September 14, 2012 | David F. Coppedge

From Lizard to Gymnast in One Hearty Stretch

Lizards have spongy hearts.  Birds and humans have advanced electrical hearts.  Just stretch out the sponge, and voila!

Advancing a theory vaguely resembling Haeckel’s biogenetic law, some Danes have deigned to relegate our hearts’ design to the reptiles.  Cold-blooded reptiles get by with spongy tissue.  Warm-blooded birds and humans, by contrast, need electrically-conducting tissue to keep the pulse in sync across the blood-pumping organ.  Is there an evolutionary connection somewhere?  If so, it’s been a mystery for a long time:

An elaborate system of leads spreads across our hearts. These leads — the heart’s electrical systemcontrol our pulse and coordinate contraction of the heart chambers. While the structure of the human heart has been known for a long time, the evolutionary origin of our conduction system has nevertheless remained a mystery.

According to Science Daily, researchers have found “Our Inner Reptilian Hearts.”  They looked into the hearts of lizards, frogs and fish, hunting for a gene that forms conductive properties.  They “discovered a common molecular structure that’s hidden by the anatomical differences,” they claimed.

Buried within the article is the Darwinian connection: “The studies show that it is simply the spongy inner tissue in the fetal heart that gets stretched out to become a fine network of conductive tissue in adult birds and mammals.”  This is cause for celebration:

Researchers have finally succeeded in showing that the spongy tissue in reptile hearts is the forerunner of the complex hearts of both birds and mammals. The new knowledge provides a deeper understanding of the complex conductive tissue of the human heart, which is of key importance in many heart conditions.

Oddly, the main Dane immediately reined the discussion into how this Darwinian light could help grieving mothers: “Our knowledge about the reptilian heart and the evolutionary background to our conductive tissue can provide us with a better understanding of how the heart works in the early months of fetal life in humans, when many women miscarry, and where heart disorders are thought to be the leading cause of spontaneous abortion.”  It’s not clear how a doctor could use this “knowledge” in practice.

He never elaborated on how the reptilian sponge tissue stretched into a bird heart or human heart.  Was it ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny?  And why did two unrelated branches on Darwin’s tree converge on similar pumping designs?  The closest statement was only a puzzle: “Since the early 1900s, scientists have been wondering how birds and mammals could have developed almost identical conduction systems independently of each other when their common ancestor was a cold-blooded reptile with a sponge-like inner heart that has virtually no conduction bundles.

Those questions were lost in the hoopla over “Our Inner Reptile Heart.”

This is what passes for science these days.  Darwin gets a pass from the media for the lamest excuses at explanation.  Why don’t they state the obvious from the observations?  Reptiles, birds, and humans have intelligently designed hearts, made by One Designer into forms that are perfectly adapted for each animal’s needs, allowing a lizard to race across a sand dune or even a pond, a bird to dive into the water to catch a fish, and a human to run a marathon or do a back walkover on a balance beam.  Whom did Gabriel Douglas thank for that – God or a serpent?  The only “inner reptile” she and other Christians have learned to resist is the father of lies, one of the worst of which is mindless, guideless, Godless evolution.  Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23).





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