Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fantastic Experiment Shows Bird Formations Contradict Evolution

Wingtip Path Coherence Previously Not Thought Possible

When aircraft fly the air pressure on the underside of the wing is greater than on the topside. This pressure difference provides the needed lift force on the wings. It also causes the air at the end of the wing to move upward and then around in a circle, resulting in a strong vortex that trails the wing tips as the aircraft flies (see photo). Birds also have trailing vortices but they are far more complex given the complicated shape of the wing and the bird’s flapping motion. And so while it is tempting to think that the familiar V-formation used by migrating birds is for aerodynamic efficiency, evolutionists have long since been skeptical because of the tremendous precision that would be required for birds to take advantage of the complicated aerodynamic environment. Perhaps, evolutionists thought, the formations were used simply to follow leader, or for protection from predators. But a fantastic new study—using miniature sensor packages consisting of a satellite GPS receiver and accelerometers—has demonstrated that birds do indeed track their aerodynamic environment in real-time and take advantage of it with precise positioning and wing flapping:

Here we show that individuals of northern bald ibises (Geronticus eremita) flying in a V flock position themselves in aerodynamically optimum positions, in that they agree with theoretical aerodynamic predictions. Furthermore, we demonstrate that birds show wingtip path coherence when flying in V positions, flapping spatially in phase and thus enabling upwash capture to be maximized throughout the entire flap cycle. In contrast, when birds fly immediately behind another bird—in a streamwise position—there is no wingtip path coherence; the wing-beats are in spatial anti-phase. This could potentially reduce the adverse effects of downwash for the following bird. These aerodynamic accomplishments were previously not thought possible for birds because of the complex flight dynamics and sensory feedback that would be required to perform such a feat. We conclude that the intricate mechanisms involved in V formation flight indicate awareness of the spatial wake structures of nearby flock-mates, and remarkable ability either to sense or predict it. We suggest that birds in V formation have phasing strategies to cope with the dynamic wakes produced by flapping wings.

Here is how one science writer summarized the study:

To take maximum advantage of the V’s aerodynamics, each bird would have to position its wing in the upward-moving part of the vortex of air swirling off the end of the wingtip of the bird in front. But that vortex moves up and down because the bird in front is flapping. So the bird behind must not only put itself in the right place, but must also flap at just the right time — which changes depending on the distance between the birds — to keep riding the upwash. Faced with this complexity, scientists posited alternative reasons for the formation, suggesting that it might protect the birds against predators or let a flock put better navigators up front.

Not only does this formation flying capability falsify evolutionary expectations, its origin is not explained by evolutionary theory. In fact, without the trailing bird’s ability to track the dynamic wake structures of the leading bird, process that information, and precisely adjust its position and its wing flapping, the formation flying could be worse than simply flying alone. To gain the advantage all these capabilities must be in place and coordinated with each other. So with evolution we must believe that all these capabilities somehow evolved from chance mutations and worked together, so they could then be selected. There are just far too many mutations required before the increased fitness is realized and the probability of evolution creating formation flying capability is tiny.

When Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, a century and a half ago, it seemed unlikely. But ignorance of biology’s details provided cover. Now that cover is gone. Ever since Darwin those details have slowly come to light and one after the other have confirmed the absurdity of evolution.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

18 comments:

  1. What do the factual elements of your OP show?

    That phenomena become more amenable to study as collective human knowledge aided by science and technology evolves.

    Ever since Darwin those details have slowly come to light and one after the other have confirmed the absurdity of evolution.

    An odd interpretation. Les chiens aboient...

    I doubt it's worth wondering if Dr Hunter has an alternative theory for explaining life's diversity or are we stuck in the "argument from personal incredulity" loop.

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    1. I'd love to hear your metaphysical rational for evolution. Of course all theories are disposed of if they are impossible to believe. And there is no theory ever proposed that is more ridiculously impossible than evolution, unless you have absolutely no understanding of statistics. Is that your case? No theory, like the singularity in physics that describes the creation of the universe, is infinitely more preferable than accepting evolution and looking like a fool.

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  3. Your next assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to explain the murmurations of starlings.

    I first saw a video of the thousands of starlings flying together and creating intricate patterns in the sky only recently. One way I would describe the patterns is thick smoke under intelligent control.

    To watch these birds change direction almost instantly and have the entire flock of thousands follow and sometimes cross paths is an amazing and beautiful sight to see. How was this beautiful dance in the sky selected by a step-by-step evolutionary sequence and how does this enhance survivability when it seems to show no other purpose than to awe those who observe?

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    1. "One way I would describe the patterns is thick smoke under intelligent control."
      Yes and no. Starling murmurations have been studied, and the current understanding is that they only need to follow their 7 neighbours. So there isn't a single intelligence guiding them, it's lots of small intelligences.

      One obvious reason for flying in a group is as a defence against predators (i.e. safety in numbers, partly because there are more eyes to watch out for predators). But there may be more reasons, too, e.g. there may be social interactions. I'm not sure we know.

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  4. Cornelius Hunter: And so while it is tempting to think that the familiar V-formation used by migrating birds is for aerodynamic efficiency, evolutionists have long since been skeptical because of the tremendous precision that would be required for birds to take advantage of the complicated aerodynamic environment.

    The study you linked has citations to several studies that posit that the vee formation is for energy efficiency.

    Cornelius Hunter: Not only does this formation flying capability falsify evolutionary expectations,

    Because the more structured and acute the vee, the more advantage to followers and disadvantage to leaders, if there is an evolutionary expectation it would be that the behavior would be associated with kin selection and reciprocity.

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  5. DrHunter:So with evolution we must believe that all these capabilities somehow evolved from chance mutations and worked together, so they could then be selected. There are just far too many mutations required before the increased fitness is realized and the probability of evolution creating formation flying capability is tiny.

    But since no one knows the exact way this instinct came about, any calculation would be based on something other than data. What are the alternative theories' probabilities by the way?
    What may be more interesting is that birds to take turns in the most disadvantageous position of leader. Just as cyclists do, allowing to group to move faster thru the air. But as anyone who has drafted behind a big truck knows , one has feedback instantly on the most aerodynamic position .Perhaps just as we feel the difference between pavement and grass thru our feet, birds feels the difference in " hardness" of the air with their wings. There is no need to calculate vortices , but as with all analogies one must be careful

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  6. Not only does this formation flying capability falsify evolutionary expectations, its origin is not explained by evolutionary theory

    We have one vague reference to "... these aerodynamic accomplishments were previously not thought possible for birds... " By whom? On what grounds? It sounds more like someone committed the old I-can't-imagine-how-it-could-happen-therefore-it-can't fallacy. That's not evolutionary theory being falsified, that's just someone's opinion.

    As for a detailed evolutionary history of birds formation flying capability, no, we don't have one. Yet. But neither does anyone else. Certainly not Intelligent Design. That can't tell us anything about the nature of any putative designer, let alone how it accomplished these alleged designs.

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  7. CH: Not only does this formation flying capability falsify evolutionary expectations, its origin is not explained by evolutionary theory.

    Why might you think this is the case?

    CH: So with evolution we must believe that all these capabilities somehow evolved from chance mutations and worked together, so they could then be selected.

    Apparently, incredulity. You just can't believe it.

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  8. As always the Darwinists are left mumbling the old "argument from ignorance" baloney.

    Then as always, they ask for alternative theories, as though they they are actually incapable of recognizing that such demonstrations of knowledge of aerodynamics necessarily point to intelligence and intelligent design.

    A child can see this easily, but not an evolutionist.

    Furthermore the arguments from ignorance are all on the Darwinian side, by the way.
    This is obvious.
    Just listen to those arguments, its always the same nonsense, arguing from ignorance + faith in random mutations.

    The most common Darwinian argument ever, which being interpreted means, "We have no clue how this happened so evolution must have did it".

    The 2nd most common argument from ignorance is similar, "We know there is no God so evolution had to do it."

    There you have it. Evolution of the gaps and my how many millions of gaps there are that have never been filled in; not even close, in fact we have yet to see a single gap filled by an Darwinian explanation that is genuinely testable, observable and at least remotely in the vicinity of intelligent.

    Darwinists are exactly like the guy in "Life, the Universe, and Everything" that said, "I don't believe it. Prove it to me and I still won't believe it.'

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  9. Cornelius,

    How did thinking a birds lacked the necessary "feedback sensors" thought to be necessary to perform the feat in question, and being mistaken about it, contradict Evolution?

    Please be specific.

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  10. Birds that coordinate their flaps follow the pack and survive.

    Birds that don't coordinate their flaps, get exhausted, left behind and die. They are....selected. By nature.

    Natural selection, due to traits or abilities.

    Evolution, innit?

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  11. It could also be that birds, not being jets, do not create enough of a wingtip vortex to matter to the other birds in the formation.

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  12. velikovskys, Ian H Spedding,
    Answering specific questions is too risky for Cornelius, who once made the mistake of "debating" Zachriel on common ancestry. Cornelius realized just in time that a trip to the woodshed was imminent, and abruptly stopped responding to Zachriel.

    The Creationist Creed is ubiquitous: Evade. Equivocate. Obfuscate. Iterate.

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  13. And in the comments above we have yet another illustration of the religious faith of the evolutionist. Decrying the argument from incredulity, they present their own argument from credulity. They have such strong belief in the Holy Book of Darwin that they are incapable of seeing the preposterous nature of the Darwinian explanation for such precision flying behavior in birds. They have their Holy Fairy Tale, and that's good enough for them! Let's take a peek at that fairy tale, shall we?
    "Once upon a time, there was a group of reptiles. These reptiles were social creatures, and ran in packs. And the great god Arremm decreed that they should Fly! And he created Birds.
    But the equally great goddess Enness was displeased. For the Birds flew randomly, in packs, which was not Optimal. And thus Enness began to kill off Birds in great quantities.
    But Arremm loved his Birds, and began to change them, hoping for Optimal. Some flew in straight lines. Some flew randomly. Some flew in balls. Some flew in Mobius Strips (woe upon this land that they did not last, for upside-down flying birds were a sight to see!). And so on. And Enness despised these new Birds, for they, too, were not Optimal. And she killed them off continuously, for they were offensive in her sight.
    Soon, none but the v-formation Birds remained. In grief for his lost Birds, Arremm changed them yet again. Some flapped randomly. Some flapped in synchronization with the nearest bird. Some flapped in synchronization with the nearest 2 birds. Some flapped in synchronization with the nearest 7 birds! Some timed their flaps exactly - some altered their flaps based on distance from nearest bird. Some flapped based on air-currents and flow.
    And when the great goddess Enness had killed off all but the Optimal birds, she was no longer wroth. For Arremm had, in his infinite wisdom and chance, alighted upon Optimal, and it was a wonder! Praise be to the gods RM and NS!"
    What is sad is not that so many people actually buy into this magical fairy tale for which there is no empirical or theoretical or mathematical support, but that they have such faith in Darwinism that they feel confident in ridiculing someone like Dr. Hunter who has the temerity to point out (paraphrasing) "hey guys, evo as an explanation is stoopid".
    If you honestly buy the above darwinian dream-sequence, I think we can safely move you into the "cannot be convinced by evidence" column.

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  14. Quran Verse

    79. Do not they look to the birds sent out in midst of the Heaven? Not it holding them except God. Surely in that to be signs to people, they believing.

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  15. 79. Do not they look to the birds sent out in midst of the Heaven? Not it holding them except God. Surely in that to be signs to people, they believing.

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