|Lancet fluke (Dicrocoelium dendriticum)|
If you're a Christian you'll know it did it exactly as the Christian Bible says the Christian god did. You'll also know that you must never say that the Intelligent Designer is the Christian god because that would make it harder to get fundamentalist Christianity taught in American public schools, and schools in other secular countries, as though it is a real science, and not a religion, which would be illegal. You'll already understand though that the Intelligent Designer is completely indistinguishable from the 'one true' god in the Christian Bible, so it must be all the omnis, including omni-benevolent, and never does anything which isn't done because it loves you... and everyone else, obviously.
If you're a Muslim you'll know the Intelligent Designer is call Allah and created everything exactly the way Muhammad said it did in the Qur'an especially for humans and in particular for you personally, because it wants you to love and worship it.
So this is a heart-warming story of how the one true Intelligent Designer designed a little creature which those mad atheistic scientists call Dicrocoelium dendriticum or the lancet fluke because it is shaped a bit like a medical lancet which used to be used for cutting into veins to let some unwanted blood out.
Dicrocoelium dendriticum is a member of a group of flatworms called trematodes. Scientists call flatworms Platyhelminths, which means - you've guessed it - flat worms. Why do they bother making up all these big words, eh?
The Intelligent Designer designed this particular flatworm, like a lot of other flatworms, which of course it also designed, to live inside the bodies of other animals as parasites. Parasites don't need to bother with looking for food, avoiding predators and things like that because the animals they live in do that for them. Isn't that a brilliant idea, if you're a flatworm?
The Intelligent Designer designed this particular parasite to live in the biliary ducts of animals like sheep and cows and sometimes even humans. The biliary ducts are the tubes which take bile from the liver to the intestines where it is used to help with digestion of fats.
But that idea gave the Intelligent Designer a problem because, when the flatworms want to breed, they lay eggs which end up in the gut of their host and eventually outside the hosts body altogether, along with other waste. But they need to be back inside the host, which is where they were designed to live. How to get them there?
This is where the Intelligent Designer came up with a typically brilliant idea. It got snails to eat the faeces of the animals, together with the parasite's eggs, which hatch out inside the snail. But then it realised that the host animals like sheep and cows don't eat snails, so it had another brilliant idea. It came up with a design to get them back out of the snails again. It made it so the snails don't like the baby flatworms inside their bodies so they surround them with a hard case and get rid of them as cysts containing several baby flatworms in the slime they use to make their slime trails.
But then the Intelligent Designer realised its plan had hit another snag, apart from the baby parasites being still outside their hosts: cows and sheep don't normally eat snail slime, just like they don't normally eat snails and if they waited till the slime had dried up the baby flatworms would dry up to and die.
Here is where brilliant idea number three comes in. The Intelligent Designer noticed that ants eat snail slime because they want the moisture in it, so he made it so they also eat the cysts the snails excrete with the baby flatworms in them.
But there was another problem! Cows and sheep don't eat ants either! So it was still stuck for a way to get the baby flatworms into the sheep and cows. It now had them inside ants instead, having tried with getting them into snails and having to think up a way to get them out again.
Now came the most brilliant trick of all. It had to think of a way to get the ants eaten by cows and sheep and what do cows and sheep eat a lot of? Grass of course. But there was never going to be a way to get grass to eat baby worms.
Here is where the Intelligent Designer pulled out all the stops and really got creative. It noticed that every cyst contained lots of baby flatworms so it made one of them go to the ant's nerve centre and take control of it so it behaves in a very odd way for an ant. Normally, when it gets dark and cold, ants go back into the ant nest for the night and come back out when the sun rises. Ants who have been taken over by baby lancet flukes don't go back to the nest. Instead, they climb up a blade of grass, grip the stem tightly with their jaws so they won't be knocked off, and wait for a passing cow or sheep to eat the blade of grass, and them with it.
Voilá! The baby flatworms are back where they started - inside the cows and sheep, and occasional humans who might accidentally eat a contaminated ant and who can then become very ill. The cows and sheep can also become very ill and the quantity of meat and milk they provide for humans is reduced, and we have to be careful to cook the meat from them in case we get these parasites into our bodies.
So, how did that benefit us, which is what the Intelligent Designer wanted to do? The answer is, no body knows. Lancet flukes don't seem to do anything at all for us and can even be a problem. One theory is that the Intelligent Designer sometimes stops making everything for us and sometimes makes the world look like it was all designed for parasitic worms, or viruses, or bacteria, or grass, or tsetse flies, or any one of a million other creatures. Obviously when it designed the lancet fluke the Intelligent Designer was having a day when it hated things like snails and especially ants and wasn't thinking of cows and sheep or even us at all.
Another thing no body knows is why an Intelligent Designer would design things like these parasitic worms with such a complicated life cycle when it could have just designed them to lay eggs which hatch out where they live and not need three different hosts and several different stages before the adults get back to where their parent came from. It must be hard for people who believe in an Intelligent Designer to explain why it often acts like a really stupid one, which is probably why they normally ignore things like that.
Some mad scientists even think the Universe looks just like it wasn't designed for anything in particular and that all the different creatures have just fitted in. They even say it wasn't designed at all just because it doesn't look like it was!
But Creationists could easily prove the Intelligent Designer designed everything just for us - if only they could think of why it designed parasites like the lancet fluke, and million of other things that either don't do anything for us or even cause us a lot of harm in apparently random ways. And if only they could prove it was designed at all and could explain why it looks just the way it would if it wasn't designed and there was no intelligence or plan.