“Perceived by the Things Made”
If crude stone tools prove the existence of a designer, with far greater force do not living creatures of intricate design declare the existence of a wise and powerful Creator?
IF THERE is a rockslide in the mountains, we expect to see a jumble of boulders where it comes to rest at the bottom. We would not believe our eyes if all the boulders came to rest in the form of a beautiful rock house—for a house requires design and purposeful work. And there is no design without a designer, or purposeful work without an intelligent worker. This agrees with the Bible’s statement at Hebrews 3:4: “Every house is constructed by someone.”
A scientist digs in the rubble of the earth and finds a round, oblong stone that is smooth and has a groove circling the middle. He has no doubt but that it was shaped by a primitive man. He is convinced that it was attached to a stick by a leather thong and used as a hammer or a weapon. Similarly, he finds a flat stone with a sharp edge and is sure that it was made by a “Stone Age” man for use as a knife or a scraper. Or, a small piece of sharp flint shaped like an arrowhead convinces him that it was designed by man to use on the tip of an arrow or a spear. Such purposeful, designed things, the scientist concludes, are not products of chance.
The work reflects the worker. These tools and weapons are crude. Hence, their makers are considered primitive, for apes do not make weapons, and those of modern man are of ingenious design. So the scientist places the man who made the stone items in a stone age, and speculates that his appearance and brainpower must be somewhere between ape and modern man. Hence, he envisions a stoop-shouldered, low-browed, shuffling, hairy ape-man. This one’s creations reflect more purpose and design than the stick the ape might pick up, but far less than the things modern man creates. The scientist sees the worker through his works, and judges his qualities from his works.
THEY ABANDON THEIR OWN LOGIC
However, when it comes to the teeming plant and animal life found on the earth, most scientists reverse themselves on their view that design requires a designer. Of far greater complexity than crude stone tools are the simplest of organisms. Yes, even the single-celled protozoan cannot be considered simple. For within that single cell it has the capacity for performing all the body functions that are cared for by the many organs of a vertebrate. In itself it is a complex organism. Evolutionary scientists insist that such complex organisms had no designer but popped into existence by chance. In comparison to the protozoan’s producing itself spontaneously, it would be easy for crude stone tools to be formed by a landslide or a rushing stream, or even simplicity itself for a rock house to be built by an avalanche of boulders!
When it comes to the most complexly designed creations in the universe, is it emotional prejudice that causes many intelligent persons to abandon their logical rule that purposeful work reflects the qualities of an intelligent worker? The Bible agrees with their rule, but they shy away from the Bible’s application of it: “His invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Rom. 1:20) They would never accept chance as the maker of a crude stone tool, but they readily embrace it as the creator not only of protozoa but of all life on earth, man included! They balk at perceiving in these marvels of design the great Designer and Creator of the universe. Consider a few of such wonders. Ponder whether blind chance has the qualities that they reflect.
THE SOIL BENEATH YOUR FEET
On the third creative day Jehovah said: “Let the dry land appear.” (Gen. 1:9) This opened the way for land plants. But for these plants to thrive there must be the marvel of the soil. The soil? Is that a marvel? Is it not one of the commonest things on the face of the earth? Truly, it is. However, the soil is a vital resource, and today there is concern as its erosion causes dust bowls and spreading deserts. It has often taken thousands of years for rocks to turn into fertile soil. They undergo weathering; fungi settle and germinate, sending out shoots that enmesh algae, and thus fungi and algae unite to become lichens. Lichens grow on the surface of rocks, disintegrate them, build up a thin soil that will support mosses, and the mosses, in turn, live and die and make more soil that eventually will support seedlings. Erosive forces move these soils into locations where they accumulate to depths that will support higher forms of plants, and ultimately trees.
As plants shed leaves and die, bacteria cause decay, and rich organic soils are created. Microbes break down these organic compounds into the simple nutrients needed by plants. Although we speak of solid ground, many soils are far from solid, for they are filled with air, water and multitudes of living things. An ounce of soil particles may have surfaces that would cover six acres (2.4 hectares). In temperate regions, a teaspoonful of soil may contain over 5,000,000,000 living organisms! Each one is a marvel of design and purpose and all together are needed before “the land itself will give its yield.” (Ezek. 34:27) Is the soil something merely to be trampled on? Without it there would be no life on earth!
NAVIGATORS BEYOND HUMAN COMPREHENSION
To escape cold seasons and to find food, many birds migrate. Their navigational skills are awesome and still defy complete understanding. In the northern hemisphere when the cold starts, how do they know that warm weather and food lie south, and not east or west? And when returning in the spring, how do they know to fly north? Different hormones released in their blood tell them. Some birds migrate hundreds of miles, others thousands, to the same locality they left six months earlier. Terns and plovers make one-way trips of about 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers). Young birds make the trip alone for the first time. As late as the Middle Ages naturalists refused to believe that birds migrated, but concocted fantastic explanations for appearances and disappearances in spring and fall. But as early as the seventh century before Christ, the Bible spoke of migrations: “Even the stork in the heavens—it well knows its appointed times; and the turtledove and the swift and the bulbul—they observe well the time of each one’s coming in.”—Jer. 8:7.
Even after migration was accepted for big birds, naturalists argued that small ones crossed oceans by hitching rides on the backs of larger ones. But the little blackpoll warbler, like many other midgets, does it on his own. He leaves Alaska in the fall, travels in stages to the New England coast, waits for the right weather, then takes off over the Atlantic and flies from three to five days to the northeastern coast of South America. Nonstop, for days, over 2,400 miles (3,800 kilometers) of ocean, by a bird weighing less than three quarters of an ounce! What awesome computer is in that tiny head that tells time, computes the movement of the sun, uses the stars, orients all of this to a map of his destination, and even enables the bird to arrive safely if skies are overcast? Can anyone, deep within himself, really believe that chance created this little blackpoll warbler?
Studies with homing pigeons have revealed another guidance system available to birds. Carried in a dark box by circuitous routes and released 600 miles (960 kilometers) from their home coop, they return home in one day. If the sun is shining, they use their guidance system. But they can also return on overcast days or during the night. They sense the earth’s magnetic field and use it as a guidance system. A flock was released; half the birds had magnets tied to their backs, and this distorted the earth’s magnetic field and made it useless. On a sunny day the entire flock returned safely. However, on an overcast day the ones without magnets returned but those with the attached magnets circled at random. For years it was thought impossible for any creature to sense earth’s magnetic field; it is so weak. Now scientists know that it is sensed not only by birds but also by honeybees. Recent experiments seem to suggest that even some snails are sensitive to it.
Not only birds migrate but whales, seals, turtles, eels, crabs, fish, butterflies and caribou do also. However, with some sleepyheads, hibernation is preferred for escaping the rigors of winter. The small 13-lined ground squirrel illustrates some of the remarkable physiological changes that occur in hibernators. Body temperature drops to within a few degrees of the cold outside the den. The heart beats only once or twice a minute. When active, this squirrel may breathe a few hundred times a minute, but in hibernation it takes a slow breath once every five minutes. Yet its blood remains saturated with oxygen, and little-used muscles retain their tone. What triggers its decision to sleep in fall and wake up in spring? Not just weather. A chemical released in the blood starts it hibernating, and another causes it to wake up. By the use of such chemicals scientists have made hibernators enter their long sleep in midsummer.
Concerning such wonders, Job admitted: “I talked, but I was not understanding things too wonderful for me, which I do not know.”—Job 42:3.
A MISCELLANY OF INGENIOUS DESIGNS
Remember the crude stone tool that could not just happen? Keep it in mind for comparison as you decide whether the following could just happen.
Most persons know that the chameleon can shoot its tongue out several inches to pick off insects. But do you know how this creature does it? Lying horizontally in the back of its mouth is a cone-shaped bone, the point forward. At its base the long, hollow tongue is anchored. Long muscles hold the tongue, pleated like accordion bellows, compressed around this bone. At the tip of the tongue are sphincter muscles that rest at the point of the bone. The chameleon’s turret eyes, turning individually, spot an insect within range. The long muscles contract powerfully and hold the tongue over the bone like a compressed spring. Then the sphincter muscles surrounding the tip of the slippery bone suddenly tighten and, as they do, the long muscles compressing the “spring” relax, and the tongue shoots out. The insect is stuck on the gluey tip and the long, limp tongue is slowly drawn in. The action is like a boy shooting prune pits or slippery watermelon seeds from between thumb and forefinger; only in this case the slippery bone stays put and the tongue tip applying the pressure shoots out. Such an ingenious design certainly needs a designer.
The bombardier beetle uses explosives to deter predators. Three chemicals secreted by glands are stored in a reservoir. When an enemy approaches, a valve opens to let the chemicals into a strong-walled compartment. There an enzyme causes them to explode and a noxious mist shoots out of a turret that can aim in any direction. The beetle can explode repeatedly, dozens of times in minutes, with an audible “pop” each time. The enemy retreats, sometimes with seizures. This beetle has a laboratory, makes explosives, and uses them purposefully. It is an appalling little bomb factory!
The whirligig beetle has bifocal eyes to see above and below pond water, but that is the least of its marvels. It can fly, crawl, walk on water or submerge. When doing the latter, it takes along an air bubble that acts like a lung. It receives carbon dioxide wastes from the beetle and puts them into the water, and transfers oxygen from the water to the beetle. The creature can stay under water for hours. The beetle’s underparts like water, but the upper parts, including the upper halves of the compound eyes, are kept greased by glands so that water is repelled. It darts rapidly about in all directions on the surface film of the water, setting up bow waves as it does so. When these ripples hit the bank, or objects on the surface film—maybe another whirligig or an edible insect—they are reflected back. With two antennae held at the surface of the water, the beetle monitors their messages about its surroundings. It catches food and avoids collisions as hundreds of its fellows join it in darting erratically about, all making waves, but each one monitoring only its own. The system works day or night. The whirligig beetle does with water waves what bats do with sound waves—what a computer encased in that tiny head!
“NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN”
People look at technical accomplishments and admire human inventors. They look at the same principles employed purposefully by living creatures and say that it just happened. For the most part human inventors are really adapters. It has been done before, as Solomon said: “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl. 1:9) In the book Bionics, by Daniel Halacy, Jr., we read on page 19:
“A commercial airplane was marketed with a wing curve patterned after that of a bird. A rubber company was experimenting with a streamlining artificial ‘skin’ for boats, copied after that of marine mammals. A new ground-speed indicator for planes was patterned on the eye of a beetle, and a better TV camera simulated the mechanism of the eye of the horseshoe crab.”
Men pore over the creations of Jehovah God to discover their ingenious workings and adapt them to human inventions. It reminds us of the words of Job 12:7-9: “Ask, please, the domestic animals, and they will instruct you; also the winged creatures of the heavens, and they will tell you. Or show your concern to the earth, and it will instruct you; and the fishes of the sea will declare it to you. Who among all these does not well know that the hand of Jehovah itself has done this?” Inventors appreciate receiving credit for their clever adaptations, but so often they deny recognition to the One who “in wisdom” originated everything.—Ps. 104:24.
The Bible speaks of the harvester ant at Proverbs 6:8: “It prepares its food even in the summer; it has gathered its food supplies even in the harvest.” For centuries the existence of ants that harvested and stored grain was doubted, but in 1871 a British naturalist discovered their granaries. Ants also tend crops, have slaves and keep livestock. Termites air-condition their nests, as bees do their hives. By a dance in the dark, honeybees also show others where nectar is, in what direction and how far. Insects display amazing abilities that men cannot duplicate. “They are instinctively wise,” as the Bible says, created so by Jehovah God.—Prov. 30:24.
“Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink,” the saying goes about the ocean. But some seabirds have glands that desalt seawater. Some fish and eels generate electricity, up to 400 volts. Many fish, worms and insects produce cold light, to the envy of scientists whose own lights lose energy to heat. Bats and dolphins use sonar, wasps make paper, ants build bridges, beavers make dams, certain snakes have thermometers sensitive to a change in temperature of a thousandth of a degree Celsius. Pond insects use snorkels and diving bells, octopuses use jet propulsion, spiders spin seven kinds of webs, make trapdoors, nets, lassos, and have babies that are balloonists traveling thousands of miles at great heights. A female moth sprays a perfume that a male six miles (10 kilometers) away can detect if only one molecule of it touches his antennae. Salmon return to the stream of their birth, after spending years in the open sea, because each one remembers the characteristic smell of its home stream and can detect it as it swims in coastal waters.
Jehovah called Job’s attention to His many creative wonders. What was Job’s response? It was this: “I have come to know that you are able to do all things, and there is no idea that is unattainable for you.”—Job 42:2.
It is impossible for such amazing design to exist without a designer. Evolutionists claim that ‘natural selection and survival of the fittest’ is the designer. But the problem is the arrival of the fittest, not the survival. You cannot select until there is a choice available. You cannot build a house before building materials arrive. As the Bible says: “Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.” The evidence is everywhere. Many who see an ape-man reflected by a crude stone tool cannot perceive God’s qualities mirrored by all his amazing works. “They are inexcusable.” (Rom. 1:20) But let us have ‘eyes that see’ Jehovah’s existence as reflected in his creative works.—Matt. 13:14-16.
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sticky tongue holds insects
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Navigation, sonar, jet propulsion, gardening, communication—who did it first?