January 13th, 2011

The Nature of Instinct


Suppose a group of scientists were walking along the beach, and they ran across a message written in the sand.  Suppose, in addition, these same scientists praised the grains of sand for their ability to organize themselves in this way.  Obviously, we would say they were crazy. 

Yet, the same scientists can say that the unique design of animals, including their instinctive behavior, somehow came about by random processes and, ironically, most of society accepts it.


In reality, both the writing in the sand and the instinct of animals require a prior input of information.  It is the origin of this type of built-in programming that has scientists scratching their heads.


Instinct, according to Robert A. Wallace in Biology, the World of Life, is: “any inherent, unlearned behavioral pattern, which is functional the first time it happens and can occur in animals reared in total isolation.”  If instinct is unlearned, then is it possible that it is simply a natural function of matter and energy?  To find out, let’s go back to the beach.


When we get there, we find that a boy has built a sand castle where the message used to be.  Even though the configuration of the sand has changed, every grain is still there.  In essence, the sand was used to transmit information, but the information was not a property of the sand.             

In a similar sense, instinct is not a property of matter and it cannot come from material sources.  For those committed to naturalism, this presents a big problem.  For the creationist however, we see one more example of God’s provisionary care for his creatures.


By Mark Sonmor with Justin Glick


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