Miracles of Evolution? - Or Creation?
In this article I would like to examine some cases of incredible so-called "adaptations" in the plant and animal worlds. We all have seen those seemingly endless documentaries on the marvels of nature, often with "Nature" personified with a capital N. How often have we been glibly assured, without any actual evidence, of the marvellous way by which plant X or animal Y "solved a problem" by "inventing" some sort of intricate biological mechanism?
Perhaps commentators like Carl Sagan, Richard Attenborough, and Robyn Williams tend to personalise nature because subconsciously they feel sceptical about some of nature's "miracles" in evolution. Of course they would deny this, but one wonders.
By almost magical hops, steps and jumps we see reptiles "inventing" the amniote egg; the amphibians "learning" to walk on newly-acquired legs; mammals "discovering" how hair or fur could keep them warm; plants "inventing" the vascular system; reptiles "acquiring" the glories of feathers and flight; and bats "discovering" the advantages of sonar.
Let us look a little closer at some of these biological miracles and use our common sense, a characteristic which seems to be lacking amongst many atheistic naturalists in whom the words "design" or "creative intelligence" usually evince a sense of horror and outrage. They insist on believing things contrary to intelligent thought, rather than acknowledging that there may even be a Creator God who did actually design an organ or an organism.
We often hear of the evolution of the automobile or of the jet-plane, but let it be clearly seen that automobiles and jet planes are the work of creative intelligence - man, and not the result of natural occurrences. I will tend to look mainly at Australian oddities for a change from the usual fare with which most of us are familiar.
Kangaroos and Embryonic Diapause
Female kangaroos have some remarkable features which, according to the atheist evolutionist, occurred by chance mutation and natural selection. One of these phenomenon is called embryonic diapause. Embryonic diapause is the kangaroos' ability to carry a fertilised egg in a state of suspended development in the uterus, while her pouch is still occupied by a baby Joey which was born earlier. This phenomenon is believed to be connected to droughts and seasonal conditions.
Terence Dawson (1983) describes it well (page 62), "The fertilised ovum from a post-birth mating develops to the blastocyst stage, but then becomes dormant if the (previously) newly born young reaches the pouch and begins to suckle. Lactation inhibits both blastocyst development and the estrus cycle. In a species such as the red kangaroo, if the new-born young in the pouch survives normally, the blastocyst will remain dormant for about 200 days. Thereafter, development of the diapausing embryo resumes and within 30 days birth takes place. The previous inhabitant of the pouch, now grown large, is evicted shortly before the new offspring enters its shelter." (Emphasis added.)
Not only is this ability to suspend the development of the second joey in the uterus amazing, there is still more - the female kangaroo can produce two different types of milk at the same time. One type of milk is made for the older joey who has been ejected from the pouch and the other type for the second baby still attached to a second nipple in the pouch.
In fact, occasionally a female kangaroo can be dealing with three offspring simultaneously - a dormant blastocyst in the uterus, a small joey suckling in the pouch, and a third larger joey at heel, still suckling when required.
Now to the common sense reader such a phenomenon demands an answer to the question - how did such an amazing suite of features come about? Through blind chance mutations and genetic accidents, or by creative intelligence? Even the development of lactation itself requires some sort of miracle. But is it an accidental miracle or a carefully designed miracle? I leave it to your common sense to decide whether such features evolved by accident, gradually and in the same direction to produce this astonishing assemblage of linked abilities.
Evolutionists claim that mammary glands evolved from sweat glands! There is a vast gulf between sweat and nourishing milk. Milk is a biological engineering marvel and the evolutionary explanation is grasping at straws; unworthy of men of science.
Most people know what the cuckoo does. It lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, usually after ejecting some of the original eggs from the nest to make way for its own. The host bird, or victim, then hatches and raises the cuckoo chicks along with its own!
To achieve the deception many species of cuckoo have "invented" the ability to lay eggs of virtually the same size and colour of the host bird. The Australian black-eared cuckoo is no exception. Her eggs remarkably match the chocolate-red eggs of the speckled warbler, the usual host bird of this species of cuckoo.
Again we have the question: Just how did this black-eared cuckoo "learn" to lay eggs of the same size and colour of the warbler? By gradual mutation over a long period of time? Why does the mother host bird continue to feed the cuckoo chick long after it is obviously larger or different from her own chicks? The atheist evolutionist will absolutely refuse to see any creative design and will still insist that chance accidents did the job. What do you think?
Birds and the Toilet
Did you know that some birds are so clever that they do not excrete their body wastes near their nest? (McDonald, 1985, p.24). There is also a bird which has the ability to stand at the entrance of its nest (a hole in a tree) and eject its wastes a distance of up to 10 or 12 feet so as not to draw the attention of predators! Now, did the ancestors of this bird practice their aim over millions of years - all by blind chance behavioural changes? Or was such an ability built in to these birds by a Designer?
Remember, I am not questioning the survival of a novelty feature or behavioural trait, but its arrival. Natural selection can explain the first but not the latter.
Sea Birds and Salt Water
Have you ever wondered how birds which spend long periods of time out in the far oceans manage to survive without fresh water? Incredibly, sea birds such as some petrels and shearwaters which rarely come onto the land can drink seawater because they have "devised" a built-in desalination plant! They "achieved" this remarkable feat of adaptation by converting glands in the nose so that salt is extracted before it can reach the tissues where it would eventually kill the bird. These glands act as secondary kidneys and filter out the surplus salt. Now, once again, I ask, did this incredible little desalination plant come about by genetic accidents or is creative intelligence the more likely answer?
The Thorny Devil and Colour
A lizard called the thorny devil or mountain devil (Moloch horridus) lives in the hot dry inland of Australia. It is a rather repulsive looking creature which feeds on ants, eating thousands in a single meal.
Like some other organisms, the thorny devil has the remarkable ability to change its colour. According to its mood or state of excitement, this fearsome looking lizard can be dull grey, vivid orange or rich brown. Did the thorny devil teach itself to change colour over millions of years?
There are many other biological wonders in Australia, including the incredible platypus whose existence defies evolutionary analysis. The ant-lion is another amazing creature with its inverted pyramid-shaped sand trap just waiting for unwary insects. Even if an ant did manage to climb up the shaky sides towards freedom, the ant-lion can flick up sand grains to knock the victim back down again!
Australia has a number of animals that can estivate - that is, lie in a sort of summer sleep, a torpid condition which allows an individual to escape temperature extremes and cut down on food requirements.
Vincent Serventy (1985, p.160) writes of one type of Australian bird, "The young (crimson chats) disperse from the nest and each little individual separately spends the night on the ground in a torpid state. One can indeed pick up one of these little birds in the hand and it lies inert for quite a while before warmth gradually revives it."
Others able to estivate or remain dormant include red-capped robins, white-fronted honey-eaters, the mulgara, the echidna, and the fat-tailed dunnart, a type of marsupial mouse, which can store food in the form of fat in its tail.
The Slipper Orchids
There are four species of the Australian slipper orchid which have a part so well shaped to resemble the female ichneumon wasp that the male wasp will actually try to mate with it, thus distributing the pollen for the fertilisation of the plant. What's more, the orchid gives off a smell almost identical to the female wasp, a truly remarkable achievement for blind chance mutations or genetic accidents!
The list of amazingly successful and complex "adaptations" is almost endless. The archer fish can spit a stream of water from beneath the water's surface correcting for parallax(!) to bring down insects for a tasty meal. It has a groove in its mouth which acts like a blow pipe one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter. Can anyone imagine an evolutionary history for this little fish? How did it know that a) it had the equipment, and b) how to use it?
How about the woodpecker which has "invented" special shock absorbers behind its beak to protect its brain? Or the Australian mallee fowl or brush turkey which builds a huge mound in which to incubate eggs. This bird can even tell what the temperature inside the mound is, and rake off some material if it is too hot or put more on if the mound is not warm enough. How did this bird develop this amazing ability?
And how does an evolutionist explain the rise of the carnivorous plants with their incredible array of highly specialised lures of sweet nectar and odours to attract their insect victims to their death? What about the South American orchid, Cryptostylis leptochile, which has a labellum shaped like a small bucket. This "bucket" contains a liquid that attracts the insects, some of which fall into the bucket. The only escape is a hole just above the level of the liquid. As the insect (often a bee) struggles through the exit, the plant holds it fast and clamps a packet of pollen firmly on the insect before it lets the insect go. In due course, the insect lands on another bucket orchid, this time giving up the pollen, completing the fertilisation. To say the orchids "developed" this feature by genetic accidents is not science.
The first plants to allegedly colonise the land about 300 to 400 million years ago needed special structures to successfully live out of the water. They had to have veins to transport water to every part of every leaf. They also had to have a waxy waterproof external covering to protect the cells (the cuticle). Plants which transport water and minerals throughout the organism are called vascular plants. Without this vein system few land plants could survive. In a large tree, this transport system can reach the staggering length of hundreds of miles!
When we look at a forest in silent action, we should feel very humble at the enormity and complexity of the biological activity involved.
Just about everything invented by man had long before been "invented" by nature. Flight was "invented" by nature four times separately; in birds, insects, bats (mammals), and extinct flying reptiles. In none of the four cases is there any sign of intermediate stages in the fossil record - a truly remarkable situation which the evolutionists want us to believe by faith.
I have only given a very few of many thousands of cases where gradual evolution by biological accidents is clearly inadequate to explain biological systems. Many biologists such as Goldschmidt in the 1940's knew there is no natural explanation for these things, but few are prepared to admit it openly. Dr. Goldschmidt, a leading biologist of his day, challenged his fellow evolutionists to explain the origin of 17 major novelties, including hair in mammals, feathers in birds, segmentation of arthropods and vertebrates, teeth, shells of molluscs, ectoskeletons, the poison apparatus of snakes, bone, and many others. (Goldschmidt, 1940, pp.6-7).
Goldschmidt's challenge has never been taken up because like him, his colleagues of then and now know that such novelties really cannot be explained using step-by-step evolution.
As I have stated elsewhere, I do accept variation within the DNA complexity range of organisms. We see this all around us in different breeds or strains of dogs, horses, and many others. But we are not talking about micro; the question is about macro-evolution, the appearance of large-scale novel features which did not exist sometime beforehand, at least according to evolutionary theory.
These macro changes (and there are thousands of them), are the root of the problem for believers in evolution. Common sense or plain old-fashioned horse-sense is not on their side. Rather, it is on the side of creationists who know that when they see a complex and finely designed work of biological engineering that such things require creative intelligence.
by A. W. Mehlert
Dawson, T. J., 1983, 'Monotremes and Marsupials: The Other Mammals', Edward Arnold, London.
Goldschmidt, R. B., 1940, 'The Material Basis of Evolution', Yale University Press.
MacDonald, J. D., 1985, 'Australian Birds', Reed Books, French's Forest, New South Wales.
Serventy, V., 1985, 'The Desert Sea', McMillan, South Melbourne.
Source: 'Bible Science Newsletter'