is far easier than defending evolution. Creation
centers on "what is". Evolution
centers on "what was". The
only hook that evolution has to catch the minds of men is the false notion
that "the present is the key to the past". Please consider the giraffe, in the present.
The GIRAFFE ---
Giraffes truly do stand out in a crowd, be it at the zoo or in their natural habitat of Central Africa. Towering high above all other beasts and being the second largest land animal alive today, it is the length of their neck that has intrigued all curious observers down through the years to ask; "How did the giraffe get its long neck?"
A ten foot shoulder high giraffe can stretch its eight foot neck to the limit, tilt the head vertical by way of a unique neck-to-skull full swing joint, and then using its long grasping purple tongue pull into its mouth an acacia tree branch from as high as 20 feet. Is this just an incredible feat that was preceded by thousands upon thousands of stretches that produced growth in the legs and neck and joint and tongue and . . . ? Or was it just a little magic from "nature's lottery of mutations" that produced a fully functional giraffe of the long neck type? Both of these options require factual knowledge of or faith in the giraffe's past with just an apathetic attention to the beast's present architecture. The only other possible explanation is that the giraffe was designed and built to be fully functional and has never been or ever will be an animal in the process of change.
Let's consider the complete giraffe with all its 'stretched' parts, as though we had to build one. The giraffe is a mammal and there is much of its anatomy that should follow that of other mammals. Most mammals do have seven neck bones. Man's upright posture is unique in that its head of fourteen pounds is perfectly balanced upon the short neck of seven bones. The head of all other land mammals must be up held against the pull of gravity with muscles that are always in tension. The giraffe's 500 pound neck would weigh less and consume less energy if its forty-five pound head were balanced like a broomstick with just one joint at each end and a single bone between the head and shoulders. On the other hand, having more than seven bones would increase flexibility and allow the giraffe to bend more gracefully for a drink of water and to be more romantic with its "necking" during courtship. If the shortage of food drove the neck to change, would not the number of neck bones and associated joints be equally changeable by the evolutionary process. The count of seven neck bones is very good and the design of those seven bones, constructed much like an aircraft landing strut capable of taking tremendous side stresses, is marvelous indeed.
With the head being eighteen feet in the air, the 24 pound heart of the giraffe must be capable of delivering sufficient oxygen rich blood ten feet up to the brain. The systolic blood pressure at the heart can average 200 mm of mercury (Hg). This reduces to about 120 mm Hg, the optimal blood pressure for a mammals brain, just from the pressure loss of the twelve foot vertical rise. The other extreme pressure of the giraffe's blood is in the legs where the pressure reaches over 400 mm Hg.1 This pressure would also be felt at the brain when the giraffe is head down drinking water, were it not for a unique collection of reinforced artery walls, by-pass and anti-pooling valves, a web of small blood vessels (the rete mirabile, or "marvelous net")2 and pressure sensing signals that keep adequate blood flow to the brain at just the right pressure. Even to those who consider this network as just "adaptation to high gravitational pressures in its cardiovascular system, the giraffe is certainly unique."3
Equally marvelous is the fact that the blood does not pool in the legs or that a giraffe does not bleed profusely if cut on the leg. The secret lies in an extremely tough skin and an inner fascia that prevents blood pooling. This skin combo has been studied extensively by NASA scientists in its development of gravity-suits for astronauts. Equally helpful to prevent profuse bleeding is that all arteries and veins in the giraffe's legs are very internally located. The capillaries that provide blood to the surface are extremely small in size and coincidentally the red blood cells are also small in size, about one-third the size of those found in other mammals making blood flow to the skin both possible and protected.
The small red blood cells allow for more surface area and a higher and faster absorption rate of oxygen into the blood. This helps to retain adequate oxygen to all extremities including the head. This giant of a heart pumps roughly 20 gallons per minute beating at the high rate of 150 times per minute, compared to the human pump at just over one gallon and 70 beats, and when at full gallop its heart rate increases by less than 15 percent compared to the human rate doubling for aerobic workout.
The lungs supply the giraffe its necessary oxygen, but in a way that is unique to the giraffe. The giraffe's lungs are eight times the size of humans and its respiratory rate is about one-third that of humans. Slower breathing is necessary in order to exchange the required large volume of air without causing windburn to the giraffe's twelve feet of rippled trachea. When taking in a fresh breath, the oxygen depleted previous breath can not be 100% expelled. For the giraffe this problem is compounded by the twelve foot trachea that will retain a larger volume of oxygen poor air than man can inhale in one breath. There must be, and is, enough lung volume to make this oxygen depleted air a small percentage of the total of each breath.
Adding to these wonders that have such perfect answers, the birth of a newborn should seal the case for intelligent design. The new calf drops into life from five feet up, as the mother is incapable of comfortably squatting to the ground and to lie down during birth would be a sure invitation to a lion. As in all mammals, the head is disproportionately large compared to the rest of the body at birth, and it becomes a formidable challenge to pass it down the birth canal. The giraffe has the added challenge of having a very flimsy long neck attaching its head to the rest of its 150 pound newborn body. If the head came out first, the neck would surely break when the rest of the body fell on top of it. If the head came out last, the neck would surely break as the body weight attempted to jerk the head out of the mother.
This next generation impasse is solved by the rear hips being much smaller than the front shoulders and the neck is just long enough to allow the head to pass through the birth canal resting on the rear hips. The hind feet exit first to break the fall of the rest of the animal. The head is supported and cushioned by the rear hips and the neck is young and pliable allowing a sharp bend around the front shoulders. The perfect exit that would be impossible in any other combination or with any other length of neck. Within minutes the new calf is gracefully standing between the mother's legs. From birth to adulthood in just four years the neck bones grow the fastest, from one-sixth to one-third its total height. The short neck at birth is necessary to allow the baby to suckle from under the mother for her rich supply of milk which is the calf's exclusive food supply for the first year. At the end of the first year the neck length has grown sufficiently to compensate for its long legs and allows for adequate bending to get a drink of water along with being able to reach enough tree branches. It has also grown to where suckling from the mother becomes physically difficult.
Ecologically, the giraffe is perfectly matched to it's environment. In the Savanna grasslands there is need of a tree trimmer to keep the fast growing acacia shade trees from overshadowing the ground and killing the much needed grass that provides food to the other grassland animals. There is also need of a sentinel that can see above the tall grass and observe the movements of the predator cats. The giraffe is not only tall enough for this, but has excellent eye sight and a very curious disposition. After warning other animals with several swishes of the tail, the giraffe boldly strides out of harms way. The high body height, tough skin layers, deadly rear hoof kick, and rapid eighteen foot stride make the adult giraffe a very undesirable meal for any of the carnivores.4
Should not other animals who feed at ground level, are vulnerable to the big cats, and are bombarded by the same cosmic radiation find some hope in achieving a more giraffe-like stature? Interestingly enough, there are others that do feed from trees. The gerenuk gazelle of Africa has the longest neck in the family of gazelles, has a long tongue and eats leaves from trees while standing on its hind legs but lacks the bodily essentials required for a "giraffe type" neck. The markhor goat of Afghanistan climbs trees as high as 25 feet to eat the leaves. Other mammals do desire the leaves of trees but not one of them will ever become a giraffe and the giraffe most certainly did not come from any other "less-than-giraffe" animal. Moreover the fossil record is void of any short necked or medium necked giraffes. Instead of a fossil record full of random changes as speculated by Charles Darwin and others, the past confirms a continuous world, seen in the present, and full of design, purpose and interdependence. These three (design, purpose, and interdependence) are the defining evidence for an all-wise creative wisdom coupled with the power to accomplish such wisdom, with majesty.
Many evolutionists acknowledge that the giraffe, and most of the universe, is dripping with evidence of these three. The ardent evolutionist, Francis Hitching, sees the problem and concludes that "We cannot know that conditions were the same in the past, but the 'need to survive by reaching ever higher for food' is, like so many Darwinian explanations of its kind, little more than a post hoc speculation."5 Shouldn't these scientific observations lead one to know that an all-wise Creator "made the beasts of the earth after their kind"6 ?
This very same Creator also used the very same chemicals of the earth to create mankind, but with one major difference. He left a God size vacuum in the heart, that could only be filled with a God size Spirit. This was to give mankind, individually and independently, the choice to become a completed creature while experiencing life, with all its joys and sorrows. The evidence is clear that man is created. The evidence is just as clear that "any man who is in Christ is a new creation"7. When God's Holy Spirit fills the void in the heart, following one's sincere and humble prayer of faith, the past, with all its sin and transgressions, will be little more than a memory of evolved wickedness. The new creature, complete with its everlasting soul and spirit, will verify that "the past has no claim on the present, but the present is key to the future". Those who accept God's promised gift, graciously wrapped in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, do become complete for Heaven. Those who resist the truth with a stiff neck and a hard heart will spiral down to the vacuum of Hell. Don't let this day vanish into your past without asking the Creator to "create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."8
The conclusion of the matter is this; "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and do exist."9
1) Alan R. Hargens, Developmental Adaptations to Gravity / Cardiovascular Adaptations to Gravity in the Giraffe, Life Sciences Division, NASA Ames Research Center, CA 1994 pg. 9
2) Percival Davis & Dean H. Kenyon, Of Pandas and People, Haughton Publishing Company, Dallas, TX, 1989 pg. 71.
3) Ref. 1, pg. 12
4) Helen Roney Sattler, Giraffes, the Sentinels of the Savannas, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, New York, 1979, pg. 22.
5) Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe, Where Darwin Went Wrong, Ticknor & Fields, New York, 1982 pg. 179.
6) The Holy Bible, Genesis 1:25a
7) The Holy Bible, II Corinthians 5 :17a
8) The Holy Bible, Psalms 51:10
9) The Holy Bible, Revelation 4 :11