Reading Time: 3 minutes

Can bats predict the future?

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

email

A bat with outstretched wings flies in the darkness
Adobe Stock

I’m not a big fan of bats. 

Let’s just get that out of the way up front. 

They creep me out, and, unless they take the form of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego, most days I’d prefer to avoid thinking about them. 

But an article by Scottie Andrew of CNN caught my attention and put them in a slightly more interesting light: recent research out of Johns Hopkins is determining the degree to which bats can see into the future.

Now, the researchers are not trying to argue that bats are clairvoyant or anything like that, but rather that their advanced use of echolocation enables them to predict where their prey is likely to be given its previous trajectory, speed of flight, and what obstacles are in the way. They compare it to the way an outfielder tracks a fly ball or a quarterback projects the path of his receiver. Only bats are able to do it based on a quick procession of echolocation responses rather than relying on visual clues.

As the study’s co-author, Clarice Diebold, described it, they create a “3D record of the world around them” and use that to guide their next actions. 

While all of that is interesting—and still a bit creepy—researchers say the real benefit will come from how it can help humans who rely on similar mechanisms. For example, blind people often “use their own form of echolocation by tapping a cane or clicking their tongue to create an image of the world around them. Like bats, people who are blind may track objects as they move by listening to changes in the echoes over time.” 

The hope is that by better understanding this process with bats, people will be more equipped to develop devices that can help mitigate some of the challenges faced by blind people, among others, as they go through life.

Do you notice the small stuff?

All of us have something about our lives that creates challenges for living well on a daily basis. 

For some, it’s a physical disability. For others, it might be social difficulties or financial limitations. But whatever the nature of your challenges, learning to adapt and overcome rather than allowing them to limit or define us is crucial to the kind of life God has called us to live. 

And one of the best ways to adapt and overcome is by working with the Lord to learn from our experiences and the experiences of others. 

When we live in constant communication with God—praying without ceasing, as the Apostle Paul puts it (1 Thessalonians 5:17)—we’re better equipped to see and use the lessons we encounter throughout the day. 

That doesn’t mean our days will be filled with earth-shattering revelations and life-changing epiphanies, but it does mean that we’re more likely to catch the little stuff that comes up in conversations or in what we read. 

And those smaller bits of knowledge can often add up to something that really does change our quality of life for the better over time. 

So take some time today to get into the habit of asking God to help you take note of the small things that pop up across the course of your day. Ask him to make the important stuff stand out just a bit more than it has before. 

Such noticing could add up to a better life and a greater impact for the kingdom. 

What did you think of this article?

Any feedback?