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Published on 13th June, 2003

One of the Most Evident Proofs of Creation: The Ear

By Harun Yahya

In Qur'an, Allah (swt) invites humans to ponder this and to be thankful:

"Allah brought you out of your mothers' wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, 
sight and hearts so that perhaps you would show thanks
."
(Surat an-Nahl: 78)

One of the most important concepts that one must employ when questioning the Darwinist theory in the light of scientific discoveries is without a doubt the criterion that Darwin himself employed. In The Origin of Species, Darwin put forward a number of concrete criteria suggesting how his theory might be tested and if found wanting, disproved. Many passages in his book begin, “If my theory be true” and in these Darwin describes the discoveries his theory requires. As we know, Darwinism explains the origin of life with two unconscious natural mechanisms: natural selection and mutations. According to Darwinist theory, these two mechanisms led to the emergence of the complex structure of living cells, as well as the anatomical systems of complex living things, such as eyes, ears, wings, lungs, bat sonar and millions of other complex system designs.

However, how is it that these systems, which possess incredibly complicated structures, can be considered the products of two unconscious natural effects? At this point, the concept Darwinism applies is that of “reducibility.” It is claimed that these systems can be reduced to very basic states, and that they may have then developed by stages.

Given the primitive level of science in the nineteenth century, Darwin may have thought that living things possess a reducible structure. But twentieth century discoveries have shown that many systems and organs in living things cannot be reduced to simplicity. This fact known as “irreducible complexity” definitively destroys Darwinism.

An interesting example of the irreducibly complex organs in living things is the human ear.

As known, the hearing process begins with vibrations in the air. These vibrations are enhanced in the external ear. Research has shown that that part of the external ear known as the concha works as a kind of megaphone, and sound waves are intensified in the external auditory canal. In this way, the volume of sound waves increases by some 17 decibels.[1]

Sound intensified in this way enters the external auditory canal. This is the area from the external ear to the ear drum. One interesting feature of the auditory canal, is the wax it constantly secretes. This liquid contains an antiseptic property which keeps bacteria and insects out. Furthermore, the cells on the surface of the auditory canal are aligned in a spiral form directed towards the outside, so that the wax always flows towards the outside of the ear as it is secreted.

The Ear Drum

Sound vibrations which pass down the auditory canal in this way reach the ear drum. Thanks to the exquisite sensitivity of the ear drum, you can easily hear somebody whispering from yards away. Another extraordinary feature of the ear drum is that after receiving a vibration it returns to its normal state. Calculations have revealed that, after perceiving the tiniest vibrations, the ear drum becomes motionless again within up to four thousandths of a second. If it did not become motionless again so quickly, every sound we hear would echo in our ears.

The ear drum amplifies the vibrations which come to it, and sends them on to the middle ear region. Here, there are three bones in an extremely sensitive equilibrium with each other known as the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup and their function is to amplify the vibrations that reach them from the ear drum.  

The Middle Ear

But the middle ear also possesses a kind of “buffer,” to reduce exceedingly high levels of sound. This feature is provided by two of the body’s smallest muscles, which control the hammer, anvil and stirrup bones. These muscles enable exceptionally loud noises to be reduced before they reach the inner ear. Thanks to this mechanism, we hear sounds that are loud enough to shock the system at a reduced volume. These muscles are involuntary, and come into operation automatically, in such a way that even if we are asleep and there is a loud noise beside us, these muscles immediately contract and reduce the intensity of the vibration reaching the inner ear.

The middle ear, which possesses such a flawless design, needs to maintain an important equilibrium. The air pressure inside the middle ear has to be the same as that beyond the ear drum.  But this balance has been thought of, and a canal between the middle ear and the outside world which allows an exchange of air has been built in. This canal is the Eustachian tube, a hollow tube running from the inner ear to the oral cavity. The vibrations are constantly passed forward, but so far there is still nothing apart from a mechanical motion. In other words, there is as yet no sound.  

The Inner Ear

The inner earThe process whereby these mechanical motions begin to be turned into sound begins in the area known as the inner ear. In the inner ear is a spiral-shaped organ called cochlea filled with a liquid.

The last part of the middle ear is the stirrup bone, which is linked to the cochlea by a membrane. The mechanical vibrations in the middle ear are sent on to the liquid in the inner ear by this connection.

The vibrations which reach the liquid in the inner ear set up wave effects in the liquid. The inner walls of the cochlea are lined with small hair-like structures, called stereocilia, which are affected by this wave effect. These tiny hairs move strictly in accordance with the motion of the liquid. Every different frequency in the outside world sets up different effects in the hairs.

But what is the meaning of this movement of the hairs? What can the movement of the tiny hairs in the cochlea in the inner ear have to do with listening to a concert of classical music, recognizing a friend’s voice, hearing the sound of a car, or distinguishing the millions of other kinds of sounds?

The answer once more reveals the complexity of the design in the ear. Each of the tiny hairs covering the inner walls of the cochlea is actually a mechanism which lies on top of 20,000 different cells. When these hairs sense a vibration, they move and push each other, just like dominos. This motion opens channels in the membranes of the cells lying beneath the hairs. And this allows the inflow of ions into the cells. When the hairs move in the opposite direction, these channels close again. Thus, this constant motion of the hairs causes constant changes in the chemical balance within the underlying cells, which in turn enables them to produce electrical signals. These electrical signals are forwarded to the brain by nerves, and the brain then processes them, turning them into sound. This is such a complicated process that science has so far been unable to determine whether the frequency-distinguishing system takes place in the inner ear or in the brain.

At this point, there is an interesting fact we have to consider concerning the motion of the tiny hairs on the cells of the inner ear. Usually the motion of these tiny hairs is very small. Research has shown that a hair motion of just half the diameter of an atom can be enough to set off the reaction in the cell. Experts who have studied the matter give a very interesting example to describe this sensitivity of these hairs: If we imagine a hair as being as tall as the Eiffel Tower, the effect on the cell attached to it begins with a motion equivalent to just 3 centimetres of the top of the tower.[2]

Everything we have examined so far has shown us that the ear possesses an extraordinary design. On closer examination, it becomes evident that this design is irreducibly complex, since, in order for hearing to happen, it is necessary for all the component parts of the auditory system to be present and in complete working order. In order for you to hear, such different elements as the ear drum, the hammer, anvil and stirrup bones, the inner ear membrane, the cochlea, the liquid inside the cochlea, the tiny hairs that transmit the vibrations from the liquid to the underlying sensory cells, the latter cells themselves, the nerve network running from them to the brain, and the hearing centre in the brain must all exist in complete working order. The system cannot develop “by stages,” because the intermediate stages would serve no purpose.

This complex system is full of examples of unparalleled design that the theory of evolution cannot explain. The origins of hearing cannot be explained by the trust of evolutionists in "coincidences". On the contrary, it is obvious that all of them have been created and given to us by our Creator. While the human cannot even understand the working mechanism of systems that enable him to see, hear and think, the infinite wisdom and power of Allah (swt) Who created all these from nothing is apparently obvious.

References
[1]  “Color Atlas of Human Anatomy” (1994), Harmony Books, New York, p. 70.

[2]  “Color Atlas of Human Anatomy” (1996). Harmony Books, New York. p.71.

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