Air is Life



Why do we need air to live?

Just like a car, your body is made up of matter consisting of different chemical elements (like hydrogen (H), oxygen (O) and carbon (C)).  Most of the chemical elements present within your body are joined to others to form molecules (like molecular oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).   In addition, just like a car is made up of different parts, so too, your body is made up of trillions of cells which altogether form your tissues and organs (like your brain, your heart and your muscles).  And finally, just as a car must have enough energy to race up a hill, each of your cells must have enough energy to live and work properly. 

The air consists of four-fifths nitrogen (N2) and one-fifth oxygen (O2).  A car uses the oxygen in the air, and a spark, to ignite fuel within its engine to cause a mini-explosion and the release of energy to power it up the hill.  Similarly, using oxygen from the air, and about twenty other specific molecules, your cells release the energy within a sugar molecule called glucose in a process called cellular respiration.  Without air and the oxygen it contains, your cells wouldn't have enough energy and like a car without air and fuel, you'd be as good as dead. 

Three Questions for Mr. Darwin

1)  Where did the information come from that tells my cells how to make enough of the twenty specific molecules needed for cellular respiration and how did the cells of earlier life forms accomplish this function without one or more of them?

2)  How do my cells know that they have to use oxygen with the twenty other molecules needed for cellular respiration, to release the energy they need from the glucose molecule?

3)  How do my cells know how much energy they need to do what they’re supposed to do? 


Also see Dr. Glicksman's Series on

"Beyond Irreducible Complexity"

"Exercise Your Wonder"


Howard Glicksman M. D. graduated from the University of Toronto in 1978. He practiced primary care medicine for almost 25 yrs in Oakville, Ontario and Spring Hill, Florida. He now practices palliative medicine for a Hospice organization in his community. He has a special interest in how the ethos of our culture has been influenced by modern science’s understanding and promotion of what it means to be a human being.

Comments and questions are welcome.

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