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Metamorphosis: The Beauty & Design of Butterflies

Throughout history, butterflies have fascinated artists and philosophers, scientists and schoolchildren with their profound mystery and beauty. In Metamorphosis you will explore their remarkable world as few ever have before.

Spectacular photography, computer animation and magnetic resonance imaging open once hidden doors to every stage of a butterfly’s life-cycle. From an egg the size of a pinhead to a magnificent flying insect. It is a transformation so incredible biologists have called it “butterfly magic.”

“If you open the work of a lepidopterist, someone who studies butterflies, somewhere in that writing you’re going to find the language of astonishment. Every one of these 20,000 species has different color patterns, and every one of them has different-shaped wings. The diversity is just so magnificent. As you watch a butterfly, to describe what you’re looking at, you can’t really put it into words. It’s biology; it’s also magic.

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It’s impossible to look at a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and not ask ‘how’. Their metamorphosis, their lifecycle — how did this happen? This astonishing, remarkable transformation. In a metamorphic insect, what you have is, two body plans. You first have to form one functional body plan, and then you have to switch gears and you have to take and form a new body plan. I am amazed by development, when it goes from egg to caterpillar, because it’s such an intricate process. But then you have to enter into the chrysalis stage, and you have to get it right, again. So it’s like the problem, squared.

You’ve got to get rid of or digest the caterpillar tissues. They won’t work for the adult. In fact, the cells themselves disappear. But their components are recycled, and are turned into a kind of soup, out of which the adult structures will be built. It’s very carefully engineered, so you have to know where you’re going to end up, before you start.

It’s like a different organism. Transitions have to take place in the heart. Transitions have to take place in the antennae. Transitions have to take place in the reproductive organs. You have to recreate adult legs, adult antennae, adult eyes. You have to change the shape of the brain and connections between the antennae and the eyes. You have to reformat the gut so that it switches from eating plant material to eating nectar. You begin to see the depths of the problem so, for evolution to have created this sort of pathway gradually, it would take a miracle.

When you see certain effects in nature, it’s your responsibility as an investigator to find the cause that will explain the effect. If you saw a mechanical device of the sophistication of the butterfly, you would not for a moment hesitate to ascribe that to intelligence. Because the butterfly is so much more sophisticated, almost beyond our comprehension of anything that we can make.

Planning, foresight, artistry, engineering. When you process all the evidence revealed through metamorphosis. And then you ask yourself, in your own experience, what kind of cause could bring about these results?
I think the only reasonable answer is an intelligence that transcends the natural world.”

Filmed in North, Central, and South America, Metamorphosis is an unforgettable documentary filled with the joys of discovery and wonder. GET YOUR COPY from the Creation Superstore!

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Written by Illustra Media

Illustra Media produces video documentaries that examine the scientific case for intelligent design. Working with Discovery Institute and an international team of scientists and scholars, Illustra has helped define both the scientific case for design and the limitations of materialistic processes like Darwinian evolution. Their DVDs can be found in the Creation Superstore.

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