This appeared almost ten days ago at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. It’s titled Sloths: Slow on Purpose. It was written by Sarah Eshlema, about whom we know nothing. Why are we just now getting around to it? Because they haven’t come up with anything better lately.
Wikipedia’s article on the Sloth says:
Sloths belong to the superorder Xenarthra, a group of placental mammals that’s believed to have evolved in the continent of South America around 60 million years ago. … Anteaters and armadillos are also included among Xenarthra.
Interestingly, sloths, anteaters and armadillos are all native to the Western Hemisphere. We’ve previously wondered how the sloth managed to travel from Noah’s ark, which landed somewhere in the Middle East, all the way to South America, so we’re surprised that AIG is writing about them. Anyway, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Bits of sunlight stream through the thick rainforest canopy, settling on a ball of fur clinging to a branch. Slowly, ever so slowly, the ball of fur uncurls, blinks once or twice, then slowly, ever so slowly, reaches for a nearby branch, and slowly, ever so slowly, begins munching. Several minutes later, it blinks and, slowly, closes its eyes to take its 17th nap of the day, not even 100 feet from where it woke up that morning.
Named in the early 1600s for one of the Catholic church’s seven deadly sins, the sloth has been saddled with a bad reputation for centuries. Only in recent years have scientists uncovered research that has been incredibly contrary to our initial impression of these lollygagging sleepyheads. Turns out, the three-toed sloth is a complex creature which serves as a testimony to the resourceful and highly imaginative Creator God.
Most of Sarah’s post is merely a textbook description of the creatures, so we’ll ignore that material. But we can’t omit this:
The truth is that the sloth is not so much lazy or sleepy as it is efficient. Because the sloth has such a low metabolism and only about 25% the muscle tissue of other animals, it moves only when necessary, clocking in around 10 feet per minute. … In general, it exerts the most energy during its weekly (yes, weekly!) descent to the base of its tree to defecate. It can burn up to 8% of its energy in just one bathroom trip!
Obviously that’s the high point of the sloth’s week. Then she says:
Because the sloth retains its food for so long and only empties its bowels once a week, its stomach and intestines are perpetually full and heavy. This could be a problem for an animal that spends most of its time hanging upside down. However, in his good plan, God designed the sloth with fibrous connectors anchoring its stomach, liver, and kidneys in the abdomen. Without these anchors, the organs would press against the diaphragm and lungs, making it a struggle to breathe, thus expending valuable energy that the sloth doesn’t have to spare.
Truly, it’s a miracle of design! After that she tells us:
Though sloths are harmless, they are also easy prey in our fallen world. But God designed camouflage as the sloth’s first line of protection. Like a moldy shag rug flung in a tree, the sloth grows green algae on its back, allowing it to blend into its arboreal habitat and become virtually invisible to predators and even to researchers. (This is one of the reasons that scientists don’t have much data on sloths — it’s difficult to spot and catch them.)
It’s one miracle after another! Sarah continues:
The sloth is much more than just an adorable, sleepy ball of fur. Its features and habits could only have come together by the design of an imaginative Creator whose diverse creation includes the cheetah and peregrine falcon — two of the fastest animals — and the pokey sloth.
Then she takes a swipe at evolution:
The evolutionary worldview favors the fastest and strongest, expecting the slowest and weakest to go extinct. In God’s plan, however, every creature is purposefully designed to serve a purpose.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] That’s why there are no extinct species. And now we come to the end:
The next time you grow impatient at slow people or get frustrated at someone who isn’t exactly like you, remember that God created all kinds of creatures and people. No matter how fast or slow, each has something to offer, and each has a purpose — to glorify the Creator.
That was thrilling. It’s a good thing Noah saved the sloth (and the anteater and armadillo) from the Flood. We’re sure there’s a good explanation as to how they found their way across the Atlantic. Perhaps Sarah will explain that in her next post.
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