Thursday, December 6, 2007

Avian Flew: 12/06/07

















Suspended animation (c) by Kirk Jordan


Pics One through Four - Great Blue Heron in flight. White River fishing Trip, October 07.

Pic Five. Egret in flight, Lake Conway overflow arena next to old Highway, just outside of Conway. November 07. (Orange cast on the water is that of reflecting fall foliage. The black squiggle marks are the dried stems of Lily-pads. -- Can you find the ducks in the photo?


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Some quick thoughts on the General Theory of Evolution (In contradistinction to the Special Theory of Evolution.)





To his credit, Charles Darwin offered a number of criteria by which his
speculations concerning comprehensive (or Macro) Evolution might be found wanting. In Origin of Species, Darwin writes: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." (Origin of Species.)

As is, there are any number of organs and structures evidenced in living things that provide just such a challenge. For example, the feathered wing of a bird. It is hard to conceive of anything short of a full-blown working wing that would be anything but a hindrance to its bearer. And here is the irony. "Natural Selection" - Darwin's great guiding principle, would itself render a creature with a something like a part wing, less fit to survive.

And then there is the feather itself – a structure of startling beauty and detailed engineering. Until such a feather be fully fashioned, and given to the art of flight, it is hard to envision a benefit of a “less-than-feather.”


Some evolutionists, however have bold imaginations. Consider this example as provided by Gerhard Heilman, from his book "The Origin of Birds (1923)."

From being an terrestrial runner the ((reptile like)) animal now turns an arboreal climber, leaping further and further from branch to branch, from tree to tree and from the trees to the ground. Meanwhile the first toe changes to a hind toe so adapted as to grasp branches. As the hind limbs while running on the ground have abandoned the reptilian position, they are kept closer to the body when leaping takes place, the pressure of the air acting like a stimulus, produces, chiefly on the forelimbs and the tail, a parachutal plane consisting of longish scales developing along the posterior edge of forearms and the side edges of the flattening tail.
By the friction of the air, the other edges of the scales become frayed, the frayings gradually changing into still longer horny processes, which in the course of time become more and more featherlike, until the perfect feather is produced. From wings, tails and flanks, the feathering spreads to the whole body. The lengthening of the penultimate phalanges of the fingers is attained by using the claws for climbing and this elongation has been very propitious to the subsequent development of the wing.
The more intensive use of the arms, however, has also lengthened these, and laid claim to more powerful muscles for the movement of the same: this again has reacted on the breast bone, the two lateral halves of which have coalesced and ossified completely, forming a projecting ridge for the origin of the muscles.
Then accelerated metabolic process, finally, produced an increased caloricity protected the feathering until the warm blooded state was attained.

(Heilman, the Origin of Birds (1926) as quoted by Michael Denton - Evolution, a Theory in Crisis (1985), p 204)




The Mighty Works Project exists to herald "weak" imaginations. (See above.)