Monday, August 1, 2016

Embryology, Complexity, and the Inheritance of Life and Humanness

I’ve been looking into the science of Human Embryology to see exactly what is known at this point, at least at the level of university courses on the subject.[1] Especially interesting, of course, is the time from the sperm finding the egg to the time the fertilized egg heads off down the fallopian tube.

Of particular interest are the metabolic functioning and the conversion from mitosis to meiosis in the egg.

The metabolic function exists in both the living sperm and egg. Both sperm and egg are dependent upon their internal source of energy to keep their metabolism going. If the sperm or egg does not reach fertilization, the metabolic system ultimately exhausts the internal source of energy, and the sperm or egg dies.

If, however, the fertilization process occurs, the egg’s metabolic process continues longer, and continues as the fertilized egg goes through the fallopian tube. In the fallopian tube the egg is metabolically assisted by external metabolites acquired from the fluid which fills the tubes. It is thought that this fluid is necessary but insufficient to fully sustain the fertilized egg, and the egg must seek to attach to the uterus wall in order to continue its metabolism and life.

The egg itself has to perform mitosis twice before accepting a sperm. Mitosis splits the egg’s DNA, making a single strand available for the combination process. When the sperm is accepted, the egg and sperm engage in a combination and meiosis, after the sperm sheds its tail.

What has happened is this: the sperm and egg are both alive, with very short life expectancies. Until, that is, they combine. At that point they have an extra life span due to a prolonged metabolic function. That prolonged metabolic function supports not just the life of egg/sperm combination, but also the changeover to meiosis in order to combine the two DNA types, and divide the cells using the combined DNA. The DNA now is the DNA of a new, unique individual, metabolically alive and functioning normally at the first stage of its life.

The dividing cells have the full capacity to become all the many structures and functions of the independent human. But for the duration of the pregnancy, of course, the new human is dependent upon the mother for nutrition for its metabolism (and probably other things).

Inherent in this process is a class of signaling and timed signals. Signaling is apparent in the sperm’s entry, from the contact with the egg’s exterior and being allowed to pass through, to the activation of the egg’s defense system which prevents entry by any other sperm. The sperm is signaled after entry into the egg, that it is time to lose its tail. The egg is signaled to stop mitosis and after combination with the DNA from the sperm, to proceed to meiosis. (The three unused products of the egg’s initial mitosis become inert spots in the egg, called “polar bodies”). The egg is removed from its perch as a follicle by the wiping action of the fronds on the end of the fallopian tube which surround (but don’t attach) to the ovary. When the egg is removed, it is taken down the fallopian tube to the uterus.

Comments:
The details of what happens at each stage seem well documented and go well beyond the summary given here; but the reasons (causal forces) are entirely missing from the text books.

Because this does not happen in dead eggs or with dead sperm, then the abstraction called “life” is necessary. Life is passed down through the fertilization process. Much, if not all, of the action is controlled not by the four forces of physics or entropy, but by directed forces which have specific functions, respond to specific signals at specific times, signals which exist in multitudes and which are interdependent and have the apparent quality of obeying a master controller. And the new cells have the capacity to become innumerable cell types and organs, from blood, bone and heart/lung/liver systems, to neural signaling complexes and thinking brains.

Notes:
1. Information contained above is compiled from the following sources:
Schoenwolf, et al; “Larsen’s Human Embyology”, Fifth edition; Elsevier; 2015.

Dudek; “Embryology”, Sixth Edition, Board review series; Wolters Kluwer; 2014.

Mitchell, Sharma; “Embryology”, Second Edition; Churchill Livingstone; 2009.

Langman; “Medical Embryology”; Fourth Edition; Williams and Wilkins; 1981.

Granville Sewell; “Entropy and Evolution”; Bio-complexity.org; Open Access; volume 2013, Issue 2, p1-5.

16 comments:

CJ said...

Fascinating.

"the sperm and egg are both alive, with very short life expectancies"

This cries out for further elaboration. In what sense are the egg and sperm independently "alive" -- in the sense, say, that any other single cell in the body is, or in the sense of, say, a single-cells organism -- are they "life" and, especially, are they "human life"? And what are the substantive differences between the resulting zygote (is it a zygote at that point?) and the post-fertilization/pre-meiosis entity?

Stan said...

I think it is clear that single non-gamete cells are alive as are gametes, and have three ways to die: non-repairable damage; loss of nutrition necessary to sustain metabolism; programmed death (called "apoptosis"). They are human cells, but they cannot confer life to progeny, unless somehow converted into stem cells which produce gametes (not sure if that's possible, but it might be, although requiring outside intelligent manipulation).

The fertilized egg is called a zygote, and was created by meiosis. The subsequent divisions revert to mitosis and produce autopluripotent daughter "cells which have the capability of differentiating into ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm".

Ectoderm: "The ectoderm gives rise to the nervous system; the organs of special sense, such as the eyes and ears; the epidermis and epidermal tissue, such as fingernails, hair, and skin glands; and the mucous membranes of the mouth and anus."

Endoderm: "From the endoderm arises the epithelium of the trachea, bronchi, lungs, GI tract, liver, pancreas, urinary bladder, anal canal, pharynx, thyroid, tympanic cavity, tonsils, and parathyroid glands. The endoderm thus comprises the lining of the cavities and passages of the body and the covering of most of the internal organs."

Mesoderm: "The middle germ layer of an animal embryo, giving rise to muscle, blood, bone, connective tissue, etc"

The naming is this:

Fertilized egg: zygote.

Mitotic cleavage into two cells [note 1]: 2-cell blastula

Mitotic cleavage into four cells: 4-cell blastula

Mitotic cleavage into sixteen cells: morula ("looks like a mulberry")

Internal separation of cells: blastocyst (this ultimately attaches to the uterine wall.

Notes:
1. The cells are contained in a confined package; the name refers to the package containing all the cells. Each of the cells is called a blastomere. Blastomeres are "totipotent up to the 8-cell stage (i.e. each blastomere can form a complete embryo by itself). Totipotency refers to a stem cell that can differentiate into every cell within the organism, including extraembryonic tissues". Dudek; "Embryology".

Hugo Pelland said...

Stan said:

"Much, if not all, of the action is controlled not by the four forces of physics or entropy, but by directed forces which have specific functions, respond to specific signals at specific times, signals which exist in multitudes and which are interdependent and have the apparent quality of obeying a master controller."

It's called Chemistry; that's what the "master controller" is here. And of course it follows the four forces of physics, but at a different level of abstraction, where they are not the best tool to explain what is going on.

Stan said...

Hugo,
As expected, another empty claim made with assurance but no actual data or even good stories this time. If it's just chemistry, then why does it die without hope of resurrection? How does chemistry explain the timed functions, the triggered functions which trigger other functions such as mitosis - mitosis - meiosis - mitosis^n? How is that all set up, like dominoes to be felled by chemistry?

I know full well that you think we're all morons here, and that we will accept the simplistic statement that "CHEMISTRY DID IT" as a plug for the holes in the knowledge base you wish to maintain under Philosophical Materialism, BUT...

We all know here that Philosophical Materialism is internally contradictory and non-coherent, so we don't feel obliged to accept just any empty claim, made without evidence - Shoot, check up on your Hitchens' Razor.

Hugo Pelland said...

a) I have always been very clear about the fact that I DON'T think you are a moron. OTH, you do imply over and over again that anybody who disagrees with you on scientific issues is irrational and thus... a moron. Projection much?

b) Regarding the topic you covered here: At the cell level, energy exchanges follow the same chemical rules that we see at the macroscopic level. There is no "master controller"; that was the point. Not sure what explanations is missing for you to understand but you could research more I guess...

c) This has nothing to do with Philosophical Materialism. This is a scientific topic; not a philosophy one.

Steven Satak said...

@ Hugo: you wrote:

"c) This has nothing to do with Philosophical Materialism. This is a scientific topic; not a philosophy one."

Oh, but if your philosophy IS Materialism, then your beginning assumptions obviate the need for science method at all, except as a bit of window dressing you use to assert your intellectual superiority. Because Materialism is self-contradictory, the 'science' practiced under its constraints is not really science at all - it's experimentation in the service of a Narrative.

What is that Narrative? "Ain't No God".

You really are cut off from rational thought, aren't you, Hugo? I mean, I suppose you rub along tolerably in the real world, but really, you're irrational and determined to remain that way, no matter the cost to you or anyone else. You keep repeating yourself and ignoring Stan's points, as though repeating the one and ignoring or distorting the other will somehow make Tinkerbell come back.

That's just nuts.

Hugo Pelland said...

You're funny Steven :) Your insults are so exaggerated...

Stan said...

Hugo says,
"a) I have always been very clear about the fact that I DON'T think you are a moron."

Sure you do. You say the same unsupportable, ungrounded equivocations over and over as if talking to recalcitrant children, and claim that it's unreasonable not to accept that stuff, because we should accept it as valid and true, because there's some people who do.

Without falsifiable direct evidence, it's all epicycles.

All I require for validation is the same as physics, chemistry, modern biology, molecular biology, medicine, etc.: falsifiable evidence; not fiction.

"At the cell level, energy exchanges follow the same chemical rules that we see at the macroscopic level. There is no "master controller";"

Completely missing the point again. Completely, and entirely.

The discussion at that point was, of course, not about metabolism any more; the discussion was about the directed actions of the multitudes of feedback communication systems used as regulators and multitudes of other functions, and which are directed toward ends using specific signaling, not merely blindly attracted or repelled by the four forces of physics.

THAT was the point.

"This has nothing to do with Philosophical Materialism. This is a scientific topic; not a philosophy one."

Scientific pursuits which are limited by Philosophical Materialism cannot be considered to be objective; such philosophical limitations are the obvious purposeful injection of presuppositional bias into the pursuit.

Hugo Pelland said...

In response to:
"a) I have always been very clear about the fact that I DON'T think you are a moron."

Stan said...
"Sure you do"

No, I don't. You are not a moron. It's clear from what you write. I couldn't say that of everyone who writes here... but since you're the author of the blog and have shared quite a lot of your ideas, and some of your background, we can tell. You are simply wrong, like anyone else, about some things, some times. I learned stuff here and I think you should too, because you are completely wrong about Evolution, and partially wrong about Climate Change and Vaccination.

Stan said...
"the discussion was about the directed actions of the multitudes of feedback communication systems used as regulators and multitudes of other functions, and which are directed toward ends using specific signaling, not merely blindly attracted or repelled by the four forces of physics."

That's chemistry. It's not the four forces of physics, but it's blind nonetheless.

Stan said...

"That's chemistry. It's not the four forces of physics, but it's blind nonetheless."

Wow. Chemistry is not controlled by the four forces of physics? What is it, then, that produces chemical reactions? This sounds downright spooky. Clue us in, please!!

Hugo Pelland said...

Of course it is... but it's not useful to describe chemical processes in terms of the 4 forces of physics. But please, do continue to use ridicule to make your points. It's entertaining.

Stan said...

It's not "useful"? The discussion surrounds the multitudes of purposeful, directed actions which are performed continuously within every cell, all of which do a specific job without which the cell fails. Jobs include manufacturing and tearing down structures at exactly the right time and place in order for specific cell functions to use the structures. Jobs include taking out the garbage by walking foot after foot on a ramp built just for that purpose. Jobs include changing from double mitosis with special manipulation to meiosis and then back to mitosis, only after the full completion of meiosis. Jobs include DNA reading, DNA double checking, DNA repair, transfer of code to create enzymes on demand. The list is massive, and it includes communication feedback systems which interrelate separate organs using coded/decoded messaging of numerous types of code, besides the code of DNA, which is double coded, and maybe triple coded.

Where did you take chemistry? Did they teach you how to do that? I seriously doubt it.

Hugo Pelland said...

Yes Stan, this is all Chemistry! Every single interaction that happens within a cell is following the same rules as individual chemical reactions we can repeat. It's hard to explain how of them at once because there are billions happening at the same time...

What I meant by not useful is that gravity, for instance, has nothing to do with chemical interactions within a cell, nor does the strong nuclear force since no atoms are being changed. So we don't have any use for all 4 forces when discussing chemistry/biology.

Another way to put it is that, let's say you are dropping a ball from a tall building and want to compute the speed it will reach right before hitting the ground. You 'could' do it using Relativity, but it would be extremely complex, or you could use Newton's laws, which are simpler and accurate enough in this case. So, we would say that relativity is "useless" in that case. Not that it doesn't govern the motion, just that it's not the right tool for the problem at hand.

By the way, this is one the Crash Course on Biology found on YouTube starts with some basics notion of Chemistry, and they also have an entire series on Chemistry. But you refused to watch all of it so... your loss my friend.

Stan said...

” You define the 'evolution' that you don't accept as 'macro evolution'. Yes, it's your subjective definition. Actually, it's worse than that, there's not even a clear definition, because I asked you before where you would draw the line and you avoid the question. You will continue to do so obviously because...”

That’s bull. Macroevolution requires serious mutation, creating information so that bacteria can progress on to mammals, etc. Microevolution is merely selection on existing non-mutated genetics, which is generally a loss of information or a twist of an enable/disable switch on pre-existing genetics which is pre-existing information.

” You claim that nothing can be shown for 'macro' evolution. It's not even possible according to your definition anyway.”

Why do I even talk to you? You know that it is not my definition. It was defined in neo-Darwinism, and you know that. So just stop with these false accusations.

And if Neo-Darwinism is not possible, then we’re done here, anyway.

” But you will not say where the line between micro and macro is. The reason is that there is no line, in real life.”

I have told you, and I’ll tell you again: Macroevolution requires serious mutation, creating information so that bacteria can progress on to mammals, etc. Microevolution is merely selection on existing non-mutated genetics, which is generally a loss of information or a twist of an enable/disable switch on pre-existing genetics which is pre-existing information.

The idea that gradual drift within a bacterial genome, without mutation, implemented the Cambrian Explosion into plants, animals and all the various complexity is absurd, not to mention nonfalsifiable and completely non-credible. And the idea that gradual drift in a frog population causes other non-frogs to appear is also absurd, unless they are actually frogs minus previous frog-features.

” We must believe you when you say that there is no evidence for macro because macro must be false so there must be a line between micro and macro. QED; Stan wins.”

More crap which you know is false. You are reducing yourself to trolling. If there were credible, objective, falsifiable evidence for macroevolution, then where is it? Hmmm?

Stan said...

” - You conclude that no data was shown, and go back to asking for more.
You repeated your request for "falsifiable, real science-quality objective evidence to support evolution."


And I’ll keep repeating it until some "falsifiable, real science-quality objective evidence to support evolution" is presented. For now you choose to claim falsely that you have provided “evidence”, when in fact nothing but cult-like science-fiction stories have ever been presented. And again, you know that, but you choose to falsely equate stories to evidence; that’s clear cut Equivocation Fallacy. You will not admit to that and instead you proceed with fallacious arguments at every level. This indicates the cultish mentality associated with True Belief In The Story-Telling Of Evolution.

”But this assumes that there is no evidence, no facts, no reason to believe in the Theory of Evolution from the non-Stan side. However, there are tons of reasons to believe the Theory, or the story as you put it. It's not constructed out of thin air; it's not 'just' a story. It is the 'best' we have to explain the diversity of life on Earth.”

No, it’s not. Not even from a strictly regulated Philosophical Materialism standpoint. Multiple Pan-spermias is far, FAR more compatible with bio-history.

”Thank you for reminding me that you still don't understand the difference between evolution and abiogenesis; two completely different topics.”

And thus it is that denial is required for the Hard Problem of evolution. If life did NOT evolve from minerals, how is it explained? It is not, because there are no stories which can even come close to explaining it. Therefore, it is not part of the story-telling cult; it is rejected as being pertinent to those issues which DO have stories. Just like the issue of the platypus, the bombardier beetle, etc. are rejected as having any importance since there are no stories which cover their existence. All falsifiers are rejected as having importance.

So when it comes to First Life, evolutionists assert the child’s “lalalalala-CAN”T HEAR YOU lalalala…” There is every rational reason to include First Life as having evolved from minerals in the concept of evolution, except for the fact that it is a blatant falsifier, and therefore is rejected.

”And thank you for reminding me that you also don't understand how life possibly started; we know it's not from minerals, even if we don't quite know exactly how it did in the first place.”

The top categories are animal, mineral and vegetable. Evolution requires that animals and vegetables came from minerals. Anything else would require Philosophical Materialism to be false. So if you “know it's not from minerals“, then it’s either circular or it’s non-material. Those are your only choices. Choose one, and create a story.

And you have not directly responded to the directed forces comment I made, other than to try to blanket it with the generality of "Chemistry Done It", the blatant Appeal To Scientism.

Stan said...

”Yes Stan, this is all Chemistry! Every single interaction that happens within a cell is following the same rules as individual chemical reactions we can repeat.”

Prove it. PROVE it! You have no proof of the things you say you believe. NONE. You claim that the editing and correcting of excised DNA is purely chemical: prove it. You say that the timing of the creation of structures being created and then disassembled is purely chemical: prove it. I can do this all day. You cannot prove a single one. And no, they have not been replicated or there would be artificial life floating around. This is just more cult-speak.

”It's hard to explain how of them at once because there are billions happening at the same time...”

So stories fail at this point.

”What I meant by not useful is that gravity, for instance, has nothing to do with chemical interactions within a cell, nor does the strong nuclear force since no atoms are being changed. So we don't have any use for all 4 forces when discussing chemistry/biology.

Another way to put it is that, let's say you are dropping a ball from a tall building and want to compute the speed it will reach right before hitting the ground. You 'could' do it using Relativity, but it would be extremely complex, or you could use Newton's laws, which are simpler and accurate enough in this case. So, we would say that relativity is "useless" in that case. Not that it doesn't govern the motion, just that it's not the right tool for the problem at hand.

By the way, this is one the Crash Course on Biology found on YouTube starts with some basics notion of Chemistry, and they also have an entire series on Chemistry. But you refused to watch all of it so... your loss my friend.”


I watched the video until it crashed into fiction. For some reason True Believers cannot tell the difference. They are required to believe, it appears, or they lose their True Believer creds when they ask the hard questions and demand objective evidence. True Belief requires full compliance without asking any hard questions, like "where is the objective, falsifiable evidence", not just mouthing "Gosh yes, I believe all the stories! I DO believe! The stories are EVIDENCE! Yessiree!".