Aug 282006

Cornelius Hunter at IDTF posted an interesting case of evolution in action. I enjoy reading Hunter’s books (Darwin’s God & Darwin’s Proof) and posts.

One clever way to deal with a lousy diffraction limit is to process the received signal while moving the instrument. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is today a well established example of this technique. The details are quite complex but simply put, the diffraction limit is improved by moving the instrument so as to increase the effective aperture size. Hence the name “synthetic aperture.” A few decades back this technology was developed for radar so that aircraft radar systems could construct images, in addition to their traditional job of measuring range and range rate to objects within the field of view.

But long before scientists developed synthetic aperture radar, evolution constructed this same technology as part of the bat’s echolocation system. This system not only determines the distance and direction of objects, such as insects, in the bat’s field of view, it also can reconstruct an object’s shape. It can, for example, detect and classify a flying beetle in three dimensions at about thirty feet range.

Hunter challenges design theorists to recognize the limits of their imaginations.

Those who would explain such feats in terms of design fail to understand the power of evolution (not to mention the fact of evolution). Do they not understand that natural selection creates fantastic designs such as echolocation? Are they not aware of Richard Dawkins’ brilliant and cogent solution to nature’s designs? As Dawkins’ pointed out, “That’s often how evolution works.” Just because we cannot explain how echolocation evolved does not detract from the fact that echolocation evolved. Who are they going to believe, an expert such as Dawkins or their own eyes?

While Homo sapiens think that we can out smart the process of evolution that produced us. The god of blind random chance didn’t just beat us to this intricate command control and feedback system. It beat us to the punch at least twice, in microbats and megabats. (more on convergent evolution)

I suggest corporations should fire all their design engineers and learn from nature. Pharmaceutical companies can randomly mix chemicals together, aeronautic companies can randomly piece materials and components together and through blind random chance the drug will cure cancer and the object will not drop out of the sky. A side benefit might be the creation of a superman. It will be impervious to diseases and unbreakable when dropped 30,000 feet from the sky.

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