Archive for July, 2014

Perfect Placement for Life – Naturalistic/Evolutionary Perspective

 

Introduction:

The earth has been called the Goldilocks planet as it is in the perfect place ( ‘Just Right’ as she would say ) to support life.[i] It’s at the right distance from the sun and moon, has the right magnetic field, the right atmosphere, the right rotation rate, the right tilt for seasons, the right percentage of gases in the atmosphere, the right amount of liquid water, the right weather systems (size, length, power), the right tides, the right moon rotation and even the sun and moon match to allow for the perfect eclipse. The Earth is even protected by its atmosphere, its magnetic field, the moon, and Jupiter, and so much more.

astrophotomedleyThe Drake Equation attempts to include all the variables in estimating the likelihood and possibility of life arising in the universe. According to the Drake Equation, there are numerous variables that have to all be right for life to exist in the Milky Way.[ii] So what are the chances of everything being perfect for life? How have all those variables worked out like they have? Is our existence itself proof that this is simply one of the luckiest planets in the universe, perfect for life by chance, or designed by a creator?

Naturalistic/Evolutionary Answer:

Almost fifteen billion years ago, the universe was created from a singularity, an “infinitely small” mass which was, however, the mass of the whole universe.[iii] The mass exploded and expanded, and this is referred to as “the big bang.”[iv] The universe, and eventually life, have slowly evolved over those billions of years to the current situation today.

After the big bang, the right gas clouds collided and, in places, collapsed in seeming chaos, but out of that chaos came the first stars, galaxies, supernovas, the heavier elements and more. Over billions of years the Milky Way galaxy slowly formed and in a perfect spot between dense spiral arms, with our specific chemical composition and gravitational field, our sun starting forming as did the planets shortly thereafter. Around every star, there is a habitable zone, and this is where the Earth starting forming… in just the right place.

The material forming the earth condensed due to gravity as well as heating up due to the density, friction, radioactive and solar activity,  and further collisions as the earth, along with the other planets, cleaned up the majority of the loose mass in our solar system. The best theory is that this molten planet earth was impacted in just the right way to form both the earth and the moon, as well as causing the tilt of the earth, the rotation rates for both, and perfecting their revolution around the sun. So the distance of the sun and moon from the earth have resulted in the correct temperatures, seasons, tides, eclipses and weather patterns - all by chance.

At this point, the sun was dimmer and cooler, which allowed the earth to cool off as well. The movement of the earth’s material created the magnetic field while the worldwide volcanism spewed gases out, both of which allowed the atmosphere and large amounts of water to form on the surface of the earth as it cooled. The water and the rapid exchange of elements, along with a rich stable atmosphere, allowed the perfect conditions for life to start evolving. The mixtures of chemical ingredients have naturally changed over time and have been just right at just the right time. Due to this, there has been, and still is, the perfect amount of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Carbon Dioxide in the air to allow for continued evolution. The perfect mixture of chemicals primarily happened due to natural chain reactions.

Basically, in any random event, there can be many destructive results, but comparatively, there will sometimes be a more ideal result. As the Drake Equation demonstrates, the earth happens to be in the most ideal and advantageous situation in our solar system, and our galaxy, and possibly the entire universe, although there may be many other commensurate, or even more advantageous places out there due to these random processes.

The Drake Equation’s requirements emphasize that there are tons of failed places and Earth was simply the lucky one. It states that the chances of a place being perfect for life are practically impossible. There is always a small chance of these perfect placements being coincidental and thus life on earth is evidence that it was and is in the right place at the right time, and that may not last for long with all the variables that are possible.

Ultimately, there is no need to resort to the supernatural when everything can be explained naturally. For thousands of years, humans have resorted to the notion that “God did it” because they haven’t had the scientific capabilities to understand the amazing phenomena in our world. But now, there is no excuse, God is not necessary for the perfect conditions of life.

 

by Brian Mariani and others

 

Is the above correct? Do you evolutionists agree with this position? I have tried to write it as you believe it. Do you have any disagreements or concerns or additions?

 

Before commenting, please read the following disclosures.

Any offensive language will automatically disqualify your comment for publication, even if the arguments contained are good. Please comment on the ideas that are presented and not the presenter.  If your comment becomes an ad hominem argument and does not substantially address the issue, your comment will be disqualified as well.  We are looking for real arguments, not fallacious ones, so that we can present and challenge opposing ideas and arguments as they are truly believed by evolutionists.  We do not want to tear down straw men as well as you do not want to be misrepresented. Also, please keep your comments as brief as possible, and if the majority of the comment does not address the current issue, but becomes a red-herring, it will not be posted as well. If your comment does not fall into one of the above restrictions, then your comment will be posted unedited (you may want to check your spelling, grammar, etc.) We thank you for your time and comments.

One thing to keep in mind, each blog is one piece of evidence. Evidence has to then be interpreted, which is not a fact…but evidence strengthening or weakening a specific hypothesis or theory. So there can be multiple ways of interpreting the same evidence. I am not being unscientific, but asking more questions and being skeptical is being more scientific. I am still working on these, so please help with your comments.



[i] Clara Moskowitz, What Makes Earth Special Compared to Other Planets, July 8, 2008, Space.com, http://www.space.com/5595-earth-special-compared-planets.html, accessed June 23, 2014.

[ii] Answering another uninformed atheist: Galileo, Miller-Urey, probability, March 5, 2009, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/answering-another-uninformed-atheist-galileo-miller-urey-probability, accessed June 23, 2014.

[iii] BernieM, Why is an infinitely small point required for the big bang?, February 13, 2011, PhysicsForums, http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=472481, accessed June 23, 2014.

[iv] Michael Anissimov, “What is the big bang theory?”, last modified October 31, 2012, wiseGEEK, http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-big-bang-theory.htm, accessed June 23, 2014.

 

Evolution of Feathers and Birds – Creation Perspective

 

Creation Answer:

God was very intentional about every detail of His creation, including feathers on birds! “Birds are ‘custom designed for flight!’” Without the complex make-up of feathers, birds would never have flown. In fact, their entire bodies are designed specifically for flying with their light, hollow bones, their open respiratory system, their efficient digestive and circulatory systems, as well as their streamlined shape accompanied by powerful specialized muscles and tendons. “All of these factors work together to produce a system that is highly efficient and intricately coordinated.”[i] These characteristics would not be just simple little changes, but rather, unbelievably extensive changes from the structures of reptilian dinosaurs that birds supposedly had evolved from.[ii]  For example, “A transitional series from the reptile to the bird lung design would need to start from a poor creature with a diaphragmatic hernia (hole in the diaphragm), and natural selection would work against this.”[iii]

Feather1The Theory of Evolution has claimed that birds have evolved from dinosaurs and thus feathers from scales.[iv] This hypothesis has been disproven as Dr. David Menton explains in saying “the only similarity is that they are both made of the protein keratin—like hair, nails and our skin.”[v] He also goes on to say that feathers are closer to hair than to scales and he lists 18 similarities between feathers and hair.[vi] “An evolutionary feather expert, Alan Brush, concludes ‘At the morphological level feathers are traditionally considered homologous with reptilian scales. However, in development, morphogenesis, gene structure, protein shape and sequence, and filament formation and structure, feathers are different.’”[vii] So reptiles must have evolved hair filaments growing through their scales first, before feathers. Interestingly, a reptile’s skin is one large sheet that is folded to create the scale shape and that’s why reptiles can shed their skin all at once.[viii]

“Feathers may look simple, but they’re really very complicated. Each one can have more than a million tiny parts.”[ix] “The precise position of each feather is monitored by sensory receptors and controlled individually by tiny muscles to change shape and position in response to varying air pressure.  Feathers are stronger by weight than any man-made substitute.”[x] They are so strong because each feather is made up of a shaft with two vanes. Each vane has, on average, 400 barbs extending out from the shaft of the feather. Each barb has an average of 800 barbules that have many hooklets that interconnect each barb. This interconnecting structure acts like Velcro and is therefore extremely strong, flexible and very light-weight.[xi]

The Theory of Evolution makes a lot of assumptions about the process of going from running or tree climbing reptiles into bouncing/gliding and eventually flying birds.[xii] Think about all the steps that evolution has to assume from the following quotes and commentary. “The chief difficulty in thinking about the evolution of the first feathers is the difficulty in accounting for the genesis of the structure through a continuous sequence of selective forces and with a continuous series of hypothetical morphological steps that are functionally plausible.”[xiii]

The above explanation of a feather is simply about the flight or contour feather whereas there are other types of feathers as well. “The belief in feather evolution requires evidence for the evolution of each kind of feather (or evidence for the evolution of each feather from the first feather), which requires speculation about ‘feasible selective demands acting on evolution of feathers,’ a task no-one has yet achieved.18 The evolution of feathers is considered so improbable—even by evolutionists—that Darwinists generally conclude that ‘feathers evolved only once in the history of the vertebrata’.20 Much speculation also exists about this first feather—was it a simple contour feather, a downy feather or a flight feather?”[xiv]

Ultimately, there is no evidence of intermediates between a scale and a feather. The fossil record shows accessories that are either 100% scale or 100% feather.[xv] In the fossil record, “the oldest known feathers … are already modern in form and microscopic detail.”[xvi] A Columbia University biologist stated, “we lack completely fossils of all intermediate stages between reptilian scales and the most primitive feather.”[xvii] The same can be said for transitions between hair and feathers.

Birds “are actually ideal animals to use to study evolution because their fossils preserve very well. The fact that 9,000 living species are now known, all of which have a very unique skeletal morphology yet only 45 extinct bird taxa have ever been identified, providing strong evidence that relatively few types of non-modern birds have existed throughout history. This conclusion is supported by the fact that of 329 living families of terrestrial vertebrates, fully 79% have been found as fossils, as have 97.7% of the 43 living terrestrial vertebrate orders.”[xviii]

Evolution’s best and most prestigious evidence for reptile – bird evolution has been Archaeopteryx, but at a “major meeting of scientists who specialize in bird evolution…there was very broad agreement on the belief that Archaeopteryx was a true bird.”[xix] Regarding proposed feathered dinosaur Sinosauropteryx, “Ruben and ancient bird expert Larry Martin believe that the so-called ‘feather’ traces are actually frayed collagen fibres beneath the skin. Feather expert Alan Brush, University of Connecticut, Storrs, points out that they ‘lack the organization found in modern feathers.’7[xx] Proposed feathered dinosaur Psittacosaurus was found to have very thick skin, but “no presented evidence of feathers on this dinosaur”[xxi] Some claim that Velociraptor had feathers. The evidence is one ulna bone that they assume is from a Velociraptor based on where they found it and the potential “quill knobs” that are not very well defined on the fossil. Also, the Velociraptor is supposedly about 70 million years older than the earliest supposed bird, so it doesn’t help much (if at all) with the necessary missing steps for bird evolution.[xxii] Anatomist Dr. David Menton says, “The obvious bird fossil Confuciusornis sanctus, for example, has long slender tail feathers resembling those of a modern scissor-tail flycatcher.”[xxiii] Regarding Confuciusornis sanctus, “even this beaked bird, with even more direct evidence of feathers, is ‘dated’ to 135 million years, so older than its ‘feathered dinosaur’ ancestor.”[xxiv]

In fact, “Dr Carl Werner’s book and DVD, Living Fossils, reveals that fossil researchers have found many modern bird remains with dinosaurs.” These modern bird discoveries throw a wrench into the idea that dinosaurs came first and became birds.[xxv] These examples are only part of the growing controversy regarding the evolution of birds.[xxvi]

The “evolution of feathers (or any of the many other structures required to fly [bone structure, respiratory system, circulatory system, musculatory system, nervous system, shape of the wing, etc]) as separate structures is unlikely and clearly counterproductive because, as separate structures, they would impede survival.”[xxvii] (examples added) Also to counter the insulation theory, hair would have been a lot easier to develop as an insulator for the evolving reptiles.[xxviii] There are many theories regarding bird and feather evolution, but all of them are so far “insufficient.”[xxix] “These feather-evolution schemes, although they may appear plausible, all tend to obscure crucial difficulties, and are too vague to be able to criticize their specific claims.”[xxx]

If all that is not enough, the supposed evolutionary order is inconsistent with the Biblical order. The first mention of birds is found in Genesis 1:20, “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life, and fowl that may fly above the Earth in the open firmament of heaven.” This passage explains that God created birds on day 5 and then land animals on day 6. One of the most comforting things for believers is that God “will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” (Psalm 91:4, NIV)

 

What the Bible Says: Ps 68:13, Ps 91:4,

 

by Brian Mariani and others

 

Before commenting, please read the following disclosures.

Any offensive language will automatically disqualify your comment for publication, even if the arguments contained are good. Please comment on the ideas that are presented and not the presenter.  If your comment becomes an ad hominem argument and does not substantially address the issue, your comment will be disqualified as well.  We are looking for real arguments, not fallacious ones, so that we can present and challenge opposing ideas and arguments as they are truly believed by evolutionists.  We do not want to tear down straw men as well as you do not want to be misrepresented. Also, please keep your comments as brief as possible, and if the majority of the comment does not address the current issue, but becomes a red-herring, it will not be posted as well. If your comment does not fall into one of the above restrictions, then your comment will be posted unedited (you may want to check your spelling, grammar, etc.) We thank you for your time and comments.

One thing to keep in mind, each blog is one piece of evidence. Evidence has to then be interpreted, which is not a fact…but evidence strengthening or weakening a specific hypothesis or theory. So there can be multiple ways of interpreting the same evidence. I am not being unscientific, but asking more questions and being skeptical is being more scientific. I am still working on these, so please help with your comments.

 

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[i] Dave Nutting, Birds in Flight, April 14, 2011, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/BirdsinFlight.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

[ii] Dave Nutting, Birds in Flight, April 14, 2011, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/BirdsinFlight.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

Lanny and Marilyn Johnson, Dinosaur To Bird?, May 18, 2012, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/DinosaurToBird.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

[iii] Jonathan Sarfati, Skeptics/Australian Museum ‘Feathered Dinosaur’ display: Knockdown argument against creation?, November 26, 2002, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/skeptics-australian-museum-feathered-dinosaur-display, accessed June 6, 2014.

[iv] Dave Nutting Feathers From Scales??, April 29, 2011, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/FeathersFromScales.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

[v] Carl Wieland, Bird evolution flies out the window: Carl Wieland talks with anatomist [Retired 2000] Professor David Menton, who reveals some exciting new thoughts on that controversial ‘early bird’, Archaeopteryx, Creation 16(4):16-19, September 1994, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/bird-evolution-flies-out-the-window, accessed May 22, 2014.

[vi] Carl Wieland, Bird evolution flies out the window: Carl Wieland talks with anatomist [Retired 2000] Professor David Menton, who reveals some exciting new thoughts on that controversial ‘early bird’, Archaeopteryx, Creation 16(4):16-19, September 1994, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/bird-evolution-flies-out-the-window, accessed May 22, 2014.

[vii] Carl Wieland, Bird evolution flies out the window: Carl Wieland talks with anatomist [Retired 2000] Professor David Menton, who reveals some exciting new thoughts on that controversial ‘early bird’, Archaeopteryx, Creation 16(4):16-19, September 1994, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/bird-evolution-flies-out-the-window, accessed May 22, 2014.

A.H. Brush, ‘On the origin of feathers’, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 9:131–142, 1996.

[viii] Dr. Donn Chapman, David N. Menton, Ph.D, Formed to Fly: Birds & Flight, 2005, Origins, Cornerstone TeleVision Network, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eZ7VUgfH2g, accessed May 26, 2014.

[ix] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

Quoted from: Bishop, N., The Secrets of Animal Flight, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, p. 9, 1997.

[x] Dave Nutting, Birds in Flight, April 14, 2011, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/BirdsinFlight.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

[xi] Dr. Donn Chapman, David N. Menton, Ph.D, Formed to Fly: Birds & Flight, 2005, Origins, Cornerstone TeleVision Network, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eZ7VUgfH2g, accessed May 26, 2014.

[xii] Lanny and Marilyn Johnson, Dinosaur To Bird?, May 18, 2012, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/DinosaurToBird.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

[xiii] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

Quoting from: Regal, P., The evolutionary origin of feathers, The Quarterly Review of Biology 50(1):35–66, 1975; pp. 35–36.

[xiv] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

Quoting from: Bock, W.J., Explanatory history of the origin of feathers, American Zoology 40:478–485, 2000.

[xv] Dave Nutting Feathers From Scales??, April 29, 2011, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/FeathersFromScales.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

Carl Wieland, Bird evolution flies out the window: Carl Wieland talks with anatomist [Retired 2000] Professor David Menton, who reveals some exciting new thoughts on that controversial ‘early bird’, Archaeopteryx, Creation 16(4):16-19, September 1994, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/bird-evolution-flies-out-the-window, accessed May 22, 2014.

[xvi] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

Quoting from: Martin, L. and Czerkas, S.A., The fossil record of feather evolution in the Mesozoic, American Zoology 40:687–694, 2000; p. 687.

[xvii] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

Bock, W.J., Explanatory history of the origin of feathers, American Zoology 40:480, 2000.

[xviii] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

[xix] Carl Wieland, Bird evolution flies out the window: Carl Wieland talks with anatomist [Retired 2000] Professor David Menton, who reveals some exciting new thoughts on that controversial ‘early bird’, Archaeopteryx, Creation 16(4):16-19, September 1994, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/bird-evolution-flies-out-the-window, accessed May 22, 2014.

[xx] Jonathan Sarfati, Dino-bird evolution falls flat!, Creation 20(2):41, March 1998, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/dino-bird-evolution-falls-flat, accessed June 6, 2014.

[xxi]BBC News: “Flesh Wound Reveals Dino Secrets”,  News to Note, January 12, 2008, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/answers/news-to-know/news-to-note-january-12-2008/, accessed June 6, 2014.

[xxii] Shaun Doyle, ‘Jurassic Park’ feathers? Does Velociraptor fossil suggest dinos had feathers?

[xxiii] David Menton, Did Dinosaurs Turn Into Birds?, January 17, 2008, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/feathers/did-dinosaurs-turn-into-birds/, accessed June 6, 2014.

[xxiv] Jonathan Sarfati, Skeptics/Australian Museum ‘Feathered Dinosaur’ display: Knockdown argument against creation?, November 26, 2002, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/skeptics-australian-museum-feathered-dinosaur-display, accessed June 6, 2014.

[xxv] Don Batten, Modern birds found with dinosaurs: Are museums misleading the public? Creation 34(3):48-50 July 2012, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/modern-birds-with-dinosaurs, accessed May 26, 2014.

[xxvi] A.P. Galling, Birds Did Not Evolve From Dinosaurs, Say Evolutionists: Stunning New Research Overturns Widely Held Evolutionary Idea, June 12, 2009, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/feathers/birds-did-not-evolve-from-dinosaurs-say-evolutionists/, accessed May 26, 2014.

[xxvii] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

[xxviii] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

[xxix] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

Quoting from: Prum, R.O., Development and evolutionary origin of feathers, J. Experimental Zoology (Molecular, Developmental, Evolution) 285:291–306; 292, 1999.

[xxx] Jerry Bergman, The evolution of feathers: a major problem for Darwinism, Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 17(1):33-41, April 2003, Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/the-evolution-of-feathers-a-major-problem-for-darwinism, accessed May 28, 2014.

Denton, M., Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler and Adler, Bethesda, p. 216, 1986.

Evolution of Feathers and Birds – Naturalistic/Evolutionary Perspective

 

Introduction:

The two most distinctive things about birds are that they can fly and have feathers. But have you ever wondered how feathers evolved? How complex are feathers? Could they have evolved from reptile scales? How long did it take to evolve feathers? What was their use before they enabled the bird to fly? If those are not enough questions, how did the whole bird itself evolve? 

Naturalistic/Evolutionary Answer:

Archaeopteryx-FossilOne of the prevailing theories is that some dinosaurs evolved into birds, so feathers evolved on reptilian dinosaurs. The fossil record gives only small glimpses of that transition. “By analyzing specimens from China, paleontologists have filled in gaps in the fossil record and traced the evolutionary relationships among various dinosaurs. The fossils finally have confirmed, to all but a few skeptics, that birds descended from dinosaurs and are the living representatives of a dinosaur lineage called the Maniraptorans.” Possible transitions from feathered dinosaurs to birds or examples of feathered dinosaurs include: Anchiornis huxleyi, Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis, Sinosauropteryx, Psittacosaurus, Microraptor, Velociraptor, and more.[i]

“Feathers originate in a skin layer deep under the outer layer that forms scales. It is very unlikely that feathers evolved from reptilian scales, even though that thought is deeply embedded in the minds of too many paleontologists. Feathers probably arose as new structures under and between reptile scales, not as modified scales. Many birds have scales on their lower legs and feet where feathers are not developed, and penguins have such short feathers on parts of their wings that the skin there is scaly for all practical purposes.”[ii]

“Feathers in their most primitive form were single filaments, resembling quills, that jutted from reptilian skin” and started evolving nearly 240 million years ago. “After the emergence of single filaments came multiple filaments joined at the base. Next to appear in the fossil record were paired barbs shooting off a central shaft. Eventually, dense rows of interlocking barbs formed a flat surface: the basic blueprint of the so-called pennaceous feathers of modern birds. All these feather types have been found in fossil impressions of theropods, the dinosaur suborder that includes Tyrannosaurus rex as well as birds and other Maniraptorans.”[iii] One paleontologist says, “it seems that, genetically, it’s not a great trick to make a scale into a filament.”

Though many dinosaurs evolved feathers, the proto-feathers did not evolve for flight as they were not sufficient enough to fly with, but instead may have been useful for insulation, for mating practices, or for camouflage.[iv]

“The thermoregulatory (insulation) theory for the origin of feathers is probably the most widely accepted one today, but it does have problems. Why feathers? Feathers are more complex to grow, more difficult to maintain in good condition, more liable to damage, and more difficult to replace than fur. Every other creature that has evolved a thermoregulatory coat, from bats to bees and from caterpillars to pterosaurs, has some kind of furry cover. There is no apparent reason for evolving feathers rather than fur even for heat shielding.”[v]

It is possible that a fuzzy type of feather coat initially evolved for insulation purposes and very quickly these reptiles used their proto-feathers for dominance in mating situations, in competition for food, and in defense from predators (the display and fighting hypothesis). For these reasons, the more elaborate and longer feathers made these reptiles more impressive, or intimidating, and thus were more fit to survive based on natural selection tendencies. This display of feathers “would have been most effective on movable appendages, such as forearms and tail.”[vi]

As birds evolved from reptilian dinosaurs, the cursorial hypothesis states that the origination of feathers would have helped running dinosaurs gain extra lift for bouncing away from predators or closer to prey. The arboreal hypothesis states that those proto-feathers would have allowed tree climbing and dwelling dinosaurs to glide through the air better. Either way, these proto-feathers allowed dinosaurs to become more efficient at running, jumping, and moving on the ground or through the trees. “The Running Raptor” version of the cursorial hypothesis suggests that this reptile ran through the brush scaring out flying insects to which it would leap after by waving or flapping it’s hands to stay up long enough to catch its prey. From the display hypothesis, the flapping motion would have been impressive and intimidating and these circumstances would naturally lead to the selection of reptiles with stronger pectoral muscles, longer arms, and longer feathers. These features would also be advantageous for fighting as well.[vii]

“Since the last of the non-avian dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago during the mass extinction that closed the curtain on the Cretaceous period, birds have evolved other characteristics that set them apart from dinosaurs. Modern birds have higher metabolisms than even the most agile Velociraptor ever had. Teeth disappeared at some point in birds’ evolutionary history. Birds’ tails got shorter, their flying skills got better and their brains got bigger than those of dinosaurs. And modern birds, unlike their Maniraptoran ancestors, have a big toe that juts away from the other toes, which allows birds to perch. ‘You gradually go from the long arms and huge hands of non-avian Maniraptorans to something that looks like the chicken wing you get at KFC,’ says Sues.”[viii]

As more rocks are turned up, there will be more discoveries clarifying the transitions between reptiles and birds. There is difficulty, though, “partly because birds, then as now, were far less common than fish and invertebrates, and partly because birds more readily evaded mudslides, tar pits, volcanic eruptions and other geological phenomena that captured animals and preserved traces of them for the ages.”[ix] New discoveries are continuing to show links between dinosaurs and birds including the fact that traits specific to birds like “fused clavicles were common in dinosaurs after all. Deinonychus and Velociraptor bones had air pockets and flexible wrist joints. Dinosaur traits were looking more birdlike all the time.”[x]

 

by Brian Mariani and others

 

Is the above correct? Do you evolutionists agree with this position? I have tried to write it as you believe it. Do you have any disagreements or concerns or additions?

 

Before commenting, please read the following disclosures.

Any offensive language will automatically disqualify your comment for publication, even if the arguments contained are good. Please comment on the ideas that are presented and not the presenter.  If your comment becomes an ad hominem argument and does not substantially address the issue, your comment will be disqualified as well.  We are looking for real arguments, not fallacious ones, so that we can present and challenge opposing ideas and arguments as they are truly believed by evolutionists.  We do not want to tear down straw men as well as you do not want to be misrepresented. Also, please keep your comments as brief as possible, and if the majority of the comment does not address the current issue, but becomes a red-herring, it will not be posted as well. If your comment does not fall into one of the above restrictions, then your comment will be posted unedited (you may want to check your spelling, grammar, etc.) We thank you for your time and comments.

One thing to keep in mind, each blog is one piece of evidence. Evidence has to then be interpreted, which is not a fact…but evidence strengthening or weakening a specific hypothesis or theory. So there can be multiple ways of interpreting the same evidence. I am not being unscientific, but asking more questions and being skeptical is being more scientific. I am still working on these, so please help with your comments.



[i] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[ii] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[iii] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[iv] Lanny and Marilyn Johnson, Dinosaur To Bird?, May 18, 2012, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/DinosaurToBird.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

[v] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[vi] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[vii] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[viii] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[ix] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[x] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

Not all in the Family

 Exhibit Placard at Field Museum in Chicago

I was taught through grade school, high school, and college; increasing brain capacity was evidence of human evolution. They would show pictures of ape like creatures with small skulls and small brains leading up to the more human like creatures with larger skulls and bigger brains.    Touring the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL, a few years ago, I noticed that the teaching hasn’t changed.

As I studied science, and the limitations of science, I discovered this was primarily speculation. There hasn’t been any scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution, or what is sometimes termed macro-evolution.  We do see the Biblical and scientific evidence for a “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” microevolution.  All creatures are pre-programmed with a mind-boggling complex and orderly genetic data and networking system that enables them to adapt to their surroundings (one that even Bill Gates is envious of).  Bacteria are an excellent example of this observational fact.   Bacteria always stay bacteria, but they do exhibit the great ability to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” by being able to survive in their changing environments.  With these facts in mind, I began to study the variations within living apes and their skulls along with the variations in humans and their skulls.

Apes today have a variance of skulls and brain sizes as follows:  the bonobo has a brain size which ranges from 326-356 cc;  the chimp has a brain size of 350-386 cc; the orangutan from 337-437, and the gorilla has a brain size ranging from 455-525 cc.

Humans also have a huge range and variation in skulls and brain sizes.  Some mentally retarded adults have a brain size of about 511-519 cc.(1) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial

Pygmies have a brain capacity about half of the larger human adult, and so would be about 600-700 cc.

There is a report of a man with a cranial capacity of only 624 cc. His name was Daniel Lyon and he displayed no mental or physical abnormalities.(2) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda

Most of the larger human brain sizes range from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of around 1,370cc.(3) http://topics.info.com/Whose-brain-is-larger-Neanderthal-man-or-modern-man_2699

There are people today who live in Australia, Indonesia, and Africa who have Homo erectus like skulls, yet they look perfectly human.(4) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda; http://creation.com/how-different-is-the-cranial-vault-thickness-of-homo-erectus-from-modern-man

Below is a common illustration of increasing brain sizes that attempts to show evidence of human evolution.  But this is just speculation.  A scientist can make a similar illustration using creatures which exist today.  Starting with the bonobo with 326-356 cc then evolves into the chimps with a brain size of 350-386 cc.  The next step in this evolutionary scenario is the orangutan with 337-437 cc and then finally the gorilla with the brain capacity of 455-525 cc.  This brings us to the end of the ape evolution.  We do have to remember that species within a kind, or family, are consistently going extinct, so in the past we would have had many more apes to pick from… like the Australopithecines.

Cranial-Capacity-Illustration

In comparing the variations of human skulls we find around the world today, along with their increasing brain capacities, we can also make an evolutionary timeline. Starting with the mentally handicapped with brain capacities as low as 511-519 cc, and then increasing to the pygmies with 600-700 cc.  Evolving upward until we arrive at the larger humans with more consistent brain sizes ranging from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of 1,350-1,370 cc.

Using the variety of apes and humans alive today, we can make a typical textbook illustration that shows the supposed evolution of man’s cranial capacities and we would be 100% wrong.  The advantage we have from studying living organism is that we not only have the hard anatomy to study, but the soft anatomy as well.  With the abundance of scientific research and evidence, we only observe speciation within the ape kind and the human kind, but no evidence of Darwinian evolution.

One of the disadvantages of using fossils is most, if not all, of the soft tissue is missing.  So the vast amount of information is missing, thus leading to increased speculation and the mixing of distinct kinds into an evolutionary jumbled mess.

In the fossil record, we find the human brain capacity ranging from around 900cc on up. Since humans were made on day six of the creation week, all human variations would live within a few thousand years.  So scientists should find some humans with small brains (Homo erectus) and some with bigger brains (Neanderthal).  What is interesting is that we find the same thing today.  Some people have small brains and some people have big brains.  Some people have Homo erectus like skulls and some do not.  Not much has changed over the years.

What makes matters worse for evolutionary theory is the research done by John Hawks, an anthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, that states, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”(5) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So

Another comment from the same article stated, “If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.” (6) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So

It appears that human evolution has peaked in the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man, and we are now in a process of devolution according to these findings.

But the good news is found in an article from Answers in Genesis: “Because man’s cranial capacity is so variable today, it has been shown that there is very little relationship between cranial capacity and human intelligence.”(7) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial

The bottom line is this, different brain sizes and skull shapes have nothing to do with Darwinian evolution or increasing intelligence.  We exhibit different brain sizes and skull shapes in our past and we still have them today.  As we study the evidence today, as well as in the fossil record, we discover we are not all in the same family.  The apes are in the ape family, or kind, and the humans are in the human family, or kind, and each family has a wide range of variation.  God is a very interesting and fascinating God, by creating a complex and orderly genetic information system that enables a huge, and fantastic, variance within each kind, and with all this He clearly displays His glory.

 

Rich Stepanek

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