Motors in the cell
Creation for Kids
Words to learn
Motor: a machine that uses energy to provide motion.
Protein: An organic molecule that is made of amino acids in a specific shape which allows it to perform a specific function in a living being.
Eukaryotic cell: a cell with a nucleus. Plants and animals have eukaryotic cells. Bacteria are prokaryotes: they have no cell nucleus.
Rpm: revolutions (complete turns) per minute.
Efficiency: (motion energy)/(input energy)
“The wheel may be one of those cases where the engineering solution can be seen in plain view, yet be unattainable in evolution.”
Richard Dawkins, leading evolutionist and atheist.
Technology affects every area of our life, and some of it is really amazing! Take the 2018 Ferrari 812 Supercar—it is sleek and looks totally cool, but the really important part is its powerful motor, which means that it has a top speed of 340 km (210 miles) per hour. The Racer X drone has four propellers that spin at 46,000 rpm (revolutions per minute) and has a top speed of 283 km/h (176 mph). These are extremely complex machines that required entire teams of engineers to develop and test the designs to make sure the motors and moving parts work together.
One problem with car motors is that a lot of the energy is wasted as heat, instead of being used to turn the wheels. So cars must have a cooling system, otherwise the motor would overheat. More efficient motors waste less energy and turn more of it into motion. The best gasoline (petrol) engines are only about 30% efficient (i.e. less than a third of the energy is converted to motion). The best hybrid car engines are about 45%.
One way technology gets better is when we figure out how to make motors smaller. But this is hard because of all the different parts of motors that have to work together perfectly—it’s hard to make them smaller beyond a certain point. If the technology is too small to see without a microscope, then it is called nanotechnology.
Tiny motors in our cells
But did you know each one of us has billions of motors that are much more complex than anyone can build—in our cells? The world’s smallest motor is called ATP synthase (below), and you have trillions of them in your body. 100,000 would fit side-by-side on a millimetre.
It is very important that these motors work correctly, because they make the fuel that our cells run on. They produce a chemical called ATP—about your body weight in ATP every day! Cyanide is such a deadly poison because it stops ATP production.
This motor is powered by an electrical current, thanks to another part of the cell that acts like a tiny battery. It spins at 10,000 rpm, and each turn produces three molecules of ATP. The ATP motor is almost 100% efficient: almost all the electrical energy is turned into ATP.
ATP synthase could not have evolved, because you can’t have evolution before you have a living thing that can make copies of itself, and every example of a living thing we know of has ATP synthase—it’s needed to live.
With your parents’ permission, go to creation.com/atp to see a video of ATP synthase at work.
Another example of amazing ‘God-tech’ is called the kinesin motor. Your body makes all sorts of proteins that your cells need to work correctly—but then those proteins need to get to the correct destinations. That’s where the kinesin motor comes in. Kinesin is a ‘walking molecule’ that takes the proteins to the right place in the cell along tiny ‘roadways’—thanks to address labels! It takes 125,000 ‘steps’ to move one millimetre, and it moves 100 steps every second.
See creation.com/kinesin to see a video of the kinesin motor.
Who built these motors?
ATP is the universal ‘fuel’ for living cells, so all living things have ATP synthase (except for some parasitic bacteria, which are probably degenerated from bacteria that originally had them). And all eukaryotic cells have kinesin. That means that if evolution were true, these complex motors would have had to be around from virtually the beginning of life as we know it. But how could such complex motors be built without an intelligent engineer?
The machines we talked about required teams of designers to make sure that they functioned correctly. And these motors are much more intricate than a car’s or drone’s motor! Only God could have created the incredibly complex motors in the cell.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 139:13, “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” This means that God is the one who created us, including the amazing machines that are in every cell.
Man-made motors have design that no one would doubt—no one thinks that a luxury car is created by a tornado in a junkyard! But evolutionists refuse to acknowledge the amazing design behind the incredible motors in the cell.
Let’s talk about it!
We’ve learned about some interesting machines in the cell. But why is it important to know about them? Many of us have friends and family that don’t believe God is the Creator. By explaining what you’ve learned today about motors in the cell, you can point them to our Creator, Jesus Christ!
What are some things you use every day that have motors? How can you tell those motors are designed?