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Breaking: Birds fly forward. Big US textbook author defends Darwinism to Royal Society


A friend notes that Doug Futuyma’s abstract for the upcoming Royal Society Public Evolution Summit is now available. Based on the predictable and disappointing verbiage, the friend fears that the meeting will fizzle:

Abstract: The evolutionary synthesis today: extend or amend?

Evolutionary theory has been extended almost continually since the Evolutionary Synthesis, but the principal tenets of the Synthesis have been strongly supported, the single most important exception being the greater importance accorded genetic drift, especially in molecular evolution. The calls for an extended synthesis today are largely a continuation of this process. Some elements of the EES movement, such as the role of niche construction, are welcome emphases on long recognised but perhaps under-studied processes. The union of population genetic theory with mechanistic understanding of molecular and developmental processes is a potentially productive conjunction of ultimate and proximal causation; but the latter does not replace or invalidate the former. Newly discovered molecular genetic phenomena have been easily accommodated by orthodox evolutionary theory in the past, and this appears to hold also for phenomena such as epigenetic inheritance today. In several of these areas, empirical evidence is needed to evaluate enthusiastic speculation. Evolutionary theory today will continue to be extended, but there is no sign that it requires emendation.

It’s actually worse than the friend fears. If the Royal Society cannot have a serious meeting without being warned by US textbook bigs not to mess with their royalties for promoting the status quo, then the Royal Society has a way bigger problem than evolution.

See also: What to expect from the Royal Society’s Public Evolution Summit

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Thanks BA from another BA: And I have noticed that the many geese we see around here in New England ... flying North to South then South to North, all seem to be flying forward -- and they all seem to be goal directed in the truest Darwinian tradition. ayearningforpublius
yearning, don't worry you are in very good company:
What Bird Can Fly Backwards? October 4, 2014 Excerpt: There exists only one species of bird that can reliably fly both forward and backward with precision without relying on the assistance of wind. In fact, this bird species can fly side to side, hover, and mostly move what can best be described as a “flying ninja.” We are referring to the Hummingbird: the most nimble and tactical species of all birds. The hummingbird has a unique muscle and wing structure that gives them a level of flight control that other birds envy (or at least we do). You can think of a hummingbird as a miniature helicopter. Like a helicopter, the hummingbird can hover, fly right to left, left to right, diagonal, forwards, and yes, even backwards. The hummingbird has the ability to rotate its wings in circles making a figure eight. Based on the configuration of the figure eight as shown below, the hummingbird can change directions at will. So not only does the hummingbird fly backwards, it does so with great speed and grace. In fact, they fly at a speed of up to 30 mph! If you ever observe one, you will without a doubt notice their quickness. You may also notice that their wings move so quickly that they are just a blur. This blurred effect is a result of their wings flapping between 15 to 100 times per second to maintain the kind of agility to allow them to fly backwards. Birds that Fly Backwards: Interesting Facts The heart rate of a hummingbird can reach over 1,000 beats a minute. The fast-paced wing flapping creates a humming noise, which gives them their name. 1/3rd of a hummingbirds total weight comes from the muscles it uses to fly. Hummingbirds are constantly eating in order to fuel their flight agility; they have the highest metabolisms of all birds. In one day, a hummingbird will eat twice its body weight to survive. Luckily for the hummingbird, they expend the same amount of energy moving forward as they do moving backwards! http://www.ponderweasel.com/what-bird-can-fly-backwards/ Hummingbirds Make Flying Backward Look Easy - Sept. 2012 Excerpt: Sapir was surprised to discover that instead of being more costly, backward flight was as cheap as forward flight and 20% more efficient than hovering. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927091924.htm Slow Motion Hummingbird Feeding Closeup. - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYVtdZdiD9k FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds - Hummingbird tongue - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMw3RO7p9yg Hummingbird Anatomy,,, Wings: A hummingbird's wings are unlike any other bird's wings. They allow a hummingbird fly forward, backward, hover, and even fly upside-down for a short period of time. Hummingbirds are the only birds in the world that can fly like this. A hummingbird can perform these feats of acrobatics for several reasons. First of all their shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint that allows the hummingbird to rotate their wings one hundred eighty (180) degrees in all directions. Hummingbird wings with beat about seventy (70) times per second while in regular flight and up to 200 times per second when diving. (Smaller hummingbird's wings beat about thirty-eight (38) to about seventy-eight (78) times a second while larger ones beat their wings about eighteen (18) to twenty-eight (28) times per second.) Hummingbirds don't flap their wings, they rotate them. When hummingbirds fly, they move their wings in an oval pattern, except when they are hovering. When they are hovering they will move their wings in a figure-eight motion. A hummingbird can fly at an average speed of twenty-five (25) to thirty (30) miles per hour, and dive at a speed of up to sixty (60) miles per hour. When hummingbirds fly, they fly upright, facing the world, not flat like most birds. http://www.worldofhummingbirds.com/anatomy.php “Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.” Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function “The whole notion of feathered dinosaurs is a myth that has been created by ideologues bent on perpetuating the birds-are-dinosaurs theory in the face of all contrary evidence” Storrs Olson - curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History Genesis 1:20 And God said,,, “and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”
Off topic, but seeing "Birds fly forward" in the title caused a bit of a chuckle with the Mrs. and me. You see we are from Butte Montana -- a very Democratic town. Back in the days of G.W Bush(43), and after he went from hero to villain, and emails for/against him were flowing hot and heavy, an old friend from Butte sent back a scathing anti-Bush screed that went something like this: " ... if all the Republican brains in Butte were put into a bird, the bird would fly backwards." All these years of flying backwards have caused heavy strain and havoc in my neck, and I'm greatly relieved to know the bird and I can now safely and scientifically fly forward. Thanks so much for this great news! ayearningforpublius

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