Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » The catalog of life »  The Migration of Birds

The Migration of Birds

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1 The Migration of Birds Empty The Migration of Birds on Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:40 am


The Migration of Birds

"There is good evidence that young birds are equipped with endogenous migratory programs, which tell them roughly how many days and/or nights that they must fly, and in what direction."

In his book La Puissance et la Fragilité, Prof. Pierre Jean Hamburger from René Descartes University describes the extraordinary 24,000-kilometer journey made by the shearwater that lives in the Pacific Ocean:

It sets out from the coast of Australia. From there it flies straight southward to the Pacific. Then it turns north and flies along the coast of Japan until reaching the Bering Sea where it can rest for a while.

Following that break it sets off again, and this time heads south. Crossing the western coast of America, it arrives in California.

It then crosses the Pacific to return to its starting point. The route and timing of this 15,000-mile (24,000-kilometer) figure ‘8’ journey it makes every year never change.

The journey in question lasts a whole six months, always coming to an end in the third week of September on the island it left six months before, at the nest it left six months before.

What comes next is even more astonishing; after their return, the birds clean their nests, mate, and lay a single egg over the last 10 days of October.

The chicks hatch out two months later, grow very fast and are cared for over three months until their parents set out on that stupendous journey. Two weeks later; around the middle of April, it is time for the young birds to take wing on their own journey. They follow exactly the same route as that described above, with no guide.

The explanation is so obvious: These birds must have all the directions for such a journey within the inherited characteristics passed on within the egg. Some people may claim that birds navigate by the Sun and stars or follow the winds prevailing along their route on this journey out and back. But it is clear that these factors cannot determine the journey’s geographical and chronological accuracy."
Pierre Jean Hamburger, La Puissance et la Fragilité, Flammarion Pub., Paris, 1972.

"migratory birds have comprehensive, detailed, innate spatio-temporal programs for successful migration.

Such programs evidently enable even young, inexperienced birds to migrate alone, with no adult guide, to the species- or population-specific winter quarters that they have never seen before.

As will be explained further below, they do this by "vector" navigation: referring to a vector composed of a genetically predetermined migratory direction and to a time-plan, also genetically predetermined, for the course of migration...

It follows that the departure time is programmed by genetic factors... "

Peter Berthold, "Bird Migration: Introductory Remarks and Overall Perspective", Torgos, 1998, Vol. 28, pp. 25-30

Not only is it preprogrammed, but it is preprogrammed to do impossible things!

"Some birds migrate at seemingly impossible altitudes. For instance, dunlin, knot and certain other small migrating birds fly at a level of 7,000 m (23,000 feet), the same altitude used by aircraft. Whooper swans have been seen flying at 8,200 m (27,000 feet). Some birds even reach the stratosphere, the layer of thin atmosphere, at an altitude of between 8 and 40 kilometers (5 and 25 miles).11 Bar-headed geese cross the Himalayas at an altitude of 9,000 meters (29,529 feet), close to where the stratosphere begins."

What more do we need before we reject this hopeless theory?

The evidence I have been presenting, and which has received no refutation worthy of the name, supports the exceedingly realistic hypothesis that these things were all super-intelligently designed.

Any aeroplane, flying a journey of 1000 miles or so, with fully functioning GPS, at an altitude of 25,000 feet or more at the very edge of the stratosphere, has got to be intelligently designed, or it either wouldn't get there, or would simply perish.

Consider the requirements of survival alone.

The temperature is killing.

The troposphere begins at the Earth's surface and extends up to 4-12 miles (6-20 km) high. This is where we live. As the density of the gases in this layer decrease with height, the air becomes thinner. Therefore, the temperature in the troposphere also decreases with height. As you climb higher, the temperature drops from about 62°F (17°C) to -60°F (-51°C).).

They must be, therefore, extraordinarily well insulated creatures. Which poses yet another problem for the evolutionists. Did they develop their absolutely superior insulation IN ORDER TO FLY THAT HIGH? Or do they fly that high BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE INSULATION? And how did they figure out how to produce it?

But that's just the beginning of the problem. Water freezes at 0 deg C. The liquid covering the eyes of the birds is mainly water. If it is like normal tears, then it should freeze at -0.52 C. But since the birds fly in considerably lower temperatures, the problem becomes very severe. If the liquid froze at -0.52 C, then they could not possibly fly at that height, because their eyes would freeze up. But they do manage it.

Therefore the tears of their eyes must be specially designed with antifreeze built in. So must their nostril linings, and their lungs.

But how is that possible? A bird has no way of knowing what the upper tropospheric temperature will be. Neither does it know what chemicals need to be in its tears to prevent freezing, and least of all does it know how to synthesise that material.

So where did it come from? Design seems the only possible answer.

And then there’s the pressure question. The cabin of an aircraft flying at 26-30,000 feet HAS TO BE PRESSURISED, or all air travellers would die. The atmospheric pressure outside, is far too low to sustain human life. Here is a summary of what happened to James Glaisher, a balloonist who went up to 26,000 feet in the days before we knew all that we know today about the effects of high altitude:

In 1862, James Glaisher and Henry Coxwell ascended to 29,000 feet in an open hot-air balloon. During the ascent, Glaisher described marked neurologic compromises: appendicular and later truncal paralysis, blindness, initially preserved cognition, and subsequent loss of consciousness.

The birds, therefore, MUST have a compensating mechanism built in. But they didn’t know about all this before starting their journeys! So Who knew?

We will discuss the instincts powering flight later on, but let's return to the navigation problem.

Whooper swans fly from Siberia to Britain and return each year - something over 2000 miles. Short-tailed shearwaters, Puffinus tenuirostris migrate from South Australia to the North Pacific and back - a total distance of some 32,000 km (20,000 miles).

"Each year the bulk of the colony (the breeding age birds) return to the nesting grounds on almost the same day. Individuals return to the same nest burrow they occupied the previous year and generally mate with the same partner throughout their breeding life...

In mid April the adult birds commence their Pacific migration leaving the young behind. Hunger begins to bring the chicks from the nest at night, until they eventually set off after the adults. Somehow they find the migratory route without the guidance of the older birds."

This, I thought, was astonishing enough. Maybe the shearwater is unique in this.

But no. Although not over such a great distance, the Pacific golden plover is another phenomenal migrator.

It flies from its breeding grounds in Alaska to its wintering grounds in Hawaii.

That is a distance of about 2,500 miles across open ocean, without any stopping points either available or possible. The birds stock up on food, fattening themselves, and burn it up on the journey. In Alaska, they breed and rear their young.

But that's not the end of the matter.

When the young have reached a reasonably independent state of maturity, the adults fly off and leave them!

Some time later, the young set off on their own, and without parents or any other guides, fly the return 2,500 miles to Alaska. Again across open ocean: no waymarks, no food, no stopping places.

Can you see the nonsense all this makes of evolution?

There are 2 journeys before us, totalling 25,000 miles, which is approximately the circumference of the planet. The plovers strain credulity, but the shearwaters kill it altogether.

And then we find out about the arctic tern - which flies from the top of the world, down to the antarctic every year, and back again.

All this is unbelievable, but comes from the work of highly reputable observers and organisations.

We may as well toss in the fourth unbelievable migration for good measure.

Cliff swallow scouts fly in from the sea, to the village/town of Capistrano in southern California, on the 17th of March every year. The following day, on the 18th March EVERY YEAR, the main flock arrives. They return to the nests they built last year, squabble and fight and breed, and then on October 23rd, they fly up, circle the town as if saying goodbye, and disappear out to sea once again.

This happens EVERY YEAR, on the same date (apart from leap years) without fail.

For the longest time, they had no idea where the birds came from, or where they went, until modern tracking methods were employed, and the truth came out.

They start their journey in Goya, a town in southern Argentina, and fly 7,500 miles up to Capistrano, and return about 6 months later.

In every case, there is dating accuracy – but the Capistrano swallows take the breath away. Somehow, those little birds have a calendar built in and arrive on the same date EVERY YEAR.

Now consider what the theory of evolution has to account for.

1 The ability to fly, and how that ability came from wingless reptiles. More on this later.

2 The existence in the birds of an amazingly accurate GPS system which somehow navigates them to and from their incredibly distant destinations.

3 The existence of a calendar in their little brains, accurate to the very day.

Instinct, says the evolutionist. Yes, we say – but where did this stupendous instinct come from?

In order for a GPS system to work, there must be navigational satellites ready set up, and accurate to within a few hundred feet. There has to be a receptor device, which will not only read those satellite signals, but also unscramble them and translate the messages into comprehensible materials.

There has to a map of some kind, built in to the navigator device. And lastly there must be a mind with the ability to receive and obey the messages from the satellites.

If any one of these elements missing, the whole thing is useless. Therefore in the birds, all of this had to have arisen AT THE SAME TIME. But a map implies that someone has been there before, who knows the way, and can program the route into the system.

The sheer improbability of all this happening by chance is incalculable. And there’s no use bleating pathetically that evolution is not a random process. Random or not, it cannot reasonably explain the origin of these mighty instincts by any method at all.

It’s no wonder that they never attempt to explain the origin of instinct.

Darwin was right when he said:

C. Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: Cassell and Co., Ltd., 1909), p. 189.

"This [instinct] is by far the most serious special difficulty which my theory has encountered. . . . The problem at first appeared to me insuperable, and actually fatal to my theory."

"No complex instinct can possibly be produced through natural selection except by the slow and gradual accumulation of numerous, slight, yet profitable variations. . . .We ought at least to be able to show that gradations of some kind are possible, and this we certainly can do."

He was wrong. No amount of ‘numerous, slight yet profitable variations’ can take a bird from Australia to Japan, to the Bering Strait, to California and back across the Pacific ocean to Australia, to arrive there at the same time every year, and nest in the same nest each time. Any errors, and the bird would be as good as dead.

No amount of ‘numerous, slight yet profitable variations’ can take a bird 7,500 miles from Goya in Argentina to Capistrano in California ON THE SAME DATE every year.

And how many of such variations do we need to carry the arctic tern from the top of the world down to the bottom, every year? Or how many do we need to carry the golden plover young 2,500 miles across a trackless ocean and back – without parents, guides and way marks ? At every step of the way an error means death and species extinction.

Yet they are still here doing the same wonderful things year after year.

How much more evidence do we need before we dump this silly theory which is so hopelessly useless at explaining such gigantic phenomena?


Preventing Bird Divorce: Mates Take Different Flights, Arrive Together

A shorebird named the black-tailed godwit presents a puzzle to biologists: “arrival synchrony” (leave it to scientists to give big names to simple concepts). The males and females of this bird mate for life, but like some humans, live apart for months at a time. This presents two puzzles: how do they stay apart without getting divorced, and how do they arrive together for the summer fling when they take different routes to the destination? Some birds migrate together; others stagger their take-off and landing. But the faithful black-tailed godwits winter in different areas averaging 955 km apart, yet somehow find a way synchronize their migrations to arrive within 3 days of one another. This remarkable synchronization shows that “The mechanisms required to achieve this synchrony and prevent ‘divorce’ illustrate the complexity of migratory systems,” write four UK biologists publishing in Nature:1

Long-lived migratory birds generally show high degrees of mate fidelity, and divorce is often followed by a decrease in reproductive success. Synchrony in timing of arrival on the breeding grounds is thought to be crucial for retaining a mate from the previous year and avoiding a costly divorce.…
How is this degree of synchrony maintained between pairs when they winter so far apart and the environmental conditions for migration are likely to differ locally? It is possible that pairs of birds may winter in areas of similar quality (despite their geographic separation) and so be in a similar condition to arrive at specific times in spring; or they may share some genetic or physiological determinant of timing of migration; or they may independently synchronize their arrival to the optimal time for each specific breeding location (for example, to exploit peaks in resource abundance). As individuals often use a series of passage sites during spring migration, they may refine these timings as they approach their breeding grounds. Identifying which of these mechanisms is operating is likely to be key to understanding how synchrony is achieved and divorce avoided in migratory species.
Thus they leave it an unsolved puzzle, and offer no explanation for how the chicks learn this by their first anniversary, or what form the “genetic or physiological determinant” might take that could explain another wonder of nature.

1Gunnarsson et al., “Pair bonds: Arrival synchrony in migratory birds,” Brief communications, Nature 431, 646 (07 October 2004); doi:10.1038/431646a.

Humans can learn some things from birds. Does absence make the heart grow fonder, or does absence make the heart go wander? Somehow these godwits are able to maintain remote relationships and stay faithful (although “faithful” has no moral meaning to a bird). (Notice that divorce is costly to birds, too, even without lawyers.) More amazing is how they can synchronize their arrivals without a long-distance phone call and Do they plan ahead and communicate their schedules with loving chirps? How can they even find one another after landing, among all the other couples, when they all look alike? There are still lots of puzzles out there for naturalists. Just don’t bore us with another evolutionary just-so story. This bird apparently was given some kind of God wit.

3 The Migration of Birds Empty Re: The Migration of Birds on Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:45 pm


Migration 1

The phenomenon of migration poses yet another huge hurdle for the evolutionist determined at all costs to not "allow a Divine Foot in the door"1. Encyclopedia Brittanica began its article on the evolution of migration in very appropriate fashion: "The origins of migration remain in the realm of pure conjecture".2 Of course this did not stop the evolutionist author of the article from doing what evolutionists do best: proceeding into the realm of pure conjecture (aka fairy tale)!3

golden ploverLet's take a closer look at this phenomenon, in particular the migration of the Eastern Siberian Golden Plover.

The Eastern Siberian species of the Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica fulva) migrates from Alaska to Hawaii for the winter. This 2500 mile journey requires non-stop flapping with no rest whatsoever because there are no islands in-between. The flight time is 88 hours, and requires an estimated 250,000 continuous flaps.

Prior to embarking, the Golden Plover puts on an additional 50% of weight (about 70 grams) in a short period of time. This extra fat serves as a source of fuel.

But wait! There is a slight problem facing our feathered friends!

The 88-hour journey requires a fuel consumption of 82.2 grams, but their "fuel tank" is only filled up to 70 grams, 12 grams less than what is needed! In other words, The birds would "run out of fuel" about 500 miles short of Hawaii and plunge into the sea!

Why don't our feathered friends plop into the icy ocean water and die short of their destination?

Can evolution provide an answer to this perplexing fuel consumption problem?

Maybe they had initial help from some intelligent, caring life form, perhaps aliens from outer space! But what good are propeller hats without a good map, or perhaps a gyroscope, or even a decent compass?

Perhaps long ago our alien friends transported the Golden Plovers first class! Maybe all those years of looking out the window became so incased in their memories that it enabled them to eventually figure out how to do it on their own!

Well, the alien transport is long gone, and now our fine feathered friends must endure fog, rain, and cold when they make their long and tiring journey. Surely they miss the days of old on that wonderful first class flight!

OK, so you aren't buying these "explanations". How does the Golden Plover really solve this fuel consumption problem?

They fly in a V-formation!

Researchers showed in a 1970 study published in Science magazine that a flock of 25 birds in a V-formation can fly 70 percent farther than a single bird using the same amount of energy1. This more than compensates for the 500 mile shortfall of flying solo or out of formation. Flying in the V-formation provides the Golden Plovers an additional 1400 miles of flying range!

Since the lead position at the apex of the formation draws the brunt of the work, the birds share turns at the apex. Flying gets progressively easier the farther back you go in the formation, thus allowing accommodation for the weaker birds.

How can the evolutionist desperate for naturalistic explanations possibly account for the necessity of flying in a V-formation? This strategy must be well known and in place ahead of time before flying off to some far-away place, particularly a land destination as remote and precise as Hawaii. Making matters worse for the conjuring evolutionist is the fact that the parents leave well before their young, so the V-formation strategy is not taught to them but must have instead been pre-programmed in the Golden Plover's brain from the beginning. Moreover, there would be no selection pressure to migrate due to food shortages since there is plenty to eat in Alaska, nor would selection pressure due to the climate be an acceptable explanation because the birds leave long before winter sets in.

Finally, how does the evolutionist explain the amazingly precise flight plan that governs migratory animals over great distances? For example, the Monarch butterfly will migrate 3000 miles often to the same tree of their forefathers!2

So in the end the evolutionists would want us to believe that the complex information required by the Golden Plovers to know how much to eat, how fast to fly, precisely where to fly to, and how to make the best use of its energy supply (via the V-formation), all came about by random mutation and blind selection! But common sense, and Information Theory, demands that this is impossible3. This complex cache of information programmed into the Golden Plovers could have only been established from the beginning by an Intelligent Source (aka The Creator).

Migration is yet another powerful example in a virtually endless list of examples from nature that provides overwhelming testimony of Creative Design. To believe it is the result of naturalistic process is to believe, as we say here, in a fairy tale!

Job 39:26 Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, And spread its wings toward the south?


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