by Bill Nugent
The journal, Science, wrote in its September 2013 issue about a set of gears found in the base of the hind legs of an insect. You read that right. There are a set of intermeshing gear teeth as part of the naturally occurring structure of an insect.
An article titled Gear Up in the Perspective section of the Jan.- Mar. 2014 issue of Answers magazine, page 13, discussed what was originally reported in the journal Science. The Answersarticle even features a picture of the gears which is actually a scanning micrograph image. The gears look like the intermeshing teeth of gears you’d find in an automobile manual transmission.
The insect, which is the nymph stage of the leafhopper, Issuscoleoptratus, is capable of using its hind legs to jump a great distance relative to its size. A fraction of an inch long, it can jump with 400g acceleration and attain a speed of 3.9 meters per second. The thrust of each hind leg must move at precisely the same time and speed as the other leg, otherwise the jump would malfunction and send the insect at an angle or in a spin.
This coordination of leg thrust must happen so fast that nerve impulses are not fast enough to make both legs spring at the same time. This necessitates the mechanical gear system at the base of the legs to coordinate their movement. These gears, composed of protein biopolymers, are precisely engineered and are irreducibly complex.
To say that the gears are irreducibly complex means that every part of the gears must be fully formed and optimally configured and precisely placed in the insect for them to be of biological advantage. Biologist, Michael Behe, in his book, Darwin’s Black Box, defines and discusses the concept of irreducible complexity. Behe shows example after example of biological systems that would be useless to an organism if every part of the biological system was not fully formed at the same time and assembled correctly. Behe showed the futility of any conceivable gradualist, step by step method of accounting for the formation of complex, interdependant biological systems.
The Darwinian approach to the leafhopper gear system would be to contend that the gears evolved by a step by step, hit or miss evolutionary process of genetic mutations over generations of leafhoppers. In other words, the Darwinist would claim that a leafhopper had a favorable mutation that caused some kind of crude partial gear to form between its legs and this mutation was transmitted to the next generation and the next. Sometime later, another favorable mutation occurred that built another gear that intermeshed with the first gear.
The absurdity of the Darwinist claim should be obvious because of the extreme improbability of a mutation in the DNA resulting in a gear and then the extreme improbability of another randomly coincidental mutation that would result in another gear to intermesh with the first. Even if a large mutation occurred that formed two partially formed gears, the gearing would not be precisely engineered in such a Darwinian gradualist approach. Also consider that a partially formed gear system would be useless, or worse, detrimental to the leafhopper and the mutated leafhopper would be eliminated by natural selection.
The Darwinist must also admit that favorable mutations in the DNA are exceedingly rare and the precise engineering found in the leafhopper gears would take a huge number of modifications to the sequence of the nucleotide base pairs in the DNA. In other words, a mere tweaking of a few DNA base pairs would not give us these superbly engineered gears. Bottom line is that these leafhopper gears are evidence of the inescapable necessity of an Intelligent Designer of life.
The Cambrian layers of rock are considered by scientists to be the “oldest” layers and the Cambrian layers contain many fine insect fossils. Not only do these fossils closely resemble insects that are alive today but the entire insect fossil record shows no transitional forms between insect orders. The insect “missing links” are still missing! Insects have very short life spans and high rates of reproduction. Insects are therefore an ideal laboratory for potential evidence for Darwinian macroevolution. If evolution took place, insect fossils would likely be the place where transitional forms would be seen. The fossil record shows that insect fossils are highly undarwinian!
Prominent evolutionist, Richard Goldschmidt (1878 – 1958), embarked on a series of cruel experiments on gypsy moths that today’s animal rights people would find gruesomely objectionable. For 25 years he kept hordes of gypsy moths and bred them over thousands of generations to shower them with x-rays and mutagenic chemicals. He expected to cause mutations to form new species but instead got only deformities. Insects are exquisitely engineered. We saw this precise engineering in the leafhopper gear system and another example is the fact that the wings of some insects require thirty muscles, all finely tuned and balanced, to flap the wings.
Goldschmidt concluded that small, incremental genetic mutations are no mechanism for evolution. Goldschmidt viciously attacked Darwinian gradualism in his 1940 book The Material Basis for Evolution. He proposed a new mechanism called the “Hopeful Monster Mechanism” which alleges that evolution occurred in great leaps such as a lizard lays an egg and out hatches a bird!
The “hopeful monster mechanism” of evolution is highly untenable when viewed from the perspective of modern genetics. For an organism to give birth to an offspring that is highly different from itself would mean that a huge, favorable macro-mutation would have to occur. This would mean that a very large number of base pairs would have to be re-sequenced in the DNA in a way that would not kill the offspring. Modern genetics has shown that mutations virtually always result in a scrambling of information and/or a reduction of genetic information in the DNA. Mutations are no refuge for the evolutionist. Then you have the problem of figuring out how the grossly mutated offspring would reproduce since it would be a unique ‘monster’ individual with no potential mates in the gene pool.
God is the Intelligent Designer of life and He put human beings on planet earth for a purpose. The Westminster Catechism states that the purpose of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. In order to come to know God and to enter heaven in the afterlife we must first deal with sin. God has provided for our forgiveness by sending Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus came in fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament messianic prophecies. No other figure in all of world history can make this claim! Jesus died for our sins which means that when He suffered and died He took the penalty of our sins upon Himself. He rose from the dead to offer forgiveness to all who call upon Him. Turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins!