On the other
hand, there is such a complex design in bird feathers that
the phenomenon can never be accounted for by evolutionary
processes. As we all know, there is a shaft that runs up the
center of the feather. Attached to the shaft are the vanes.
The vane is made up of small thread-like strands, called barbs.
These barbs, of different lengths and rigidity, are what give
the bird its aerodynamic nature. But what is even more interesting
is that each barb has thousands of even smaller strands attached
to them called barbules. The barbules are connected
to barbicels, with tiny microscopic hooks, called hamuli.
Each strand is hooked to an opposing strand, much like the
hooks of a zipper.
COMPLEX STRUCTURE OF BIRD FEATHERS
When bird feathers are studied
closely, a very delicate design emerges. There are even
tinier hairs on every tiny hair, and these have special
hooks, allowing them to hold onto each other. The pictures
show progressively enlarged bird feathers.
Just one crane feather has about 650 barbs on
each of side of the shaft. About 600 barbules branch off the
barbs. Each one of these barbules are locked together with
390 hooklets. The hooks latch together as do the teeth on
both sides of a zip. If the hooklets come apart for any reason,
the bird can easily restore the feathers to their original
form by either shaking itself or by straightening its feathers
out with its beak.
To claim that the complex design in feathers
could have come about by the evolution of reptile scales through
chance mutations is quite simply a dogmatic belief with no
scientific foundation. Even one of the doyens of Darwinism,
Ernst Mayr, made this confession on the subject some years
It is a considerable
strain on one's credulity to assume that finely balanced
systems such as certain sense organs (the eye of vertebrates,
or the bird's feather) could be improved by random mutations.122
The design of feathers also
compelled Darwin to ponder them. Moreover, the perfect aesthetics
of the peacock's feathers had made him "sick" (his own words).
In a letter he wrote to Asa Gray on April 3, 1860, he said,
"I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made
me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of complaint..."
And then continued: "... and now trifling particulars of structure
often make me very uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in
a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!"123
In short, the enormous structural differences
between bird feathers and reptile scales, and the unbelievably
complex design of feathers, clearly demonstrate the baselessness
of the claim that feathers evolved from scales.
Mayr, Systematics and the Origin of Species, Dove,
New York, 1964, p. 296.
123 Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried:
An Appeal to Reason, Harvard Common Press, 1971, p. 131.