by Terri Kammerzell
Truth of Genesis Ministry Partner
This past Monday, June 22, was the 25th annual “World Wide VW Beetle Day,” also known as “Drive Your Beetle to Work Day.” Did you know that the Volkswagen Beetle had a designer? In fact, its designer had a pretty familiar name: Ferdinand Porsche. At the request of Adolf Hitler, Porsche’s directive was to design a car that common people could afford and own: the people’s car (or folks’ wagon).
The Volkswagen Beetle has arguably become one of the most recognized vehicles in all of history. Its first model, the Type 1 made in the 1930s, was meant to be an affordable, mass-produced passenger car for people to drive on Germany’s new roads. The Beetle was originally designed with 25 hp, for a top speed around 62 mph. Over time, engineers upgraded the engine, moved the location of the engine, and added new design features.
Off and on, the VW Beetle was produced for a span of some eighty years, with the final Beetle coming off the factory line in July of 2019. Still, the affinity for the little car carries on. So much so, that on Monday, in the midst of a global pandemic, people around the world who share a common passion and love for the iconic car posted pictures of their own all over social media, and made a point to (safely) drive their little cars, feeling a connection to a worldwide network of like-minded friends.
As Christians, we have a worldwide network of like-minded friends, too! And celebrating the design of little things like the bombardier beetle should be able to connect us in the midst of a global pandemic as well.
How does the bombardier beetle defy evolution?
The beetle has a chemical mixture that creates small explosions to defend itself.
“Bombardier” beetles get their names from the aqueous “bombs” they eject at their predators. They are a member of the family Carabidae, and of the genus Brachinus, which contains 304 species, just in the United States alone. Bombardier beetles are sometimes referred to as dragon-like creatures because of the boiling hot, caustic liquid they fire out at enemies such as birds, frogs, mice, rats, snakes, spiders, toads, and other insects.
The exothermic chemical reaction that happens in this amazing little insect is actually a very sophisticated defense system. The beetle stores two liquids—hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide—in a larger chamber in its abdomen. When the beetle senses danger, it transfers those liquids to a smaller chamber to mix with the enzyme catalase. The liquids rapidly heat, and the oxygen steam released helps create an explosion. The bombardier has a special swivel nozzle in its backside which it uses to release this boiling hot liquid through a twin set of “spray nozzles” located at the tip of the beetle’s abdomen. The beetle never misses and delivers its bombs—often accompanied by an audible popping sound—with pinpoint accuracy and great force, leaving a foul, yellowish residue on its targets, and sometimes even causing seizures in its would-be predators.
This rapid defense system gives the beetle enough time to get away. But isn’t it amazing that it doesn’t get burned in the process? By pulsing the jet 500 times per second, the beetle keeps its rear end cool enough to not get cooked in the process. Why? Because all the parts work together in beautiful harmony. In fact, it would be dangerous or useless to the beetle if any of these parts of the process came together slowly through chance, time, and natural processes. The system had to work right from the start the first time, or the beetle would not have survived. And, as a pretty good rule of thumb, dead animals cannot evolve.
Creation scientists point to the bombardier beetle as an icon for design because, like the VW Beetle, its original design had to be all-functioning from the beginning. And not only they, but also combustion engineers study the bombardier beetle to learn how to build more efficient combustion engines. Just like the Volkswagen Beetle had a well-known designer named Ferdinand Porsche, the bombardier beetle had a well-known Designer named God. Both beetles were built by design.
Don’t just take my word for it! Visit YouFormedMe.com/animals/bombardier.html to read, watch, and listen to supporting research and commentary from scientists, doctors, theologians, and more!
This blog is from a special series of “Creation Fun Facts” by Terri Kammerzell, starting from June 10, 2020. Read the introduction at TruthOfGenesis.com/blogs/building-a-biblical-defense-of-creation.