Saturday, April 30, 2005

Jawbones Agape

Out of the several hundred million spermatozoa entering the female reproductive tract, under the right circumstances only one is enabled to penetrate the secondary oocyte. The processes preceding fertilization are extremely complex. It requires approximately ten hours to complete the chemical processes necessary for the spermatozoon to become capable to enter the oocyte. This same process weakens the membrane around the acrosome of the sperm cell. As the male cell contacts the corona radiata of the female cell the enzymes released by the deteriorating acrosome ‘eats’ through the outer layer of the egg as well as the underlying glycoprotein layer, the zona pellucida, allowing the spermatozoon to enter the oocyte. The oocyte then undergoes a change that causes its outer layers to block entry of other spermatozoa. The male undergoes more changes in conjunction with the female changes to make way for the two haploids to combine into one diploid cell, the zygote. The single celled zygote has the full genetic complement. He or she now begins intricate physical developmental stages.

Visible, microscopic changes begin in about a day and a half. The single cell cleaves into two. After two days there are four cells, then after three days there are sixteen ‘blastomeres’. Shortly afterwards, the individual is termed a morula. At this point its total size is the same as the original zygote. The morula develops into a blastocyst. After six days the blastocyst implants into the uterine endometrium. Surprisingly the embryo’s antigens do not cause attack and rejection by the mother’s antibodies.

The embryo develops three germ layers that each eventually become the different systems and organs that we recognize in human anatomy. Neither the baby nor the mother participates in the completion of these processes.

After the birth of the child, growth and other kinds of developments occur naturally without human assistance. Food, medicine, and other cares are done, but they only provide an environment for development.

As far as the child is able to understand, the whole universe revolves around him. Hunger, elimination mush, or other discomforts elicit a demand for action. ‘Hop to it, my servants!’

Hopefully after a period of time the child must learn that the universe and all that it contains do not bow to his wishes. What a disappointing shock. Needs are still taken care of at another’s expense, but his desires are regularly subject to frustration.

As growth continues, intellectual and cultural education is given by the hand and at the expense of others. The child learns to use technology produced by others and is dependent on others for a multitude of life’s benefits.

His physiological processes also continue without his direction. His heart pumps, he breathes, his cells undergo all metabolic mechanisms without his conscious effort.

In spite of all these facts, man continues to hold and increase in faith that he is the ‘captain of his own soul, the master of his own fate’. In conjunction, many even metamorphose into the ‘captain of other souls, the master of other fates’. ‘I shall be as God, choosing what is good and what is evil.’

“There is no greater fool than he that says, ‘There is no God,’ unless it be the one who says he does not know whether there is one or not.”– Bismarck

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