Microscopic OrganismsMicroscopic Organisms - The Miracle of "Simplicity"
If the first, simple, microscopic organisms created in prebiotic rock soup are at the foundation of today's evolutionary thinking, then what is a "simple" microscopic organism? Is there such a thing? Wouldn't any organism -- even the first one -- have to synthesize fuel, generate energy, reproduce its kind, etc.?
Therefore, what's considered "simple"?
I guess a fertilized human egg at the moment of conception looks like a simple, single-celled blob no bigger than a pinhead. However, we now know that amorphous blob contains information equivalent to 6 billion "chemical letters" -- enough complex code to fill 1,000 books, 500 pages thick with print so small that it would take a microscope to read it.1 Through the marvel of DNA, every single human trait is established at the moment of conception. Within hours, that single cell starts reproducing and grows a cilia propulsion system to move the fertilized egg (now called a "zygote") towards the uterus. Within six days, the original cell (now called an "embryo") has reproduced its library of information over 100 times. Ultimately, that original blob of gelatin will divide into the 30 trillion cells that make up the human body. At that point, if all the DNA chemical "letters" were printed in books, it's estimated those books would fill the Grand Canyon -- fifty times! 2
OK, I don't see anything "simple" there
But that's a human egg, not a simple, self-existing, biological entity. Let's get back on track and look at a simple organism that exists in nature
How about a "simple" bacterium?
No, let's just look at one part of a "simple" bacterium -- its motility mechanism
The so-called "bacterial flagellum" is what propels a bacterium through its microscopic world. The bacterial flagellum consists of about 40 different protein parts, including a stator, rotor, drive shaft, U-joint, and propeller. Through 21st century magnification technology, we now understand that a simple bacterium has a microscopic outboard motor! The individual parts come into focus when magnified 50,000 times using electron micrographs. These microscopic motors can run at 100,000 rpm. Nevertheless, they can stop on a microscopic dime. In fact, it takes only a quarter turn for them to stop, shift gears and start spinning 100,000 rpm in the other direction! The flagellar motor is water-cooled and hardwired into a sensory mechanism that allows the bacterium to get feedback from its environment! 3
This blows my mind! How does it compare with an outboard motor I'm familiar with? Was the mechanical motor designed and then manufactured according to engineered specifications? Of course! Now, make that same outboard motor one thousand times more efficient and miniaturize it by a factor containing many zeros. The complexity is staggering! Even with 21st century technology, we'll never be able to create a micro-machine like this.