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No. 71: Sep-Oct 1990

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The bombardier beetle pulse-jet

Creationists have long pointed to the bombardier beetle's jet-like defensive spray mechanism as a device that could not have evolved in many small steps. It must be complete and perfect to work at all. New high-speed photos and related research demonstrate that:

"The ejection system of the beetle shows basic similarity to the pulse jet propulsion mechanism of the German V-1 'buzz' bomb of World War II."

What the beetle has "evolved" is an intermittent explosive process that fires about 500 pulses per second. The explosive energy comes from the mixing of two separate fluids (hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide with oxidative enzymes). (Dean, Jeffrey, et al; "Defensive Spray of the Bombardier Beetle: A Biological Pulse Jet," Science, 248:1219, 1990.)

Comment. The fundamental question is, of course, how can many, small, random mutations contribute to the development of the mechanisms of the pulse jet, its two fuels, the pumps, the fuel reservoirs, the control system, etc., when only the complete, perfected system has survival value. Although creationists argue that the theories of evolution and natural section are unconvincing here; it is still possible that atheistic factors still beyond our ken are operating, and that what we really need is a better theory of evolution.

From Science Frontiers #71, SEP-OCT 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss