Feb 3, 2010
The unique sound of Fernando Ortega singing his own song, Sing to Jesus.
Feb 3, 2010
The unique sound of Fernando Ortega singing his own song, Sing to Jesus.
For them, all the talk about fully automated cars and planes—which would relegate drivers and pilots to passenger status—is dreadful. For others, though, that day cannot get here soon enough. Since cars and planes already exist, the great engineering challenge of automating them is to design control systems fully capable of self control while the vehicles traverse various conditions.
Designing today’s control systems is hard work. Engineers who develop automated cars and planes will need to install multiple sophisticated systems. Conceivably, these could all be completely different types of systems, though areas of integration and overlap are likely. For example, an automated passenger jet would need to control the engines, wings, rudder, and landing gear quite rapidly. Passengers would enjoy systems that not only can control gradual adjustments to cabin temperature and pressure but can also make rapid adjustments if urgently needed. Amazingly, our bodies already have many design features conferring fully automated control that have eclipsed human-engineered systems by millennia. When we reverse-engineer the human body by taking it apart to study it, we find the familiar fast neurological system and a relatively slower, less familiar endocrine or hormonal system. Let’s become more acquainted with our endocrine system.
Almost everyone has heard of growth hormones, estrogen, testosterone, and adrenaline, and most people are familiar with the exciting effects these hormones have on influencing the way we look or perform. So when talking about the endocrine system, it’s tempting to jump to a discussion of a hormone and its mechanism of action. However, our bodies need some process for slow and steady maintenance and growth. When we approach it as a fascinating display of how vital control systems are designed, then investigating the way the endocrine system generally exerts its type of steady, long-term guidance over growth, development, and daily homeostasis is also exciting.
Endocrine control happens through molecules called hormones. Tissues that produce hormones build them from a cholesterol or lipid (a fat molecule) framework, or link amino acids into proteins. Because hormones work to regulate specific target organs or tissues, it only takes tiny amounts of a given hormone to produce very large effects, though a few types of hormones are released in large quantities. Most hormones, therefore, circulate in the bloodstream in extremely small concentrations. Fittingly, the tissues that produce them are quite small when compared to the body as a whole or even to a single organ. In fact, if all of the endocrine-producing tissue from an adult were collected, it would weigh only about one-quarter of a pound.
Endocrine systems exquisitely exhibit classic elements of human-designed control systems. To self-adjust, three actions must flow together:
1. Changes in external conditions are determined from input data,
2. A logic “if-then” determination is made from the data,
3. And then a prompt adjustment is sent as an output.
Automated system diagrams conventionally show a feedback signal sent from the output/external condition side of the process back to the input, forming a closed-communication, self-regulating loop (see Figure 1). Note that sometimes a measurable signal is sent back to the logic center. More often, the output simply changes the external conditions, which are continuously monitored by detectors, and the logic center self-adjusts the entity accordingly—i.e., the feedback step.
In living things, the identifiable parts are the detectors (called receptors in biology) associated with cells to sense the presence of a specified stimuli (i.e., the hormone), an information-based logic center within the cell, and output “controllers” (like an enzyme) to make the determined changes. The big picture of endocrine control illustrates how these regulatory elements work together.
Central nervous and endocrine systems integrate together to control the whole body. But independent systems do not just happen to work together. The activity of both is bridged by another designed system—a utility system called an interface that coordinates functions from both the central nervous and endocrine systems. Therefore, from a design standpoint, researchers should expect to find many types of interfacing elements within our human body. These necessary elements are indeed found in abundance, and the dominant interface structure linking the nervous and endocrine systems is the hypothalamus. This is a small, specialized extended segment of brain located in the mid-central region. All designed interfaces must possess at least one feature of both linked entities in order to function, and the hypothalamus has neurological tissue and produces hormones.
On the endocrine side, some hypothalamic hormones regulate an important gland called the pituitary. Anatomically, a short, slender stalk connects the pituitary below the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus may store its own hormones in a portion of the pituitary gland for release, or stimulate the pituitary to release its own repertoire of hormones into circulation. Numerous target organs or tissues detect hormones from either source. These targeted areas include bones, muscle, breasts, gonads, or the adrenal and thyroid glands (see Figure 2). Finally, the automated loop of the control system is closed when hormones produced by these tissues enter circulation and are detected by the pituitary and hypothalamus, which then self-modify their regulatory activities.
The origin of any regulatory or interface system is, without exception, the product of an intelligent mind. It makes no scientific sense to explain the origination of any regulatory system as due to the “selective” powers evolutionists project onto nature. In fact, the mind behind the design of these systems must possess a thorough understanding of how every tissue functions and works together in perfect orchestration…equating to an astounding understanding. That mind is found in the Lord Jesus Christ, our infinite Creator. Our normal response to His marvelous creation should be the awe-inspired praise, “O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep” (Psalm 92:5).
by Randy J. Guliuzza, P.E., M.D. is ICR’s National Representative.
Cite this article: Randy J. Guliuzza, P.E., M.D. 2015. Made in His Image: Designed Control Systems. Acts & Facts. 44 (8).
Have you ever tried to make a perfectly straight line of footprints in the snow? It’s not as easy as you might think! Most people would tread slow and steady, heads down, focusing intensely on their feet. Whenever someone faces this challenge with their eyes turned downward, you can be sure that they’ll fail. Those footprints will be as crooked as can be.
When you’re walking with your eyes on your feet, you have no idea where you’re going. The experience is entirely self-centered. There’s no perspective, because you can’t see how you fit into the larger landscape. Genuine focus is missing, since every step treads over the last step’s focal point. You haven’t envisioned yourself as part of a bigger picture. So you simply plod through the snow aimlessly.
The only way to make a straight line of footprints in the snow is to ignore your feet. Instead, look directly ahead and find a fence post, street sign, or tree in the distance. Then, with your eyes fixed on that target, start to walk towards it. If you’ve locked your focus on something other than yourself, the path will be straight every time.
The same is true in our spiritual lives. If we walk through life concentrating inwardly, we’ll fail to see the bigger picture and likely go off course. But when we focus beyond ourselves, fixing our thoughts and spiritual eyes on Jesus Christ, we can trust our path will be straight and trustworthy every step of the way (Isa. 26:3 NLT).
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Concerning Scripture, Christ taught that every “jot and tittle” (i.e., even portions of letters, not to mention words and phrases) was inspired and would last forever. In many portions of Scripture, the teaching rests on a seemingly rather insignificant component of a word or phrase.
For example, consider the phrase “yet once more” in Hebrews 12:26, quoting Haggai 2:6. We see, in verse 27, that the argument requiring a coming judgment on all of creation hinges on it pointing back to a similar judgment in the past. Similarly, in Galatians 4:9, we see Paul couching his comments to the Galatian believers, who had returned to a legalistic system, in a question that turned on the active voice of a verb rather than passive. We have not only “known God” but “are known of God.” In John 8:58, a clever use of verb tense was made: “Before Abraham was, I am,” thereby asserting Christ’s deity. Note also in John 10:34-36 how Christ cleverly used the mood of a verb while quoting from Psalm 82:6 in order to defuse the charge of blasphemy leveled against Him. Paul’s argument in Galatians 3:16 (based on a quotation from Genesis 22:17-18) shows how even the singular or plural form of a word is equally inspired.
Consider Christ’s answer to the Sadducees who denied personal resurrection when He said, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). Christ is their God, not simply was. “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine” (v. 33).
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.” Let us handle Scripture with the same care and love it with the same fervency as did Christ and the apostles. JDM
To me only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. —Jude 25
But the God we must see is not the utilitarian God who is having such a run of popularity today, whose chief claim to men’s attention is His ability to bring them success in their various undertakings and who for that reason is being cajoled and flattered by everyone who wants a favor. The God we must learn to know is the Majesty in the heavens, God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, the only wise God our Saviour….
Knowledge of such a Being cannot be gained by study alone. It comes by a wisdom the natural man knows nothing of, neither can know, because it is spiritually discerned. To know God is at once the easiest and the most difficult thing in the world. It is easy because the knowledge is not won by hard mental toil, but is something freely given. As sunlight falls free on the open field, so the knowledge of the holy God is a free gift to men who are open to receive it. But this knowledge is difficult because there are conditions to be met and the obstinate nature of fallen man does not take kindly to them.
Lord, deliver me from viewing You as simply a utilitarian God and give to me the spiritual wisdom that defies my obstinacy and leads me to true knowledge of You. Amen.
For it became him… bringing many sons unto glory. (Hebrews 2:10)
As Christian believers (I am assuming you are a believer), you and I know how we have been changed and regenerated and assured of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning death. On the other hand, where this good news of salvation by faith is not known, religion becomes an actual bondage. If Christianity is known only as a religious institution, it may well become merely a legalistic system of religion, and the hope of eternal life becomes a delusion.
I have said this much about reality and assurance to counter the shock you may feel when I add that God wants to fully prepare you in your daily Christian life so that you will be ready indeed for heaven! Many of us have been in God’s household for a long time. Remember that God has been trying to do something special within our beings day after day, year after year.
Why? Because His purpose is to bring many sons—and daughters, too—unto glory!
If you might go to Heaven and hold communion with some person whom you dearly loved, you would often be found there. But here is Jesus, the King of Heaven, and He gives you that which can open the gates of Heaven and let you in to be with Him, and yet you live without meditating upon His work, meditating upon His person, meditating upon His offices, and meditating upon His glory. Ah! there is nothing that can so console your spirits, and relieve all your distresses and troubles, as the feeling that now you can meditate on the person of Jesus Christ.