Current Issue

If a man dug up an old lawn mower and then wrote a paper arguing that it was the result of random chance, no one would take him seriously. Yet, with the exception of a “religious nut,” no one would question a scientist who wrote a paper about the bombardier beetle and assumed it to be the result of evolutionary processes (random chance). But if the mower is a product of intelligent design, what about the infinitely more complex beetle?

The bombardier beetle stores two chemicals in its body. When something threatens it, it discharges the two chemicals into a larger water-filled chamber in its rear end. The chemicals heat rapidly, and the beetle’s rear end is transformed into a high-pressure, deadly accurate, pulsating cannon. The discharge comes out as a series of pulses (500 per second) at a speed of 66 feet per second! The timing of this mixing and expelling process—using muscular release valves—is critical if the beetle is to deter its enemies and avoid blowing itself up.

The bombardier beetle has fascinated scientists for decades. Ever since Dr. Hermann Schildknecht performed microsurgery on the beetle to discover the process it used to create its explosive mixture, scientists have continued to study this strange creature.

Andy McIntosh, professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory at the University of Leeds in England, has recently been analyzing the beetle in order to improve the design efficiencies of jet engines. He thinks he may be able to mimic the beetle’s chamber design to develop an engine that can be easily restarted at high altitudes.

If he succeeds, he will be the designer of a better jet engine. Yet the beetle design he copied is assumed to be the result of random chance! Why do so many scientists look at the universe and life and say that no Intelligence was needed to create it? Their reasoning isn’t scientific.

The first scientists wanted to discover the wonders of the Creator’s handiwork—to learn how and why things happen—and to use this knowledge to solve problems and create intelligent designs. Then, atheists gained a foothold—arguing that a truly objective approach to the scientific method requires scientists to deny—or at least ignore—the metaphysical, and thus the intelligent Designer was evicted. The great successes of science increased its influence, and so a materialistic worldview began to dominate our educational institutions.

A religious void—especially among the highly educated—developed in Western societies as people’s confidence in religious answers to life was shaken by an aggressive skepticism that offered nothing in its place. No wonder despair is on the increase. It is hard to feel significant in a universe that started with a random big bang and declares that everything and everyone is an accident.

A Designer, on the other hand, implies that Someone made us through a deliberate, purposeful act. Someone wanted us around. Who is this intelligent Designer? and What is our purpose? became the next big questions needing answers. But, they also limit our search because only three major religions talk about a personal Creator God—Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—and they all point back to the Bible’s book of Genesis as their starting point.

We should start there too. After all, that’s where God tells His story about how life on earth, our own included, came to be.

Intelligent Foolishness

by Mark Trodd
From the September 2008 Signs