Animals and Water

Water is one of the more unusual materials in the creation. Because the molecule is V-shaped, as shown in Figure A, it is polar--has a positively charged end and a negatively charged end. If you bring a charged rod near a stream of water flowing through the air, the water will change direction due to the charge. A negatively charged rod will repel the negatively charged oxygen atom and the water molecule is pushed away.

The polar nature of the water molecule allows all kinds of interesting properties of water itself. When water freezes, for example, the molecules are attracted to each other as shown in Figure B. To allow this attraction to take place, the volume has to increase. This causes water to expand when it freezes. When a solid like salt is put into water, it is ripped apart by the polar molecule as shown in Figure C. The positive sodium is pulled to the oxygen side of the water molecule, and the negative chloride is pulled to the hydrogen side. This rips apart the salt mole-cule in a process we call dissolving, which is critical to the survival of life on planet Earth.

Living things are designed to take advantage of the properties of the water molecule. In the Anarctic coastal waters are fish which live in water at 28ûF. These fish have in their blood stream molecules of antifreeze which have glycoproteins which are 300 times as effective as the antifreeze in your car radiator. These fish, called notothenioids, produce the glycoprotein in their livers. It is secreted into their bloodstream and fills the spaces around cells. Water in the fish's blood freezes, but the glycoprotein stops the ice crystals from growing and they are eventually filtered out.1 This non-polar molecule prevents the polar water molecules from attaching to each other and allows abundant life in an environment which would seem to stop all life from existing.

Desert creatures also take advantage of the unique properties of water to allow survival in very hot dry places. The horned toad of Texas (which is actually a lizard) is an example. Because of water's polar nature, it is attracted to the sides of its container, a process called adhesion. If the container is small enough that all sides pull on the water molecules, the molecules can actually move up the container, a process called capillary action.

When it rains, the horned toad will spread its legs out to the sides, lower its head, and arch its back. When the rain is over, the toad will drop down to the ground and rub its belly in the moist sand. Both of the actions get the toad water. Thin hair-like channels between the toad's scales run to its mouth. Any water that touches any part of the toad's anatomy is drawn to its mouth by capillary action. With any moisture at all being present, all the toad has to do is stand or lie still and swallow. The design of its body causes water to flow to its mouth.2

There are countless other designs for obtaining water, but it is the design of the water molecule itself that makes most of them possible. The complexity of the systems that we see at an atomic and molecular level and also on the level of the animals and plants themselves testifies to the impossibility of chance explaining the creation. If chance is an invalid mechanism, then design is the only alternative. The design we see demands a designer--a personal God who had a purpose in all He did and the intelligence to do it.

1National Geographic, June, 1995, page 3.

2The Quest for Water" by Doug Stewart, National Wildlife, June/July, 1995, pages 30-33.

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