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Apologetics Press :: Sensible Science

The Clockmaker and the Monarch
by Kyle Butt, M.A.
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Suppose you are walking in the woods, look down, and see an intricately designed, fully-operational timepiece. The gears and mechanisms of the curious clock work together in perfect unison and absolute order. Further suppose that if the clock gets slightly out of sync, brief exposure to the Sun puts it back into harmony. Such a clock would be truly amazing, and would certainly lead an honest observer to conclude that the clock owed its complexity and design to an intelligent designer. The 18th-century apologist, William Paley, is famous for this “watchmaker” argument.

But now suppose that the clock is very small, smaller than the head of a pin. Furthermore, the clock is located inside the head of a monarch butterfly. Those familiar with monarch butterflies may know that these interesting little creatures make an amazing migratory trip of thousands of miles during their life. How do the monarchs know when to leave a certain place? And how do they know how to find their way to places they have never been?

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, led by Dr. Steven Reppert, are paying close attention to the monarchs’ biological clock (Carl, 2008). Reppert and his team believe that the monarchs’ “unique circadian clocks, which regulate daily activities like sleep and hunger,” contain special proteins that allow the monarchs to navigate by using the Sun as a compass (2008). Reppert commented on the monarchs’ amazing ability: “A butterfly’s brain is no bigger than the head of a pin, and yet it has this incredible capability” (as quoted in Carl, 2008).

How must atheistic evolutionists explain this tiny clock that uses the Sun as a navigational guide? They are forced to conclude that it is a product of blind chance, random processes over millions of years. But they could not say the same about a “regular” clock of the same size and functionality that they found lying on the forest floor. One wonders what the location of the clock, whether on the forest floor or in the head of the monarch, has to do with the obvious fact that the clock must have a clockmaker.


Carl, Traci (2008), “Inner Clock May Lead Monarch Butterflies,” [On-line], URL: /20080109/ap_on_sc/mexico_monarch_butterflies; _ylt=ArVjyM_eHGtKMuEfxxDitIWs0NUE.

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