle that happens every second of every day.

Most people have a resting heart rate of around 70 beats per minute. If it took you two minutes to read this blog post, then you’ve experienced 140 miracles straight from the hand of The Almighty. God himself allows every one of our heartbeats.

As I carried each of my kids, this miracle began during the fifth week of pregnancy, as their heart grew and started its rhythm. This heart muscle is central to our existence. God designed us to need it. And when something goes wrong, it threatens our very lives.

This is why God tells us to turn our hearts—our whole existence—to Him (1Kings 8:61). We are to acknowledge Him as our physical and spiritual creator and to give all of ourselves over to His loving hands.

What about you? Does God control your whole heart today? When’s the last time you stopped to marvel at the miracle of a heartbeat?

 

Reference: http://www.teachpe.com/anatomy/types_of_muscle.php, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-care/art-20045302

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/carowallis1/320695236/”>Caro Wallis</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Self-watering Plant

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The desert rhubarb plant was uniquely designed by God to thrive in a desert environment. In the Negev Desert of Isreal, one of the driest places on earth, the average annual rainfall is 3 inches. So, the desert rhubarb can’t rely on rainfall. Instead, it uses a channeling system to irrigate itself.

The leaves of the plant are waxy to promote water flow and heavily grooved with miniature peaks and valleys to channel dew or any rainfall into the root system. In fact, the plant collects 16 times more water during a rain than other plants. Just look at the tiny mountain range on those leaves. If you were an ant, it would be like crossing the Alps.

Many desert dwellers have hoped to harvest precious water in the same way—from the dew that collects each night. Perhaps understanding how God designed the desert rhubarb will help scientists to create “smart materials” that can do just that.

 

Reference:   De Young, Don. July-Sept. 2011. Three-Foot Oasis. Answers, p. 40.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyclam/4499594902/”>flora.cyclam</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

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