Evidence of design in bees

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, August 8th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: evidence of God’s design.

Honeybees can pass immunity to certain diseases from one bee to another. That’s baffled scientists for years. Now they think understand how it works, but how it developed? That they don’t know.

REICHARD: The process is intricate, and a natural miracle that defies Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories. Gordon Wilson is an environmental scientist.  He says a bee colony’s immunization process makes the phrase “intelligent design” seems like the understatement of the century!

Wilson teaches science and natural history at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. He joins us now to talk about this discovery. Good morning, Professor!

GORDON WILSON, GUEST: Hi, Mary. Thanks for having me. 

REICHARD: First of all, can you explain in basic terms what this research concludes?

WILSON: The research concludes that honeybees are able to transfer immunity to other members of the colony—not only of their generation but also transmit some immunity to the next generation. So, through their feeding of the brood, the larvae—they feed the larvae that will become the future workers and the future queens and drones—they feed those larvae substances that can grant them some immunity to diseases that may be threatening the hive. So, that’s the basic idea.

REICHARD: Well, I’m wondering—from your perspective—how does this new understanding point to God’s design in the honey bee?

WILSON: Well, it just shows you that all of this amazingly complex and sophisticated pathways of honeybees ingesting RNA from the environment. I mean, normally RNA’s a very, very delicate and fragile molecule. They’re ingesting it and bringing it through their guts and then the workers not only ingest this RNA that’s not their own RNA—RNA from other sources. Bacteria, viruses. 

And they ingest the RNA, absorb it into their bloodstream and then move the RNA to their oral glands so that they then feed the larvae in their hive these royal jellies and worker jellies and have these RNAs.

So it’s sort of an RNA vaccine, if you will. But they’re fed to the colony. And somehow the worker, they don’t have to think about the—all of these things are just pre-planned and designed into their physiology to absorb, without digesting the RNA. Because if they ingest the RNA, then it’s useless. They don’t. They keep the RNA intact. They bring it into their bloodstream and coat it with proteins to protect it in a glue-like substance so that the RNAs are protected during all of this circuitous movement around the bee, inside the bee so that those RNA are intact when they are fed to the larvae. All of this is design. And what’s unfortunate is the vast majority of the scientific community is so steeped in Darwinism that even though everything is screaming design, they are so entrenched in thinking that it had to have happened by chance that they don’t think outside that box. 

REICHARD: Now, Darwinian evolutionists will argue that this kind of intricate process can evolve through natural selection. Tell us why that argument doesn’t work here.

WILSON: Well, you know, someone had said—I forget who—that all creationists believe in survival of the fittest. That’s not a problem. Natural selection happens. But you have to have some variation that gives you an edge. But the issue is not survival of the fittest, it’s arrival of the fittest. How did they get these amazing contrivances in the first place? Once you’ve got some new thing that gives you immunity, it’s easy to say, well of course. It’s got an advantage over those that didn’t get immunity. You survive. No one disputes survival of the fittest. 

It’s getting the thing in the first place when that thing is so, so designed and contrived and a lot of specified complexity, a lot of information is involved in it. Some amazing intelligence—obviously God—designed all of these contrivances that are for a particular purpose. When you see something that is obviously—like a jackknife or a mouse trap—you know that it’s put together and it’s got a—you can see the mind of the designer by looking at what, how it’s put together, whether it’s a watch or a mouse trap or some other interesting gizmo. We know it has a purpose. So that’s what a contrivance is. 

REICHARD: Every so often we hear that evolutionists are in turmoil as more and more scientific discoveries disprove their natural selection theories. Do you think that will continue?

WILSON: Well, I think what’s happening as they keep unveiling more and more complexities in our body as well as in other organisms—honeybees—it doesn’t matter where you turn—whether it’s plants, animals, fungi. And natural selection is just such a basic tool that just fine tunes or just selects from among a number of variants that says which one’s the best to survive in this environment. But they have to turn to mutation, which is just an unguided process with no intelligence and we’re looking at sophisticated, complex machines in the cell that are so purposeful and are so complicated that even our best engineers couldn’t come up with anything as well designed.

REICHARD: Gordon Wilson teaches science and natural history at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. Thanks so much for joining us today!

WILSON: Oh, you’re welcome!

(Photo/Creative Commons)

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