Powered flight requires the following components working together:
- Aerodynamic feathers with hooks
- Muscles correctly located to allow powered flight
- A brain capable of coordinating flight muscles in the correct way
Because of these obstacles, powered flight could not have evolved slowly over time. A much more reasonable position is that God created birds with powered flight from the beginning.
Evolutionist: Gliding is a first step toward powered flight.
Response: The shapes of gliders (like a flying squirrel) versus bird wings is completely different. 1 Also, powered flight requires coordinated muscle movements.
Evolutionist: Feathers could have evolved as insulation originally.
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Sarfati, J. D., & Matthews, M. (1999). Refuting Evolution. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
- Sarfati, 1999, p. 62: “But a gliding stage is not intermediate between a land animal and a flier. Gliders either have even longer wings than fliers (compare a glider’s wingspan with an airplane’s, or the wingspan of birds like the albatross which spend much time gliding), or have a wide membrane which is quite different from a wing (not the shape of a hang-glider or a flying squirrel). Flapping flight also requires highly controlled muscle movements to achieve flight, which in turn requires that the brain has the program for these movements. Ultimately, this requires new genetic information that a non-flying creature lacks.” ↩
- Sarfati, 1999, p. 66: “Another problem is that selection for head insulation is quite different from selection for flight. On birds that have lost the ability to fly, the feathers have also lost much of their structure and become hair-like. On flightless birds, mutations degenerating the aerodynamic feather structure would not be as much a handicap as they would be on a flying bird. Therefore, natural selection would not eliminate them, and might even select for such degeneration. As usual, loss of flight and feather structure are losses of information, so are irrelevant to evolution, which requires an increase of information. All that matters is that the feathers provide insulation, and hair-like structures are fine — they work for mammals. That is, natural selection would work against the development of a flight feather if the feathers were needed for insulation. And hairy feathers are adequate.” ↩
- Sarfati, 1999, p. 66: “Downy feathers are also good insulators and are common on flightless birds. Their fluffiness is because they lack the hooks of flight feathers. Again, natural selection would work to prevent evolution of aerodynamic feathers from heat insulators.” ↩