Proverbs 6:7 – Ant Leaders?

Proverbs 6:7—”This verse says that ants have no commander, overseer or ruler, but ants have a queen.”

This verse tells us to consider the remarkable world of ant societies, but contains no inaccurate information. The critic’s argument is convincing to people ignorant of what the “queen” ant’s role actually is. The “queen” ant has absolutely no leadership responsibilities in an ant community, she is simply a egg-producing factory. One popular encyclopedia expresses it as follows:

The term “queen” is often deceptive, as the queen ant has very little control over the colony as a whole. She has no known authority or decision-making control; instead her sole function is to reproduce. Therefore the queen is best understood as the reproductive element of a colony rather than a leader. (“queen ant,” Wikipedia.org)

The Proverbs passage is correctly indicating how ants have an inborn industriousness that doesn’t need an authority structure of overseers to keep them from being lazy.

In his enthusiasm to discredit the Bible, Zakir Naik has shamelessly lied in saying that ants have a ‘ruler’ and ‘foremen’. A foreman is a “leader of a work crew,” and while some ants have a caste of soldiers that fights other ant colonies, they have nothing that could be remotely called a foreman.

The Qur’ān contains a somewhat more scientifically problematic account of ants involving Solomon, a hoopoe bird, and some ants talking together (Al-Naml 27:15-44). Some have attributed this to Solomon’s miraculous powers—others, like the commentator Muhammad Asad, interpret this story as a fictional legend (Asad, p.578, f. 17). Sura 51:49 states that “of everything we have created pairs” –yet there are hundreds of species recently discovered called parthenogens which only have one gender. Some species of whiptail lizards, for example, have no males, only females. Bdelloid rotifers are an entire class of such animals which have been reproducing entirely without any form of genetic exchange for millions of years. Also, while many forces of nature come in pairs, gravity has no opposite; it is only attraction. These facts do not disprove the Qur’ān —they simply demonstrate that we often cannot simply take a verse of scripture at face value.

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