Two Ways to Look at a Fin
Two science articles this month showed very different ways to look at a fish fin. One looked for evolution; the other looked for design. One tried to trace an evolutionary story with no practical application; the other tried to find ways to improve our lives.
The evolutionary story involved a fossil coelacanth. Science Daily reported that a fossil coelacanth fin found by researchers from University of Chicago “fills a shrinking evolutionary gap between fins and limbs.” Yet it was unclear how it did so, since the article went on to say that both the fins of coelacanths and lungfish, once thought to be ancestral to tetrapods, are in fact actually specialized. Matt Friedman, the team leader, denied even that coelacanth was a living fossil. It was also unclear how this fossil helped the evolutionary story. “With things like this [fossil],” he said, “we’re beginning to hone in on the primitive conditions of fins that gave rise to limbs later on.” This indicates that they do not have evidence of primitive fins – only of advanced fins that could not have been part of an assumed evolutionary sequence leading to limbs.
The other story, a press release from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described how a team is trying to imitate the swimming action of fish fins. “Inspired by the efficient swimming motion of the bluegill sunfish, MIT researchers are building a mechanical fin that could one day propel robotic submarines.” The sunfish can hover, turn, and store energy. This particular species is able to propel itself forward with no backward drag. As part of their research, the team “broke down the fin movement of the sunfish into 19 components and analyzed which ones are critical to achieving the fish’s powerful forward thrust.” Then they built an artificial fin using advanced polymers to mimic the motion. Some day, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) may use these principles to achieve greater maneuverability at less energy cost. This effort “gives us the potential to build machines or robots in a manner closer to how nature creates things,” said one, and “will help engineers figure out how to best adapt nature’s principles to designing robotic vehicles.”
Compare the benefit of biomimetic research with the utter uselessness of Darwinian speculation. The nonsense going on at U of Chicago, the Center of Tetrapod Evolution Fability (01/16/2007 commentary), is wasting our time. They cannot connect the fossil dots in any believable sequence between fish and amphibians, but have the gall to lie to us: first, about the “shrinking evolutionary gap between fins and limbs,” and secondly by denying coelacanth is a living fossil. Do they even know what a living fossil is? Here was a creature known only from the fossil record, thought to be extinct from the age of dinosaurs, that was found alive and well in 1938. It doesn’t matter whether it is considered a transitional form now, because it was thought to be so by all evolutionists then. When they found that it does not use its fins for supporting its body on land, they had to quickly change their fable in light of the facts in front of them. They’ve learned nothing in the intervening 70 years and have done no one any good. Evolution is useless, vapid, evanescent speculation about things they cannot know and cannot prove, holding us hostage to promissory notes about insight that turns out to be positively anti-knowledge (see Luther Sunderland comments).
The other story, by contrast, has real value. The researchers saw an efficient design in nature. They were inspired to create a similar mechanism that could improve our lives. Which kind of science do you prefer gets the government funding? If the rascally Darwinist usurpers ever get ejected from the lab for the crime of impersonating a scientist, civilization won’t miss them. Real scientists will suddenly see a surge in funding and resources that had been wasted on fruitless storytelling. Help mankind: fire a Darwinist.