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Section 2: Questions & Answers

The Failure of Darwin: Design in Nature

3. What are some examples of species which evolution cannot explain?

a. Sea Slug With Borrowed Spear Guns 2

The nudibranch or sea slug, Eolidoidea, about two inches long, lives in the shallow tidal zone along the sea coast. It feeds primarily on sea anemones. On the tentacles of the anemones are thousands of tiny stinging cells. They explode at the slightest touch, plunging poisoned whips into intruding fish or other creatures. These are paralyzed and drawn into the anemone's stomach to be digested. But Eolidoidea can violently tear apart, chew up, and digest anemones without being stung, exploding the stinging cells, or digesting them. What happens to the anemone's stinging cells is one of the most amazing mysteries in nature. Connecting the sea slug's stomach with pouches on its outer surface are tiny tubes lined with cilia (moving hairs). The cilia sweep the undigested stinging cells from the stomach to the pouches where they are arranged and stored for the sea slug's defense. Thus when a hungry fish tries to take a bite of sea slug, it gets stung in the mouth by the stinging cells which the hapless anemone manufactured for its own defense!

No suitable explanation for the evolution of this mystery has surfaced to date. As long as this failure of evolution continues, divine special creation of Eolidoidea continues to be an acceptable explanation of its origin for any scientist, teacher or student to hold.

b. Microbe With Rotary Motors

A bacterium commonly found in our intestinal tract, Escherichia coli, is a sausage-shaped cell about 1/10,000th of an inch long. Each microbe is fitted with five or six long, flexible flagella with which it propels itself through the fluid medium. Until about 1972 it was thought that the flagella undulated or wiggled. Then it was found that they actually rotate! This startling discovery initiated intense research which has elu-cidated some amazing facts about the propulsion system of E. coli.3

The flagella are not entirely flexible but have the form of a corkscrew or helical propeller. Each flagellum connects by a universal joint to the shaft of the motor. This shaft protrudes from the side of the bacterium, and since its flagellum must trail behind, the universal joint is needed to transmit the rotary motion around a right angle. The shaft passes through a disk fixed in the bacterial wall. This disk serves as a sleeve bearing, but must also be the stator of the motor. The motor is a constant torque, variable speed, reversible rotary motor! The sensory and control system is also complex and sophisticated.

Can evolutionary theory explain the origin of this propulsion system? Prof. Robert Macnab, at the close of a fifty-page review article admitted it could not.4 Prof. Howard Berg of the California Institute of Technology, a leading authority on the subject, could not in a private conversation provide an explanation. In fact, Darwin's own theory predicts that such a complex combination of complex, interdependent parts could not evolve. This is because if any of the parts began to evolve, they would be a costly, useless burden to the organism. Any microbes which began to evolve the system would have to expend energy and building materials to produce something useless. They would not be able to compete with the unchanged microbes around them and therefore would be eliminated from the population by natural selection. Thus evolution would be stopped in its tracks.

In view of the facts, it is not "unscientific" in the least to believe that E. coli was designed and created by God.

c. Birds, Stars, Maps and Compasses

Migrating birds perform amazing feats of navigation which are still not fully understood by scientists. The lesser white throated warbler summers in Germany but winters near the headwaters of the Nile River in Africa. Toward the close of summer, when the new brood of young is independent, the parent birds take off for Africa, leaving their children behind. Several weeks later the new generation birds take off and fly, unguided, across thousands of miles of unfamiliar land and sea to join their parents. They have never been there before. How do they navigate?

German researchers raised some of the warblers entirely in a planetarium building. Experiments proved that in their little bird brains is the inherited knowledge of how to tell direction, latitude, and longitude by the stars, plus a calendar and a clock, plus the necessary navigational data to enable them to fly unguided to the precise place on the globe where they can join their parents! Many other species of birds perform similar feats. How did all of this knowledge and ability get packed into a little bird's egg?5

More recent investigations at Cornell University have revealed that the homing pigeon determines direction by observing the position of the sun in relation to the bird's internal calendar and clock. But pigeons were also shown to have direction-finding ability in cloudy weather when the sun was not visible. Electromagnets placed on the pigeons' heads destroyed this ability in cloudy weather, but not in sunny weather. Thus, the pigeon has two ways of determining direction, by the sun in clear weather and by an internal magnetic compass in cloudy weather. Sensitivity to magnetic fields may be provided by small deposits of magnetic iron oxide which have been discovered in tissues in the heads of birds. There is also good evidence that pigeons have an internal map of the earth which they use in conjunction with their compasses to enable them to navigate accurately over distances of hundreds of miles.6

Science cannot explain how these remarkable abilities of "scatterbrained" birds could have evolved by chance. Is it not more reasonable to believe that birds were designed and created with those abilities required for a happy life with the birds?

d. Good Engineering in the Human Body 7

The human body is amazing not only because of its excellently engineered structures and mechanisms such as bones, joints, muscles, communications networks, and circulatory systems, but also because of the many sophisticated control systems which regulate all of the bodily functions. In general these control systems use the principle of negative feedback which is basic to the control mechanisms designed by engineers for use in automobiles, air conditioning systems, and manufacturing plants. Physiologist (physiology - study of life processes, activities, and functions) David A. Kaufman lists ten different classes of control systems in the human body: internal environment and homeostasis (keeping internal conditions such as temperature constant), nervous control, hormone control (hormones are messenger chemicals), contractile control, circulatory control, and absorption, resting and energy metabolism (producing energy from food), and regeneration and reproduction. There is not space here even to define all of the bodily functions, but one example will be described.

The human body has a temperature control system which keeps the body core temperature relatively constant at 99.6oF. The hypothalamus, a gland in the brain, contains an unknown device which provides the standard or ideal temperature signal. This signal goes to a comparison device where it is compared with the temperature signal from a temperature sensor which reads actual body temperature. From the comparison device an error signal of too hot or too cold is sent to either the body's antirise or its antidrop center. If stimulated, the antirise center turns on the sweating and vasodilation (expanding of blood vessels) mechanisms. These release heat to the surroundings and reduce bodily heat production. On the other hand, the antidrop center, if stimulated, turns on the shivering and vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels) mechanisms. These preserve heat and increase bodily heat production.

Scientists only vaguely understand the details of this efficient control mechanism, which are undoubtedly highly sophisticated. What great faith in the abilities of "dumb atoms" is needed for an informed person to believe that these intricate engineering techniques used in the human body and absolutely essential to human existence could be the end result of blind, purposeless evolution.

The four examples just considered illustrate the fact that evolution fails dismally when the structures and functions of living things are examined in detail. We have presented these and other such examples of intelligent, purposeful design in nature before many college and university audiences. Not once has a qualified scientist or faculty member offered to explain their origin by evolution through many intermediate steps. A theory which majors on broad generalities but fails on the details is not very satisfactory science.

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