Discoveroids: Birds Fly, Bugs Fly, Therefore …

This is yet another dazzling argument from the Discovery Institute to persuade you that their “theory” about an intelligent designer — blessed be he — is responsible for the universe, the Earth’s biosphere, and you. It’s titled Birds, Insects, and What They Share, and it has no author’s byline. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Biologists are improving photographic techniques to study the intricacies of flight. Let’s look at what two research labs have been observing about birds and insects. They share amazing similarities in their flight strategies, despite the vast phylogenetic distance between them. This will give us an opportunity to ask what kind of cause could account for these similarities.

What kind of cause? How about the fact that that any organism able to fly in the Earth’s atmosphere had to gradually evolve the ability to deal with the same natural conditions? To no one’s surprise, the Discoveroids don’t mention that — except dismissively. We’re going to skip their links to and quotes from various articles about birds and fruit flies, and how they are seen to fly, change direction, and hover. Instead, we’ll get right to the creationism:

So how do hummingbirds and fruit flies share similar wingbeat designs that allow them to hover, despite being phylogenetically distant? Evolutionists sometimes speak as if the environment itself causes different animals to arrive at the same solution (they call it “convergent evolution”). But that cannot be the vera causa (true cause).

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The Discoveroids are seeking the vera causa! Isn’t that wonderful? They say:

Constraints cannot bring something into being to meet the constraints. It takes engineering to design a system able to take advantage of opportunities in spite of constraints. It takes superb engineering to optimize a function within the constraints.

They’re right! Problems don’t solve themselves. A problem requires a problem solver! Only a fool would deny it! Then they tell us:

The student learns from the master. If top engineers at Caltech and Stanford study fruit flies and birds for decades and still have more to learn, who is the master?

What a profound question! Perhaps the Discoveroids can answer it for us. They continue:

It’s not so much the insect or bird; they do what they were programmed to do.

That makes sense. Then who — who? — is the master? The Discoveroids reveal that at the end:

The master is the mind that did the programming: an intelligent mind able to teach our designing minds a thing or two about engineering.

Aha! At last we understand. The Discoveroids were right all along. Our foolish doubts have been resolved.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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36 responses to “Discoveroids: Birds Fly, Bugs Fly, Therefore …

  1. Bingo!
    It takes engineering to design a system able to take advantage of opportunities in spite of constraints.
    constraints
    Do tell, what are the constraints that the intelligent designers have to deal with?
    What are the sources of those constraints?
    The intelligent designers are not all-powerful, if they are faced with constraints that they have to design around.

  2. Birds Fly, Bugs Fly, Therefore …
    Well, next we can conclude the Discoveroids will say that pigs fly because the great designer can program any creature to fly if it wishes it to be so.

  3. Not snide enough; that eliminates Klankerwanker.

    Not enough cut ‘n’ paste recycled word salad; that eliminates Saavy Sarah.

    Just the right amount of stupid, childish and insipid. Bingo, we have a winner! – Annie Green Screen!

    Put that in a video with a commercial at the end and you could have a Rev. Rives production. Hey, you don’t think he’s hooked up with the Tooters?

    Next week: Fish, mammals and insects. What do they share? Swimming! OMG it’s a miracle!

    And ultimately: Frogs, trees and Annie. What do they share? Being green! OMG it’s a miracle!

  4. Why do birds fly?
    There are birds that fly, so our intuition tells us, so that they can escape from predators.
    There are birds that fly so that they can be better predators.
    The evolutionists point to birds that do not fly because they are in places where they don’t have to fly to escape from predators. It takes a lot of work to fly, so there’s no point in flying if one can survive without flying. And there are birds which don’t have to fly very well, just enough to get away for a short distance for a short time.
    Of course, “design” by a single designer can equally well account for all of the different capacities of flight – the flight of the hummingbird, and the flight of the chicken, and the flight of the penguin, and the flight of the albatross, and the flight of the eagle. They are all designed by the same designer, and that’s why they are all designed the same, right? Not to mention the ostrich.

  5. The question is, can turkeys fly?

  6. Christine Janis

    It’s amazing that birds and insects have a similar “design” for flight, seeing as they have to overcome completely different law of physics.

    Oh, wait a minute.

  7. So now the DI believes that natural selection is intelligent? I guess compared to the “geniuses” employed there, the rock cycle is intelligent.

  8. docbill1351, I love that skit.

    Not accurate, biologically, but it’s still hilarious.

    (A friend who raises turkeys tells me that a wild turkey can fly, but a lot of commercial prepared birds are just to fat to take off. He still thinks they could glide well enough, though.)

  9. DavidK says: “Well, next we can conclude the Discoveroids will say that pigs fly because the great designer can program any creature to fly if it wishes it to be so.”

    Birds fly over the rainbow,
    Why oh then why can’t I?

  10. Birds fly over the rainbow,
    Why oh then why can’t I?

    If you were a Skittles you could catch the rainbow.

  11. I notice the DI writer didn’t mention bats. Perhaps because bats (in the belfry) would be too close for comfort.

  12. Or maple seeds. What does the Designer have against trees?

  13. I saw an interview with George R.R. Martin regarding dragons. He quite proudly explained that his dragons only had two back legs, since a dragon’s wings would presumably evolve from the front legs. Of course this assumes that dragons evolved from some other vertebrate.
    Now if a designer wanted to He could easily give the dragon two wings and a set of front and back legs. In fact many artists do just that. A designer could also give birds arms and hands as well. With a clean sheet of paper you could have all sort of efficient designs. These compromised “designs” show why evolution is obvious.

  14. When one looks at the diversity of wing patterns in insects – 4 membranous wings, hardened to partially-hardened forewings and membranous hind wings, membranous forewings and halteres, etc – flies are oddities of the insect world.

  15. Time flies; therefore…

  16. Are angels vertebrates?

    Anyway, flying insects are six-legged. Their wings are not modified legs.

  17. Wait just a minute. How can birds fly? Why, the great designer gave ’em wings to fly, that’s why. So then why can’t penguins fly? They’re birds, and they have wings! Did the great designer screw up, forget them, or just ran out of materials to make it possible for them to fly? And land birds have feathers, why don’t penguins have feathers?

  18. Why do airplanes fly? Because they’re intelligently designed.

    Try that on a kid, when you’re asked about airplanes. See if that satisfies a kid.

  19. Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

  20. And the lefthanded batter flies out to right.

  21. “Waiter, there’s a Designer in my soup!”

  22. It takes superb engineering to optimize a function within the constraints.

    Is an ostrich optimized within the constraints of it’s environment? Front legs would seem to be a better choice than wings.

    Heck, for that matter, wouldn’t most vertebrates be more optimized if they had opposable thumbs?

  23. I’m not surprised they couldn’t find even a Tooter willing to put a byline to that steaming pile of, er, recycled juvenilia. One doesn’t expect much from the DI, but even by their own standards (hah!) that one’s pretty execrable. It reads as if by a not particularly bright twelve-year-old.

    @dweller42

    A friend who raises turkeys tells me that a wild turkey can fly

    They assuredly can; their flight looks rather as if they’re expecting in each new moment to plummet vertically downward but never quite do so. Most years we have a family of them arriving on our property, sometimes perching in trees or on the roof. The first time it happened, I, as a recently immigrated Brit, assumed I’d finally gone off my rocker. Luckily my Yank wife was able to reassure me that this HUGE WINGED CREATURE OMG!!!!! was not in fact a surviving pterodactyl but a turkey. Since then we’ve grown extremely fond of them and welcome their annual arrival, although of course they’re very shy of us.

  24. WTF? Worst Discoveroid article this year absolutely.

  25. realthog…turkeys are especially good with chestnut or oyster stuffing. The wild ones have bigger wings than the barnyard variety but are just as tasty when prepared correctly. Come on now, a huge winged creature filled with bread crumbs and crassostrea virginica roasted at 350 F for 2.5 hours.
    PERFECT. The designer, ….blessed be he…specifically made benthic invertebrates so we could stuff them into the body cavity of poultry and then roast them. Although quite frankly there are some benthic invertebrates that might not be as appealing. Just saying’ Meanwhile, keep loaded up on that #4 shot and the double barrel. Woo hoo. Hey, we can send a roast turkey, complete with embedded shotgun pellets to Klinkle doofus at the Discoveroid shop !! I’m in. Meanwhile,,,,cheers.

  26. @och will

    Yes, but any turkey stuffed like that that landed on our roof would go straight through and into the attic — no thanks!

    Actually, they’re remarkably charming birds and the youngsters are cutesville incarnate — think ducklings, but a lot more gangly. I’m sure that wild turkey (the bird rather than the drink) is delicious (I don’t much like the factory-farmed version), but . . .

  27. Christine Janis

    @DavidK
    Penguins do indeed have feathers — they’re just slicked down in the water

    A more compelling question about feathers. The kiwi has fluffy feathers that look just like mammalian hairs. But they’re not hairs —– their detailed structure shows them to be feathers and, like all bird feathers (and reptile scales) they’re made from beta keratin (not alpha keratin lik mammalian hairs).

    Why did the designer bother to modify the feathers to look like fur if he could just have given them fur?

  28. Christine Janis ponders:

    Why did the designer bother to modify the feathers to look like fur if he could just have given them fur?

    Our intuition here should clearly indicate that the Intelligent Designer did indeed specify fur when S/He drafted the blueprint for the kiwi.

    But when the Intelligent Building Contractor came to make the damn thing, fur prices were particularly high on the Intercelestial Commodities Exchange; it was cheaper instead to modify a large consignment of feathers (which had been intended for the heads of the vultures being assembled in a neighbouring factory). There was quite a flap about all this at the time…

  29. Constraints cannot bring something into being to meet the constraints. It takes engineering to design a system able to take advantage of opportunities in spite of constraints. It takes superb engineering to optimize a function within the constraints.

    Or on the other hand it takes the gradual development of a new organism capable of exploiting new environments. This remark assumes without quite saying so that species instantly fit perfectly within the “constraints” of a particular environment, rather than gradually improving their fit to it.

    Of course, if you don’t believe there was enough time for such development, things look different. If you’ve only got 6,000 years to work with, you practically have to assume a pixie, I mean a miracle, did it. And actually, it’s worse than that, since according to young-earth creationists all species alive today descended (that is, evolved) at breakneck speed from the
    “kinds” preserved aboard Noah’s ark.

  30. realthog,,,,ok. By my tongue in cheek commentary I meant no disrespect to
    the wild turkeys. They are a beautiful symbol of the wildness that still exists in America. Glad you get to see them around casa realt.

  31. With the very rapid changes in climate occurring now, where is the designer to instantly adapt species to new environments? Why are reefs dying when a designer can just add “new information” to their genomes, allowing them to flourish?

    It would be an interesting dilemma for the DI to ponder, if they only believed climate change was actually happening.

  32. And remember, design is not enough to account for something in the natural world. There must also be some productive work done on materials.

    I often think of the “design analogy” as something which could only appeal to an upper-class person before the Industrial Revolution. Their fine timepiece, it was the design of an artisan, and it never enters their mind that there had to be some manual work done to produce it. And, of course, it was a unique design, not just one from an assembly line. No Rolex for them. Even if a designed watch might not be as good a timepiece, it is designed.

  33. I meant no disrespect to
    the wild turkeys

    The night of the Wild Turkey is never to be spoken of again.

  34. @docbill
    The night of the Wild Turkey is never to be spoken of again.

    You remember it, do you?

  35. You remember it, do you?

    It could be a dream that I was crawling up stairs to the flat, knocking on the door and hearing a voice say, “Oh my god, what have you done to my husband!” I never got the full story because Pete didn’t speak to me for a year.

  36. Troy, strictly speaking a dragon with only two back legs, two wings and no front legs is a wyvern.