Watches and Wombats
by Kenneth Ham
Most people are familiar with the unique animals in the land down under. Australia boasts the largest variety of marsupials on any continent, including kangaroos, koalas, bandicoots, and wombats.
Wombats are a thick-set short legged, tailless, and somewhat badger like burrowing animal. As are all marsupials, they exhibit marvelous evidence for design.
I shall never forget the time on the ICR Australia tour when I took the American tourists to a wildlife sanctuary on Queensland's famous Gold Coast. We all wanted to see the wombat, an animal that has a pouch like the kangaroo and koala. As with other marsupials, the young wombat is born as a fetus about the size of a jelly bean, with well developed forelimbs which enable it to crawl into the mother's pouch where it completes its development. This, in itself, shows the hand of the Creator, God.
The guide began his talk by telling us that the wombat has a very unusual feature. Its pouch opens backwards, not forward, like the kangaroo. It soon became quite obvious why the wombat needed a backward-facing pouch. The wombat tunnels under the ground with burrows sometimes 100 feet long. It doesn't take much thinking to realize that if the wombat had a forward facing pouch, the young would not survive. The pouch would fill up with dirt, and wombats would become extinct.
However, the next statement by the guide surprised us all. He stated evolution is really wonderful—over millions of years it slowly turned the wombat's pouch around to enable it to burrow under the ground. One of my astute tourists then asked, 'What happened during the millions of years while it was still turning around?" Good question!
Now if the wombat needs a backward-facing pouch to tunnel under the ground, what would be the obvious type of pouch for a tree-climbing koala? Our logic would come up with a forward-facing pouch so the young would not fall out of the pouch to the ground. However, the koala also has a backward-facing pouch. Now what would be the evolutionary advantage of this? It is even more surprising when one learns that opossums, which also climb trees, have a forward facing pouch that forms a safe repository for the young while the mother is climbing yet it sleeps upside down. Evolutionists find all this very baffling.
Even more perplexing to the evolutionist is the supposed evolutionary ancestry for the koala. At the largest koala sanctuary in the world, in Brisbane, Australia (which we also visited), the guide there told us how the koala must have evolved from ground dwelling marsupials like the wombat since both have no tail. However, she went on to say that the koala was perfectly suited for sitting in trees, with special padding instead of a tail. She also explained how it had long curved arms and sharp claws to enable it to climb and hold on to tree trunks and branches. It also has scissors-like sharp teeth for slicing through the gum leaves.
The more I listened, the more I realized what this guide was saying. The characteristics the koala did not have showed what it had evolved from, and the characteristics it did have showed what it was designed to do.
But what about the most perplexing Australian animal of all, the Ornithorhynchus anatinus, or platypus? This is a real evolutionary enigma. This mammal has a duck-like bill, a beaver-like tail; webbed feet like an otter, hair like a bear, and claws like a reptile. It lays eggs like a turtle and feeds its young on milk like a mammal. It is able to detect electrical impulses, and builds a burrow, like a rabbit, for a lair. What a mixed-up animal! Evolutionists have a real problem with this little animal. It did not evolve from anything, and it is not evolving into anything, but it is a mixture of all sorts of things. I often wonder if God made the platypus especially to confuse those who believe in evolution.
I believe the greatest evidence that there is a God is in the design in the living world. As Romans 1:20 states, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. "
Someone who understood this very clearly was a famous man called William Paley (1743-1805), who wrote a book about the design in the living world showing obvious evidence of a Creator.
Paley's famous example is that of a person finding a watch and realizing it had a maker. The watch could not have formed by chance; a craftsman must have formed it for a particular purpose.
There are many examples we can use to teach our children and others that there is a Creator God. It is obvious that functional complexity could never arise by chance.
If your children use Lego blocks, you can illustrate the point by showing that just emptying all the blocks out of their container will not result in an airplane. One has to put intelligence (information) and energy into making an airplane out of Lego blocks.
I took my children to a shopping mall once to view a special Lego display—all about evolution and dinosaurs. The makers went to a lot of trouble to explain how many hours of time and computer programs, etc., were used to build this fascinating exhibit. The purpose of the exhibit was to show that dinosaurs (as well as all other living creatures) evolved by chance. As I taught my children, if it took intelligence to build this display, imagine how much more intelligence it must have taken to build real live dinosaurs. They certainly got the point!
When I am teaching in public schools, I also like to use the example of Mount Rushmore. I ask the students how the presidents' heads got there—how many of them believe it was by millions of years of wind and water erosion? No one believes that, because they know that the heads had to be carved. Millions of years of wind and water erosion would never form replicas of the presidents' heads.
William Paley was right! Romans 1:20 is right! It is so easy to see the evidence that there is a Creator. But if this is true, why don't all the scientists agree? Many people, after listening to this sort of evidence, say; "Surely scientists would believe in God if the evidence was that obvious."
II Peter 3:4,5 ask the question . . . "Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water."
We are told in Scripture that people don't want to believe. They are willingly ignorant. This means it is a deliberate choice on their part not to believe, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
I saw this illustrated clearly after talking with a number of teachers in Alaska who were in charge of the science curriculum for public schools. At the end of the discussion, I asked one of the ardent evolutionist teachers if he could give me one example anywhere in the world where we have observed functional complexity arising from disorder, by chance. The teacher thought for a moment and then replied, "No, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen." This is what is called blind faith.
Watches and wombats are the result of intelligent design. The evidence of the Creator is easy to see, and if we do not accept it, the Bible says that we are without excuse. The atheistic evolutionist will stand before the Creator God one day because he or she is without excuse. We need to use William Paley's arguments more than ever, to defend the fact that there is a God who created the world. Furthermore, this God is the Creator God of the Bible—the One who not only created all things, but who came and died for His creation so that we might live with Him for eternity.
DID YOU KNOW. . .
That earthworms are highly specialized creatures? They seem obviously designed for their important task of burrowing through soil. They burrow into the ground in all parts of the world, and make an important contribution to the fertilization, aeration, and drainage of the soil.
Earthworms swallow huge amounts of earth digest the nutritive matter it contains then cast up the remains onto the surface of the ground or in their burrows. In this way, they work at a constant and effective system of plowing. An average acre of soil may house three million earthworms, which can move about 18 tons of soil in a year. Their work is so thorough that in the areas in which they live almost all the soil to a depth of many centimeters has passed through the alimentary tract of an earthworm at some time.
Could the earthworm's activities of loosening, stirring up, and aerating the soil to make it more fertile be the result of evolution? Could its valuable work come about through mutations or natural selection via its struggle for existence (the supposed methods of evolution)? Did the earthworm choose to dig everlastingly, to pass countless tons of earth through its body over the centuries to help cultivate the soil for plant life? Or is a better explanation found in the proposal that the Creator designed and planned the earthworm in the beginning, to be a willing, if humble, servant of the plant world?
Cite this article: Kenneth Ham. 1990. Watches and Wombats. Acts & Facts. 19 (3).