Review of “Flight” Video
by Wayne Spencer
Illustra Media, who has produced some well-known video programs on Intelligent Design, has released a new video on birds. The title is “Flight: The Genius of Birds.” This new program is well done and is something I would recommend seeing. This particular program is apparently the first in a new series called “The Design of Life.” I think the video would be very suitable for young people middle school aged and up. Young-aged creationists have long addressed bird flight as an evidence of design and a problem for evolution. This video is the first major program from the Intelligent Design Movement on the subject to my knowledge. This is very welcome. Bird flight is certainly a very good topic for addressing design.
The program addresses a number of important issues that make birds exceptional examples of design. Topics addressed include development of a bird embryo in the egg, the musculature of birds for flapping the wings, the general light weight balanced body design of birds, the tiny velcro-like hooks in feathers, the unique capabilities of hummingbirds, the long distance migration of the Arctic Tern, and behavior of starlings in flying in large groups. These are what I would consider the primary topics addressed; other topics are mentioned briefly. The program is 63 minutes long, which is somewhat longer than some other Illustra Media videos. All the topics are explained very well by Paul Nelson and by the scientists taking part. Yet to me it seems this is a topic that almost demands multiple programs on flight because there is so much that could be said about this topic. The program left me wishing there was more on some topics. The parts that stand out to me are the parts on the body design of birds, the hooks in feathers, and the segment on hummingbirds. The segment on hummingbirds is a must-see!
There are certain topics addressed in the program very briefly where much more could be said. One of these is the issue of the evolutionist claim that birds evolved from dinosaurs. There is much that creationists have written about this topic that is not brought up in this program. There are many problems with birds evolving from dinosaurs that are not addressed. For example bird eggs and skeletons may be somewhat like that of some dinosaurs, but the dinosaurs birds allegedly evolved from have the wrong hip structure. Also, the program does not discuss the unique “flow-through” lung design of birds, which is unlike those of dinosaurs. Then there is the issue of feathers evolving from dinosaur scales. Feathers are vastly different from reptilian scales and highly specialized for flight. It is hard to imagine a plausible scenario for feathers evolving from dinosaur scales. A half-evolved feather would not get a bird in the air. The issue of dinosaurs evolving into birds is briefly mentioned and there are some animations describing evolutionary theories about it. But the only point made is basically that design is not considered in these theories. This is a valid point but it really does not do justice to scope and scale of the problems with the concept of birds evolving from dinosaurs.
Another important issue about flight not addressed in the video is that by evolution, flight would have to evolve separately at least four different times. There are four means that flight works in the living world, one by birds, another by the flying reptiles (of the dinosaur era), one by bats, and another by insects. These four groups of flying creatures are so different from each other that there simply is no plausible common ancestor that could fly. Therefore evolutionists have to say that flight evolved four separate times, in four unrelated evolutionary processes. Then you have the problem of how is it likely that such specialized abilities would evolve four different times?
I do not point out these things to say not to see the video. I would recommend this new video to anyone. But I would say there is much more on this topic that people should be aware of. I would recommend for example some of the presentations and books from creationists Dr. David Menton and Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, for example. To obtain a copy of the video, I’d recommend going to Randolph Productions.
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