Thursday, April 21, 2005

The much maligned creationists...

I'm using this as inspiration to give an opportunity for evolutionists or others to make their case.

This can be an opportunity for anyone who believes that all the typology to be found in Life can ultimately be merged into a common ancestor. [Edit: The comments were wiped in the switch to Haloscan.] You can engage in dialogue on this or attempt to write a naturalistic narrative as to avian evolution and flight. One thing to keep in mind about the naturalistic narratives that some fellows like to write is this, just because you can use your imagination to write something that seeems to make something "possible" does not mean that your answer is "scientific" in the sense of being pretty close to being true, or meaning that it can be built up into accurate knowledge... just like the theory of gravity or somethin'.

Although I do not accept the prejudice that just because a naturalistic explanation is imagined then it is "scientific," (So it is most likely part of an inevitable process of the build up of accurate, i.e. true knowledge.) I still want to know what naturalistic narratives some fellows consider "possible." Often, their own answers try to include the infinite or nonphysical while they just got finished arguing that only finite or physical explanations ought to be allowed. I.e., the work of intelligence as a transphysical cause is to be excluded or censored and so on.

Avian evolution and flight, a creationists perspective:
"For the evolutionist, there is the scenario of flight evolving at least three times independently!The wings of the three main current groups of flying creatures today are substantially different: birds’ wings are made of feathers; insect wings are made of scales, membranes, or hairs; and bat wings use skin spread out over a skeleton. So the evolutionist is faced with not just one [seemingly] impossible hurdle — that some reptiles grew feathers and began to fly — but two further hurdles. These are that flight evolved again when some rodents (mice? shrews?) developed a skin- like surface over their front legs to become bats, and then, quite separately, some insects grew very thin wings of scales, membranes, or hairs to becomes flies, bees, and butterflies!


A bird’s wings are made of feathers. A feather is a marvel of light weight engineering. Though light, it is very wind-resistant. This is because there is a clever system of barbs and barbules. Each barb of a feather is visible to the naked eye and comes off the main stem. What is not generally realized is that on either side of the barb are further tiny barbules which can only be seen under a microscope. These are of different types, depending on whether they are coming from one side of the barb or the other. On one side of the barb, ridged barbules will emerge, while on the other side, the barbules will have hooks. Thus, the hooks coming out of one barb will connect with ridges reaching in the opposite direction from a neighboring barb. The hooks and ridges act like “velcro,” but go one stage further, since the ridges allow a sliding joint, and there is thus an ingenious mechanism for keeping the surface flexible and yet in-tact.

The next time you see a flight feather on the ground, remem ber it is a marvel of lightweight, flexible, aerodynamic engineering. Reptile scales have no hint of such complicated machinery. Stahl has freely admitted, “No fossil structure transitional between scale and feather is known, and recent investigators are unwilling to found a theory on pure speculation.”

There is no genetic information within reptile scales to allow such a unique device as the sliding joint of a feather to be made. The tortuous route suggested by some of small “advantaged mutations” to scales leads to clumsy structures which are, in fact, a disadvantage to the creature. Not until all the hook and ridge structure is in place is there any advantage, even as a vane for catching insects! Unless one invokes some “thinking ahead” planning, [Mommy Nature making selections?] there is no way that chance mutations could produce the “idea” of the cross- linking of the barbules to make a connecting lattice. Even if the chance mutation of a ridge/hook occurs in two of the barbules, there is no mechanism for translating this “advantage” to the rest of the structure. This is a classic case of irreducible complexity which is not consistent with slow evolutionary changes, but quite consistent with the notion of design.

But that is not all. Even if one had the feather, the delicate lattice structure would soon become frayed, unless there was also oil to lubricate the sliding joint made by the hooked and ridged barbules. Most of us realize that once the barbs of a feather have been separated, it is difficult to make them come back together.The feather becomes easily frayed in the absence of oil, which a bird provides from its preening gland at the base of its spine. Some of this oil is put on its beak and spread throughout the feathers, which for a water bird also gives waterproofing of its surface (thus, water slides off a duck’s back). Without the oil the feathers are useless, so even if a supposed land-dwelling dinosaur got as far as wafting a wing, it would be no use after a few hours!

As one might expect, however, the story does not end there either, for a bird can fly only because it also has an exceedingly light bone structure, which is achieved by the bones being hollow. Many birds maintain skeleton strength by cross members within the hol low bones. Such an arrangement began to be used in the middle of this century for aircraft wings and is termed the “Warren’s truss arrangement.” Large birds, such as an eagle or a vulture, would sim ply break into pieces in midair if there were some supposed halfway stage in their skeletal development where they had not yet “devel oped” such cross members in their bones.

Furthermore, birds breathe differently. The respiratory system of a bird enables oxygen to be fed straight into air sacs, which are connected directly to the heart, lungs, and stomach, bypassing the normal mammalian requirement to breathe out carbon dioxide first before the next intake of oxygen. Human beings breathe about 12 times a minute, whereas small birds can breathe up to about 250 times a minute. This is thus a perfect system for the high metabolic rate of birds, which uses up energy very quickly. In fast forward ffight particularly, birds could not sustain exhaling against the on coming airstream. Note also that birds are warm-blooded, which presents a vast biological hurdle for those who maintain a reptile ancestory for birds.

Consider the wing-flapping motion of a bird. ...."
(Essay by Andrew Mcintosh
In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
Edited by John Ashton)

That's probably enough of an opportunity for now. If someone wants to look up what those who have the urge to merge like to say about it all and engage in this opportunity that way, then by all means go ahead. You will probably only find some mythological narratives of Naturalism that use these sorts of scripts:

"Once upon a time, a lil' dino happened to have some little hairs on him and his whole group did too by the same random mutation. Some lived and some died, but the ones with more lil' hairs jumped from the big dinos a little better because the lil' hairs that grew from their scales gave them just a little lift. You know, just a little, such a little bit of mutant hairs at a time! One lil' hair and then another, then the little dino mutants felt, 'You know, these hairs make me feel a little warmer now. All warm and fuzzy!' Because the lil' hairs growing from his scales were good for insulation. So he stuck his head in his arm and went to sleep. He looked just a little more like a bird when he did. For he was becoming like a little birdie now, little by little, with each lil' scale being tipped in favor of feathers instead so that he could fly one day. It was from mommy Nature's natural selections, naturally enough."

I suspect that ultimately, the answer to this opportunity will be silence. But do try to take advantage of it, as I am in need of material for satire. I know I have some readers who are Naturalists. And after all, maybe Mother Nature will select the right answers for you if you give her an infinite amount of time or possibilities somehow.

Although...isn't Nature finite?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although I have not commented in eons, I am reading your blog--just don't seem to have enough hours in the day to write. This post made me think about my trip to the zoo with my granddaughters this past week. We were fascinated by the peacocks there. Being spring and all, the males were in high gear. They were displaying their finery for the benefit of the peahens! All this to say, yes, feathers are absolutely amazing--especially peacock feathers! I remarked to my daughter-in-law, "How can anyone think that all this just happened?"

Also really enjoyed the info (the comparison chart) on the Inherit the Wind movie. A real eye opener!

Thanks for keeping me informed and thinkin'. Keep on bloggin'.

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Keep on bloggin'.