I have long been of the opinion that with at most three questions you can get anybody to say “I don’t know.” A series of three incisive questions can push even experts in a field to admit they don’t know the answer.
For mathematicians like myself, a single question can easily stump us. You don’t need to ask three questions to make us say, “I don’t know.” You just ask about an unsolved math problem. Here are examples:
“Are there an infinite number of twin primes?”
(Twin primes are prime numbers that differ by two, like 3 and 5, or 29 and 31, or 617 and 619, or 32,411 and 32,413.)
“Is every even number greater than 2 the sum of two primes?”
(For example, 8 = 3 + 5, and 24 = 11 + 13 = 7 + 17 = 5 + 19.)
Any mathematician will answer “I don’t know” to these two questions, because they are currently unsolved problems in a branch of mathematics called Number Theory.
I like to test my Three Question Theory by asking experts questions in their field. I aim to get to the frontier of their knowledge in three questions. It always works.
I remember doing this when questioning the obstetrician in the delivery room about the birth process for one of our children. When I asked my third question, “What initiates the baby’s birth?” he replied, “We don’t know. We don’t know whether it’s the mother, or the baby, or a combination of the two. We have no idea what triggers it.”
How does a mother’s body know when to start the birth process? How does a baby know when to start down the birth canal?
Research with mice suggests that the baby starts the process when it is ready.
Surfactant protein A (SP-A) inside newborn mouse lungs helps prevent lung infections. Shortly before birth the concentration of this protein increases in the amniotic fluid. SP-A causes the unborn mouse to release immune cells called macrophages into the amniotic fluid. The macrophages leave the amniotic fluid and go to the uterus of the mother mouse. At the uterus the macrophages cause inflammation that makes the cervix open and causes contractions to begin.
Early injection of a pregnant mouse with SP-A caused the mouse to deliver early. Injection of an antibody that blocks SP-A function caused mice to deliver late.
In mammals, the lungs are the last organs to mature in utero before birth. When the lungs are ready to transition from breathing amniotic fluid to breathing air, they send the SP-A signal to begin labor.
Thus it appears that in mice the maturing lungs of the unborn mouse release a protein that starts the birth process. This is the key signal that initiates labor.
If this proves true with humans, which is likely since humans have SP-A as well, it will answer the age-old debate among biologists as to whether the mother or the baby initiates labor. It appears that the entire birth process is controlled by the unborn baby. This research also points to ways to prevent premature births by injecting into the amniotic fluid antibodies that block SP-A function.
Could this complex system have accidentally evolved through random mistakes in the genetic code? Of course not. Every piece had to be in place and working if there were to be any successful births. It couldn’t possibly have been an evolutionary development over long ages.
From where did this system come? The Creator designed and implemented it for His creatures. Just as He designed physical birth for His creatures, so He also designed spiritual rebirth to save mankind. Read about the Good News of Rebirth.
John Travis, “It’s Time! Fetal Lungs Tell Mom When to Deliver Baby“, Science News, 3/24/2004, p. 198.
Questions to Ponder
- Have you ever encountered someone who will never admit, “I don’t know”?
- What other aspect of birth prompts you to praise the Creator?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday October 5, 2016 A.D.
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
(Psalm 139:13-16 NASB)