How The Snake Got Its Venom

Question from Robert:
What would be your reasoning as to how the evolution of venomous snakes could have happened? Obviously, the first snakes did not start off with venom glands in their heads. That means that they were getting along just fine without any venom to kill their prey for hundreds of thousands or millions of years. So why in the world would venom glands evolve inside their heads? That is not ‘natural selection’. Indeed, that is completely unnatural. A creature wants to keep poison out of its body! So why would any creature start to make poison inside its body? That makes no sense at all. And it would potentially be extremely dangerous to that creature.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s say that such a totally bizarre thing occurred. So now what? You have snakes with venom glands in their heads. How in the heck are the snakes supposed to get the venom into their prey? That would be 100% impossible for snakes to do that without hollowed out, syringe-like, very sharp fangs.

That’s a HUGE problem. That means that snakes which somehow evolved venom glands, would then have to evolve syringe like teeth. And there is absolutely no way that could happen because that would require forethought and planning. And it would totally go against the theory of natural selection. Also, by the time that snakes could have strangely evolved syringe like teeth, their venom glands would have already been naturally phased out because those glands would have been totally useless for an extremely long time. But again, just for the sake of argument, let’s say that this second totally bizarre thing occurred. Now snakes would have had to evolve a structure that would connect the venom gland to the syringe like teeth. How could all of these bizarre things happen accidentally? …. or naturally?

Answer by SmartLX:
We don’t have to rely on my reasoning, not when Scientific American has a full article on this exact subject and Wikipedia has a good summary sitting right there. What the heck, here’s the National Geographic article too. These are literally the first three results when you Google “evolution of snake venom” so I guess you didn’t start there.

The first snakes actually did start off with venom glands because the glands first evolved in the ancestors of snakes, four-legged burrowing lizards more similar to the Komodo dragon. The proteins in venom share DNA with compounds that do other jobs. One is saliva, which breaks down organic material for digestion. Immune system proteins, which attack foreign elements in the body, are another. One compound that isn’t mentioned is stomach acid, but this is another dangerous substance that is essential to normal bodily function. We need poisons in our bodies to survive, only they’re poisons we’re able to tolerate because of how they’re produced and contained. Venom evolved many times over throughout the animal and plant kingdoms, because it has lots to build off.

As for delivery systems, of which there are many, you don’t need much of a starting point. Toads secrete poison on their skin and let it sit there, because the only animals they want to poison are those who try to eat them, so any number of bodily glands could have switched their purpose. Spitting cobras squirt venom forward, so what if they started by just plain spitting, or to be more specific, gleeking? With this technique, even humans can shoot liquid a long way from the body straight from a gland. A gland with a naturally effective nozzle like this can slowly evolve into either a weapon that can be aimed or a hard retractable tube that can inject, because every little bit closer it mutates to either one of these makes for more effective hunting and defense, and ultimately a better chance of survival.

With the specifics covered, let’s look at the overall nature of your challenge because it is VERY similar to those that have come before. You point to something remarkable and ask how it could have happened, and implicitly assert your own explanation by elimination after assuming no good answer is forthcoming. A textbook argument from ignorance (a harsh name, sorry, but the official one) and thus an informal fallacy, which is a failure of the premise of an argument to support its conclusion. It fails for several reasons: obviously it’s rebutted if an alternative answer is presented, but even if not it relies on the assumption that if you and I can’t think of a way then it’s impossible. We’d have to be gods ourselves for this to be true. I point out this fallacy whenever it comes in because it is the basis of many of the arguments for God, and every creationist argument. As a result, these arguments are only good for reassuring yourself and those who agree with you, because by themselves they have little power to persuade.

14 thoughts on “How The Snake Got Its Venom”

  1. Hey Smartx. I’m afraid you are s are to think on your own. The writer has a point. And in the beginning you showed there a glimber of hope foe your self. The snake had everything included in its making from when God created it. The snake and many other such organisms leave the Atheist with rltheir mouths wide open, stammering trying to invent another totaly indefensible excuse as to why didn’t we think of this flaw in our retinal before we stuck our foot in our proverbial mouthes.

  2. Please go this website and explain why even the great Steve Hawkins and not a few other proponents of Atheism have remarked that due to the lack, LACK that’s right, LACK of any kind of transitional fossils, it appears that whole species were dumped or placed or created and placed on the earth showing g no signs of evolution. This is paraphrased by me. Please go to this website and correct t me if I got it wrong g in any way
    (http://thetruthwins.com/archives/44-reasons-why-evolution-is-just-a-fairy-tale-for-adults)

    1. Well, you wrote those in a hurry Gerald.

      Funny how evolutionary biologists, not all of whom are atheists, are still characterised as stammering out desperate explanations after building a huge body of genetic and morphological evidence and documentation on exactly the selected topic. Same with the topic of transitional fossils, despite the known existence of quite a long list, at http://www.transitionalfossils.com as a matter of fact.

      I assume “Steve Hawkins” is Richard Dawkins and the quote is #9 in the list of 44 “reasons”. This particular quote is actually #40 on a TalkOrigins list of examples of creationist quote mining. It’s from The Blind Watchmaker, and Dawkins goes on to explicitly state the probable reasons for the gaps in the fossil record, which are consistent with the evolutionary model.

      This led me to wonder about the rest of the material in that article, and fortunately I was able to find a four-part piece on Neurologica explaining exactly what the problems are with all 44 points. (The link goes to part four which links back to the other three.) Let me know if you think any particular points were treated inaccurately.

      Besides all the specifics, though, think about the argument you’re making. Whatever you think these capital-A atheists have said to denounce the evidence for evolution, they remain atheists and evolutionists and make no effort to hide their remarks supposedly discrediting themselves. The simplest explanation for this is that they haven’t actually sabotaged their own side in anything like the way you think they have. You can claim that they’re just holding onto it for fear of their jobs and reputations, but this is literally a conspiracy theory.

      1. “Their story begins over 100 million years ago, when snakes diverged from lizards to evolve into smaller and faster predators to catch quick-moving prey. The options were either to outrace the prey, which requires a great deal of energy, or lie and wait for the prey to come to you and incapacitate it as quickly and quietly as possible.
        The solution was venom – a complex chemical cocktail of proteins and enzymes evolved to kill or incapacitate the prey before the snake even begins digestion. But, as it turns out, snakes did not evolve venom like it is commonly believed. In fact, snake venom evolved from venom in a lizard ancestor over 200 million years ago.”
        This is part of the article that SmartLx. left. And I just read part of it. It is funny how the Evolutionists have a way of always presupposing their way to an answer, but they never produce any physical evidence showing how what the claim is actually true. And they overlook questions that a logical, and reasonable person would ask if they really wanted to know truth.
        Like for instance, how did the snake even know about what venom was? What kind of reasoning ability could have been available to run through the gambit of choices, and then make the decision, that venom was the best choice? Now this is a valid question. And seemingly at least to me a question that would have ended the theorizing on the theory of evolution, and sent it to the compost pile. Science is to supposed to make assumptions and validate. But Evolution appears to be above what Science is supposed to use to allow Science to maintain credit. And this is the same thing shown with the Scientists who are pushing the theory of Evolution. Make assumptions and run to make another assumption, not realizing that if any one of the assumptions that they are entertaining, fails to be validated then anything beyond that discredited assumption, is also discredited.
        Show Mr. and Mrs. Evolutionist, please explain how an organism without a nervous system, without a brain, without ability to reason, without a form to analyze data, without a way to imagine, or ask itself “what if”, would ever come to know what to do if indeed it did appear to life from nothing?
        I know someone along the way had to have thumped their heads somewhere down the road to explaining about Evolution, and asked themselves and hopefully others, but how did it do it.
        Or how about asking yourselves, just how you were going to explain the resurrection of a theory that had been already laid to rest by the scientific community when the Spontaneous Generation theory was laid to rest, way back when by Luis Pasteur. Because that is exactly what Evolution is implying when and making their salvation, by saying that life came from nothing. They are talking about Spontaneous Generation. A thrown out scientific theory that was proven wrong. Now the Evolutionists are making matters worse by forging ahead ignoring scientific evidence and logical hurdles by ignoring other things that should cause them to stop and ask themselves the question that all true Scientists need to ask, “Is this feasible?” Is it logical? ” Is it provable?
        And life coming from nothing was not provable. So it was tossed out. And so should the theory of Evolution. Because when questions come up they ignore these questions and simply state, we will find out the answers later. So How did life come from nothing? And since it has not been proven that it is possible, then Evolution needs to be tossed. And should we want to entertain the impossibility that life did somehow come into being by accident, then how did that life survive? We know that from observation that life that comes from life receives a certain amount of programming passed down “from father and mother to son”. It inherits innate knowledge. This helps the newborn to run on automatic, for a certain length of time, (depending upon which kind of organism it is), directing it to perform what it would need to do, in order to survive. But this brand new organism or maybe an almost organism, would have appeared without any kind of programming and somehow, lived. Ok. So here is the second hurdle that needs to be taken, before the theory of Evolution should have been allowed to take flight as a theory. The DNA programming received by a newborn from the parent, tells it what to do. How to do it. And that DNA programming is not something that can be added later. And once again, it would need to be able to know and analyze, and decide using some kind of basis for deciding. Don’t you see that the Evolutionists are wondering as blind leading the blind wandering down a dead end path, with a cliff at the end. Answer the questions before going on to the next step, would have been the logical, conclusion. But instead bullheadedly pushing on, causes errors to be made and assumptions to be accepted that are not valid.
        Now back to the snake venom. Explain how the snake figured that venom was the way to go. Explain how it, on its own, knew how to make holes in its fangs, or to make fangs, finding that it needed to be able to inject that venom. Before that, how did it know that it would need to make a sack to store the venom. Now, becoming immune, to its own venom maybe would have been possible over time. But how could it have developed its immunity in such a short period of time. Here is another thing, Explain how all of what you are surmising is even true, because right now it is all “it could be” or it “may have been” And until you demonstrate it possible in a controlled experiment then all it is, is pure speculation. “https://books.google.com/books?id=c46XCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA125&lpg=PA125&dq=Is+Evolution+pure+speculation?&source=bl&ots=mFDGvQ1ERU&sig=D2oZ4WtLP47coL4UbO2eWVG3DK8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqtKS94LHUAhVQ92MKHbcIAQ4Q6AEIPDAF#v=onepage&q=Is%20Evolution%20pure%20speculation%3F&f=false)

        1. Way to come back a year later with your answer.

          One would hope that, in the course of that year, you might have done at least a bit of research or learning about anything relevant to the topic so that you could at least discuss it intelligently. It does not appear however that such effort was made by you.

          We get this quote from your post: “Like for instance, how did the snake even know about what venom was? What kind of reasoning ability could have been available to run through the gambit of choices, and then make the decision, that venom was the best choice?”

          It is amazing how little you’ve learned about evolution in all the years that you’ve been here. Many people have made a solid effort at explaining things to you, in a simple and easy format, so that you could get the basics of it. All that effort has been in vain. You still cannot figure out what grade school children could tell you about evolution…

          Snakes did not “know” anything about venom. There is no “reasoning” about genetic mutation. There is no “gambit of choices” that requires a “decision”. To explain YET AGAIN to you Gerald, genetic mutation is random and undirected. Do you understand what random and undirected means? No choices, no reasoning, no decisions. The group of lizards that evolved modified saliva glands that produced venom didn’t control that happening. It wasn’t guaranteed that a mutation to create venom would occur. But it did, and because it made hunting easier it became part of the genome for the entire population of those animals.

          You are either unable to grasp the simple basics of how evolution happen, or you are purposefully using misinformation to try to mislead readers about the topic. Either way, shame on you. So when you say “Now this is a valid question.”, we can tell you YET AGAIN that it isn’t valid…

          Next, Gerald, we get this gem from you: “Show Mr. and Mrs. Evolutionist, please explain how an organism without a nervous system, without a brain, without ability to reason, without a form to analyze data, without a way to imagine, or ask itself “what if”, would ever come to know what to do if indeed it did appear to life from nothing?”

          YET AGAIN you have failed to understand anything regarding evolution. Life didn’t come from “nothing”. Life came from the same atoms and molecules that you find all over the planet and even in deep space. That is not “nothing”. It would appear you are once again confusing the Big Bang (which did not happen from “nothing” although you always like to claim it did) with the scientific theory of evolution, which merely explains the changes in populations of living things over time.

          Will there be any point in time when you will become educated enough to rationally discuss these topics, are do you plan to continue to embarrass yourself by repeating the same tired mistakes over and over until you die?

  3. Robert, if you truly want to learn something regarding the evolution of a particular trait that some animal has (like venom), please do some honest research ahead of time before asking such a question. The information, as pointed out by LX, is readily available to you in you chose to read it. Just my opinion of course, but there is simply no reason why any adult could not answer that question themselves. Perhaps you read about “irreducible complexity” or some other pseudoscience at a creationist website, or perhaps you were just pondering about modern snakes and realized that you weren’t sure how they became the animals that they are today. Regardless of how you got there, I have no doubt that you are more than capable of researching and answering that question yourself, and it puzzles me why you didn’t.

    The fact of the matter is that there has been such an incredible amount of research done on the evolution of practically every type of structure and ability found in the animal kingdom that you could ask the same type of question about giraffe necks or flowers & bees or anything in between, and the answer is available to you at universities, libraries, research publications, and the internet.

    Are you really curious? Then if you aren’t afraid to ask the question, don’t be afraid to find the answer yourself…

    1. “The information, as pointed out by LX, is readily available to you in you chose to read it. Just my opinion of course, but there is simply no reason why any adult could not answer that question themselves. Perhaps you read about “irreducible complexity” or some other pseudoscience” Please show me where it says that irreducible complexity is a pseudoscience? There are many accredited Scientists who acknowledge irreducible complexity. And there are many Scientists who believe in evolution who wish no one ever pointed out irreducible complexity. Because they do not have any way to contest this one of many facts that disprove Evolution. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPShDz6nEyI)
      Here watch this and come up with a possible way of explaining how any pre life, or pre organism, or even a cell, could have performed making itself this, with out Intelligence. Dean Kenyon, who used to be one of the leading chemical evolutionists in the world, who later came to his senses, and recognized the evidence that you all seem to be willing to confront, preferring instead to blindly worship your god Evolution. But please watch this and then tell me how you had a dream and discovered how to contest the arguments in this video. But please don’t just come up with, “we’ll understand it better by and by”. Because if you are a Scientist or someone who knows about science, then you should recognize that the scientist not only assumes, but he is supposed to provide proof, testing and duplicating, event and circumstances trying to re-enact that which is being assumed to happen. And then they take that proof to show how what they assumed was validated, or otherwise. You need to refute these arguments before accepting the theory. Yet this has not been done among many of the scientific community. But little by little Scientists such as Kenyon, are going to continue, disproving the theory of Evolution. So please do what caused even Mr. Kenyon could not do. Prove how it all was possible. Don’t just say it was.

      1. Irreducible complexity was laughed out of a courtroom in Pennsylvania back in 2005. Even some of the creationist websites don’t bring it up anymore because it is such an embarrassment for young Earthers. That you still cling to it is of no great surprise to me.

        “Here watch this and come up with a possible way of explaining how any pre life, or pre organism, or even a cell, could have performed making itself this, with out Intelligence.”

        And then you follow up with this paragraph of gobbly gook which displays, YET AGAIN, that you have no clue about abiogenesis or the scientific theory of evolution but feel you can comment on the topic accurately. You can’t. It’s been explained you over and over that abiogenesis does not claim that living things “performed making itself”. Only a cultist would think something would “make itself”….

        1. And you would imply that a court room refusing to accept truth is something that would go toward proof for a failed assumption. Need I point to the fact that in those same court rooms, Black and Indian individuals were declared to be inferior to their white brothers and sisters of the human race. Or what about when they the court refused to acknowledge the rights of women and children. These injustices were all performed in our courts of law. So please don’t assume to suggest that the courts refusal to allow the schools to teach Intelligent Design as part of the curriculum. Not that said, why don’t you give me your take on the idea of Irreducible complexity. Please, since you seem to have a grasp of the theory, tell me, us why you feel that Irreducible complexity is not a valid argument against Evolution. The creationists have raised it as an argument against the ability of Evolution to have formed any part of life, not to mention organs such as the eye, complex systems such as the respiratory, circulatory, digestion, and such. All of which are Irreducible. All that is being offered is what, silence to the argument? Hear say that has no physical proof to give weight to their assumptions. The Evolutionists say that Evolution would have no problem producing complex organisms or organs or systems. You are saying this but, where is the proof. You can give me what this scientist assumes to be possible, or what that scientist say maybe possible, but where is the research paper that shows how evolution can do this. Better yet and of more voracity, where has this assumption been reproduced and shown that those assumptions are more than just vocal thoughts.

  4. Gerald writes: [And you would imply that a court room refusing to accept truth is something that would go toward proof for a failed assumption.]

    Your creationist masters had their day in court, Gerald. They got to defend the “irreducible complexity” claim. They got to explain everything. And when your creationist masters claims were shown in subsequent testimony to be unfounded, they had no answer for it. It’s not like they weren’t given every opportunity to explain the holes in their argument. But they had nothing. Some of these “lots of scientists” that you are always yammering about that reject evolution had their day in court, and they couldn’t present even a simple claim that could stand up to scrutiny. Explain to us preacher Gerald how a “failed assumption” couldn’t be shown

    [Need I point to the fact that in those same court rooms, Black and Indian individuals were declared to be inferior to their white brothers and sisters of the human race. Or what about when they the court refused to acknowledge the rights of women and children. These injustices were all performed in our courts of law. ]

    Non-sequitur. That has nothing to with the case from 2005. Those courts used to rule the same thing about gays and marriage. Why didn’t you bring that up?

    [So please don’t assume to suggest that the courts refusal to allow the schools to teach Intelligent Design as part of the curriculum.]

    If the scientific theory of evolution is so horrible and wrong as you continually claim, why wasn’t it easily defeated? Let me guess – vast conspiracy. That’s always the standard fallback for the cultists in this country. Crackpot conspiracy theories don’t explain how no creationist pseudo-science nonsense can overcome the theory of evolution. It must really drive the preacher crowd crazy that they can’t push their religious nonsense into school curriculum.

    [Not that said, why don’t you give me your take on the idea of Irreducible complexity. Please, since you seem to have a grasp of the theory, tell me, us why you feel that Irreducible complexity is not a valid argument against Evolution.]

    Because there is no evidence for it, Gerald. None. There are scientific explanations for every type of structure in the animal kingdom. Take any organ or structure or body part you can think of, and google the evolution of it, and you will find scholarly articles on it. There is no evidence of god creatures. There is no evidence of the supernatural. There is no evidence that anything was designed or created.

    The actual argument is stupid to begin with. The premise is that complexity can’t happen on it’s own, so that means it had to be created. How? By an even MORE complex thing. That’s idiotic. Complexity requires complexity to exist you creationists claim. So where did the much more complex god creature come from? It’s complex, so it must have needed to be designed and created. But no, that’s where the cultists invoke the exception to the rule. The god creature didn’t need to be created, it just always existed. But you’ve just defeated your own argument, because you just claimed that complexity does NOT always need to be created.

    It’s no different than the “life was to be created by other life” babble that we constantly get from the young Earth preacher crowd. That fails in exactly the same way as the irreducible complexity garbage.

    [The creationists have raised it as an argument against the ability of Evolution to have formed any part of life, not to mention organs such as the eye, complex systems such as the respiratory, circulatory, digestion, and such. All of which are Irreducible. All that is being offered is what, silence to the argument?]

    Google it, and read, Gerald. It isn’t that hard, really. I feel confident you can accomplish that, and then come back and ask questions on the parts you have trouble with.

    [Hear say that has no physical proof to give weight to their assumptions.]

    You heard wrong. There’s all kinds of physical evidence and data. Google it, and read, Gerald. It ain’t that hard, really.

    [The Evolutionists say that Evolution would have no problem producing complex organisms or organs or systems. You are saying this but, where is the proof. You can give me what this scientist assumes to be possible, or what that scientist say maybe possible, but where is the research paper that shows how evolution can do this. Better yet and of more voracity, where has this assumption been reproduced and shown that those assumptions are more than just vocal thoughts.]

    There are hundreds of thousands of research papers on it, Gerald. Do not bear false witness and pretend you’ve looked for them, preacher. Your continued failure to understand anything scientific highlights your lack of effort to learn about these topics. There are billions of facts in play here, used to substantiate and validate all kinds of research and experiments on the evolution of all kinds of different parts, organs, and structures.

    Google it, and read….

  5. I don’t know about the courts. All I know is that the Evolutionists felt so threatened by the truth that the Creationists could bring that it caused the Evolutionists to fight to keep that truth from being taught in the schools. They didn’t have to make a law to help the teaching of the theory of gravity, or any other theory. Except for the theory of evolution. They felt that it was too weak to stand on its own. There may be hundreds of thousands of research papers on what could be. But it that research needs to be backed up with evidence that the research does what it claims.
    If it doesn’t, or those claims can’t be demonstrated then the theory is not viable. And it shouldn’t be accepted as a theory.

    1. Gerald:

      So called “intelligent design” was shown in a court of law to be nothing but a form of creationism, which is a religious (not scientific) hypothesis and therefore violated the First Amendment establishment clause. When creationists brought up ideas like irreducible complexity, counter testimony showed those claims to be utter nonsense, and the creationists had no rebuttal to offer. Your creationist masters were given a platform to hold a discourse on a level playing field, and they lost completely and decisively. They could not show that they had a scientific argument, and since ID is based on the Bible it was obvious they were inserting religion into a public school curriculum.

      It’s a great example of why claims from creationist preachers like yourself that there is scientific backing for intelligent design is a blatant lie. That won’t, of course, keep people like yourself from continuing to lie in the future…

      1. And what if it is. There is nothing wrong to use the Bible to show what is truth. In our society nothing is supposed to be forced into obscurity. Why is it that Evolution needs to be protected so?

      2. Haven’t you kept up with the times? There are a whole slew of new evidence that is supporting the evidence there already is supporting Intelligent design. Now the Atheists and Evolutionists are reeling backwards after the find of dino tissue in supposedly millions of year old fossils. This contradicts the old earth theory of the Evolutionists. You have new finds added to old Evolutionists buried evidence where there are human artifacts in the depths of the earth where the Evolutionists once said were where only the dinosaur fossils should only be found. This is strike two where once again the age of the earth that the Evolutionists gave is not right again. But we also find out that the Evolutionists have been covering up evidence because they knew long ago about these artifacts being found in dinosaur fossils strata. And then there are the figurines that have been dug up dating millions of years old where they show people and dinosaurs together. All of which were made known to the evolutionists who were in charge and they hid this evidence knowing that it showed that the age of the earth was younger than the Evolutionists were saying. And that calls into question their theory of Evolution. Wake up you all, before it’s too late. Look at all the evidence that is piling up against the theory of evolution. God is the one that made us and everything else. And since He is real, salvation is real also. Please think about it. And I hope you see what is your only opportunity for life everlasting.

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