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Discovery Magazine 12/1/2006

Listen for Design

Did you know that your ear has three main areas—the outer, middle, and inner ear? What we call our ear—the fleshly appendage on each side of our head—is actually the pinna [PIN-uh], also called auricle (AWR-i-kul). God designed that part of our ear for protection and to gather sound waves, channeling them into our ear canal to the eardrum. The eardrum, or tympanic membrane, is a thin layer of tissue that separates the outer ear from the middle ear. The sound waves that travel down the ear canal vibrate the eardrum. The vibrating eardrum then causes the three smallest bones in the human body (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup) to amplify and transfer sound from the middle ear to the liquid-filled inner ear. The vibrations then pass into the shell-shaped cochlea [KOKE-lee-uh]. As the vibrations travel through the fluid-filled cochlea, hundreds of special cells attached to nerve fibers transmit the sound waves to the brain. Then the brain processes the information into sounds and—presto—you can hear!

Your ear is unbelievably complex and intricate. Did you know that it uses four different types of energy to enable you to hear? It transfers natural energy (sound waves in the air) to mechanical energy (the tympanic membrane and the three bones of the middle ear), to hydraulic energy (the fluid in the inner ear), to electrical energy (the nerve impulses to the brain). Such a system cries out design! This arrangement could not have accidentally happened over millions of years!

Your ears are literally bombarded every minute by constant noise. Yet your ear continues to work without getting tired. Wind frequently blows sand and debris toward your ears. Yet that dirt faces multiple well-designed obstacles—from the folds of your outer ear (pinna) that prevent dirt from having direct access, to the shape of the ear canal which slants downward and toward the front, to the ear wax and hairs that trap debris.

If we had no other piece of evidence in the Universe to study, the human ear would be sufficient proof of the existence of the Creator. That’s why David declared: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). And Job added: “Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?” (Job 26:14).

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