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Discovery Magazine 8/1/1999

The Origin of Spider Silk

Spider webs are a problem for evolutionists. They would like to tell a story about an ancient ancestor that "needed" one of the silk’s ingredients. All spiders were supposed to have evolved from that lucky ancestor. Tarantulas are supposed to be "primitive" because they make only one or two types of silk. Orb-spinning spiders are supposed to be more "advanced" because they can make up to eight types of silk. The idea, as you can see, is that one spider "learned" to make silk, and then things just got more complicated over time.

But we still have to ask the question: Where did the ability to make silk come from in the first place? Spider silk, and the spider’s way of making silk, show up in the fossil record fully formed. The most "primitive" spider fossils had the same silk-spinning equipment as "advanced" spiders. In fact, living examples of these fossil spiders can be found in Asia today. They make burrows, lay special trip lines, and then hide in wait. When something touches the lines, they spring out and capture their prey. And this is supposed to be "primitive"?

Even if a spider makes just one type of silk, what part of the silk-making process can you take away, and still have something useful? If you take away the muscles, there is no way to force the silk out of the body. If you take away the glands, there is no way to make the wet, raw material. If you take away the special nozzles where the silk comes out, the thread would be too weak. If you take away the instinct or behavior, there is no way for the spider to use the silk that it makes.

No matter how you look at it, silk making could not have evolved a little bit at a time. The best answer is to say that an Intelligent Designer—God—created the spider to spin this most marvelous material of nature.

Copyright © 1999 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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