Thursday, January 01, 2009

Evolution? Intelligent design?

The Institute for Creation Research has published a monthly bulletin for some three and a half decades. About a year ago, they seriously upgraded its look and content, shifting from a small, church-bulletin sized 12-pager to a slick, full-color, magazine-sized, 20-page publication with numerous multi-page articles. It's called Acts & Facts.

Among other things, the latest edition includes a great little paean to the wonders of earwax:
Earwax is far from being just a sticky secretion to eradicate. On the contrary, it is a highly complex substance that is designed to attract foreign debris and that contains antimicrobial proteins, squalene, long-chain fatty acids, and peptides (molecules consisting of two or more amino acids).

Earwax protects the ear by trapping dust particles, bacteria, fungal spores, sand, and dirt, preventing them from entering inner recesses and possibly damaging the ear. If they do gain a “foothold,” disease-causing microorganisms (e.g., E. coli) are subject to a veritable smorgasbord of defensive compounds such as lactoferrin, beta-defensin-1, cathelicidin, betadefensin-2, lysozyme, MUC1 and secretory component of IgA (a major class of antibody) found in the cerumen.1 These are highly complex compounds that defy a naturalistic origin explanation. But not only does earwax attract and trap debris—its bitterness also repels insects, mites, and other creatures.
And, then, a lengthy article, titled Human Reproduction, that includes this astonishing observation:
[F]reshly-deposited sperm are incapable of fertilizing an egg. Many features of the sperm are changed by substances that are made within the female reproductive tract. . . . One of the most important changes, known as "capacitation," is when uterine secretions remove glycoproteins from the protective coat of the acrosome. This allows the erosive enzymes from many sperm (after contacting the egg) to break down a protective coat of cells around the egg and expose its cell membrane so that yet another sperm can make its way to the egg for fertilization. This elaborate coordination between female secretions and male sperm is protective for the male, since without the protective coat around the acrosome, high concentrations of sperm in a man's body could destroy the function of his reproductive organs if the erosive enzymes were released prematurely.
And there is more. (But you'll need to go to ICR's site to read the details.)

This last story reminds me of one or two of the Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution that Dr. Jobe Martin describes in his video series by that name. For example, the Lampsylis Mussell.

1 Stone, M. and R.S. Fulghum. 1984. Bactericidal activity of wet cerumen. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology. 93 (2):183-186.
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