April 20, 2002 | David F. Coppedge

Flies Turn on a Dime

51; A fly can turn 180 degrees in one tenth the time it takes you to blink an eye.  Beating their wings 250 times a second, they don’t even have to think about each wing beat, PhysOrg said about studies at Brown University using high-speed cameras and image tracking software.  “[Attila] Bergou discovered that flies rely less on their brains than previously thought and more on the clever design of their wings,” the article said.  “To make a turn, a fly simply twitches a muscle that rolls its shoulder slightly.  The wing does the rest, naturally adjusting over the course of a few beats, tilting by about 9 degrees, and creating drag forces that wheel the insect around.”  The article includes a 32-second video clip that allows you to watch the turn in slow motion.
    The U-turn of the fly is much faster than anything man-made can achieve.  A scientist at Harvard is looking enviously at the fly, the article said, for envisioning electrical flying robots that may some day come close to matching the fly’s design specifications.

Evolution makes sense when you think in generalities.  When you look at things in detail, and measure what is required to make them function, you start thinking in terms of design specifications.  You want to imitate them.  When you try to imitate them, and find out how hard it is, you become an intelligent design believer.  Darwinian excuses like, “Evolution had a million year head start,” begin to sound like desperate question-begging attempts to hang onto an obsolete dogma that has lost its credibility in the details.

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