The Pronuba Moth: Chance Mutation?

“God is wise and all-powerful…He performs great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.” Job 9:4,10

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your [naturalistic, atheistic, evolutionistic] philosophy.”  Shakespeare, Hamlet

“With apologies to philatelists—the Hall of Human Origins exhibits are little more than stamp collecting, because the evidence for humans arising from animals is insufficient.  While a big sign proclaimed ‘Our family tree,’ small print on one exhibit acknowledged, ‘Unfortunately, hominid fossils for the crucial period between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago are quite rare.’  Unfortunate for those who claim the evolution vs. creation argument over, when recent discoveries of cell complexity mean that it’s just begun.”  Marvin Olasky,, June 27, 2012

“In fact, molecular biologists have introduced a new ‘high-tech’ teleology, taking expressions, often self-consciously, from communication theory, electrical engineering, and computer science.  The vocabulary of modern molecular and cell biology includes apparently accurate descriptive terms that nevertheless seem laden with a ‘metaphysics of intention’: ‘genetic code,’ ‘genetic information,’ ‘transcription,’ ‘translation,’ ‘editing enzymes,’ ‘signal’-transduction circuitry,’ ‘feedback loop,’ and ‘information-processing system.’” Stephen C. Meyer, Signature In The Cell: DNA And The Evidence For Intelligent Design, p. 2

“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”  Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 1

“I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance, and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of Design.”  Charles Darwin, 1860 letter to Asa Gray, a defender of intelligent design

The following information about the Yucca plant and the Pronuba moth is only one of the innumerable “things” on earth that is a nightmare to naturalistic philosophy.  Decide if the relationship between the Yucca plant and the Pronuba moth is merely “an appearance of design” or a reality of design.

“In all nature there are few cases of such obvious interdependence as exists between the Yucca plant and the Pronuba moth.  The Yucca is a bright and popular desert flower which seems tough and independent, sending up flowers of white lilies from a cluster of sharp leaves like wicked swords pointing out in all directions.  But this beautiful, boastfully lily’s life, hangs on one little white moth that hides underground in the daytime and comes out and flaps around, without ever eating, in the desert night.  Yucca buds open at nightfall and pour out their white flowers which, on certain nights, give forth a strong fragrance.

“At this exact moment the Pronuba moths break out of their cocoons beneath the sand.  They struggle up in to the air and are led by the odor straight to the flowers.  The moth goes to the top of the stamens of the first flower it reaches and scrapes together a wad of pollen three times as big as her head.  Carrying this big load in her jaws and tentacles, which are specially enlarged for this purpose, she flies to another Yucca plant.  Still holding the pollen, she backs down in to the bottom of a flower, pierces a hole with her egg-laying needle and lays eggs among the seed cells in the green pod at the base of the pistil.

“Then she climbs to the top of the same pistil where there is a cavity just the right size to receive the wad of pollen.  She stuffs this full, pushing down the pollen and padding it to make sure that plenty of pollen tubes will grow quickly and spark the seeds where she has laid her eggs.

“The mother moth plans far ahead…She has deliberately bred the plants so that her babies will have a supply of food when they are born.  While the Pronuba eggs are getting ready to hatch, the Yucca’s seeds are ripening.  When the moth’s larvae (caterpillars) finally emerge from their eggs, they find themselves surrounded by delicious food.  They eat their fill of seeds, grow and finally cut a hole through the pod and lower themselves to the ground by spinning a silk thread.

“The mother moth never eats.  She just lays eggs, pollinates the Yucca to make the seeds ripen, and dies.  As the moth babies eat only about a fifth of the seeds in the pod, the rest of the seeds mature successfully and go on raising more Yuccas which in turn will raise more pronubas.

“There are several species of the Yucca plant and each species has its own species of moth.  The flower is so constructed that it can only be pollinated by this particular moth—and that moth is as dependent on the Yucca plant as the Yucca plant is on the moth!

“The Pronuba moth is provided with special tentacles covered with stiff bristles and obviously designed for the purpose of collecting pollen from the anthers of the Yucca flowers…There are years in which the Yucca plants in a given locality do not flower…It has been observed that in those years when the Yucca does not bloom the moths remain dormant in the pupa stage; but when the flowers appear again on the Yucca plants the moths emerge the right time to carry on their part in this amazing scheme!

“We would like some evolutionist to answer this question:  How could the Yucca plant and the Pronuba moth both evolve, by ‘chance mutations,’ ‘random changes,’ natural selection, or any other ‘chance’ method, in which a way and the same time, so that both organism were perfected together, to be dependent on each other as completely as are the Yucca plant and the Pronuba moth.  Such a relationship of interdependence and helpfulness could not possible come about except by outside intervention.  That intervention was and could only be by One of supreme power and intelligence.” Fred John Meldau, Why We Believe in Creation Not In Evolution, p. 114


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