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Section 1: Design in Nature

Animal Instinct

Bird navigators. The navigational abilities of birds remain largely a mystery to science. A species of warbler summers in Germany, where the young are raised. At the close of the season the parent birds depart for the headwaters of the Nile in Africa, leaving behind the young birds, which are not yet ready for the long flight. A few weeks later the young birds take off and fly to Africa, traveling thousands of miles without a guide over a path they have never seen, to join their parents. How do they accomplish this? German scientists proved that they navigate by the stars.10 These birds are hatched from the egg with this ability and with much of the pre-programmed navigation and flight instructions already in their little bird brains.

More recent research reveals that a pigeon has two independent mechanisms for determining direction. In sunny weather the pigeon tells direction by means of the sun, but in cloudy weather it tells direction by means of some kind of magnetic compass located somewhere in its head.11 The common pigeon guards an even more mysterious secret of navigation. It has knowledge of a map which it reads as it travels to its destination. This map is entirely independent of surface features on the earth, yet is strangely influenced by the geographical location in which the bird finds itself. Scientists at Cornell University and other research centers have continued the effort to learn the pigeon's secret. One possible lead comes from recent studies which show that many vertebrate and invertebrate animals, as well as man, have in certain tissues in their heads deposits of microscopically small particles of magnetic iron oxide. This may help explain some directional capabilities observed in many animals and perhaps in man.

Evolutionary science knows no explanation as to how bird and animal navigation capabilities could have evolved. The reasonable explanation is that these creatures were designed by the Creator.

Spider aquanauts. Most spiders do not like water. They are dry land creatures. But Argyroneta lives under the water!12 These clever creatures live in little silken diving bells a foot or so under the surface of ponds and streams in Europe. At the surface they capture bubbles of air, which cling to the hairs of their abdomens, and they fill their diving bells with bubbles brought down from the surface. The female Argyroneta lays her eggs in her diving bell, and the little spiderlets begin their life there beneath the surface. When they are ready to begin an independent life, they dart out into the water sheathed in a silvery bubble of air borrowed from their mother's diving bell home. Evolutionary science faces a formidable challenge in the search for even plausible speculative scenarios for the evolutionary origins of such features in the world of biology, to say nothing of the task of discovering and demonstrating actual genetic processes which are capable of producing new species with new structures, functions and behaviors.

The dirty fish that blushes. The blushing fish of tropical seas provide a striking example of symbiosis (living together). Symbiosis is the term for a relationship between two species which is beneficial to one, the other, or both of them.

A certain species of tropical fish, the yellow-tailed goat fish, mostly white in color, swims in small schools. In common with most of the scaled fish, this species is bothered by infestations of parasites in the scales and gills, and from time to time the fish need a cleaning job. When one of the fish needs such a cleaning, the small school swims over to a coral reef where little black and yellow French angel fish have set up a neighborhood fish washing station. When the dirty fish blushes a bright rust-red color, the little cleaner fish knows that the blushing fish wants a wash, not a fish dinner. He darts out, gives the blushing goat fish a good cleaning, and then darts back into the safety of the coral. The blushing fish stops blushing and the school swims off.13

Several dozen such cleaner relationships have been observed in tropical waters, involving a number of different species of small cleaner fish as well as various species of tiny, beautifully decorated cleaner shrimp. Under other circumstances the cleaners are often eaten by the larger fish, so it is only after the proper signal is given that they will leave their protective lairs to venture out on cleaning missions. The signals used by various species of dirty fish, in addition to color change, include the adoption of an attitude of rest with gills and fins flared, or a vertical position in the water with head up and fins flapping.

One researcher removed the cleaner shrimp from two coral heads and found that within two weeks there were fewer fish at these coral heads than at the others in the area. The fish present often showed frayed fins and ulcerated sores. This strongly suggests that the cleaner relationships are essential for the larger fish and constitute an integral feature of the community life of the coral reef. The idea that such symbiotic arrangements could be evolved and not designed stretches the evolutionary imagination to the breaking point. Does not the evidence lead one to believe that these creatures were designed and created to help one another?

Ants in the plants. Another marvelous example of symbiosis is afforded by the myrmecophytes, plants which are inhabited by ants. The South American Bull's head acacia serves as the home of a species of fierce ants which are nourished by certain parts of the tree. In exchange, the ants protect the tree from all intruders, be they insects, birds, or foraging animals. But even more amazing, these ants nip off and prune back any encroaching vines, bushes, or other plants, thus maintaining ample growth space for their home tree. If the ants are removed from the tree, within two to fifteen months the tree is defoliated, overrun by neighboring plants, and it perishes.14 Did anybody teach these ants to be gardeners?

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