|Feature Article - January 1998|
|by Do-While Jones|
Sam Richter wrote an interesting article for the October/November 1997 issue of Fossil News - Journal of Amateur Paleontology entitled "Frayed Scales Become Feathers." Given the title, and the journal that published the article, one might expect this to be another repetition of the old evolutionist's tale that some dinosaurs scratched their scales so much that they became feathers.
Anyway, that's what evolutionists used to say. Although they still believe that birds evolved from reptiles or dinosaurs, they no longer try to explain how it happened. Here are the complete explanations of the origin of feathers from three modern (evolutionist) sources:
Two groups of small reptiles independently evolved insulation that minimizes heat loss: One group evolved feathers, while another group evolved hair. 1
Feathers work beautifully in flight, but the ancestors of birds must have evolved them for another reason-probably for thermal regulation-since a few feathers on the arm of a small running reptile will not induce takeoff. 2
Feathers are modified reptilian scales. 3
We could not find any current literature that claims to explain how scales turned into feathers. All we found were unsupported statements that feathers evolved from scales. These statements are taken on faith by evolutionists without any scientific explanation at all. That's why we were excited to see an article in Fossil News that might offer a scientific explanation of how scales evolved into feathers.
Imagine our surprise when the article turned out to be an explanation of why scales could not have evolved into feathers. Richter's article began by explaining Lamarck's 1809 theory of "soft inheritance," which said that acquired characteristics could be inherited. Then he correctly said Lamark's theory is wrong.
This popular principle was first lab-tested by August Weismann in 1893. Twenty-two consecutive generations of mice had their tails cut off. The expected result was that the following generations would be born without tails. They were always born with tails-the popular Lamarkian principle of "soft inheritance" was shown to be invalid. 4
Then came a surprising twist to his argument. He started talking about the agricultural policies of the Soviet Union in the 1950's! Although it seemed unlikely that this digression could have anything bearing at all on the evolution of reptile scales to bird feathers, it turned out to be remarkably insightful.
Mendelian genetics were well known then, but "Stalin became convinced that Soviet genetics were superior to Mendelian genetics and that genes and chromosomes did not exist." 5 Stalin (and later Khrushchev) "spent major money on creating large plantations for growing warm-climate crops, such as melons and grapes, near cold-climate Moscow. When these crops became cold-hardy, there would be large savings in transport and storage costs. Large-scale planting was done elsewhere in unsuitable cold areas for corn and other warm-climate crops." 6
This attempt at forced evolution failed miserably, of course. Natural laws cannot be bent to satisfy human desires, prejudices, or political ideology. Richter concluded his article with this frank and accurate application:
Why is Darwin popular today? His ideas resonate with our culture and we are comfortable with this. Culture is the hand lens through which we see the world. It shapes the ideas we use to make sense out of what is happening around us and how we think the world works. Darwinism is now being used to explain the evolution of many things, from business and scientific ideas to modern art. Some of these explanations would please Lamark with their use of his principle of acquired characteristics.
Science is not free of culture. In 1962, Thomas Kuhn proposed that scientific theories are systems of belief; interlocking scientific, social and political ideas. Blinkered dogmatism continues until new evidence is overwhelming and a new theory deposes the old. Much of the evidence which apparently supports a theory actually supports its acceptability to scientists and the general community.
Most people, including writers and scientists, are unaware of their biased framework of ideas-silent assumptions. Why some invalid concepts are accepted without questions and why others that are obviously true are rejected is puzzling. Popular writers of evolution start off by stating that Lamarkism has definitely been proved to be invalid. Then they come up with eloquent stories using Lamarkism to explain how things have evolved. Most annoying! These writers seem to have a mental block that stops them from realizing that now their stories are in the same category as Walt Disney's fairy-tales, no matter how scientific they are made to appear. Apparently these writers are not able to make their evolution occur without using soft inheritance. What actually occurred in the distant past will always remain speculative and can never be known or proven for certain, but soft genetics is a definite "NO." Fraying of scales cannot affect the genes for scales and the next generation will again have scales, not feathers or hair. 7
There is no known (or even plausible) method by which scales could turn into feathers. But that doesn't stop evolutionists from saying that they did.
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(Fourth Edition), 1996, page 376
2Gould, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, 1983, page 170 (Ev)
3Dawkins, Climbing Mount Improbable, 1996, page 124 (Ev)
4Richter, Fossil News Vol. 3 Number 10/11 "Frayed Scales Become Feathers" page 12 (Ev)
5Ibid. page 13
6Ibid. pages 13-14
7Ibid. pages 14-15