"There are a thousand hacking at the
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Creation of Nature
Without stretching our human reason to the breaking point and whitewashing the salient information we have from the natural world of fauna on earth, how can we reconcile the raw violence and savage predation of nature with a creator of peace and harmony, a caring, loving merciful systems designer that eschews the suffering and destruction of life forms? What man of nobility and good will would even consider embarking on a creation of such an extensive and multifarious system of predatory competition? Even with all of our problems, all of our corruption, in the face and context of the natural world of the animal kingdom, when we do our competitive business and when we design our competitive sports and games, in our "civilized", humanized, non-barbaric societies we draw the line before it gets to the point of serious physical and mental damage and death.
So, IS civilized man more humane that the vaunted creator-god of Judeo-Christianity? Is it any wonder that cultured scientific gentlemen seek to understand the origin and development of the universe and its life forms in ways that are alternative to those described in sacred writings, what with all their mythology and violations of scientific fact? The disconnect and contrast between the god of love and this feral animal kingdom is so great that the idea that a "God" worthy of the term having created this system should not pass the laugh-out-loud test!
Consider one of the many examples of parasitical activity found in nature:
"...the contemporary American science writer, paleontologist and biologist Stephen Jay Gould, an eloquent defender of the hard truth of hard science, discusses the strange case of the ichneumon wasp. During its larval stage this creature lives as a parasite, feeding on the bodies of, usually, caterpillars. The female adult injects her eggs into the host and victim via a long thin tube known as an ovipositor. Some varieties of ichneumon lay the eggs on the surface, so, as a precaution against them being dislodged, they simultaneously inject a paralyzing toxin to prevent the host from moving during the process of incubating and then feeding their offspring. To keep the food fresh, this toxin paralyzes but does not kill. For the same reason larvae deposited inside the caterpillar follow a particular eating pattern designed to consume inner organs and tissue in such a way that the host will continue to live for as long as the larvae require.
"Gould points out how the life of the ichneumons captured the moral crisis of the nineteenth century. The very exploitative viciousness, the cruel calculation of the wasps' behavior seemed to deny the possibility of a benevolent universe. It was one thing to eat your prey, quite another to contrive to keep it alive while you did so. The Victorians attempted to be objective about this terrible spectacle. They made serious attempts not to see nature in terms of human morality. They wished to distance the horror by scientific objectivity. But, as Gould points out, they found themselves obliged to employ the language of human drama simply to tell the story." Appleyard, Bryan, Understanding the Present, p. 76
"Nature is red in tooth and tong!"
Concerning the violence-to-living-entities that is the foundation for survival of many species, it has been said that nature is red in tooth and tong. In the face of the above information and many other examples of vicious activity and macabre aspects, how can we say that a benevolent "god" is the author of nature as we know it? Despite creationists pointing to the astounding variations and complex design of the various system of life forms, their organs, and their relationships, the simple answer is that we CANNOT! And so we posit that something went wrong in a creation originally without pain, violence, suffering and death.
Here are even more extreme examples of the intricate yet perverse design features that we find in nature on earth:
An astonishing example of seemingly-"impossible" design, which has quite rightly been much cited by recent "creationist" writers, is the bombardier beetle Brachinus, which is now known to be equipped, for its defense, with a miniature liquid-fuel rocket engine. Stored hydroquinone fuel and hydrogen-peroxide oxidizer are suddenly mixed in a tail-end combustion chamber, where they react explosively to generate a jet of steam and boiling water, ejected through a trainable nozzle at any threatening predator. (Wesson, P. 82, quoting J. Dean, D.J. Aneshansley, Harold Edgerton, & T. Eisner: Science 248 (June 8, 1990) pp. 1219-1221.)
Another example of an extraordinary "natural" weapon has (unlike the beetle's) been known so long that it was already exhibited by Mivart in his important contra-Darwinian book The Genesis of Species in 1871 (it also appeared in Goldschmidt's list): the "nematocysts" (stinging cells) of cnidarians ("coelenterates": hydroids, jellyfish, sea anemones and their relatives.) In each of these cells lies a barbed micro-harpoon on a coiled-up tether, which is violently ejected if a nearby "trigger" is touched; these micro-harpoons inject a poison so potent that some jellyfish, such as the cubomedusan Chironex, may be fatal for a swimmer to encounter.
But far more astounding than the design of these weapons themselves is the fact that some other organisms command the skill to steal these deadly spring-guns from cnidarians, in order to make use of them for their own defense! Two quite unrelated creatures are known to perform this hardly-credible feat. One is the flatworm Microstoma, which gets them from the small freshwater polyp Hydra. Since it has no hands, it is obliged to eat the Hydra for the purpose--though it must find its flavor repulsive, since it would rather starve than live on an all-Hydra diet. It somehow deactivates the triggers so as to keep the cells from firing; then, in its stomach, somehow keeps them from being digested, and passes them through the stomach wall to wandering cells that carry them to its outer skin, where they are installed, and finally furnished with new triggers grown by their new owner. (I could hardly blame you if you refused to believe a word of this.)
The other deft thieves are marine nudibranchs ("sea slugs"), such as Aeolidia, which attack sea anemones and jellyfish to obtain their nematocysts and install them on their own backs—or, alternatively, to hoard them in special sacs, for the purpose of spewing them en masse into the mouth of an attacker. In Natural History Oct. '93, pp. 66f., you may see color photographs of the fantastically beautiful "red-flame nudibranch" in the act of devouring a sea anemone—of which, however, we are told that it will consume only enough for this purpose, since, like the flatworm, it does not use cnidarians as food but only as armories.
How can anyone manage to believe that blind chance could possibly have endowed either of these creatures, let alone two different ones, with a mechanism capable of accomplishing such an "impossible" purposeful feat? Or (to phrase it in the tendentious jargon of the Darwinists) how can we imagine such a fantastic adaptation" as having been accidentally "evolved"? –Yet Darwin, of course, has an all-sufficient answer—a petitio principii which has the happy faculty of "explaining" anything whatever*: "Would not the animals who chanced to be able to do this have been better able to survive than those who could not? Of course they would! So there is your answer: natural selection! The problem is solved, there is no more to be said."
*Except for the numerous instances of plants and animals that survive well in spite of being burdened with such severe built-in hindrances to their welfare or reproduction that, if natural selection had really exercised more than a trivial effect, they ought to have perished! In this essay, I will pass over that genus of Darwin-disconfirmations, but a large gallery of striking cases may be found in Wesson's scholarly and reliable book. (This argument, of course, does not "suit the book" of the Bible-creationists, who feel they must flatter their vainglorious deity by praising the whole living world as "divinely perfect", denying to its author the capability of error (or of humor.)
Mebane, Alexander, Darwin’s Creation Myth p. 38, 39.
So, when we look at nature with our eyes open we see it as "red in tooth and tong", we see barbaric violence, bizarre form, mind numbing ugliness, predatory competition, all mixed in with its beauty and elegance. The psychological diagnosis of the creator suggests deep trauma and schizophrenia.
The bottom line is that for nature in this world we must consider another creative agency outside of God, one that is perverse and capable of being extreme, one that would think up a predatory competition system. Who might that be?