Articles
Do Cicadas Count?
By Karl C. Priest September 22, 2009 (revised 61615)
During the 2009 local Creation conference (Kanawha Creation Science Group) I presented “Cicada Chorus” (now “Cicada Choir”). During the Q/A period I was asked if there is any significance to the appearance of periodical cicadas every 13 or 17 years. I had not considered that previously, but the thought stayed with me and led to the research culminating with this article.
Evolutionists tell a “Just So” story in an attempt to explain the amazing phenomenon of periodical cicadas. Their vivid imaginations conjure up an imaginary predator, such as a parasitic wasp with a life cycle that did not match the prime number (numbers only divisible by 1 and themselves) cycle of cicadas. That would allow the cicadas to survive while the figment of evolutionists’ imagination went extinct. But can the wasp feed on other things in the meantime? Evolutionists also amusingly believe that brainless evolution* figured out that cicadas needed to emerge by the millions in order for them to be too abundant for any predator to completely devour. Another evolutionist imaginary scenario is that cicadas wanted to avoid a cold summer that likely occurred during the geological age in which they evolved.
Cicadas are active during the years they are underground. It is a mystery how they know when it is time to emerge and how they time it so the divergence occurs immediately before they become winged adults able to undergo the highly complicated mating process.
Also unexplained is why only North American cicadas (and then only some of the NA species) evolved 13 and 17 year periods and why they settled on those numbers rather than any of the other prime numbers.
God has a fondness for certain numbers and that is explained in detail in the book Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance by E. W. Bullinger. The reason God designed periodical cicadas to undergo the 13 and 17 year life cycles may never be known in this life. Nevertheless it is interesting to speculate. (Note: There may be other extended cicada life cycles such as 7 years, but the 13 and 17 are the most well known by far.)
The number “13” has negative connotations, but the number 17 has even more positive connections in the Bible. To simplify things this article will focus on the individual digits as far as biblical numerology is concerned.
1 is the number of unity . The Lord our God is one Lord. (Deut. 6:4b) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all (Eph. 4:56a)
3 is the number of divine perfection. The Trinity is the best example.
7 is the number of spiritual perfection. And on on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (Gen. 2:2)
The man** who asked the question referred to in the first paragraph talked with me between sessions and presented the idea of the Pythagoras theorem
(disclaimer*).
He chose the second set of Pythagorean Triples (5, 12, and 13 with 5 + 12 representing 17). The diagram below uses the first set of triplets—3, 4, and 5.
http://votsalakia.net/blog/2008/01/27/pythagorasofsamos/
Granted, it is a stretch to try to connect the 13 and 17 year periodical cicada life cycle directly to the Pythagorean Theorem. That is not the goal of this article. By trying to see if there is an obvious connection I followed a thread that demonstrates that Galileo was correct when he said, “ Mathematics is the language in which God wrote the universe.”
The Pythagorean Theorem is based upon the right triangle which was used by ancient man (the Egyptians being the most prominent) for land surveying and construction. Right triangles are also the basis of trigonometry which is used in astronomy and navigation.
By starting with an isosceles right triangle with legs of one unit, building a triangle on the hypotenuse, and continuing the pattern an awesome spiral is developed.
http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~demo5337/Group3/hist.html
That spiral brings to mind the Golden Ratio spiral (also known as the Divine Proportion). A ratio compares two quantities such as 5:3 or 5/3. Five divided by 3 equals 1.6666. 55:34 or 55/34 when divided equals 1.6176. I chose those numbers because they are part of an ancient sequence popularized (and named after) Leonardo Fibonacci. It begins with 0 and 1 then every successive number is the sum of the two proceeding numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144… If any of these numbers are divided by the one preceding it the quotient is very close to 1.618 which is the Divine Proportion***.
The ultimate result is a figure similar to this diagram.
http://www.learncpp.com/cpptutorial/710recursion/
The Divine Proportion is found in, or used in physics, art, music, galaxies, hurricanes, architecture, music, and biology (flowers, pine cones, shells, moth wings, honeybee genealogy, and the human body). Attributes as the golden ratio have been oberserved at a nanoscale That is at the atomic level—a nanometer is a billionth of a meter (http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/01/07/golden.ratio.discovered.a.quantum.world).
There is so much on the mathematical harmony of Creation that this article can only graze the surface.
The Fibonacci numbers can be found in something called Pascal’s Triangle. Pascal’s triangle itself is amazing, but the basic geometric shape known as a triangle is phenomenal.
Much mysticism is associated with this shape and that would be expected with something that God made as a significant part of His design.
The triangle can be made into a three dimensional object as we see in the pyramids. A specific type of polyhedron is a tetrahedron which is made of four triangles.
http://www.maths.dur.ac.uk/~dma0ssb/discrete/Links//platonic_graphs.html
God had some interest in the tetrahedron. Tetrahedral shapes abound in chemistry. Of particular importance to life is the water molecule. Without water there is no life. Also, the building blocks of life are in the tetrahedral shapes of carbon.
http://www.vias.org/genchem/molgeom_12594_02.html
Like the hexagonal shape of honey bee comb cells, the tetrahedral shape is the most efficient arrangement possible. Brainless evolution could never have brought it about.
Is there a tetrahedron part to a cicada? “The tetrahedron is theoretically the strongest, most rigid symmetrical structure that can exist in nature.” (http://www.nationalkitemonth.org/history/kitepeople.shtml) It would not be surprising to find that the exoskeleton and/or wing structure of cicadas contain tetrahedrons.
How are cicadas related to the Divine Proportion? As far as I know, there has not been a connection made. Real science (using mathematics) may someday discover that some part of the cicada anatomy has the Divine Proportion. Perhaps, perfectly.
Prime numbers are integral to Internet security. Perhaps God will see fit to share with us why He chose prime numbers for the periodical cicada. Maybe He wants us to try to break the code of that part of his creation.
As an optometrist friend of mine says about Creation, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”
The title of this article asks “Do Cicadas Count”? The answer is “yes”, but it is to an inference of the question that differs from the one that was likely assumed when a reader began this article. Cicadas do not count as in 1, 2, 3…, but they sure do count in God’s mathematically measured creation.
*“Brainless evolution” is a term coined by Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo.
**Ralph A. Johnson of East Lynn, WV
***A good explanation of how to make the Divine Proportion is at http://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/goldenratio.html and http://infiniteplaythemovie.com/golden_ratio__phi.aspx.
For a delirious Darwinian attempt to explain the Golden Ratio from the mind of an evolutionist egghead (the eggs are scrambled) see http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/200912/dumog121409.php where you will read this enlightening sentence: "It is the oneness of vision, cognition and locomotion as the design of the movement of all animals on earth," he said. "The phenomenon of the golden ratio contributes to this understanding the idea that pattern and diversity coexist as integral and necessary features of the evolutionary design of nature."
Enjoy these views:
1. Return of the Periodical Cicada
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYLxxALTfAQ&feature=player_embedded#t=333
2. Fibonacci  God's Fingerprint (Be sure to see the Related Videos.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVpqtHgok&feature=related
3. God's Creation  Miracle of Water and Carbon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPXVay4HuGA
4. The Math of God's Creation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2xTlPTX5KU
5. Pythagoras Down Under (You can mute the sound if the music is not for you.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwhuZ1YgzE&feature=related

“(I)t was discovered that the Golden Ratio did relate to butterfly feeding habits, and sapfeeding butterflies have proboscis conformations that closely resemble the Golden Ratio.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150306102503.htm

Also see “Cicadas Make Great Mathematicians”.

Enjoy viewing “Illustrating the Golden Ratio”.

*DISCLAIMER: I absolutely do not endorse any of the mystical mathematics of Pythagoras or of Freemasonry.
Another buggy math article: Ants and the Golden Ratio
The math lesson that destroys evolutionism: Middle School Lesson Plan
Also see Math Lesson: The Why and Where of Mathematics.
