Head Slapping Design Moments
I am off to Poteau, OK for a few days to do a short seminar on Christian Evidences. I'll use this space to praise the Lord for some of the fun and interesting things He built into this planet. While some think the design argument is dead it is, in fact, gaining ground rapidly and causing many former Darwinists to search for something -- well -- more scientific. Sometimes you study something and get a "wow!" moment or a head slapping moment. Here are a couple of cases in point.
The University of Bonn released the results of several years of studies into plants, plant defenses, and.... communication. They were backed up by the Catholic University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. They devised equipment to monitor the sounds plants make that cannot -- of course -- be heard by human ears. When a leaf or a stem is sliced, the plant signals pain or distress by releasing the gas ethylene over its entire surface. The scientists at U of Bonn collected those gas molecules and bombarded with calibrated laser beams so that their vibrations could be turned into measurable sound. The more the leaf or stem was cut, the more "sound" it made.
While they studied this they found a cucumber that, before they even cut it, was shouting. On closer examination it was found to be suffering with a bad case of mildew even though there were no outer symptoms. German scientists are working to see if they can use this discovery to help farmers know -- much, much sooner -- when their crops need help. Disease or pests could be headed off at the pass, so to speak.
But it gets stranger....
Kyoto University (Japan, of course) found that lima beans have five separate defense mechanisms. When they are attacked by spider mites the injured plant releases a chemical that changes the plant's flavor which, of course, makes the mites not want to eat it. Other chemicals were emitted as a distress signal that was then picked up by neighboring plants. Those other plants then changed their flavor before the spider mites ever got to them! Some of the chemicals the bean uses are actually spider mite repellents while others attract a predator mite that eats spider mites!!!
Are they smarter than we thought? You see, plants that are crushed release the same chemicals that they release when they are attacked, but neighboring plants ignore them. How do they know the difference? Uh... still working on that one.... Other plants also have been found to release warning signals, 'change flavor' signals, or 'help!' signals to attract the enemies of their enemy (corn and tobacco are the most studied at present).
I don't think plants are intelligent, but it is plain that Intelligence designed them. No defense mechanism overwhelms the enemy so much that the enemy doesn't exist anymore. Everything stays in balance. For example, if spider mites died out, so would the predator mites. We might be up to our ears in lima beans, and that would create mold and spore problems. God has everything in balance.
I needed to remember this last week in Michigan. We went from 82 degrees to, four days later, eight inches of snow. I frowned at the snow and wondered -- briefly -- if this wasn't all just so terribly wrong. Then I remembered: God designed it. It will work out fine.
I'll leave you with the only two facts in the universe:
1. There is a God.
2. You're not Him.