Thursday, March 10, 2005

Food for thought - Woodpecker Proof

(Local Newspaper Column)
Evolution says things just happened, the Bible says that God designed and made all things. Which is it? I believe the Bible is right. But what proof do we have?

Take the woodpecker for example…

The woodpecker spends its life spiralling up tree trunks looking for insects. To do this it feet need to be a different shape from all other birds, its legs need to be different, and it needs special stiff tail-feathers to prop it in tight against the tree.

The woodpecker pecks at a rate of 16 times a second, that's twice as fast as a submachine gun, so its head is travelling twice as fast as a bullet. The rate at which its head comes to a halt as it hits the tree is 1000 times the force of gravity. Just to put that in perspective - an astronaut is subject to 4 times the force of gravity (4g) during take off; and 6g-9g is enough to destroy a person! The woodpecker survives because it has an especially reinforced skull and beak.

Joining the beak to the skull is a shock-absorbing system that is vastly superior to anything we humans have ever invented. To keep this high speed kango-hammer under control is a finely tuned inbuilt gyroscope to make sure that it doesn't hit the tree at an angle and rip its beak off.

And then once it has the holes bored in the tree it has a hugely long tongue to remove the insects.

The woodpecker looks like it was designed to do what it does do, and what it does do, it does very well. It's just one example from nature that shows how evolution can't work. Why can't it work? The woodpecker can't evolve step by step because all these component parts need to be there for the woodpecker to function at all. If any one of these factors was not present then the woodpecker would be a complete disaster, there'd be lots of beakless, brain-damaged, hungry woodpeckers about.

In the Bible Job says, "But ask the animals and they will teach you. Or ask the birds of the air and they will tell you. Speak to the earth and it will tell you. Or let the fish of the sea tell you. Everyone of these knows that the hand of the Lord has done this." - Job 12:7-9

All of nature shouts at us of the presence of a designer; to believe that it all just happened by chance requires a much greater faith - faith that goes against all the evidence. Personally I find it much easier to have faith in creation than in evolution.

Mark Loughridge is the minister of Milford Reformed Presbyterian Church and Letterkenny New Life Fellowship.

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