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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

God has a hobby

It's insects.
And I can proof it.
There are around 1.5 million different species described today.
When you read the Genesis you will find that it took him a full day to create the animals in the sea and the birds in the air. Note, that he created only birds in the air, no butterflies.
Since there are approximately 190,000 different species in the ocean and less than 10000 species of birds, he must have created less than 3 species per second.
God is omnipotent. So we shouldn't doubt that this is absolutely possible.
The next day, he created the terrestrian animals and the man. If we substract the sea animals and the birds, we still have ca. 1,300,000 different species to be created on day 6.
That would be over 14 species per second and less than 0.07 seconds to create the man. Unlikely. It's unthinkable that God was just lazy the other day.
But then: The Bible wisefully never mentioned insects in the Genesis. The only words that come somewhere close to insects must be seen as lower forms of invertebrates such as annelids or simpler arthropodes.
That would leave ca. 300,000 different species for day six. And since he already had some practice from the day before, he might even had time to spare some extra seconds for the creation of man.
Makes much more sense this way. Especially since vertrebrates are quite easily designed. All you need is a skull, a spine and four extremities.
Insects are much more interesting. They come in an amazing diversity in shape and have very complex structures. Some of them have four wings, some two, and some have none. Some of them are more colorful than everything else in the world, some have extreme sexual dimorphisms. Some go through a metamorphosis from a disgusting caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly.
That's the high art of design!
I'm sure God took a fancy in beetles. There are more than 350,000 different beetle species. Nobody would need that much. It must have taken him a while to create such diversity.
On day six he didn't even had time to think about a proper skeletal structure for his bipedal man.
I think in Moses' time he was busy creating locusts and got a little bit carried away. But fortunately he could use them as a biological weapon.
And he is still creating new insect species today. Even when entomologists go to places, where a lot of other scientists have already been, like the rainforests, they manage to find new insect species. Obviously, because God just put them there.
If they happen to find new mammal species, it usually turns out, that this species wasn't so brand new to the locals.
It's completely different with insects. As a joke for entomologists God sometimes even puts some new species into a century old entomological collections. What a proof of his omnipotence!
And if we look at a structure, I'm particular interested in, the brain, it's the same story. Mammalian brains are boring. They differ a little in size but apart from that cortical swelling in primates for example, they aren't that different.
It's completely different in insects as you can see above.
You have to be an expert to find the similarities, especially since the structures differ in color. For example are the parts that process optical informations yellow in the bee brain (picture 1)and green in the fly brain (picture 2).
And they are much bigger in the bee. That's logical since the bee needs to see better, but there are differences in optical abilities in mammals, too. And can you see the difference by simply looking at their brains? No!
Which proofs that insect brains are much more efficiently designed than mammalian brains. God has invested a lot of thought in it.

(1.picture: 3D bee brain model, from the bee brain atlas, FU Berlin
2. picure: 3D fly brain model, M. Heisenberg, Nature reviews Neuroscience (2003)
3. picture: Most orders of insects. I got a little bit over exited about beetles. Unfortunately only the honey bee is from me.)


  1. Tilia,

    I never realized how interesting insects were. Hey, if it's good enough for God, then it's at least passable for me!

    Great post.

  2. If you haven't already, you totally need to read Terry Pratchett's "The Last Continent", from the Discworld series.

    It features "the god of evolution": and yes, he is completely obsessed with beetles...

  3. @quasar

    Oh, there it was...
    I thought about citing him, but then I couldn't remember which book it was in

  4. I just realized that Terry is around. Maybe I have to point out that this is a parody and that insects do not have primary colored brains...
    Just to make sure, he doesn't take it for real.

  5. That was really interesting, especially the bits about the brains.


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