TITLE: Nails in the Coffin 8/19/15
By Richard McCaw
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Nails in the Coffin
by Richard McCaw
As the crowds filed out from the courthouse, I saw Mr. Von Baer being besieged by a gang of reporters as he descended the steps. My head was spinning. I could not reconcile my atheism with the recent upgraded facts, so, I hurried close enough to record their flurry of questions and answers.
Mr. Von Baer stopped where he was, because a wall of faces hung before him, with TV cameramen holding up their trade tools.
I remember our conversation over lunch. “This should be interesting!” I thought.
One reporter asked, “Mr. Von Baer, in your opinion is it possible that two separate, independent genders, each with its own physiology could possibly evolve?”
Mr. Von Baer adjusted his spectacles. “I think my reply in a former session already dealt with that question. Such an occurrence by blind chance is obviously nothing more than complete nonsense.”
“Can you explain in more detail, sir?” asked another.
“Look at it this way,” he suggested. “How could nature evolve the female of a species that produces eggs, is internally equipped to nourish a growing embryo, then simultaneously evolve a male that produces motile sperm cells?”
“Interesting point!” said another.
“Go on, sir,” urged the first reporter.
“Mr. Von Baer,” another reporter asked, “Aren’t you forgetting a very important consideration?”
He held up a recorder with one hand and commented. “The key to understanding the evolution of sex is to recognize that much variety exists in the cycles of life. Therefore intermediate stages took place before distinct sexes appeared. In the earliest stages single-celled organisms were involved that exchanged genetic information. Separate sexes did not occur independently, but gradually evolved with distinct features.”
A senior reporter from the “Florida Sun” signaled to Mr. Von Baer to answer the objection.
Von Baer stroked the back of his head and answered, “This meant that a bird giving birth to a mammal (would leave no transitional fossils in the geological record) and would need another mammal of the same kind of the opposite sex to be born at the same approximate time in the same area in order for the new species to continue. The odds of just one organism appearing this way is unthinkable. Then to consider two separate, distinct genders fulfilling the circumstances above, the odds would be astronomical.
“Moreover, how is it that these gametes (eggs and sperm) conveniently “evolved” so that each contain half the normal chromosome number of somatic (body) cells? [Somatic cells reproduce via the process of mitosis, which maintains the species’ standard chromosome number; gametes are produced through the process of meiosis, which halves that number.”
“What else, Mr. Von Baer?” I asked, deciding to take the lead in urging him on.
“Mr. Darwin and the scientific community,” he declared, “must help us to understand the origin of the first fully functional female and the first fully functional male necessary for reproduction. We are cognizant of the fact that sexual reproduction creates complexity of the genome and the need for a separate mechanism in order to produce gametes. The metabolic cost of maintaining this system is huge, as is that of providing the organs specialized for sexual reproduction (the uterus of mammalian females, for example). We know that sexual reproduction requires organisms first to produce, and then maintain, gametes (reproductive cells-i.e., sperm and eggs).”
“Sounds very complicated, Mr. Von Baer,” I added.
Mr. Von Baer nodded, “Doubtless. Besides, various incompatibility factors, for example the blood Rh factor between mother and child can cause even life threatening problems, automatically inherent in this costly means of reproduction. In sexual organisms, problems can also arise concerning tissue rejection between mother and newly formed embryo. The miraculous formation of one sperm cell uniting with one egg cell creates the cell called a zygote, which, in nine months develops into a newborn human being. For me, the intricacy, complexity, and informational content suggest an intelligent designer.”
At this, some of the surrounding crowd broke out into thunderous applause, and people were shaking each other’s hands.
“May I make one final point?” Von Baer began, “How through slow modification over a period of time can each sex evolve not only in man but also in each of the hundreds of species of plants and animals, so that they all exist at the same time, not only populating the earth but also providing food for mankind? The male reproductive system would have had to be fully functional throughout the evolutionary timeline for continuing reproduction. Similarly, the female reproductive system would have had to be perfectly synchronized to compliment the developing male system for reproduction. This also applies to all species.”
With that final statement while reporters were busily flipping the pages of their notepads, others were safely storing their last remarks on laptops. As Mr. Von Baer was still being pursued to the door of a car awaiting him and the crowd dispersing, I went my own way reflecting on his last impressive points.
I marveled at the interdependent process of splitting the genetic information into two equal halves, then recombining it through sexual reproduction. The intricate process required to produce a sperm or egg cell through meiosis left me in awe. The other equally intricate mechanism necessary to rejoin the genetic information during fertilization to produce the zygote is an absolutely amazing engineering feat. Then what becomes the embryo later becomes the fetus, which eventually becomes the newborn. In many cases, the male and female genitalia are precisely tuned so that one could fit the other, meaning that they could not have evolved independently. Besides, sex occurs in every major group of life.”
As I returned home I realized that my faith in atheism was steadily beginning to crumble. I was on the verge of accepting that all nature must have been singing praise to my mother’s Wonderful Designer. It became obvious to me that some miracle of transformation was taking place deep down in my own consciousness.
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