When people invented gears is not certain, but examples survive in artifacts from ancient China and Greece. These indicate that the mechanism was known well over 2,000 years ago. Impressive! And yet as Michael Behe points out in a new episode of Secrets of the Cell, from Discovery Institute, bugs had been there and done that long before humans came on the scene:
“Gears…in a bug? I thought humans invented gears,” says the always charming Lehigh University biochemist. Indeed, the planthopper bug has gears in its legs that permit it to jump what in human terms would be like vaulting the length of two football fields at one go. Evolutionary theory asks you to believe such a thing arose through chance mutations sifted by purposeless natural selection. Episode 3 of Secrets of the Cell, “The Power of Evolution,” invites us to wonder if Darwinian thinking has underestimated the “mechanical marvels” in the design of insects, so wonderfully “precise and purposeful,” to which “nothing we humans have ever built even comes close.” To look at such things and not say “Yeah, that was intelligently designed” requires a supreme effort to deflect our own intelligent intuition. That’s not true just of planthoppers but of bees, fleas, flies, butterflies, spiders, cockroaches — insects and other livings, of all species.
But as Darwinists would have it, isn’t the case for design just an argument from incredulity, a common logical fallacy? Darwin and his immediate successors could confidently assure themselves that such marvels were simply a product of blind natural churning. But that confidence began to really unravel with a modern scientific revelation: that “the changes in a species that we can see are driven by molecular changes in genes and DNA that we can’t see.” How the hidden reality of coded biological information in the cell fatally upset the case for unguided evolution is the subject of Episode 4 in the series.
Look for that here at Evolution News next Wednesday! Secrets of the Cell is a series of short (five minute) videos, beautifully produced and maximally accessible. Share it widely with your friends and family. For previous episodes, see here and here.
Update: Michael Behe also discussed the planthopper in a recent debate with a critic. See, “Behe and Swamidass Debate Evolution and Intelligent Design at Texas A&M.”