Evolutionists are very fond of the idea that there are useless things scattered throughout the living world. Darwin suspected that there were many, many useless organs in several members of the animal kingdom. After all, since he thought “higher” animals evolved from “lower” animals, he assumed that some of the important organs in the “lower” animals would serve no function in the “higher” animals. Nevertheless, since those organs were already there in the “lower” animals, they might continue to appear in the “higher” animals, because making a useless organ was not enough of a disadvantage for natural selection to remove it. He likened such useless organs to the silent letters in a word – they tell you things about the word’s origin but serve no function. In the same way, a useless organ serves no purpose for the animal, but it does tell you about the animal’s evolutionary ancestors.
Since Darwin, evolutionists have continued to point to useless organs and even useless DNA that supposedly litter the living world. The only problem is that annoying functions keep being discovered for these supposedly useless things. Up until about 2004, it was confidently taught that the human appendix is useless, but now we know it serves a vital function. It was once thought that large sections of the genomes of most organisms have “junk DNA” that serves no useful purpose, but time and time and time again, DNA that was confidently described as useless has been shown to have important functions. Evolutionists have been wrong time and time again when it comes to claiming that a given structure in creation is useless.
Well…we now know that evolutionists were wrong…AGAIN.
An article in Science Daily reports on a study that supposedly answers the question, “Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?” Unfortunately, while one of the authors gives the correct answer (the chicken), he doesn’t use the correct reasoning. Also, spending time on that question actually distracts from the amazing results of the study, which demonstrate the incredible design ingenuity of the Creator.
The study focuses on chicken eggs. Specifically, it focuses on the shells of chicken eggs. While you and I (and a baby chick) see the shell as something annoying that needs to be broken, it is actually a marvelously-constructed shield that protects the contents of the egg while allowing them to interact safely with the environment. After all, the contents of the egg need protection, but the embryo needs oxygen, which it must get from the outside world. The egg shell is strong enough to protect the egg’s contents, but it is also porous enough for oxygen (which the embryo needs to take in) to diffuse into the egg and carbon dioxide (which the embryo must expel) to diffuse out.
This marvelous shell is made of a combination of proteins and calcium carbonate crystals. The proteins provide a bit of flexibility, while the calcium carbonate crystals provide strength. Without the proteins, the shell would be too brittle, and without the calcium carbonate, the shell would be too weak. The mother chicken makes both the proteins and the calcium carbonate, but until the study mentioned above was published, there was a big question mark regarding exactly how the calcium carbonate portion of the egg shell was formed.
I came across an article I had pulled out of the journal Science back in 2007, and it reminded me of a very interesting form of mutualism that I had completely forgotten about. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, mutualism is a situation in which two or more organisms work together so that they each benefit. It is quite common throughout creation. For example, one of the ways you get the Vitamin K that you need is through a mutualistic relationship between you and some bacteria that live in your intestine. You provide them with food and housing, and in exchange, they provide you with Vitamin K. Well, this article discusses a mutualism that involves three partners, and in order for the situation to work, all three partners must be present. Amazingly enough, the partners are a fungus, a plant, and a virus!1
In the article, the scientists were studying Dichanthelium lanuginosum, a grass that is often called “panic grass.” While this grass can grow in many places, it actually flourishes in the geothermal areas of Yellowstone National Park, where the soil is far too hot to support most plants. When scientists initially studied this plant, they found its roots infected with a fungus, Curvularia protuberata. Now this is not unusual at all. Indeed, roughly 80% of plant species that have been surveyed participate in a mutualistic relationship with at least one species of fungus.2 Typically, the plant provides sugars for the fungus, and the fungus absorbs minerals from the soil and gives them to the plant.
It was assumed for many years that the fungus found in the roots of panic grass provided the plant not only with minerals, but with something that allows the grass to tolerate soil that is simply too hot for other plants. The authors of the Science article found that this is only a partial explanation.
Beavers are amazing animals. They can actually alter their surroundings in a purposeful way in order to make them more suitable. They do this by building dams so that water collects to form an amazing wetland environment. Here is an example:
Some people think that beavers live in their dams, but that is not correct. The dam is there simply to produce the wetland environment the beavers love. Of course, lots of other animals love a wetland environment, so beavers are considered a keystone species, an animal upon which other animals heavily depend.
A recent issue of Science has a very interesting article on blood platelets.1 As nearly any textbook that discusses human anatomy and physiology will tell you, there are three main types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. As indicated by the scanning electron microscope image above, platelets are the smallest of the three.
In addition, almost any textbook that discusses human anatomy and physiology will tell you that each blood cell is principally involved in one area of your body’s maintenance. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues, although to a certain extent, they also pick up carbon dioxide waste from the tissues. White blood cells are responsible for cleaning the tissues of debris and fighting off invaders. Blood platelets are involved in clotting the blood so that we don’t bleed to death from a small cut.
Interestingly enough, this article indicates that blood platelets do a lot more than what most textbooks tell you!
A very interesting study was published in the April 9, 2010 issue of Science.1 In this study, Matam Vijay-Kumar and colleagues experimented with mice, trying to find out how their immune systems interacted with their body weight. Scientists have known for a while that obesity and the immune system are related, but most scientists have thought that obesity causes immune system disorders.2 That might, indeed, be true. However, this study shows that, most likely, immune system disorders can also cause obesity!
Mice (and most vertebrates, including people) have two levels of immunity: innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity refers to the mechanisms in the body that protect against general threats. Adaptive immunity refers to the mechanisms in the body that protect against specific threats. So the mechanisms in the body that fight against all bacterial infections are a part of the body’s innate immunity, but when the immune system is attacking a specific species of bacterium, the adaptive immune system is at work.
Matam Vijay-Kumar and colleagues investigated a very specific part of the innate immune system and its effects on obesity in mice. The results were quite surprising.
Many evolutionists have claimed that the human eye (actually the vertebrate eye in general) is wired “backwards.” According to evolutionists, this is such a terrible way to make an eye that it clearly shows the eye has no Designer. What is so “terrible” about the way the eye is wired? Well, light that enters the eye is detected by specialized cells called rods and cones. Those rods and cones convert the light that they detect into signals that travel through association neurons and into nerve fibers that carry the signals to the brain. As shown in the illustration above, however, the neurons and nerves that carry those signals are in front of the rods and cones. Thus, light must travel through the nerves and association neurons before it can hit the rods and cones.
According to evolutionists, this is a terrible design. After all, if anyone with any sense were to design an eye, the rods and cones would be the first thing the light hits. That way, the rods and cones would get an unobstructed view of the light. Since the vertebrate eye is not designed the way these evolutionists think should be “obvious,” it is clear (to them) that the eye was not designed. Indeed, in his book The Blind Watchmaker (probably his best work), Richard Dawkins says:
Any engineer would naturally assume that the photocells would point towards the light, with their wires leading backwards towards the brain. He would laugh at any suggestion that the photocells might point away from the light, with their wires departing on the side nearest the light. Yet this is exactly what happens in all vertebrate retinas.1
Of course, like most evolutionary nonsense, the more science we learn, the more we see how wrong this argument is.
I ran across a short article on Creation Ministries International’s website that really intrigued me. It was about “green islands” on decaying leaves, which are patches of green on a leaf that is otherwise dead. I have seen these “green islands” many times, and I just assumed they were the result of areas in the leaf where the majority of chlorophyll just hadn’t completely decayed away. Perhaps that region was chlorophyll-rich and thus would take longer to lose its chlorophyll than the rest of the leaf. However, when the green spot is strongly localized, it is probably the result of the larval version of a leaf miner insect.
This really intrigued me, so I spent some time looking into leaf-mining insects, and what I found was truly incredible. First, there are a lot of leaf miners. Some are moths, some are flies, some are beetles, and even some are wasps. The adult lays her eggs in within the tissue of a leaf, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae begin eating the insides of the leaf. This, of course, protects the larvae, because they are not exposed to predators. They stay inside the leaf until they are ready to pupate (start metamorphosis into their adult form).
Now, of course, if a larva is “unlucky” enough to hatch shortly before or after the leaf falls from the tree, this could be a problem. After all, the larva is eating the living tissue inside the leaf and therefore needs the leaf to stay alive while it is feeding. What happens if the leaf dies before the larva is ready to pupate? Well, that’s where the “green islands” come in. It seems that the larva can keep the portion of the leaf it is eating alive so that it can continue to eat and develop, and that’s why the area around the larva stays green!
The design we see in nature is powerful evidence for the existence of God. Indeed, it is so powerful that it forced world-renowned atheist Antony Flew to admit his lifetime of scholarship was wrong and that God must exist. The more we learn about this planet and the life on it, the more we stand in awe of that amazing design. The chameleon is an excellent example of this trend. For a long time, scientists have known about the amazing design features of the chameleon. The more we learn, however, the more amazing chameleons become!
For quite some time, biologists have puzzled over why a chameleon’s tongue is not affected by the temperature. After all, chameleons are cold-blooded. In other words, they cannot regulate their internal body temperature. As a result, their internal body temperature changes with the temperature of their surroundings. The colder the surroundings get, the colder the internal temperature of a chameleon gets.
Well, the colder the temperature, the slower the chemical reactions that power an animal’s muscles. Because of this, cold-blooded animals show a significant reduction in muscle action the colder the surroundings become. However, a chameleon’s tongue shows no significant reduction in action, even when the temperature dips almost to the freezing point of water! This is strange, because the tongue is a muscle, and all the chameleon’s other muscles are affected by temperature. Why not the tongue? Biologists now know the answer to that question, and it is remarkable.