googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: The Evolution of the Bombardier Beetle: It Could Happen!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Evolution of the Bombardier Beetle: It Could Happen!

The Bombardier Beetle is a remarkable creature with an ingenious defense mechanism. Whenever it is threatened, it releases a boiling hot, noxious gas into the face of its attacker. This is accomplished with the aid of two sacks in the beetle’s abdomen, each holding a different chemical (hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide) which, when combined, explode and become an effective deterrent.

The question is how could a creature, through a series of random, undirected mutations, evolve to have two chemicals that react so violently with each other? One false step in the supposed evolutionary pathway and the poor critter would blow itself up!

The example of the bombardier beetle is an often used as evidence for design. Simply put, God made the beetle the way it is. But the example is so common that evolutionists have attempted to address the example directly. The following rebuttal is taken from the pro-evolution site,

1. This is an argument from incredulity. It is based in part on an inaccurate description of how the beetle's bombardier mechanism works, but even then the argument rests solely on the lack of even looking for evidence. In fact, an evolutionary pathway that accounts for the bombardier beetle is not hard to come up with (Isaak 1997). One plausible sequence (much abbreviated) is thus:

a. Insects produce quinones for tanning their cuticle. Quinones make them distasteful, so the insects evolve to produce more of them and to produce
other defensive chemicals, including hydroquinones.

b. The insects evolve depressions for storing quinones and muscles for ejecting them onto their surface when threatened with being eaten. The depression becomes a reservoir with secretory glands supplying hydroquinones into it. This configuration exists in many beetles, including close relatives of bombardier beetles (Forsyth 1970).

c. Hydrogen peroxide becomes mixed with the hydroquinones. Catalases and peroxidases appear along the output passage of the reservoir, ensuring that more
quinones appear in the exuded product.

d. More catalases and peroxidases are produced, generating oxygen and producing a foamy discharge, as in the bombardier beetle Metrius contractus (Eisner et al. 2000).

e. As the output passage becomes a hardened reaction chamber, still more catalases and peroxidases are produced, gradually becoming today's bombardier beetles.

All of the steps are small or can be easily broken down into smaller ones, and all are probably selectively advantageous. Several of the intermediate stages are known to be viable by the fact that they exist in other living species.

As I read that response, I noticed a glaring flaw in it. Perhaps you can see it as well. This supposed “plausible sequence” is nothing more than story telling. Where is the “scientific” evidence for this scenario? Is there a fossil sequence showing these various stages? The footnotes notwithstanding, this is conjecture and nothing more.

As one who recognizes logical fallacies, I am aware of the argument of incredulity and I try to avoid it. I think complexity is evidence of design but not necessarily proof of design. When you have incredible creatures, we can ask ourselves which better explains the existence such a creature - evolution or design? The Bombardier beetle is an example of a complex creature but there are innumerable examples of complexity in nature. The human eye is another example. I've seen Dawkins animated video but it's simply another made up story. No such progression of the eye is found in the fossils of supposed human ancestors. When Behe raised the issue of IC in his example of the flagellum, we once again began to hear the "plausible sequences" being trotted out.

Does anyone remember Judy Tenuta? She was a comedian from the 80’s who played the accordion in her show. She was really funny. I’ve posted a little clip of her below. It’s probably a PG rated bit; there’s no bad language but there is some innuendo and some irreligious humor. Anyway, one thing Judy would do it make some outrageous comment like she and Pope would astral project. When the audience laughed she would look around and say, “It could happen!” She was very funny.

It occurred to me that much of evolution is story telling. The evolutionists’ “explanation” of the bombardier beetle, the human eye, and the flagellum are all just invented “plausible sequences.” That’s the functional equivalent of saying, “It could happen. Scientists invent fantastic stories without even shred of evidence beyond saying that it could happen!!

It was funnier when Judy said it.

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