The Perception Systems in Animals
All living things must know what is going on around them, or else they'll be unable to find food, protect themselves from danger, and find mates. Therefore, every living thing needs systems to let it distinguish objects and exhibit the necessary reactions in order to survive.
These special systems that tell them about external objects and direct their actions vary among species. The auditory receptors of a species of moth that needs protection from bats are sensitive to the high-frequency cries emitted by bats. Bats, in turn, hear the echoes of the sounds they emit at various frequencies, and manage to fly and hunt in the dark without hitting anything by analyzing those data. Similarly, salmon's olfactory systems allow them to swim for thousands of kilometers (hundred of miles) back to the streams where they were spawned. Whales communicate by perceiving the sounds they emit.
Direction finding systems, infra-red eyes and special hearing systems are just a few of the perception systems that living things employ. As will be seen from upcoming examples, one common feature of these systems is that all the components that permit perception are fully integrated with the other organs essential to survival. For instance, smell receptors in the nose are compatible with the smell center in the brain. The perceptions resulting from this harmony may have different meanings for each species, such that a living thing can distinguish members of its own species solely from their scent. Again, the receptors in a living thing's light-sensitive regions are entirely compatible with the visual center in the brain. For instance, the snake's eye has sensor regions that are activated by heat rays. Nerve cells carry the image as it is to the brain, which then interprets these signals as heat waves.
Designs such as these could not possibly come into existence by chance, and are among the proofs that God created all living things. Considering such examples is important for understanding the mightiness and the limitlessness of His wisdom. The salmon is thus one of these proofs of creation.
The Salmon's Astonishing Direction Finding Systems
In the rivers of the western shores of North America is born one of the world's most fascinating migrants. This is the salmon, which braves all kinds of difficulty in between rivers and streams and the open sea.
The salmon's life cycle begins when the female deposits eggs in the upper parts of a river or stream, has them fertilized by the male, and then covers them over with gravel (or sometimes sand).
Salmon generally deposit their eggs at the end of summer or in autumn. Following the incubation period, the tiny young usually hatch out at the end of winter. During their first few days, the young have a yellow yolk sac under their stomachs which contains the necessary foodstuffs for them. During this period, the young hide under pebbles that protect them from predators until their sacs are been used up.
A few weeks later, the salmon grow large enough to find their own food. They live in the river for approximately one year, while continuing to grow in size.
Salmon have been created so as to be able to live in both salt and fresh water. The purpose of this feature is revealed in the miraculous journey the fish will undertake.
With the arrival of spring, thousands of salmon begin to migrate along the river bed.
The exact start of the migration varies according to the particular species. For example, the young of the pink salmon begin migrating towards the sea as soon as they hatch out from their eggs. Other species, like chum salmon, head for the open sea after feeding for a few weeks; while king and Atlantic salmon do so only after completing their development in the rivers for between one and three years.
During their first migration, the young salmon "go with the flow," progressing along the current of the river. On their journey to the sea, they may encounter various dangers such as whirlpools, polluted waters and predators. At the end of this journey, which will last for several weeks, those who survive to reach the open sea thus complete their first migration and finally reach their objective, the Pacific Ocean. After spending a few years in the sea, those which grow to full maturity embark on another, really astonishing, migration.
As the salmon swim down the river, a number of physiological changes take place. From being creatures that live in fresh water they adapt to the salt waters of the sea. After spending a while at the mouth of the river in order to acclimatize themselves to salt water, they move to the ocean where they will spend most of their adult lives.18 When the fish return to the rivers to lay their eggs, this process is reversed.
The Salmon's Difficult Journey Begins
The salmon now begin swimming against the current, up the same river that years earlier, they descended to reach the sea. No obstacle can deter them. When they come across waterfalls, they leap into the air and continue on their way. They are capable of surmounting obstacles as much as 3 meters (9 feet) high.
Their objective at the end of this return journey is the place where they hatched, where they will lay their own eggs. Atlantic salmon undertake this journey every year, while the other species migrate only once in a lifetime. These migrations present a number of difficulties, which we can briefly summarize.
The first of these is the distance the fish need to travel. In order to reach their natal rivers the salmon need to swim thousands of kilometers. For example, many Atlantic salmon travel roughly 4,000 kilometers (2500 miles).19 During the egg-laying period in autumn, the chum salmon swims more than 3,200 kilometers (2000 miles). A red salmon travels more than 1,600 kilometers (1000 miles).
As soon as they reach the ocean, a structural change takes place in the salmons' bodies that enables them to survive in salt water. Over the next one to four years they will travel enormous distances through the ocean. Leaving the American coasts, they travel along the Alaskan coast towards Japan, returning by the same route. At the end of the journeys, the salmon have matured and are ready for the last and most difficult journey of their lives: the return home, to the fresh-water beds where they were born.
The salmons' timing is ideal. They plan their long journeys to coincide with the spawning periods. The Atlantic salmon, for example, swims an average of 6 to 7 kilometers (3 to 4 miles) a day to reach its destination; the migration it begins in late spring is completed towards the end of autumn.
Problems Salmon Have to Overcome
On its return route, the salmon must first find the mouth of the river where it was hatched. Salmon never make a mistake in this regard. On their first attempt, they're easily able to find the mouth of the river that opens into the ocean.
Entering the river, a salmon begins to swim with great determination against the current.
In order to reach its objective, the salmon struggles against the river's powerful current. It overcomes the waterfalls and similar obstacles rising up before it by leaping sometimes as high as 3 meters (10 feet) in the air. Sometimes it passes through water so shallow that its upper fin is exposed to the air. In these shallow waters, it faces the danger of predators such as eagles, hawks and bears that wait for it.
In order to fully understand the perfection of the salmon's journey, consider what it must keep in mind to reach its destination:
First, to determine its route, it needs to take a number of important decisions. The fish are hatched a considerable distance inland, in any of the river's number of various branches. Thus the salmon must correctly select every fork in the river. Yet they are able to find their way on a journey they undertake only once in their lives, and select the correct forks in the river which leads to their ultimate destination.
Throughout its arduous journey, the fish expends enormous energy, yet it never takes on any nourishment. Before setting out on its exhausting journey, it has stored all the energy it will require. That storage and the fish's needs have been finely out with flawless calculation.
In examining the salmon's migration, one must also bear in mind such factors as the salinity levels of the rivers and the sea and the water temperature. Salmon possess the equipment that allows them to harmonize completely with both fresh water and salt water environments.
Despite all the difficulties, salmon complete their journeys, returning to where they were born to lay their eggs. Generations of salmon have undertaken this magnificent journey for millions of years.
The measure of the salmon's achievement can be better grasped by a few comparisons. Imagine that someone had to travel thousands of kilometers to the house where he was born, with no help and not using any sort of vehicle. It's is impossible that he would be able to do so within a specific time frame, over roads and obstacles he had never encountered before. Yet salmon possess the means to do this, from the moment they are born. Clearly, however, this ability cannot come about through the salmons' own efforts. Chance can never endow this species of fish with greater abilities than those of human beings.
These creatures can complete their journey of thousands of kilometers thanks to the special designs created in their bodies by God. Every thoughtful reader can immediately see the miraculous aspect of the salmon's achievement and realize that this is performed with the guidance—in other words, the inspiration— of a superior power.
In one verse, God reveals that there are lessons for mankind in the living things He has created:
There is instruction for you in cattle ... (Surat an-Nahl: 66)
The Salmon's Scent-Detection Mechanism
The journeys that salmon undertake are one of the most astonishing phenomena in nature. How do thousands of salmon recognize the riverbed where they were hatched, after spending years at sea? They first need to find their birthplace from among the thousands of rivers that pour into the Pacific Ocean, then swim the length of it, then taking the correct fork whenever the river branches.
All the salmon that have lived for millions of years have achieved the same success in this enormously difficult task.
Let us first turn our attention to the question of how?
Researchers indicate that salmon have a special sense to allow them to complete this journey. To find their way in the oceans, they've been created with a natural compass that perceives the Earth's magnetic field, allowing them to successfully navigate in the waters of the Pacific.
The real question, however, is that of how the salmon find the river bed they were born in—an achievement requiring a very different system from that of the compass.
In the Wisconsin Lake laboratories in America, various studies were carried out to establish how salmon accomplish this impressive journey—and it emerged that salmon use their sense of smell to find their way.
Salmon have two nostrils. Water enters through one and exits through the other. These holes are designed to open and close at the same time as the animal breathes. When water containing any substance with a scent enters the nose, receptors there are chemically stimulated. An enzyme reaction converts this chemical stimulus into an electrical signal, which is transmitted to the central nervous system.
That is how the fish smells. But let us compare the salmon's sense of smell to those of land-dwelling creatures:
In land-dwelling vertebrates, smell takes place when scent molecules dissolve in by the mucus layer in the nose. But in fish, there is no such dissolution stage, because the smell is already dissolved in the water. This gives salmon a great advantage, thanks to which they can follow the source of a smell like very skilled hunting dogs.
The Wisconsin Lake laboratories first sought to answer the question of how much fish can differentiate between various smells. To that end, an aquarium with special channels was designed and with a pipette, the smell of a different plant was placed into each one. In the experiment, only fish that used a channel with a particular scent were rewarded, while fish using other channels were punished by a mild electric shock. The processes were repeated using 14 different smells. At the end of the experiment, it was observed that after a brief learning curve, fish were able to distinguish the smell leading to a reward on every occasion. Another important finding was that young fish in the experiment were able to identify the correct smell even three years later.20
Based on the results of the study, scientists concluded that fish possess a sense of smell incomparably more powerful than that of human beings.
Every stretch of water has its own particular aroma. Young salmon record the smells they encounter, one by one, during their first journey to the sea. On their return journey, they can find their way with the help of the smells stored in their memory banks.21
To answer the question "Does each current have its own particular smell?" the experiment was repeated with water from two different rivers. Indeed, the fish were able to distinguish between them.
In fact, every river in the world has its own individual chemical compound. The differences between these are usually so small that very few creatures— apart from salmon—can detect them…
The research on this subject was taken one step further in fishes' natural habitats. Fish with their nostrils specially sealed were observed in the Issaquah River in Washington, and thus deprived of their sense of smell, they were confused and unable to find their way.22
The results of all the research carried out to date indicates that the salmon's sense of smell is so sensitive that it amazes human beings.
A discovery at the Prairie Creek Fish Breeding Farm in North California revealed salmons' direction finding abilities in an incredible migratory adventure.23
On December 2, 1964, a large, two year-old salmon was found in one of the breeding pools swimming amongst the hundreds of young fish. Examined close up, a Prairie Creek Fish Breeding Farm metal clip was seen on its back fin. This shows that the fish was one of those that had been released into the ocean two years before, after having been reared at the farm. But how could the salmon have returned from the ocean to enter the farm's closed fish breeding pool?
There were two clues. One, the box with a grill lid, opening into the channel used to empty excess water from the pool, was found broken. Could the fish have entered the channel in order to return to its birthplace and then have entered the pool by breaking the metal lid?
It seemed incredible that the salmon could have made the long journey from the ocean to the pool. Yet there was no other explanation.
In order for the salmon to return to the farm, it must have begun its journey from the point where Redwood Creek joined the ocean. The fish would then have to have swum 5 kilometers (3 miles) against the current before reaching the first fork; then have made the correct choice and turned north, before coming to a more difficult parting of the ways. At this point, from the salmon's point of view, there were two very similar signals. The farm where the salmon was born was located exactly in the middle of the fork. The first choice was for the salmon to turn right, because the farm waters flowed from that direction.
Yet for some reason, the fish selected the left fork and managed to approach from behind the farm where it had been born.
The reason for its astonishing decision lay beneath the main road that ran through the region. Under that road was a channel into which the farm's excess water was discharged. Under normal conditions, very little water entered this channel, and what there was leached into the forest soil before ever reaching the river. But that year had seen heavy rainfall, and the water in the channel had reached the river. For a salmon determined to find its birthplace, that shallow stream was enough to show the way.
Following that familiar scent, it evidently must have left the river and moved up the length of the water channel. Entering the channel, it swam and crawled through some depths of only 5 to 10 centimeters (1.5 to4 inches). Then, moving through the darkness of the tunnel, it must have crossed underneath the road and leapt into the channel's special water pipes, which were at a considerable height. Yet even had it managed to do all that and approach its objective in the darkness, it would still find itself blocked by the cover, trapped in a concrete channel underneath this wooden track in the fish breeding farm.
Yet the salmon had been programmed to find the spot where it had been born. Finding the 12-centimeter (5-inch) entrance to the pipe leading to the pool, it moved along that and encountered a final obstacle: the metal grill placed in front of the pipe…Yet the salmon overcame this with a sharp blow from its nose.
At the end of this arduous journey, the fish reached the pool where it had been born two years before.
After calculating the route it had taken, the farm personnel wondered if other salmon had returned? On the chance that they might find something, they removed the wooden planks of the track and examined the channel underneath. To their amazement they found 70 more salmon, all bearing the metal tags of the breeding farm!
This incredible tale provides us with some very important evidence regarding creation. The journey carried out by these fish occurred thanks to various systems, every phase of which had been carefully calculated.
It's a miracle by itself that a program should command the fish to go to the sea after being born, to spend years there, then return to the riverbed where it was spawned. In addition, the fish also has:
By itself, every one of these perfect systems is no doubt sufficient to demolish the claim of chance put forward by evolutionists. The salmon's journey is a marvel of planning and design that renders ridiculous the concept of chance.
It is Almighty God, the Lord of the Worlds and the Creator of all living things Who created salmon with all their marvelous properties.
Evolutionists' Errors Regarding Instinct and Natural Selection
The salmon's migratory journey and direction-finding mechanisms are just two of the many facts that place Darwinism in an insuperable quandary. Asked how salmon find their way, evolutionists reply, "By instinct."
Instinct is a word behind which evolutionists hide, baffled in the face of rational and conscious behavior. Yet the meaning and nature of instinct are unclear. What is the origin of instinct? How did such behavior first emerge? Evolutionists are unable to provide a clear and unambiguous explanation to such questions
Of course, the concept that evolutionists describe as instinct can't possibly enable salmon to find their way "home." Instinct would have to describe to a salmon every river it would pass and let it to find its way without fail in the face of all the alternative routes. Such a thought is manifestly illogical.
The behavior of salmon also deals a lethal blow to evolution's natural selection, according to which, all living things are engaged in a ruthless struggle for survival, in which only the strong survive.
However, the altruistic and cooperative behavior among most organisms refute this evolutionist claim. The salmons' behavior, for example, renders the natural selection claim meaningless.
Why do salmon risk their lives undertaking a journey of thousands of kilometers (hundreds of miles)? Why do they abandon their rich food supply in the sea? Why make a migration that provides no advantage to them as individuals? Why do they lay their eggs in river branches thousands of miles away, rather than in the sea where they are at the time, or in the mouths of rivers?
According to evolutionists' theories, salmon should engage only in behaviors that will help them survive. But on the contrary, salmon endanger their own lives in embarking on a most difficult journey to lay their eggs. God, the Lord of the Worlds, inspires in salmon the direction they will take, as He does with all other living things. It is Almighty God Who creates the direction-finding systems in salmon and guides them to travel along rivers and arrive at their destinations.
In one verse God reveals that all living things are under His supervision:
… There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path.' (Surah Hud: 56)
Salmon use the special systems God created for them and, like all other living things, act in the manner inspired in them by Him. These are all proofs that reveal the splendor in God's creation. The life of the salmon is one of the beauties in God's art of creation. Details like these in the variety of living things on Earth must cause human beings to think and to turn to God.
Moths' Area of Expertise: Ultrasonic Waves
For any animal to survive, its most urgent need is to identify predators and prey. Some species of moth have a major advantage in this regard, since they can hear the high-frequency sounds emitted by bats as they hunt.
The study established that a special system in the moth's ear had infiltrated the bat's hunting system. From the ear, perceptions regarding the bat are sent to the central nervous system by means of only two fibers. This system, apparently so simple, is perfectly created to let the moth perceive ultrasonic waves.
Capturing the Enemy's Battle Plan
As insectivorous bats hunt in the dark, they give off a series of high frequency cries. They locate prey by establishing the direction and distance of the source of these cries' echoes. This acoustical radar is so sensitive that it even permits bats to catch insects as tiny as mosquitoes. But some species of moth – members of the Noctuidae, Geometridae and Arctiidae families – possess ears capable of hearing the ultrasonic cries emitted by bats, so that they can escape being hunted down.
These ears, located under the moths' wings, serve as an early warning system.
The moth's ear can detect ultrasonic bat cries, which we humans cannot, from up to 3,200 meters (10500 feet) away. In addition, they can also distinguish frequencies from 10 to 100 kilocycles—a range that includes bat cries. Their greatest ability, to identify short bursts of sound amidst periods of silence and the differences in their sound range, give moths a major advantage in their battle for survival.
In war, of course, it's very important for one country to get hold of its enemy's battle plan. Knowing the weapons and tactics the enemy will employ will make victory—or at least, survival—much easier. The advantage that a moth attains over bats is due to its being aware of the main tactic they use to attack. This of course, is a result of the moths' flawlessly designed creation. If the moth could not hear sounds as far away as the bats could, then the moth's ears couldn't protect it. By the time the moth detected the bat and sought to evade it, the bat would have homed in on it and caught it, due to its faster flight speed. Or the moth might perceive an approaching bat as actually farther away, or misinterpret the bat's location.
Yet from among all these alternatives, moths select the right course of action to avoid falling prey.
In one verse God reveals, "God is watchful over all things." (Surat al-Ahzab: 52) The moth's hearing is one of the countless proofs of this.
Like all other living things, moths survive thanks to the perfect systems He has created in their bodies and inspired them to employ. With the inspiration of God, they engage in rational behavior and make the right choices.
More About Moths' Perfect Hearing System
The book "Animal Engineering", based on articles published in Scientific American magazine, reveals the flawless complexity of the system in moths' bodies:
Moths' ears are located to the side of the lower part of their thorax, in a small passage that separates the insect's chest and stomach. Seen from outside, the ears resemble two small cavities, each containing a transparent membrane.
Immediately behind the membrane, in that part of the passage known as the middle ear, is an air sac. Fine tissue containing the components of the moth's hearing system extends along the length of the air sac, from the middle of the ear membrane to the exoskeletal support. At this point are two hearing cells known as A cells. Attached to them is a third cell, known as the B cell, with no direct connection to sounds.
Every A cell extends a single nerve fiber outside to the ear membrane, and inside to the exoskeletal support. All the information regarding high-frequency sounds the moth detects is transmitted to the central nervous system along these two A fibers. Both A fibers, known as A1 and A2 pass very close to the large B cell. The B cell also has a nerve fiber and after a short distance, the three fibers join and fibers continue on to the moth's central nervous system, combined, as the middle ear nerve.
Electrical signals in the nerve fibers carry an electrical charge of 1/2000th of a volt. The signals in the moth's A fibers reach the central nervous system from the sensory cells in as little as 1/2000th of a second.
How Do Moths Make This Distinction?
To answer that question, scientists started by determining which information reaching the ear the moth analyzes, and how it arrives at an interpretation. Some of the details they discovered eliminate the evolutionists' "random changes" claim:
Scientists took measurements with an oscilloscope, which registers microscopic electrical currents. When a bat squeak stimulates the moth ear, liquid levels in the oscilloscope reveal that the A cell immediately goes into action. As the signal's strength increases, changes are observed. First the magnitude of the signals rises, then the time lag between them falls. Rises are observed in both A fibers at once, though the A1 fiber is more sensitive to sound than the A2 fiber. And the greater the intensity of the signal, the faster the A cell produces a rise.
To scientists analyzing this information, new questions await. In the face of an increasingly strong signal, what changes in the moth's auditory reaction determine its behavior? Using the estimating method, which is called the moth's perspective, scientists arrived at the following conclusions:
The moth's reacting to the first kind of information – in other words, rises in the A fiber–might cause it to make a lethal error: The moth might confuse a long, weak squeak from a far-off bat with the strong squeak of one approaching to kill it.
Such a mistake can be prevented only if the moth uses the second data – the gaps between the peaks – to determine the magnitude of the bat squeak.
The third type of data – the activity of the A2 fiber – may serve to turn an early warning message into a "Take action" one.
A fourth type of data, a sharp peak, is needed to give the moth the information it needs to locate a moving bat. For instance, if the sound is stronger in the moth's left ear than in the right, then the A peaks will reach the left part of the central nervous system a millisecond more quickly than they do the left.
These are estimates regarding the possibilities the moth uses in deciding about the bat and the sort of system employed. There is also the behavior of the moth that can be clearly observed.
When identifying and attacking prey, bats emit increasingly dense sound waves. If the moth perceives a weak sound coming from opposite side, the moth immediately changes course, returns and moves away, leaving the bat behind it. That's because the weakness of the sound means that the bat has not yet located the moth and therefore, has not yet begun pursuit. That is because bats emit increasingly dense sound waves when identifying and attacking prey. A moth which detects weak waves changes direction and moves away, leaving the bat behind it. If the moth detects dense signals, it either makes a sudden dive towards the ground, or makes a series of acrobatic maneuvers of sharp turns to escape the bat.
The Moth's Support Systems
The moth's two ears let it locate the direction of the sounds it hears. If the bat is to the moth's left, sound waves coming from the that direction are detected about 1/1000th of a second before to those coming from the right. This perception gap between the two ears is enough for the moth to locate the source of the sound.
Nor is this the end of the moth's ear's astonishing features. Some moths' ears are covered with a membrane-like structure that serves in much the same way as our external ear. By collecting sound, it contributes to the strengthening of hearing capacity.
In addition, some moths do more than just detect ultrasonic sounds, but can also emit them. When these moths detect a bat, instead of fleeing, they emit ultrasonic sounds of their own. One might imagine that to do such a thing would mean committing suicide for a moth. Yet contrary to what you might expect, when bats encounter such moths, they prefer to move off at high speed.
Scientists think there may be two bases for this behavior:
1. The ultrasonic sounds emitted by the moth interferes with the bat's own perception system.
2 – Sound-emitting moths do not taste good to bats. When the bat hears such a sound, it thinks it has encountered an unpleasant tasting prey.
Reviewing what we've described so far, a manifest consciousness can be seen in moths' behavior as well as a flawless design in their bodies. The features that let the moth detect ultrasonic sounds, interpret them, and send out waves of its own are all requiring separate designs:
The moth's ability to hear the bat is possible thanks to a complex series of processes. If you do away with any one—the perceptual difference between the A1 and A2 fibers, for instance—the moth will be unable to distinguish the direction of the bat squeaks. Or if the structure of the ear membrane is defective, the moth will be unable to hear anything at all. But on its own, a moth's ability to hear the sounds emitted by bats means nothing. In order for the insect to survive, it must have a nervous system that can respond to a predator's presence.
And in that nervous system, the reactions that let enabling the moth to escape by setting specific muscles into action, need to take place in order. That nervous system must be fairly complex to convert the specific data of the bat's squeaks into a flight response.
Considering this system, once again we see the irrationality of evolutionists' claims regarding evolution over the course of time. The theory maintains that living things emerge only as the result of random changes. Yet the moth's auditory system possesses irreducible complexity. In other words, its hearing system can function only if all its components work as a whole. The absence of just one component or its failure to function properly means that the entire system will be useless. Therefore, the evolutionists' concept of "chance" has no validity.
Most of the systems and organs in living things possess this same feature of irreducible complexity. Darwin himself realized that this dealt his theory a clear blow. In his book "The Origin of Species", he makes the following admission:
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.27
Since modern-day technology has revealed the complexity of the systems in living things, the theory of evolution has collapsed. Darwin arrived at his theory under exceedingly primitive scientific conditions. The lack of technical equipment and knowledge—and thus, the narrow viewpoint—of the time can clearly be seen in all of the theory of evolution's claims. In the 21st century, scientific progress has moved on to reveal the perfect structures in living things. Yet there are still people who insist on defending Darwinism.
The superior design in living things proves that they did not emerge by chance but were created with intelligence. Almighty God created all animate and inanimate entities, at a single moment and in the most flawless manner. Those who insist on defending Darwinism would profit from considering the following verse:
Say: "Can any of your partner-deities guide to the truth?" Say: "God guides to the truth. Who has more right to be followed – He Who guides to the truth, or he who cannot guide unless he is guided? What is the matter with you? How do you reach your judgment?" (Surah Yunus: 35)
The Heat Detection System in Snakes
The facial cavities on the front of the rattlesnake's head contains heat sensors that the snake uses to detect infrared rays given off in the form of body heat by warm-blooded birds and mammals nearby. Those sensors are so sensitive that they can identify an environmental temperature rise of 1/300th of a degree, in just 35/000th of a second. The rattler can follow prey that has moved away from it simply by detecting the heat given off by its footprints.
Nor does its sensitive heat-detection system serve only to find prey. The snake is a cold-blooded reptile that can maintain its vital functions only when the ambient temperature is higher than 30 degrees. For that reason, its heat sensors are a great help in finding warm caves or tree trunks where the snake can hibernate over the winter. Of the fourteen species of snake only two have heat sensors, and there are differences in the sensors between these two species. Vipers, for example, bear their sensors on the front of the head under their eyes.
Each cavity is a few millimeters in diameter and up to 5 mm (0.1 inch) deep. Its interior is divided in half by a membrane, forming what's called the inner and outer chambers. In the snake's skull are two trigeminal nerve branches that terminate towards the membrane. The heat given off by the prey's body is turned into electrical signals, and the trigeminal nerve serves to transmit these signals to the part of the brain known as the terminus.
As the nerve branch nears this region, it begins to lose its special sheath. At the end, it takes on a wide, dispersed structure ending in tiny cell-like entities called mitochondria. When the heat stimulus reaches them, it undergoes a structural change, thanks to which the snake detects its prey. It is not yet fully understood how this detection system actually works, though scientists commonly view that it takes place through a very special complex process. 28
The Importance of Control in the Heat Detection System
The snake's heat detection system operates independently of its own body heat. It is activated as soon as the signal is received, but does not react afterwards.29 This feature alone is enough to show that rattlesnakes' system is the product of a specially designed plan. If these sensors reacted to the heat given off by the snakes own body, they would constantly emit signals obscuring those from outside heat sources, and the system would be useless.
But this does not occur, because God created rattlesnakes together with their sophisticated infra-red detection.
Every single detail in this sensory system, unique to snakes, is flawless. Every stage has been perfectly designed, right down to the finest detail.
It is obvious that chance can never come up with such a system in a great number of stages. No other power than God can create such perfect systems, especially not in all the other members of the species. Let's demonstrate this manifest truth once again by examining some other systems in snakes.
Hunting Mechanisms in Snakes
With the help of its forked tongue, a snake can detect if its prey has stopped and has crouched down on the ground, motionless, half a meter in front of it. Despite the pitch dark, its heat detection system accurately locates its prey. First it creeps silently forward until it reaches the attack distance, then rears back its head and leaps onto its victim like a spring. By this time it has already sunk its fangs, in its jaw that can open up to 180 degrees, into its prey. All this takes place at a speed equivalent to a car reaching 90 km/hour (55 mile/hour) in half a second.
In incapacitating its prey, the snake's most important weapon are its poison fangs, which can be as long as 4 cm (1.5 inches). These are hollow, connected to a venom gland whose muscles contract when the snake bites to inject the venom under high pressure—from the fang's canal to under the skin of the victim. Snake venom either paralyses the victim's central nervous system, or else kills it by congealing its blood.
How Do Snakes Tell Whether a Heat -Emitting Body is Prey or Not?
An experiment determined that the snake identifies whether a source of heat represents genuine prey by its heat sensors and forked tongue working together. In total darkness, a hot sandbag and a dead animal were left out in front of a snake, who first moved towards the sandbag, but did not try to swallow it. Although the dead animal emitted no heat, the snake examined it with its tongue when it came across it, and then began eating it. These two sensory systems have been created with features that complement one another. Were that not so, the snake would waste its time in attacking every heat source it encountered.
It is astonishingly apt that the snakes' night vision system should be able to establish another animal's location accurately and that it should have the equipment necessary to kill it with venom.
Of course, those who deny the existence of God can't explain how the snake has a poison system in its jaw that's most complex and specially planned. For the system to function at all, the fangs first need to be hollow, then the venom glands connected to them, and the venom itself must be powerful enough to quickly paralyze its prey.
Furthermore, the system must operate by reflex the moment the snake bites its prey. The absence of just one of these many components will mean that the whole system cannot function. This could result in the snake falling prey to the very animal it had selected as prey.
Another detail needing additional consideration is the way the venom the snake's body contains doesn't harm the snake itself. The glands that store the venom need to have a protective feature to keep it from spreading through the body, killing the snake. The venom system, which exists as a composite whole, clearly cannot have arisen in stages via an imaginary process of "evolution."
Just thinking about the venom system is suffcient to reveal the laughable nature of evolutionists' claims of "chance emergence," because as you can see from the examples just cited, everything in the snake's bodily systems is exceedingly complex and inter-related. Heat sensors or poison fangs evidently cannot appear one day by some mutation. In a crude description of the stages that would have to take place, the fangs would need to appear first, before the hollow passages inside them. Then the snake's body would have to "learn" what formula of venom affects warm-blooded animals; and then the snake would have to produce venom inside its own body. Everything, right down to the smallest details, is flawlessly arranged. God, the Omnipotent, created rattlers with their perfect scent detection abilities, poison systems and all their other attributes. In the Qur'an, those who refuse to have faith are described by God as cruel and He goes on to reveal:
Who could do greater wrong than someone who is reminded of the signs of his Lord and then turns away from them, forgetting all that he has done before? We have placed covers on their hearts, preventing them from understanding it, and heaviness in their ears. Though you call them to guidance, they will nonetheless never be guided. (Surat al-Kahf: 57)
The Scorpion's Sensory Abilities
Desert-dwelling sand scorpions are some of the most dangerous small arachnids. This species of scorpion is almost blind, yet it expertly locates its prey at night. How is this surprising skill possible?
The answer is linked to the cleft-shaped sensors on its eight feet, which are so sensitive that they can detect vibrations smaller than one millionth of a millimeter.
Let us imagine that a butterfly lands somewhere near a scorpion, setting up two types of vibrational waves in the ground. The first type are so-called volume waves and move faster than 150 meters a second (492 feet/second). The second, known as Rayleigh waves, travel parallel to the surface at more than 50 meters a second (164 feet/second). The scorpion determines the distance to its prey by analyzing the difference between the times at which the two waves arrive.30
Of course, knowing the prey's distance still doesn't establish its exact location. The scorpion must also determine the prey's direction.
The scorpion's legs stand on the ground in a circle approximately 5 cm in diameter. That makes for a difference as small as 5 milliseconds (1/200th of a second) between the arrival of the Rayleigh wave from the prey at the nearest scorpion's foot and its arrival at the foot furthest away. When the sensors' nerve cells detects a Rayleigh wave, one of the cells transmits a signal to the central nervous system, as well as to the nerve that perceives the waves from the three opposite legs with a slight delay. However, the signal from those three legs is suppressed, and does not immediately reach the nervous system center.
In this way, the creature can analyze the position of the foot that constitutes the source of the earliest signal and those of the other three feet. By this positional analysis, it establishes the direction of the source of the wave.
Should the difference between the warning signal and the suppressed signals reaching the sensors in the feet be less than 1/500th of a second, then the nervous system perceives both signals at the same time, with no delay. For the scorpion this means going into action and using all its perfectly designed weapons for the attack.
The eight nerve cells that process the signals from the feet make a joint decision, just like a committee, on the direction of the prey.31
How does this happen? Do the nerve cells hold a meeting every single time, set out the data and arrive at a conclusion?
Obviously, there is no such meeting. Nerve cells consist of nothing but protein, fat and water, with no reason or consciousness.
This mechanism has operated exactly the same in all the scorpions that have lived over millions of years. It did not develop by chance over time, as evolutionists would have us believe, nor was it added on afterwards. Almighty God created the scorpion with its perfect design.
19. "Why Atlantic Salmon are Special," Atlantic Salmon Federation; http://www.asf.ca/Overall/asfbrochure.pdf
20. Donald Griffin, Animal Engineering, Readings from Scientific American with Introduction, The Rockefeller University W. H. Freeman Com., San Francisco, p. 55.
21. Ibid., 55; Lisa Stiffler, "Research suggests pesticides disrupt how salmon smell," Seattle Post; http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/ salm013.shtml
22. Ibid.,p. 55.
23. For Men Of Understanding 1, Documentary Film, Okur Production.
24. "Moths and ultrasound", Kenneth D. Roeder, April 1965, Animal Engineering, p. 78.
26. Ibid., pp. 78-86.
27. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species: A Fascimile of the First Edition, Harvard University Press, 1964, p. 189.
28. The Infrared receptors of snakes", R. Igor Gamow and John F. Harris, May 1973, Animal Engineering, pp. 68-69.
29. Ibid., p. 69.
30. "Akrebin Silahı: Fizik" (Physics: The Scorpion's Secret Weapon), Bilim ve Teknik, September 2000, p. 16.; Physics World, July 2000.
31. W. Stürzl, R. Kempter and J. L. Van Hemmen, "Theory of arachnid prey localization;" http://itb.biologie.hu-berlin.de/~kempter/Publications/2000/PhysRevLett/abstract.html
32. Watt, W. B. 1968. Adaptive significance of pigment polymorphisms in Colias butterflies. I. Variation of melanin pigment in relation to thermoregulation. Evolution 22: pp. 437–458; http://www.stanford.edu/group/CCB/Pubs/Boggs_pdfs/2002_Ellers_Boggs_Coliaswingcolor.pdf