Evolutionary Assumptions in Flight- Part 2

Last week I wrote an article about how one group of evolutionists reported that pterosaurs (winged reptiles) had feathers, but now- a year later- another group of evolutionists refuted those claims, concluding that pterosaurs didn’t have feathers. This week I’m writing Part II of this series, analyzing another article from Science News claiming that “Bat-winged dinosaurs were clumsy fliers”.

After the article makes this unsubstantiated claim, it proceeds to promote evolutionary philosophy and invokes more unprovable assumptions. Part of this philosophy demands that some species will inevitably turn out to be an evolutionary dead end or failed experiment. You see, evolution is supposed to be blind, with no purpose. Therefore, some animals are assumed to have evolved novel features that didn’t provide the necessary survival advantage it needed, while those species that did happen to evolve beneficial features did survive and are still around today. See how that works? If it survives, the evolutionary experiment was successful, but if it goes extinct, then it obviously was a failed evolutionary experiment and dead end.

But that philosophy has many flaws. As a creationist, a better explanation would be that these two bat-winged creatures- named ambopteryx and yi qi- were created by God and were well-equipped for their original environment, but simply couldn’t adapt when the environment changed. I think this explanation is more consistent with what we observe today. Animals like the golden toad, Tasmanian wolf, Pyrenean ibex, Western black rhinoceros and Barbary lion have all gone extinct within the last 100 years, but none of them are considered evolutionary dead ends. All these animals went extinct from a combination of factors, such as loss of habitat, a changing environment, and hunting. Being poorly evolved was not a factor; and neither should it be a factor for ambopteryx or yi qi.

Here’s another point to consider… birds like the ostrich, penguins and kiwi can’t fly, but they’ve managed to survive quite well. Cormorants, despite being thought of as poor flyers, haven’t gone extinct. Being labeled a poor or clumsy flyer is no reason to declare this animal a “failed experiment”. It’s purely a superficial label and lazy science to assume that the design is flawed.

Okay, now let’s look at this from a different angle and accept their premise for a moment. How do these scientists “know” that bat-winged dinosaurs were clumsy fliers? Did they observe them flying? No, of course not.

In order to arrive at their conclusions, these scientists used anatomical analysis and laser-stimulated fluorescence imaging. Then they estimated the weight and wingspan before using computer simulations of flight. And what did they learn? That these creatures could only glide short distances between trees and “weren’t great fliers”.

So, what’s wrong with all this? Isn’t this how science works?

Sadly, that is often how science works. The problem is, it’s impossible to test the accuracy of their results. No one was there to observe these creatures in their natural habitat. Therefore, we simply can’t know for certain if these methods are reliable. Computer simulations can be useful, but not when it comes to the unobservable past. There are too many unknown variables that cannot be factored in. Just because we have data on how birds and bats fly doesn’t mean we know how these creatures flew. They all had different muscle configurations, wing structure, body types and motions. For scientists to assume they know how these creatures flew is irresponsible. There’s no way to prove these creatures were clumsy fliers. An incorrect weight estimate would throw the entire theory off.

One of the biggest strikes against these claims is the researcher’s own admission that “the fossil record of this group is really bad,” and the calculations are based on “very poor data”. Yet they were willing to make their unfounded claims anyway.

While these bat-winged creatures haven’t survived the course of time, it’s presumptuous to refer to them as an evolutionary dead end or a failed experiment. I’d suggest that they were perfectly designed for their original environment and were very successful at that time. They simply may not have been able to adapt to radically new environments. And I think it’s much more likely that they were adept fliers than not. Just because scientists aren’t familiar with their anatomy doesn’t that they couldn’t fly. There are plenty of animals capable of flight, despite scientists claims otherwise. Perhaps you’ve heard it said that bumble bees shouldn’t be able to fly, yet they do!

In 1934, French entomologist Antoine Magnan and his assistant determined that bee flight was an aerodynamic impossibility. But scientists today now understand the physics, and it’s no longer a mystery. Thus, bumble bees do not defy the laws of physics. Likewise, just because scientists don’t understand how bat-winged dinosaurs could be adept fliers doesn’t mean that they’re not. It just means they don’t understand it yet, and perhaps someday they will.

Another mistake they made was comparing these bat-like creatures to modern birds and bats. Apparently, these creatures couldn’t have flown like bird and bats, therefore, it is assumed, they wouldn’t have been very good fliers, which means they’d have to glide from tree-to-tree. Again, these assumptions are not warranted by the facts; they only make sense from an evolutionary worldview, which requires evolutionary experiments in flight.

Flight is a very complex feature in the animal kingdom, and it defies logic that it would “evolve” so many times in various organisms. I think it makes more sense that flight was designed rather than evolved.

Once we learn to spot evolutionary assumptions and their flaws it becomes easier to see life from a Biblical perspective, and I would argue that’s where we can turn to find truth.

2 thoughts on “Evolutionary Assumptions in Flight- Part 2

  1. was maintained, independent of including or excluding bats (flying species) in the mammalian dataset. We assessed the evolutionary patterns of 89 bone-related genes in 47 avian and 39 mammalian genomes and demonstrate that there has been significantly higher positive selective pressure on several of the bone-associated genes of birds, particularly in those involved in bone-regulatory processes. Moreover, just as in birds, flying mammals (bats) had several genes with evolutionary rates that contrasted with the patterns observed in other mammals. These results highlight convergent changes in bone genes in the evolution of flight and the extensive selective pressure that flight triggered in bone-associated genes.

    • Thanks for your response. I’m not sure if part of your comments were cut off, but I think you’re making some unprovable assumptions. Your results assume there are evolutionary relationships when there may not be any. There needn’t be any evolution to achieve the same results. Alternative explanations could account for these results as well. And there’s nothing that demands flight to trigger bone-associated genes, otherwise I’d expect just about every organism on the planet would be flying.

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