River blindness end in sight, according to an article in ScienceNOW 21 July 2009.
The number of people suffering a parasitic infection that causes blindness has dramatically decreased over the last 20 years due to effective treatments that kill the parasitic worms. People become infected with the worms when they are bitten by black flies. The worms produce tiny baby worms that move through the body fluids and some inevitably get trapped in the eye, where they stimulate a strong inflammatory reaction, which causes blindness. In 1987 a programme of treating the disease with a drug that paralysed the worms and decreased their fertility was introduced. Researchers recently surveyed three regions in Mali and Somalia where drug treatment has been used for over 15 years and found less than one percent of people tested positive for infection. They also caught over 150,000 black flies in these regions and found fewer than 0.05 percent of flies were carrying the infection.
Editorial Comment: River blindness is the disease David Attenborough has used for many years as his excuse for refusing to believe in God. The following quote is from New Scientist 16 May 2009: “People say: ‘How you can see hummingbirds, roses, and orchids and not believe in the Lord’s splendour’? But if you’re going to look at those things, you should look at other things, too. Imagine an African boy with a parasitic worm boring into his eye. If you tell me God not only created but cares for us all, what about that boy? Are you telling me he says: ‘God deliberately created a worm that’s going to blind me’? I find that intolerable.”
There are two important aspects of River Blindness that are significant to the creation/evolution debate, and that David Attenborough is ignoring. One is that people are infected with the parasites when they are bitten by flies. This means this disease would not have occurred in the original very good world God made, because all animals ate plants and flies would therefore not have bitten people. The other is that the baby worms die in the eye and the dead worms cause an inflammatory reaction. It is the inflammatory reaction that causes the blindness. Therefore, the worms cannot be said to be created to live in human eyeballs.
Attenborough has been using the worm in the eyeball excuse for many years. Creation Research became aware of it in 2003 when he visited Australia to promote his biography. Soon after this Creation Research made the DVD “Did a Good God Make Bad Bugs?” which answers Attenborough’s claim and deals with the whole issue of disease. One of our colleagues personally gave Attenborough a copy of the DVD. However, Attenborough continues to use the worm in the eye story as his excuse for not believing in the Creator God. It is not because we wanted to outsmart David Attenborough that we gave him our DVD. It is because the Apostle Paul reminds us that all who have seen what God has created are without excuse for their unbelief. (Romans 1:20) David Attenborough has had more opportunity to see the works of God than just about anyone else, and we consider it our duty to warn him (and others) that he is (and they are) accountable to the Creator God, and to tell him the good news of salvation in Christ.
Evidence News, 2 September 2009
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