Back in June I shared a link to a blogpost about a “kids book” the Institute for Creation Research published in 1991, called Bomby the Bombardier Beetle. That book attempts to teach kids that the system that bombardier beetles use to defend themselves is irreducibly complex, based on a flawed description of how it actually works. In the 21 years since the publication of that book the ICR has at least learnt that their mechanism is incorrect, but as the latest That’s a Fact video, Beetle Battle shows, they haven’t let that persuade them that their anti-evolutionary conclusion is false.
We’ve all seen pictures of animals doing battle, or predators stalking their unsuspecting prey. Many of these creatures use brute strength, deadly venom, unstoppable speed, or ferocious teeth and claws to survive these deadly encounters.
This video begins by going over the same topic as the earlier video Sharp Teeth. And by ‘going over’ I mean ‘contradicting,’ as the thesis for that video was that these weapons originally had another purpose that has been corrupted. Claiming here that they’re actually irreducibly complex and divinely designed goes against that, and blurring the line between predator-prey relationships and intraspecific competition doesn’t help them all that much.
But the bombardier beetle is equipped with what scientists have described as a chemical cannon.
…there are other kinds?
When predators, like lizards for instance, attempt to strike the bombardier beetle with a snap of their tongues, superheated chemicals explode from special glands to drive predators away.
Researchers have discovered that within the bombardier beetle is an armoury of toxic chemicals and biological catalysts. Stored in separate reservoirs, these chemicals, when combined by the right catalysts, create a noxious gas as hot as boiling water, pulses through a complex valve and tube system at a rate of five hundred times per second with an audible popping sound.
I said that they had learnt, but not completely. The two chemicals – Quinones and hydrogen peroxide – are not, in fact, stored separately. I don’t know how complex the “valve and tube system” really needs to be, but I doubt it’s very much especially given the existence of a variety that just uses a froth, rather than a ‘cannon.’
And faced with danger the beetles internal systems activate the toxic chemical mix and send the explosive gasses through its cannon equipped with muscles and nerves that help control and aim the blast.
You could say the same about a well-aimed kick – there’s nothing too special or amazing here.
The bombardier beetle is no accident of nature, it is an example of complex design and irreducible complexity. Which means that the beetle must have all of these components in place in order to activate its defences and survive. And like the rest of creation, only the creator could have engineered so perfect a design from the beginning.
Yeah, no. Quinones, for example, are already present in the bodies of insects, and we also use the chemical ourselves to make hydrogen peroxide. That in and of itself invalidates the ‘irreducibly complex’ claim, as there is a less-complex yet functional process that uses only some of those ingredients. The only remaining piece of the puzzle is the enzyme catalyst, and all that involves is selecting for increasingly effective enzymes.
I’m not sure why this isn’t on the usual show page. Their new site is probably causing changes. The next video is due in a fortnight and is enigmatically called “Land Ho!” My bet is something to do with the end of the flood, including the dove bit but more importantly what the animals would do to survive.