Article: Bugged by a Beetle

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Article - Bugged By A Beetle

Creationists used to bug Jobe Martin, until a bug helped make Jobe Martin a creationist. Only half an inch long, the Bombardier Beetle may not be very big, but it helped chew great big holes in his long-held views on evolution. Or, more accurately, burn them.
For on closer inspection the modest beetle is a marvel of nature, a sort of six-legged tiny tank. It defends itself by mixing chemicals that explode; firing through twin tail tubes that can swivel like gun turrets. The bubbling liquid that shoots out at 212 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to deter most predators.

The force of the "round" fired should be enough to blast the little beetle into orbit, if not pieces, and it would be if it was discharged at one time. But slow motion photography has revealed that the crafty beetle actually lets go with a stream of up to 1,000 little explosions. Together they are enough to put off would-be attackers while leaving the small defender with its feet still on the ground.
As Martin marveled at the intricate design, he realized that there was simply no way the Bombardier Beetle could have evolved its sophisticated defense system over time, adding swiveling "gun barrels" or its "repeater" firing mechanism at different stages. It needed them all in one package, at the same time. A beetle that blew itself up would not be around to develop a more refined firing system. A beetle that could not keep the enemy in firing range would not survive to work on more maneuverable firepower. "There's simply no way a slow, gradual process will produce this beetle," says the former science major who, over a five-year, period made a complete about-face in his beliefs about the origins of the earth. Now in an entertaining and enlightening new video, he shows how the Bombardier Beetle and a host of other remarkable members of the animal kingdom undermine Darwin's widely accepted theory.
The Bombardier Beetle is one of the unlikely stars of "Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution," a 50-minute Discovery Channel-style documentary that encapsulates Martin's years of research for church, school and family viewing. Host David Hames, who experienced firsthand the firepower of the Bombardier Beetle ("It felt like someone put a cigarette out on my leg!"), guides the film crew as they capture animals on film and as Martin explains their various intricacies.
There is the giraffe, whose long neck necessitates a powerful heart to pump blood all the way to the brain. By rights the blood flow should blow its brains out when it bends to drink water, but the lofty animal has a delicate series of spigots and a sponge that dissipate and absorb the rush of blood. "How could that evolve?" muses Martin. "He needs all these parts there all the time, or he is dead..."

Then there's the woodpecker, whose rat-a-tat hunt for tree grubs should send it home each night with a mighty migraine. Instead it is studied by surgeons who want to learn more about head trauma in humans. The bird has a piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber and an extra-long tongue that can reach into the tree to pluck out its meal. It also has a glue factory that makes the bug stick until it is in the woodpecker's throat and produces another secretion to dissolve the glue on swallowing.
A college professor, Martin had been a Christian for several years when two students challenged him to examine the validity of evolutionary theory. His gradual complete switch of views eventually led him out of dentistry and into ministry. For more than a decade he has shared some of his discoveries at churches and conferences through his Rockwall, Texas-based Biblical Discipleship Ministries.

Through his studies he has developed cogent biblical answers to the typical questions thrown out against creation-about the age of the earth, the flood, fossils, dinosaurs and the missing link. But he points to the world around him to challenge the central claim of evolution.

The Australian incubator bird, the beaver and the gecko lizard are among the other subjects of Martin's video, produced by Monument, Colorado-based Reel Productions, who specialize in on-location documentaries. Although it is well filmed and paced, Martin maintains "Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution" is far more than just an entertaining diversion. It actually providing clear examples of what creationists call the "irreducible complexity" of life that challenges the idea of slow development.
He believes it is part of a crucial battle not just for Christians' minds, but their hearts, too. "It comes down to a matter of how you decide you are going to interpret the Scriptures," he says. "Will you take it in its literal, historical form or are you going to say these early chapters are probably poetry, probably written from the perspective of some guys who lived between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers? How will you take Scripture? If you can't take these early chapters literally, for just what they mean, well then, how do you know what to do with the rest? When it comes right down to it, it interferes with our view of doctrine. The foundational doctrines are all there in the early chapters of Genesis: man, sin, the family, and all that." Martin says that the academic world knows the big and difficult questions the likes of the Bombardier Beetle ask of evolution, but conveniently ignores them. In the rarefied scientific circles most lay people don't follow or understand, he says, more and more people are admitting that, like an attractive jar with a hole in the bottom, Darwin's theory just doesn't hold water.

"There are changes going on in the evolutionary community because of the growing evidence for design and it is beginning to realize there's no way mindless chance processes could create an ordered, artistic, complex universe like we have; explosions don't create order. The problem is, once people start to talk about a designer, are they willing to name him?" And it is the name Jesus and Martinís love for his Savior, not some dry scientific debate, that motivates him. Martin presents his evidence not with the pinched determination of a fussy academic, but with the delight and wonder of someone who sees the marvelous hand of a brilliant creator in the world around him. His appreciation makes his video defense of the trustworthiness of creation not just a considered explanation, but a considerable celebration.



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