Problem: The Bible says ants have no leaders
Verses: Proverbs 6:6-8; Status: Weak

It irritates me when my own side makes weak arguments. According to an article in The Skeptical Review, the Bible wrongly describes ants as being leaderless. Here is the disputed passage, Proverbs 6:6-8:

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. (ESV)

The Skeptical Review tells us that this passage is wrong. It isn't.

Although there are different types of ants, such as workers, soldiers, queens, and so on, there is no command structure. The various types of ants do what they do by instinct alone, not because they are given commands by some central oversight ant. There are no ruler ants.

I quote here a talk from 2003 by Stanford biologist Deborah Gordon:

All ant colonies have in common that there's no central control. Nobody tells anybody what to do. The queen just lays the eggs. There's no management. No ant directs the behaviour of any other ant.

Updated: Summer 2008

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