Cells contain REAL Factories with REAL Machines

UPDATE: There is an excellent discussion happening on this topic HERE at IIDB. Read the posts by “afdave” and “Jet Black” to get a handle on the issues.

Anyone who has studied cells should say with Michael Denton that “Cell Amaze!” We now know that cells are literally factories–no, more like whole cities full of factories, with each factory containing thousands of automated machines for accomplishing the myriad tasks necessary to support life. (Picture above from Biovisions at Harvard, an awesome video entitled “The Inner Life of the Cell”) But many Darwinists say “those are not true machines, those are not true factories. It’s just an analogy.” Why do they say this? What disqualifies them from “machine-hood” and “factory-hood”? They do all the same things as machines and factories, do they not? My mother once told me that “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.” Pretty good advice from a non-scientific lady. So why can’t the Darwinists get this simple logic? Do they wish to avoid the obvious problems with their naturalistic theory of origins if they were to admit the reality of these cellular machines and factories? I would love for a Darwinist to explain WHY they think these are not real machines. And, if they ARE real machines, why is it not the most reasonable inference to say that they may have originated by intelligence. Doesn’t prove it of course … but comes close. Our duck example above could turn out to NOT be a duck upon closer inspection. But at least we should admit the possibility of intelligence and investigate further. After all, that’s what we say when we see man-made machines. Why should we not say this with cellular machines as well? All I can think of is that Darwinists don’t WANT there to be an Intelligent Designer.

In any case, here are some interesting items about cellular machines. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences and author of a leading college textbook entitled Molecular Biology of the Cell, introduced this issue of the journal Cellwith an article entitled, “The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines.” In his article, Alberts admits that …

“We have always underestimated cells . . . . The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines . . . Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie cell function protein machines? Precisely because, like machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts (Alberts, Bruce. 1998. The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines: Preparing the NextGeneration of Molecular Biologists. Cell 92 (8 February): 291-94).”

Most important for the future of our field, the departmental structures at most universities seem to have thus far prevented any major rethinking of what preparation in mathematics, what preparation in physics, and what preparation in chemistry is most appropriate for either the research biologists or the medical doctors who will be working 10 or 20 years from now. The result is a mismatch between what today’s students who are interested in biology should be learning and the actual course offerings that are available to them. It is largely for this reason, I believe, that so many talented young biologists feel that mathematics, chemistry, and physics are of minor importance to their careers.

It is my hope that some of the young scientists who read this issue of Cell will come to the realization that much of the great future in biology lies in gaining a detailed understanding of the inner workings of the cell’s many marvelous protein machines. With this perspective, students may well be motivated to gain the background in the quantitative sciences that they will need to explore this subject successfully. But they will need faculty in our colleges and universities to lead them.


I am indebted to Jonathan Alberts for his explanations of how engineers analyze machines, Mei Lie Wong for preparation of the figure,and Teresa Donovan for manuscript preparation. Link Here


Nature created a rotary motor with a diameter of 30 nm. Motility of bacteria, such as “Salmonella” and “E. coli” with a body size of 1 – 2 micron, is driven by rapid rotation of a helical propeller by such a tiny little motor at its base. This organelle is called the flagellum, made of a rotary motor and a thin helical filament that grows up to about 15 micron. It rotates at around 20,000 rpm, at energy consumption of only around 10^-16 W and with energy conversion efficiency close to 100%. Prof. Namba’s research group is going to
reveal the mechanism of this highly efficient flagellar motor that is far beyond the capabilities of artificial motors. http://www.nanonet.go.jp/english/mailmag/2004/011.html

Motile Behavior of Bacteria
E. coli, a self-replicating object only a thousandth of a millimeter in size, can swim 35 diameters a second, taste simple chemicals in its environment, and decide whether life is getting better or worse.Escherichia coli is a single-celled organism that lives in your gut. It is equipped with a set of rotary motors only 45 nm in diameter. each motor drives a long, thin, helical filament that extends several cell body lengths out into the external medium. The assemblage of motor and filament is called a flagellum. The concerted motion of several flagella enables a cell to swim. A cell can move toward regions that it deems more favorable by measuring changes in the concentrations of certain chemicals in its environment (mostly nutrients), deciding whether life is getting better or worse, and then modulating the direction of rotation of its flagella. Thus, in addition to rotary engines and propellers, E. coli’s standard accessories include particle counters, rate meters, and gear boxes. This microorganism is a nanotechnologist’s dream. I will discuss the features that make it so, from the perspectives of several scientific disciplines: anatomy, genetics, chemistry, and physics.
— Howard C. Berg, Harvard Prof

If you like these quotes, please click the following link for more great quotes …


3 Responses to “Cells contain REAL Factories with REAL Machines”

  1. […] August 30th, 2007 — The Professor A blogger at the afdave blog thinks that Cells contain REAL Factories with REAL Machines, and wants to know why Darwinists don’t accept this assessment and follow it to its logical […]

  2. cardona507 Says:

    Very interesting. so true…..

  3. lordkalvan Says:

    Your ‘logic’ is of the same order that would define anything that flies as a bird, while ignoring the sometimes subtle and sometimes profound differences that mark birds as separate from, for example, bats, flying insects, children’s kites and aircraft. That something ‘looks like’ something else does not make it the same sort of thing as that something else. This is desperately faulty reasoning.

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