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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Not Enough Faith

The fastest animal on the planet may not be what you expect. Cheetahs are fast, clocked at nearly 75 mph. The Black Marlin is the fastest fish and is said to have a top speed of 80 mph. There is a little bird in Australia in the Swift family that can do 105 mph. But the fastest creature of all by a large amount is the Peregrine Falcon. This bird can do over 200 mph in its power dive to catch prey.

Peregrines occupy most of the Americas, North, South, and Central. They seem to prefer coastal regions, but, then, who doesn't, right? They can be found at the northern rim of Canada and the southern tip of South America. Their cruising speed is maybe 30 mph, and when they pursue prey they may speed up to 60 mph, but when they do their famous dive from on high onto an unsuspecting bird, it's closer to 250 mph. This is, as it turns out, problematic. Breathing at those speeds is difficult. Keeping your eyes open at those speeds is difficult. You know ... doing things you need to do when diving at those speeds is hard to do. And yet ...

Peregrine Falcon in dive
Oddly enough nature (read "God", not "Evolution") has provided the Peregrine Falcon with special design features. For instance, when we started building faster jets, we found that the faster they went, the more the engines were choked out. Above a certain speed, the air would split and go around the engine. So researchers looked at falcons and asked how they did it. It turned out that they had a small cone that protrudes slightly in the nostril. The cone changes the airflow and allows air in without suffocation. That small cone you see in the middle of jet engines was borrowed from the Peregrine. Further, structures in the nostril allow air in but provide baffles to prevent too fast of a flow. Another feature is what is called the nictitating membrane. It is a semi-clear third eyelid that serves as a pair of goggles for the bird, allowing him to keep his eyes open in a dive but not exposed to the air. Then there is another really interesting feature. When in a dive, the falcon achieves optimum speed by folding his wings and taking on an aerodynamic bullet shape. Still, at these speeds, air turbulence is a problem. So, what to do? Apparently these birds have specialized feathers that pop up as needed to smooth turbulence as they increase speed as well as providing maneuverability.

These are just a few of the components of the Peregrine Falcon that make it the fastest animal on the planet. Now, you may see these as "adaptations" produced by blind Evolution, but I don't see how that's possible. The whole thing screams "Design!" It is the most reasonable explanation. To me, just because they say it's not designed doesn't mean it isn't. I guess I just don't have enough faith to believe in Evolution.


David said...

If both sides could admit that their view is based on faith and come from a biased view, the debate would be much easier to have.

Stan said...

It is difficult, I think, for both sides. Both tend to define "faith" as something the Bible does not. But on the side of the Materialist, "faith" becomes a bad word and admitting to having it is the edge of the precipice.