Wonders of Nature

“I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God.  I believe that life and reproduction jejuislandoriginate in a divine Source.

“Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defend atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this:  this is the world picture, as I see it that has emerged from modern science [“before 1950 hardly anything was known of the molecular basis of life” Denton, p. 233].  Science spotlights three dimension of nature that point to God.  The first is the fact that nature obeys laws.  The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings which arose from matter.  The third is the very existence of nature [or the universe].  But it is not science alone that has guided me. I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments…’We must follow the argument wherever it leads.’” Antony Flew, There Is A God, p. 88, 89

“The leaders of science over the last hundred years, along with some of today’s most influential scientists, have built a philosophically compelling vision of a rational universe that sprang from a divine Mind.”  Ibid., p. 91

“The important point is not merely that there are regularities in nature, but that these regularities are mathematically precise, universal, and “tied together.’  Einstein spoke of them as ‘reason incarnate.’  The question we should ask is how nature came packaged in this fashion.  This is certainly the question that scientists from Newton to Einstein to Heisenberg have ask—and answered.  Their answer was the Mind of God.” Ibid., p. 96

“It is perhaps unfortunate that the study of adaptations has been so closely associated with highly specialized and striking cases of the ‘wonders of nature’ type, such as the almost fantastic contrivances of certain orchids which secure insect-pollination.” Julian Huxley cited in Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, p. 226

“Botany offers many examples of complex adaptations which have never been explained convincingly in gradualistic terms.  A classic example is the pollination mechanism of the orchid…One part of this remarkable flower consists of a special bucket which is filled with watery fluid secreted by special glands situated just above the rim of the bucket.  Another gland situated on a part of the flower directly above the bucket secretes a fluid which is irresistible to bees; in their jostling for the secretion some inevitably tumble down into the fluid in the bucket below.  When the bucket is full it overflows through a specially constructed spout which is also the only means of escape for any bee which happens to fall into the bucket.  The spout is roofed over by a special lid which bears the stigma (the female pollen receiving organ) and a numb of of pollen masses.  The lid fits tightly over the spout forming a narrow passage so that any bee attempting to escape from the bucket must exert considerable force to squeeze its way out through the spout, and in the process must inevitably brush first against the stigma and then against the viscid discs of pollen.  Thus the bee carries with it from the flower fine masses of pollen which inevitably, as it repeats the whole curious ritual, will be deposited on the sigma of the same or an adjacent flower, thereby ensuring that pollination occurs.” Denton, p.  225, 226

“I stumbled on this case [sea slugs and Coelenterates] while reading in quite a different field.  Inquiring among biologists, I discovered that there are many similar cases, but they seldom appear in the standard literature.  They are interesting, highly relevant, and well known, but they are the special stock in trade of the anti-Darwinists.  These heretics delight in flaunting such cases in the face of the evolutionists and demanding explanation on the usual step-by-step utilitarian lines.   Since nobody really pretends to know how such things came about, the usual response is silence.” Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried, p. 102

Norman Macbeth’s [Macbeth is a Harvard Law School graduate] favorite case to flaunt is the Eumenes amedei of northern Africa.

He writes, “In early summer the small wasplike Eumenes amedei of northern Africa and southern Europe emerged from the pupal state as an elegant insect with yellow and black bands.  Soon after mating, the female prepares a house in which her young can develop and sufficient food can be stored.  She chooses an exposed and sunny situation on a rock or wall, and builds a circular fence of small stones and mortar, the mortar being made from dry flinty dust mixed with her own saliva.  The stones are chosen with care, flint being preferred to limestone and the fragments selected are all much the same size.  Her choice of the most polished quartz fragments suggests (if we are anthropomorphic) that she is not indifferent to the esthetic effect of her handiwork.  As the wall grows higher, the builder slopes it toward the center and so makes a dome which, when finished, is about the size of a small cherry.  A hole is left at the top, and on this is built a funneled mouthpiece of cement.

“The next task is to collect the food supply for the future grub.  This consists of small caterpillars about half an inch long, palish green, and covered with white hairs.  These caterpillars are partially paralyzed by the sting of the Eumenes and are unable to make any violent effort to escape. They are stored on the floor of the cell.  Since they remain alive, they keep fresh until the grub is ready to eat them; if they were killed outright, their flesh would soon dry up or rot.  When the cell is stocked, a single egg is laid in each house, and the mouth piece at the top of the cell is closed with a cement plug, into which a pebble is set.

“The egg is not laid upon or among the caterpillars, as in many allied species.  These caterpillars are only partially paralyzed, and can still move their claws and champ their jaws.  Should one of them feel the nibbling of the tiny grub, it might writhe about and injure the grub.  Both the egg and the grub must be protected, and to this tend the egg is suspended by a tiny thread of silk fastened to the roof.  The caterpillars may wriggle and writhe, but they cannot come near it.

“When the grub emerges from the egg, it devours its eggshell, then spins for itself a tiny silken ribbon-sheath in which it is enfolded tail-uppermost and with head handing down.  In this retreat it is suspended about the pile of living fold.  It can lower itself far enough to nibble at the caterpillars.  If they sir too violently, it can withdraw into its silken sheath, wait until the commotion has subsided, then descent again to its meal.  As the grub grows in size and strength, it becomes bolder; the silken retreat is no longer required; it can venture down and live at its ease among the remains of its food.

“The stone cells are not all stored with the same wealth of caterpillars.  Some contain five and some ten.  The young females, larger than the males, need twice as much food.  But note that the cells are stocked before the eggs are laid, and that biologist generally believes that that sex is already determined when an egg is laid.  How does the Eumenes know the future sex of her eggs?  How is it that she never makes a mistake?”

For those readers interested in more examples of Julian Huxley’s  “wonders of nature” I would recommend Werner Gitt’s If Animals Could Talk. It is available from Loizeaux, P.O. Box 277, Neptune, New Jersey.

 

 

 

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