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» Single-celled Organism Able to Make Decisions

A researcher says the organism is very sophisticated.

Research has shown that a certain single-celled organism appears to be able to reason without a brain and to make decisions. The organism called Stentor roeselii was first studied more than a century ago by American zoologist Herbert Spencer Jennings.

In a text called “Behavior of the Lower Organisms” published in 1906, Jennings wrote how these organisms reacted in predictable patterns when he released an irritating carmine powder around them. The organism would first try to avoid the powder by bending its body around it. If that didn’t help, it would reverse its hairlike cilia, which it uses for propulsion, in order to push away from the particles. If that still didn’t work, it would contract around its point of attachment to a surface. Finally, if nothing else worked, it would detach from the surface and swim away. Following Jennings’s experiments, other researchers tried but failed to corroborate his findings. So, his work with S. roeselii was discredited.

However, recently a group of researchers at Harvard University decided to try to duplicate his experiments. The scientific team headed by biologist Jeremy Gunawardena was able to locate some S. roeselii specimens from a supplier in England, and then they set to work. First they tried using carmine powder as did Jennings, but the organisms didn’t appear to be bothered by it this time. Perhaps the powder has changed since Jennings’s day, the researchers reasoned.

Next, the scientists tried using something else: mircoscopic plastic beads, which indeed proved to be an irritant. Not all the organisms reacted exactly in the same way in trying to avoid the beads, but there was a definite pattern, which was the same as Jennings found: first bending; then altering the direction of their cilia; then contracting or detaching; finally swimming away.

"They do the simple things first, but if you keep stimulating, they 'decide' to try something else," Gunawardena said. "S. roeselii has no brain, but there seems to be some mechanism that, in effect, lets it 'change its mind' once it feels like the irritation has gone on too long." Single-celled organisms might be "much more sophisticated than we generally give them credit for," he added.

Comment: Scientists have discovered how sophisticated early people such as Neanderthals were. They have marveled at the intelligence of animal species. And now they have found evidence that even single-celled organisms can be sophisticated. So what is stopping secular scientists from admitting that there must be a divine Creator Who instilled this wisdom/sophistication into all living species ranging from single cells all the way up to Homo sapiens? Why do so many of these scientists remain militant atheists?

St. Peter has harsh words for people like secular scientists who ridicule Christians who believe the historical accounts in the Bible such as the creation and Noah’s flood. “But these people blaspheme in matters about which they are ignorant, just like unreasoning creatures that live by instinct and are born to be captured and destroyed. So they too will be destroyed as a consequence of their destructive activity. They will be paid back for the harm they cause" (2 Peter 2:12-13, EHV).

But we should not give up hope that by the grace of God, evolutionary scientists can finally allow their eyes and brains to lead them to recognize that there must be a divine Creator. It seems that many if not most of the leading Bible-believing creationist scientists today at one time were unbelieving evolutionists. So, conversion of scientists has often happened and will continue to happen. Pray that these researchers will stop resisting the Holy Spirit.

Studying science can be exciting. However, “because you were raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Reference: Yasemin Saplakoglu, “This Brainless, Single-Celled Blob Can Make Complex 'Decisions,' Live Science [December 6, 2019]. (Photos of Stentor roeselii from Wikimedia Commons, by Picturepest.)

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do all bats drink blood?


Only three of almost 900 bat species drink blood, and only one of the three, the vampire bat, feeds off mammals. Most bats eat fruit or insects.

Source: Matthew Cserhati, “The Wonderful World of Bats,” Creation [Vol. 42, No. 1, 2020], page 29.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the blog writter and do not necessarily represent the views of LSI. Please note that links in older posts may be broken.

About Me--Warren Krug
Decades ago I attended a so-called Lutheran university where I could have lost my faith. The science professors promoted the theory of evolution and made fun of anybody who believed in the account of creation as presented in the book of Genesis. Thanks be to God, some creationist literature and the Bible soon helped get me back on the right track. Ever since then I have taken an active interest in the creation/evolution controversy.

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