We present an excerpt from Chapter 3, “An Interview with Lad Allen, Producer and Director of Metamorphosis,” from the new companion book Metamorphosis: The Case for Intelligent Design in a Nutshell Chrysalis. You can now download this FREE e-book which presents the detailed argument for intelligent design, by scientists, philosophers and historians, from the evidence of butterflies.
Butterflies often inspire a sense of wonder in children and adults alike. Did you experience that when working on the film?
LAD ALLEN: This entire project was enveloped in wonder. A butterfly’s life cycle is still one of the great mysteries of the natural world. An earth-bound caterpillar encases itself in a casing called a chrysalis. There, its organs are dissolved into a chemical soup. They are then rearranged to help build wings, compound eyes, reproductive systems, and a host of other organs that did not exist in the caterpillar. It’s an incredible process that screams out purpose, foresight, engineering, and design. Every scientist and scholar we interviewed was in awe of the process.??
The same is true for the migration of the Monarch butterflies. Monarchs that emerge in the spring or early summer live for about two to four weeks. But the generation that emerges in late August is genetically equipped to live up to nine months. It’s called the “Methuselah Generation.”
This enables these tropical butterflies (that would die if exposed to the freezing winter temperatures of the Midwest and Canada) to migrate as far as 3,000 miles, to a small area of forest in the Transvolcanic Mountains of central Mexico. There, the conditions are right to ensure the survival of the Monarchs until spring. In March, the Monarchs become sexually active for the first time. They mate and then begin their return migration north. When they reach southern Texas, the females lay their eggs (only on milkweed plants — the only food source their caterpillars will eat) and soon die. Throughout the summer months, new generations of Monarchs emerge and move north — living, again, between two and four weeks.
Then, in early September, a new Methuselah Generation — three or four generations removed from the Monarchs that migrated the previous year — travel from as far north as Canada to the same trees that provided sanctuary for their grandparents and great grandparents, the year before.?? The navigational systems that enable these insects (that each weigh less than a quarter of an ounce) to navigate so precisely to a forest in Mexico they have never been before are incredible.?