Infrared Vision in Snakes

Pit viper

When some snakes hunt, they see heat. Heat is an invisible part of the spectrum of light. The snake sees heat by means of two heat sensing organs that are in small cavities or pits on either side of the snake’s head (hence “pit viper”).

Each of the pits is enclosed and has a small opening the serves to project a very blurred image on the heat sensors. The heat pattern that the snake can see is extremely sensitive.

A snake can perceive heat differences as small as .003 degrees Centigrade.1 The snake’s receptors are microscopic and “Snake infra-red images are 10 times more sensitive than the best artificial infra-red sensors.”2 The small opening serves to project an extremely blurred heat image onto the receptors at the back of the pit.

The fact that the image is so blurred was quite problematic to researchers because the image was so blurred that it could not provide the perception necessary for a snake to strike as accurately as it does, even when it cannot see and is forced to use only its heat sensors. 

Consequently, in 2006 three scientists researched the matter and found that although the image created by the heat sensors is impossibly blurred, it does contain all of the essential elements of a clearer image.

They discovered that the brain of the snake contains a mathematial algorithm that removes much of the blur. There is an arrangement of neurons in the snake's brain that performs this calculation so that the snake can instantaneously reconstruct the image, locate its edges and perceive an image clear enough for it to strike accurately. They found that by use of the algorithm, the infrared system of snakes is “…far better than – any technical uncooled infrared camera with a similar number of detector cells.”3

In evolutionary terms, this is quite inexplicable because the algorithm that is utilized by the brain of the snake to reconstruct the image is non-physical logic. It is combination of rational mathmatical concepts like a computer code that is incorporated into material neurological structure of the snake;s brain. The Darwinist is therefore placed in the position of having to theorize that the appropriate mathematics somehow became imprinted on the appropriate neurological sequences to take a grossly blurred image and reverse engineer it to create a neurological (electrical) representation much closer to the original image.

To prove his case, the Darwinist has an impossible burden. He would have to show that natural selection and random mutations somehow derived and wrote the correct logic into the physical nerves of the snake's brain. And then, somehow the neurons with the algorithm accidentally hooked up with the correct sub-network in the snake's brain so as to create vision by heat and integrate it into the other requisite parts.

And how many generations of snakes were necessary to randomly produce the correct algorithm? Did the pits “occur” before the nerves that convey the information to the brain? If so, what advantage to survival did they convey in order to perpetuate their existence?

Did the nerves pop into existence before the algorithm, if so why and how? Or did they grow together, inch by inch, each one giving each successive generation of snakes a more potent survival mechanism? After all that is precisely what the theory of evolution teaches. What foolishness! they could not grow together. Where did the logic come from? Were there accidental mathematical arrangements of neurons that accidentally reflected accurate math? Did mother nature get all of her math questions correct by accident? Evolution says yes. But even then, what good is the algorithm unless it works, and it does not work unless it is complete.

Just think of how many chance mutations (generations of snakes) would have to occur to write an algorithm of this nature. How many generations of snakes would be required to incorporate even a simple math into the neuro net in the event that random chance somehow started doing it? How many tries would mother nature need to incorporate 12 x 12 = 144 into a neuro-net? Without an intellect to reason the result, how many different combinations are there of numbers up to just 12? What are the chances of simple accidental mutations reaching a correct mathematical algorithm for 12 x 12? Assuming an arrangement of just 12 numbers, there are 479,001,600 different combinations -- to say nothing of the math necessary to analyze a blurred image and clarify it sufficiently for the snake to make it dinner? Does 479 million combinations for one simple equation sound incredible? See CHANCES.

Concluding that all of that happened by means of a series of unobserved extremely fortunate mutations and starving snakes is quite a leap of faith even for a Darwinist.

But the Darwinist has another arrow in his quiver besides his imagination. He also carries the unshakable Darwinist presumption. He draws upon it when faced with a total absence of reason.  The Darwinist’s unshakable presumption is that that God, if there is one, is irrelevant to creation, so accidental beneficial mutations will have to explain it all – even if we have never seen one and even if the number of mutations required is beyond all reason.

Once that theological presumption is made, evolution can be made to explain absolutely anything. Evidence is no longer necessary and imagination paints the conclusions.

"Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory ... we would still be justified in preferring it over rival theories [creationism]" Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (NY Norton, 1986), 287, emphasis in the original.

Why not simply not presume anything about a Creator. Why not simply look at the observable facts and ask if it is more reasonable to conclude that non-physical logic impressed into nerves and neuro-nets half the size of the United States were actually designed -- or is it more reasonable to conclude that they were they the result of millions of extremely fortunate accidental mutations. It is evident that the more rational conclusion is that they were designed. That is the inevitable conclusion unless one presumes at the outset that there is no Designer, which is exactly what evolution does. Creation can never win the day not because it is not far more cogent and reasonable, but because evolutionists have decided that they will not permit Creationism to win the day under any circumstance whatever, not matter how illogical their theory is. And the evolutionists control the colleges, the admissions to the colleges, the professors in the colleges, the grants, the chairs, the journals, the authors of the journals and they control the money. These people are not scientists searching for truth. They are materialists who have no regard for true scientific inquiry if it leads them away from materialism.

1.(Bullock and Diecke 1956; quoted by Andreas B. Sichert, Paul Friedel, J. Leo van Hemmen, Mobelling inaging performance of snake infrared sense,  Proceedings of the 13 Congress of the Societas Europea Herpetologica, pp. 219-223 (2006)

2. Liz Tottenham. Infrared imaging research targets 'snake vision. web publication - Discovery: Florida Tech, DE-402-901:4-5, 2002.

 3.  Sichert, Andreas B., Friedel, Paul and van Hemmen, J. Leo, “Snake’s Perspective on Heat: Reconstruction of Input Using an Imperfect Detection System” Physical Review Letters 97, 068105 (2006); see also http://phys.org/news76249412.html containing photographs and citations.