Your Curmudgeon has often expressed his fondness for the Dung beetle — a splendid example of an insect that has evolved to thrive in its environment. We’ve written about them several times — see Dung Beetles Navigate by the Stars. That post links to a few others, including one you shouldn’t miss: Intelligent Design: The Dung Beetle’s Tale.
It seems that the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) also appreciate the little critters, but not in the same way that we do. They just posted Dung Beetles: Promoters of Prairie Preservation.
It was written by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. He has two middle initials, which is very classy, and he not only has a law degree, but he’s also a Doctor of Theology. He’s described at the end as “Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Imagine the life of a dedicated dung beetle, collecting, moving, and hoarding dung — even raising its children on it. Talk about a lowly existence! Yet, from the dung beetle’s perspective, it’s completely normal; dung is what its life is all about.
It’s much the same with a creationist’s life. Then he says:
Consider the valuable ecological service the dung beetle provides as it mundanely moves manure morsels.
Yes, the dung beetle tidies up our world while benefiting itself. But that’s where the analogy to creationists breaks down, because a creationist only makes the world messier.
After that, Johnson asks and then answers a profound question:
Are these dung beetles being altruistic environmentalists, caring about their native ecosystem? No, dung beetles don’t study biome ecology; they don’t select seed-sowing sites to promote the nutrient dynamics of American prairies.
Then why do they do what they do? Johnson explains:
Rather, the mutualistic symbiosis we see exhibited in prairie habitats — where cattle provide resources to dung beetles, which help plant the next generation of grasses, which in turn feed the cattle — is a composite and interactive display of God’s preplanning genius and bioengineering.
Aha — it’s God’s plan! Let’s read on:
It is God who is multitasking on the great grassy plains, working above and below the surface to provide habitat for plants and animals while simultaneously providing for human needs.
The dung beetle is God’s agent! And now we come to the end:
This seemingly lowly insect is but one valuable gem of God’s handiwork in the plains of the Great West. We can see that even the dung beetle glorifies God, providentially promoting prairie preservation in plain view — if we look carefully at what’s happening in the grass beneath our feet.
This is a bit of a puzzle. We understand the dung beetle in the context of evolution, but it doesn’t make much sense as a product of creation. All that divine multitasking would be unnecessary if dung weren’t so ubiquitous. It looks like an example of bad planing to us.
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