Unraveling Reality {17} Cells


“Biological design appears to be so intelligent.” ~ English evolutionary biologist Richard Watson

The atom of life is a cell. Like atoms, cells consist of a gyre of smaller functional constituents. Even the simplest cell is a dynamic system of astonishing intricacy, with specialized structures and functions. This even applies to prokaryotes, the earliest living cells and still the most profuse.

Each cell has an outer layer which encapsulates contents and provides an interface which interacts with the outside world. Many cells need to move. Thus, for thrust, they have tails (flagella), or a herd of little feet (cilia).

Inside a cell are the means to produce the energy needed to sustain the cell, fabricate the parts which maintain it, and keep the blueprints for component manufacture and cellular reproduction.

Within each cell are vibrant networks of activity, with specific pathways for material transport and communication links for sharing information. The life of every cell, whether on its own or as part of a larger body, is an incessant exercise in intelligence.

“Living cells are complex systems that are constantly making decisions in response to internal or external signals; like a table around which decision makers debate and respond collectively to information put to them.” ~ French biologist Emmanuel Levy et al

Cells constantly monitor their own health and level of stress. Cells sense and control the size and composition of their organelles to meet immediate needs, and to efficaciously allocate the resources available to them.

The active molecules and subsystems within a cell must also know what they are doing. As much can easily go wrong, intracellular enterprise is itself an astonishing orchestration of intelligence in action.