Excerpt: Biodesign out For A Walk, Chap. ;21. Simple Gifts.
One of nature’s most outlandish displays of mystery is demonstrated
billions of time each year and goes mostly unnoticed and never
fully understood. It involves the “common” caterpillar. Whether
it spins a cocoon or secrets a chrysalis, what happens next is pure
mystery. Essentially, the pupa dissolves itself into a sort of cellular/
molecular soup. Molecule by molecule, cell by cell, all internal and
external systems are reconfigured. A score of legs are reduced to six.
Leaf-crunching mandibles are morphed into a tubular proboscis that
will suck nectar. The lethargic “worm” is transformed into a feather-light
gossamer that literally floats on the air.
Charles Darwin is arguably the Isaac Newton of the biological sciences. As such, however, he does not deserve the godlike status that some secular scientists have bestowed upon him, nor does he deserve the satanic status that as Fundamental Religious people have labeled him. He was a brilliant man who “thought outside the box,” and was more fortunate than Socrates, Jesus and countless other progressive thinkers who were put to death.
In a huge double irony, Darwin was not only unable to explain the Cambrian Explosion, but deeply troubled by the possibility that a “God of love” could create or allow some of the horrid examples of animal behavior that were necessary for his doctrine of “survival of the fittest” to occur.
In a recent column by George Will:
“In 1860, Charles Darwin confided in a letter to a friend: ‘I had no intention to write atheistically, but I can not persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of the caterpillars.’
What appalled him had fascinated entomologist William Kirby (1759-1850): The ichneumon insect inserts an egg in a caterpillar, and the larva hatched from the egg “gnaws the inside of the caterpillar, and though at last it has devoured almost every part except the skin and intestines, carefully all this time avoids injuring the vital organs, as if aware that its own existence depends on the insect on which it preys.”
Although the story of the Ichneumonids may have been unpleasant to Darwin, nature is filled with gruesome, gory, heart-wrenching and cruel examples of disease, parasitism, and predatory animals drenched in blood, all for the sake of, “survival of the fittest.”
Whenever possible, Black Widow female spiders trap and devour their mate (after copulation). The classic, perhaps most bizarre case, is the female Praying Mantis who waits until her mate’s reproductive organ is firmly inserted in her body, before she turns her head around and devours him from the head down. Even after his head is gone, his thorax valiantly continues to throb and pulse, pumping vital sperm into her body.
Darwin knew that his theory had some missing links, but so did his childhood religion that presented God as the all-knowing, all-loving Creator. Perhaps, more significantly, he failed to mention the mysterious process of lepidopteron metamorphosis, whereby each caterpillar secrets a chrysalis (or spins a cocoon) and digests itself into cellular soup. It would be as if the most complex computer secreted a covering around itself, reduced all components to simple molecules, emerged in a totally new form and flew away on wings. Darwin knew that no utilitarian philosophy could explain the miraculous process and modern scientists are still at a loss as to how this can happen.