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Woodpecker Proof

A postcard adorned with all sorts of birds arrived the other day from friends on holidays in Australia. It put me in mind of something I came across about woodpeckers some time ago. They really are amazing creatures.

The woodpecker spends its days spiralling up tree trunks looking for insects. To do this its feet need to be a different shape from all other birds, its legs need to be different, and it needs special stiff tail-feathers to prop it in tight against the tree.

The woodpecker pecks at a rate of 16 times a second, that’s twice as fast as a submachine gun, so its head is travelling twice as fast as a bullet. The rate at which its head comes to a halt as it hits the tree is 1000 times the force of gravity (1000g). Just to put that in perspective – an astronaut is subject to 4 times the force of gravity (4g) during take off; and 6g-9g is enough to destroy a person! The woodpecker survives because it has an especially reinforced skull and beak.

Joining the beak to the skull is a shock-absorbing system that is vastly superior to anything we humans have ever invented. To keep this high speed kango-hammer under control is a finely tuned inbuilt gyroscope to make sure that it doesn’t hit the tree at an angle and rip its beak off.

And then once it has the holes bored in the tree it has a hugely long tongue to remove the insects.

The woodpecker looks like it was designed to do what it does do. What it does do it does very well. It’s just one example from nature that shows how evolution can’t work. Why can’t it work? The woodpecker can’t evolve step by step because all these component parts need to be there for the woodpecker to function at all. If any one of these factors was not present then the woodpecker would be a complete disaster: there’d be lots of beakless, brain-damaged, starving woodpeckers about.

In the Bible Job says, “But ask the animals and they will teach you. Or ask the birds of the air and they will tell you. Speak to the earth and it will tell you. Or let the fish of the sea tell you. Every one of these knows that the hand of the Lord has done this.” - Job 12:7-9

All of nature shouts at us of the presence of a designer; to believe that it all just happened by chance requires a blind faith – faith that goes against all the evidence. Personally I find it much easier to have faith in creation than in evolution.