Coyotes generally are not large enough to threaten adults but are plenty large enough to kill cats, small dogs, and small children. In recent decades coyotes killed one child. Yet cats and dogs are commonly preyed upon. The Wikipedia article on Coyotes said, Scat analysis collected near Claremont, California revealed that coyotes relied heavily on pets as a food source in winter and spring. Coyotes commonly live in urban areas and kill a lot of dogs and cats, yet have only killed one small child.
Of course, there are several natural factors that help explain this. The coyotes mostly prey at night. People frequently keep their cats and dogs outside at night, but rarely their children. Furthermore, people keep much closer watch over their children. On the other hand, cats are far better at climbing trees than either coyotes or small children, and both cats and dogs run faster than small children. So its seems surprising to me that it would be so common for coyotes to kill cats and small dogs, and so rare that they kill human children, so rare it has only happened once. Once again this seems odd and leads me to ask if divine providence is not part of the answer.
Before calling something miraculous it is both traditional and reasonable to look for a natural explanation, one that does not require God or some other supernatural agent. Research at the University of California Davis has been done that claims the Great White Sharks do not eat us because our fat content is not high enough, but I am unaware of any general explanation that explains why we are so rarely eaten by large predators in general. But when I started to think about how miraculous the low level of predation was a natural explanation quickly came to mind.
Predatory mammals may limit themselves to prey their mothers fed them when they were young. If their mother had killed humans and fed them human flesh, we would have killed the mother and perhaps the young. Even if we didn't kill the young they would normally still die without their mother. So in almost all cases the predator's mother did not teach them to hunt humans. Therefore it is not surprising that they avoid us, rather than eating us.
Furthermore, the polar bear and the barren ground grizzly bear, both of which live so far north that there are few trees in their environment, have a reputation for hunting humans. These predators of the far north do not have to fear amphibians, poisonous snakes, and almost all of the other dangerous animals that more southern predators face. They can hunt and eat just about everything that moves in their frigid, northern environments. This may explain why they are far more dangerous to humans.
So perhaps there is a natural explanation, or perhaps a combination of natural explanations that explain why we are so rarely attacked and eaten by predators. The predators do not know we are safe to eat. Furthermore, in most cases, we are not safe to eat. While they can kill and eat the individual human. The larger human society will usually kill the predator. The mystery is how they know this. The answer may be that large predators can not take too many risks if they are to live long enough to reproduce. So they leave us alone just to be on the safe side.
Of course, this is just my speculation. I have discussed this with biology professors and read a fair amount. I have not found any source that gives this full explanation, and in most cases the writers do not seem to be aware that there is a problem to be explained.
After all it is commonly said that predators will eat humans when the predators are old, weak, injured, or starving. With a million predators out there, there must be thousands at any one time that are pretty desperate, and many thousands that become desperate over the course of a year. So how is it possible that with about a million of them, and more than a third of a billion of us, only three or four people are eaten each year.
In Deuteronomy 29:5 God says in 40 years of wandering your clothes and your sandals have not worn out. The implication being that the Israelites had not noticed. Their clothes and sandals wore out in Egypt, but it did not occur to them that it was unusual that for 40 years the wear and tear had been suspended. So according to the Bible there can be miracles that are so common that we take them to be part of the normal order of nature. Is the surprisingly low level of predation on humans another example of this?
The argument that I am making here is different from most. I have invented both the natural and the supernatural side of the argument. I am conducting an argument with myself. I hope that one or both sides will prove useful.
Kepler had his own plan to prove the existence of God by uncovering the orderly nature of the planet's orbits. This too failed, but he discovered that the planets have elliptical orbits.
Newton did much the same thing. He thought that the elliptical orbits could be explained naturally, but they were not naturally stable. Only God's intervention kept them stable. This too proved to be wrong. More investigation by Newton revealed that they were naturally stable.
A lot of major science was discovered by people who were trying to prove the existence of God by demonstrating intelligent design of one sort or another. Sure they failed but great science was discovered. I also suspect that many great discoveries are made by people seeking to disprove the existence of God. Perhaps some useful science will come out of this.
A friend of mine jumped off a cliff into water to avoid a bear. He got lucky, the water was deep enough, he survived. But given the statistics and the natural reasoning above, I think he would have been better off risking the bear.
Another friend of mine lives in a cabin but is afraid to go out at night for fear of black bears. Perhaps this can free her from this fear.
A mountain lion walks along the north edge of the city I live in, about two miles from where I am writing, once every two or three days. Maybe this can calm some fears and allow us to live in peace with this and the million or so other large predators in the United States and Canada. So perhaps once again some useful and informative science can come out of an attempt to build a case for God.
You can also check out more of my speculation on biology here. The only biology course I took in college was one on physical anthropology. Other than that my last course was in tenth grade. Nevertheless, distinguished professors at major research universities have found a least one of my ideas in biology interesting, and even suggested that they should be submitted to academic journal. On the other hand they did not want to get involved. Encouraging words are talk, and talk is admittedly cheap.
Tell me what you think. Here is my contact information..Last edited July 12, 2015
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