Christian Research Institute

Is It Reasonable to Believe That Scales Evolved into Feathers?

A primary evolutionary contention is that, in the course of merely millions of years, reptilian scales became more and more like feathers until, one day, the perfect feather emerged. Is this reasonable or ridiculous?

First, as science advances, it has brought to light an unanticipated world of enormous complexity that requires the evolutionist to take a huge leap of faith. The science of statistical probability alone demonstrates that chance operating in concert with undirected processes (given even millions of years) can no more create a finch’s feather than it could a fish’s fin.

Furthermore, the meticulous engineering of feathers hardly squares with evolutionary probabilities. The central shaft of a feather has a series of barbs projecting from each side at right angles. Rows of smaller barbules in turn protrude from both sides of the barbs. Tiny hooks (barbicels) project downward from one side of the barbules and interlock with ridges on the opposite side of adjacent barbules. There may be as many as a million barbules cooperating to bind the barbs into a complete feather, impervious to air penetration.

Finally, consider the profound aerodynamic properties of a feathered airfoil. The positioning of feathers is controlled by a complex network of tendons that allows the feathers to open like the slats of a blind when the wing is raised. As a result, wind resistance is greatly reduced on the upstroke. On the downstroke, the feathers close, providing resistance for efficient flight.

To attribute the fearsome flight of the falcon and the delicate darting flitter of the hummingbird to an unguided purposeless process is to fly from knowledge to anti-knowledge.

For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The FACE That Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001).