Biologists have long suspected that birds have the ability to detect earth’s magnetic field. This ability allows them to stay on course during long migrations over tens of thousands of miles. The mystery was exactly how they are able to do this. Now researchers from Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology have pinned down one factor. They believe that a photoreceptor called cryptochrome is what makes birds sensitive to magnetic fields. A compound called superoxide reacts with the cryptochrome and allows birds to navigate by earth’s magnetic field. The problem is that superoxide is highly toxic. One researcher noted, “that the toxicity of superoxide was actually crucial to its role.” In other words, if it wasn’t toxic, the navigation system wouldn’t work. But what protects the bird from being injured by the superoxide? The article explains: “Mechanisms for reducing the concentration of superoxide prevent its damaging effects, and the resulting low concentrations help ensure the biochemical compass works correctly.”
From there the poster turns to evidence of design as a sign of God’s creation.
William Dembski’s new book was one of those rare ones that I knew I had to buy, and which I really wanted to like. He does have some very keen insights as an unusual combination of philosopher, theologian, and mathematician. But I just couldn’t get past his opposition to a young earth. Here’s a review: