Thursday, February 13, 2014

#51 Pollination

We are all familiar with pollen, but I think most of us don’t know much about the pollination process, nor have we thought about it deeply in the context of Evolution vs. Creation. I sure didn’t until recently.

In reading a number of articles I quickly discovered that the process is extremely complicated. One amazing thing that I did not know is that in the vast majority of plants pollination is required BEFORE a seed is able to be produced. No pollination, no seeds.

Only about 10% of plants are pollinated by wind or water. The other 90% require some animal or insect to be involved to transport the pollen.[1] This is very complicated and difficult to imagine how any evolutionary process over time and small changes could possibly work. We are supposed to believe that wonderful harmony and mutual benefit came about accidentally. Humans have a really hard time producing it on purpose. It’s even harder to imagine when you learn that some plants do not have random pollinators, but have specialized to the point that only one particular insect is allowed to do the pollination.

Pollen has been around for millions of years. It is known to have remained virtually the same for 120 million years. No changes. How could evolution stop completely for that long (if it was ever working at all)?

Every individual type of plant has its own uniquely shaped pollen. That is amazing in and of itself. No repeats. Pollen is so unique and unchanging that it can be used in a court of law to determine exactly where an item has been if it contains a certain pollen.

You may have heard about the famous Shroud of Turin, touted as the burial cloth of Jesus. Interestingly, scientists know by the pollen in the fibers some of the exact areas in the Middle East where it must have traveled at one time. [2] [3]

Through many amazing adventures, pollen eventually arrives at its destination, then many phenomenal fertilization processes begin taking place. The pollen contains the male gamete (like sperm) that must fertilize the female part of the plant. In many cases it is very difficult to get to the female gamete and the pollen will actually grow a long pollen tube that deposits the male nuclei into the egg.

Actually there are usually 2 male nuclei in the pollen. One will fertilize the egg and the other will unite in a different way and produce the section of the seed that contains the nutrients for the later growth of the seedling plant.

Every one of the complex stages of pollination shows God’s intelligent design. If you try to imagine how a totally random process that works slowly over many generations and small incremental changes could produce such magnificence, forget it. The gaps are too impossible. The probability is too great that even one plant species could do it, let alone the hundreds of thousands of plants all being able to accidentally do it. Add to that the fact that many of the plants do it in different ways so somehow each would have had to “evolve” separately.

Here’s a good question of those of the Evolution faith. Did pollen come first or did the plant come first? If pollen somehow came first, since this is the male part, how could the female part have accidentally evolved at the same time and in the same location so there could be fertilization?

Fertilization is really, really complicated. Check out this “Plant Fertilization” tutorial [4] for a fairly simple to understand explanation.

If they somehow met up, how could they have the exact matching DNA? What are the odds? How many times would that process happen before the right sequence of changes takes place so a seed will result with its own nutrients included within the seed shell?

Even if you had a seed, how did the instructions get in the seed to produce a plant that would grow up and produce more of the exact pollen you started with? Even if you had one plant, you would still need another plant with the same DNA nearby for cross-fertilization.

Cross-fertilization is very important to understand. [5] It means that a plant cannot fertilize itself with its own pollen. This probably helps with plant immunity, but how could that be attributed to “survival of the fittest” when it’s so much harder than self-fertilization. The vast majority of plants require cross-fertilization and there are incredibly fascinating mechanisms that different plants have to prevent self-fertilization and facilitate cross-fertilization. Some plants hide away their female parts until all their pollen has been removed. Some plants have the male and female areas in separated places. Some plants only allow a certain type of insect, for example, to get to their pollen and transfer it. In some cases, scientists don’t know how a plant’s own pollen is recognized and rejected.

Speaking of insects and other pollinators, just read up on some of the intricate processes that plants have to attract insects or animals to come near. Do plants have brains that thought up the idea of manufacturing sweet nectar to attract a bug? How did that happen? That nectar is providing food for the insect but no benefit to the plant itself. The plant is amazingly generous to give away all that good stuff and not use it for itself somehow. How could a plant have been pollinated before the development of the sweet nectar? How could the nectar evolve over many generations to just the correct sweetness formulation? If only one plant had nectar, why would the insect go to the next plant carrying the pollen? The pollen won’t fertilize just any plant, it has to be exactly the same species and a DNA match.

It seems inconceivable that any evolutionary process could start with only pollen. But it’s also just as inconceivable that if you start with a plant and follow the principles of evolution that you could ever develop a system like pollination in a slow and gradual way over many successive generations.

Scientists don't know where plants came from.

“The ancestors of flowering plants currently remain a mystery, and scientists aren't sure what kind of events or conditions might have spurred their origin.

"’So far, no direct ancestors of flowering plants are known," Hochuli said. "Some groups of plants are suspected to be closely related. But the evidence is weak, and most of these groups are thought to be too specialized to be at the base of the flowering plants.’" [6]

In this scenario, you would have to start with a plant that could fertilize itself somehow. But starting there, how did it suddenly develop pollen grains that have two male nuclei? Even then, what good is male pollen unless there was also the female ovule accidentally developed at the same time on the same plant. Even if you had that, how would you eventually get to two separate plants that both require cross-fertilization? The odds of two plants appearing spontaneously and being a matched DNA pair is astronomical. If randomly a plant grew that required cross-fertilization from another plant, how could it ever become dominant?[7]  

Plants make so many kinds of seeds, nuts, and fruits. Could it have just accidentally happened that most of these are good for birds, animals, and even humans to eat? No way.

Could it be accidental that these foods are mostly nutritious and not totally worthless or even poison? No way. Could it be accidental that they all taste so good? No way. It’s beyond obvious that it was designed.

There clearly is God.         


[3] The Shroud of Turin - Evidence it is authentic,

[6] Ancient Roots: Flowers May Have Existed When First Dinosaur Was Born,

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