In a recent study by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, researchers tracked the migration of a single whale shark. Named Anna, this female shark swam over twelve thousand miles on her migration route from an island off the coast of Panama, to the Marianna Trench near Guam in the central Pacific Ocean. This remarkable migration started a thought process going in my mind about migrations in general. This article is the culmination of those thoughts and will attempt to explain what migration is, why animals migrate, and how migration fits into the origins debate.
Migration is defined by dictionary.com as the “Seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.” The definition is spot on, but also somewhat vague as ignores reasons why animals migrate. We will get to those momentarily. Some migrations are incredibly long as the female whale sharks was, while others are a mere few hundred miles by comparison. In some species, migration is obligate, meaning that the creature must migrate or it will die. In others, migration is facultative. This means that creatures are not required to migrate to live. Most species undergo facultative migration and some individuals will remain behind when the rest migrate. Regardless of distance or type, the fact that animals regularly, across generations, travel the same or similar migration routes to the same places is remarkable and worthy of scientific inquiry.
Animals do not undergo these long journeys for their amusement. There are a variety of reasons animals migrate. Some merely follow the migration routes of their prey. Some sharks are notorious for following shoals of fish headed to spawn, for example. Others, particularly solitary creatures such as some large whales, travel thousands of miles to spawning grounds, where hundreds of their species will gather to mate and ensure the continued existence of the species. Still other species migrate to escape harsh climate conditions for parts of the year. Monarch butterfly migration is a prime example of this kind of migration. The reasons for migration are as varied as the organisms making the trip.
While migration comes with varying reasons, a host of species migrate regularly, usually around the time the seasons change. This brings up a somewhat inevitable, if awkward question of how do they know when to migrate? This then leads to the next inevitable question of how do they know where they are migrating too? Some species, such as one species of Alaskan plover, migrate thousands of miles over, in this case, open water, without stopping for food. How do they navigate without landmarks? These questions demand answers.
Migrating animals use a number of different mechanisms to find their way along their route. Some, such as loggerhead turtles, use the earths magnetic field to navigate. Others use the sun or stars to navigate. A few even have maps built into their genetics. While these methods are useful to explain how animals find their way from point A to point B, they produce another question. Why would a blind random chance guided process produce all these systems to enable creatures across multiple phyla to migrate? How would random chance know that these creatures needed the ability to migrate? The answer is clearly that it would not. However, the instant the process ceases to be purely random, some outside force is required, specifically a designer, and evolution will never permit that.
Explaining how animals know when it is time to migrate is just as difficult for evolutionists. One proposed solution is that the animals take their cues from the weather. Another is that it is built into their DNA. Both are probably at least partially true, but both lead back to the same question we just asked, namely why would a blind random process put that information into an organism? It could not have known the creature would need to migrate. Once again, design is the only answer, but it is one that evolutionists refuse to accept because of the implications.
Since we know that animals migrate, largely through inborn ability found in their DNA, it behooves us to ask where this information came from. Evolution, as we have seen, has no explanation. It cannot explain the existence of information beyond pure blind luck. However, since nearly twenty percent of bird species alone, migrate, surely evolutionists would not ask us to believe evolution got lucky thousands of times in a row. If a gambler were to win the lottery more than twice consecutively, people would begin to wonder if the game was rigged. If he were to do it thousands of times, the wonder would turn to anger at a dishonest system. Yet evolutionists essentially are doing the same thing. There are thousands of examples migrating species, which could only have arisen by luck or design. Evolutionists are asking us to believe they all exist by luck, rather than a rational designer. They are the gambler winning the lottery thousands of times and asking the public to believe that he really is just that lucky.