If you read my previous post, you already know that I was raised Christian and that I alone out of my God-fearing family have turned atheist. My brother Mike I’m not too sure about. He isn’t an active Christian but as far as I know he still believes in God. Anyways, although I haven’t told my parents outright that I no longer believe in God, I’m beginning to suspect that they are figuring it out.
They like to drop these not-so-subtle hints that I should be going back to church or that God is working in my life. I generally just shrug these suggestions off to avoid a conflict but there was one instance when I could not resist a rebuttal.
One night I was up late with my Dad watching some Discovery or NOVA special on really crazy-awesome bugs. One of the bugs covered was the bombardier beetle which is a remarkable insect that is renowned for its ability to defend itself by firing a mix of boiling toxic chemicals out of glands in different locations on its body. During the beetle’s segment, my Dad said, “You know, there’s a really interesting debate going on right now saying that this bug disproves evolution because there’s no way that it could have evolved those chemicals separately by themselves because they serve no other purpose and because when they mix they explode.” He said it offhandedly, probably not expecting a response. I told him that although I didn’t know exactly how it happened, I was certain that evolution could have produced such an adaptation.
I happened to have my computer handy so I immediately started with Wikipedia to get a little background info on the beetle and find out exactly how it evolved so I could explain it to Dad. There wasn’t much in the Wiki article, so I followed the sources links at the bottom of the page to talkorgins.org. There I found an entry that explained that the person who claimed that the two chemicals (hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide) would explode when mixed was blatantly mistaken, yet continues to use the argument in debates. It also outlined a highly plausible, step-by-step series of events that explain how the mechanism evolved. I promptly sent him the link. Unfortunately he didn’t get to read it until about a week later and he didn’t really say much about it. I like to think he didn’t say much because he knew he had no counter-argument.
If you’re interested in reading that talkorgins entry you can find it here.