Feature Article - October 2010
by Do-While Jones


Our Halloween issue looks at what happens when cells die because death tells us something about the origin of life.

The theory of evolution is dead on arrival. The theory says inanimate chemicals came to life to form Frankencell, which evolved into all forms of life on earth today. But nobody really knows how dead matter could have turned into a living cell. We do know, however, how living things die. We see it all too often. Since we don’t like death very much, we try not to think about it. Perhaps we should. We can learn about life from death.

Working Backwards

Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to work backwards. For example, take a picture of a solved Rubic’s Cube TM. Make one rotation and take another picture. This picture tells you the condition you have to produce before you can finally solve the puzzle. How do you get to this next-to-last step? Well, rotate the cube again and see what it looks like. Take a picture of the next-to-next-to-last step. If you make a movie of the process of mixing up the cube, then you can play the video backwards to see how to put it together again.

In the same way, we can examine what happens to a cell when it dies, step by step. If we can retrace those steps backwards, we can (theoretically) bring a dead cell back to life.

IN THE FIRST STAGE, soft tissue begins to decompose in a chain of events that starts with autolysis, or self-digestion. When breathing and circulation cease, cells are left without a supply of oxygen. The cells survive for a few minutes to a few days, but they can no longer pass wastes into the bloodstream. Carbon dioxide, one of the by-products of metabolism, is acidic, and as it accumulates, the acidity inside a cell increases, causing cell membranes to rupture. Single membranes surrounding organelles called lysosomes tend to dissolve first. The sacs contain digestive enzymes normally used by cells to break down organic molecules such as proteins. As these enzymes spill out, they begin digesting the cell from the inside out, eventually creating small blisters in and on internal tissues and organs and on the skin. The blister fluid, consisting of digested cell innards, is rich in nutrients. 1

So, all we have to do is to start out with a fluid rich in nutrients, just like evolutionists postulate existed in the “early Earth.” The nutrients separate themselves into cell walls and enzymes that would naturally digest those cell walls. But, for some reason, lysosomes form to prevent that from happening. Then the cells start sucking carbon dioxide out of some surrounding fluid, and release oxygen. And there you have it! Life! Why didn’t anybody think of that before?

One Way

There are some processes (such as diving into a swimming pool) that naturally go only one way. You can take a video of someone diving into a swimming pool, and then play it backwards so the person comes out of the water feet first and lands on the diving board. It shows what would have to happen for someone to jump out of the water and land on a high diving board. It only happens with trick photography. It never happens in the real world.

You can play a video of a cell dying backwards to see how it would come to life, but it won’t happen naturally. Death is a process that naturally goes one way, but not the other. Dead things don’t naturally come to life (no matter what you may have read about Pinocchio and Frosty the Snowman). It violates natural law.

Natural Law

The natural law that forces things to go in one direction is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is what makes walls fall down, and keeps them from falling up spontaneously.

Of course, it is possible to build a wall up. The difference between building a wall up and a wall naturally falling up is purposeful, directed expenditure of energy. Energy has to be expended in just the right way to lift bricks up upon each other to form a wall. Undirected energy will knock them down.

The undirected energy of room temperature heat will cause cell membranes to break down, causing a cell to die. Undirected heat won’t cause membranes to form and make a cell come to life.

Studying the processes that occur when something dies might give us the knowledge to apply energy in just the right way to reverse it; but the more we study life and death, the more obvious it becomes that it is impossible for random energy to cause inanimate material to come together in just the right way to come to life.

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1 Vass, Scientific American, September 2010, “Dust to Dust: The Brief, Eventful Afterlife of a Human Corpse”, page 58, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dust-to-dust/