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The bombardier beetle is too complex to have evolved (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (The bombardier beetle is too complex to have evolved (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.
A bombardier beetle, photo by Ian Juby

Claim CB310:

The bombardier beetle cannot be explained by evolution. It must have been designed. Source:

CreationWiki response:


(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. This is an argument from incredulity. It is based in part on an inaccurate description of how the beetle's bombardier mechanism works, but even then the argument rests solely on the lack of even looking for evidence. In fact, an evolutionary pathway that accounts for the bombardier beetle is not hard to come up with.
  1. This is not an argument from incredulity but rather an understanding that organized complexity cannot arise from natural processes. A flamethrower clearly has a creator and designer, as does a car. It is perfectly scientific to conclude that these had a creator, and it is perfectly scientific to deduce that the bombadier beetle had a creator.
  2. The alleged inaccurate description is actually a misrepresentation of what the sources actually said.
  3. Being able to invent a story about how an event could happen does not make it possible. Any good science fiction writer can come up with a plausible sounding description of an impossible event. Imagination does not equal reality.
a. Insects produce quinones for tanning their cuticle. Quinones make them distasteful, so the insects evolve to produce more of them and to produce other defensive chemicals, including hydroquinones.

True but T.O is merely assuming the pre-existence of the quinones and thus the explanation as to how this evolved is not included. How would these chemicals evolve in the correct location to correctly function?

2. Bombardier beetles illustrate other aspects of life that look undesigned:
  • With design, we expect similar forms to be created for similar functions and different forms for different functions. However, what we see is different forms for similar functions. Many ground beetles have very similar habits and habitats as centipedes, but their forms differ greatly. Different groups of bombardier beetles use very different mechanisms for the same function of aiming their spray.

Nothing requires a designer to use similar forms for similar functions, particularly if he desires to create some degree of variety. Furthermore, while general functions may be the same, the variety often provides differences in ability.

  • Some forms have no function. Some bombardier beetles have vestigial flight wings.

Assuming they really have no function, rather than an undiscovered one, the most this shows is that bombardier beetles originally could fly, but lost the ability due to mutations. This would be a clear case of degeneration.

  • If bombardier beetles have a purpose, then death is an integral part of it, since the beetles are predators (some, as larvae, are parasitoids, gradually eating pupae of other beetles, and their spray is a defense against other predators. Many creationists claim that death was not part of God's design.

This is simply what it uses this system for currently, in our fallen world. It is not necessarily a reflection of what it was given this ability for in the first place. As another example, spiders may have originally been given the ability to spin webs to catch high-protein seeds, blown by the wind, whereas these seeds and plants were perhaps lost during the flood, and thus the spiders have to look elsewhere for proper nourishment. Something has changed radically from the past as some present day plants are found in the fossil record in enormous sizes, indicative of this radical change.

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