Matched Design in Human Reproduction Defies Evolution
This excerpt from Henry Richter’s book illustrates amazingly complex design in human reproduction.
by Henry Richter, PhD, PE
(Adapted with updates from Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers, by Richter and Coppedge, pp. 56-58)
The X-Rated Part
To me, one of the most exquisite aspects of the human body is the portion directed to reproduction. The whole process that results in the birth of a new human being is such a phenomenal design that there really is no way to improve on it. The union of sperm and egg is obviously essential to the continuation of any sexual species, and in humans, the equipment to accomplish it is wondrous. The sexual equipment in both genders is so perfectly matched on so many levels that trying to imagine any way they came about through chance mistakes strains credibility.
Sex involves much more than just having perfectly fitting sex organs. It entails complexity on multiple levels, from human psychology to proteins in the gametes. We have learned that a sperm cell, for instance, carries with it proteins essential to the development of the embryo. The internal organs that develop ovum and sperm (each undergoing specialized cell divisions that result in half the normal complement of paired chromosomes) is another level of staggering complexity. After sperm and egg are manufactured, there have to be systems of storing and delivering the gametes, implanting the zygote, and preparing the female for nourishing it. All those glands and organs, in turn, require blood vessels and nerves. Recent ‘movies’ of how an unborn baby develops in the womb rightly arouse awe and wonder at the whole choreographed process. After the miracle of birth, the continuing development from baby to child, through puberty and on to adult is beautiful to behold.
To me one of the most elegant processes in the body is that of reproduction. At the risk of being overly graphic and perhaps too insensitive, let me explain it in detail. The actual process of conception is far from simple. The male deposits a lot of sperm deep in the vagina of the female. Sperm cells are precocious swimmers, having a little tail that vigorously wiggles, propelling them forward at about 5 mm per minute, or about five body lengths per second.
The sperm pass through the cervix into the uterus, then traverse the womb uterus and find the fallopian tubes. Some enter the tube and find an egg. One then dives into the egg, releasing its chromosomes which get transported to the egg’s nucleus. The egg now has the the necessary DNA to develop. Almost immediately, the egg releases thousands of membrane-bound granudles that contain an enzyme that hardens the zona pellucida that surrounds the egg. No additional sperm can enter at this point. How can this process develop through random changes, exactly matching in the male and female? It would have to be simultaneous and complementary. It would require an organ that manufactures sperm that can swim, with only one strand of the DNA, and all of the logic to find the egg. On the other hand, it requires an egg that can accept the sperm and combine its half DNA to its own half DNA. How could those organs have evolved by chance? Outside the realm of possibility!
Let’s go one step further. After the fertilized egg exits the fallopian tube into the uterus, it must then attach itself to the uterine wall and establish a connection with the mother’s system. An umbilical cord develops to connect the mother’s and the baby’s bloodstream to get nourishment, oxygen, and to get rid of waste products from its growing metabolism. Also, an amniotic sac forms around the growing baby for protection. The new human being develops rapidly. All of this has to work perfectly, and has done so in billions of humans.
To complete the process,, the woman’s womb undergoes a series of monthly regenerations. If no fertilized egg is put into the womb, the womb sheds its inner lining through menstruation and thus prepares for the next fertility cycle. Looking back over the entirety of this process, it is a prime example of “irreducible complexity” as described by Behe. If any one of the steps or features is missing, the whole process will not work. If the sperm were missing a tail, it could not swim. If any any individual feature is missing, conception and therefore reproduction would not be possible. Again, creation at one shot is the only way it could happen!
The innate sex drive, which draws the male and female together, is certainly a crucial ingredient. If that urge was slowly developed over evolutionary eons, how did reproduction take place from a starting point of no urge, to the development of an urge? Try to imagine a species with only sex organs or only a sex urge; it would quickly go extinct. The sex drive (which is both a physical and psychological activity) had to be operative simultaneously with the arrival of the sex organs.
Human sex organs are significantly different from those of other animals, particularly monkeys. As with so many other human features (such as the bones in the human foot), the human form is much more than an upgrade; it’s more like a remake. At the risk of getting too graphic, the human female has one gland that no other animal has, called the clitoris. Unlike most other body parts, it seems to have only one purpose and that is to give the human female sexual pleasure and stimulation. How in the midst of developing all that is in this chapter, did undirected evolution produce this body part?
No other mammal makes love face to face. No other mammal engages the whole body in the embrace. No other primate experiences sex at such a deep emotional, psychological and spiritual level. We create songs, poetry, novels, ballets and opera about love. We blush and experience shame when love crosses moral boundaries. We are outraged when it is forced. We rejoice when it is holy and pure. No other primate has such a long maturation period, with so long a time for the father and mother to teach and train the young in good behavior, for the welfare of the society. This is no upgrade. It shows a very elegant level of design, not only for the good of the individual or species, but for the good of the planet.
Henry is the father of five children had has a total of 38 children, grandchildren and great-granchildren.
Update 1/27/2021: Science Magazine reported today that “Women temporarily synchronize their menstrual cycles with the luminance and gravimetric cycles of the Moon.” The typical menstrual cycle is very close to the lunar cycle (27.5 days). Synchronization is often out of phase now, but the scientists “hypothesize that in ancient times, human reproductive behavior was synchronous with the Moon but that our modern lifestyles have changed reproductive physiology and behavior.” Those interested in possible design purposes in this unusual synchrony may wish to investigate the research provided in the paper.
If you enjoyed this excerpt, be sure to order Dr Richter’s book Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers. It contains many more examples of designed features that cannot be explained by evolution.