Wednesday, 19 May 2010

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

This is the text of a letter sent to 'Convert's Corner' on Richard Whether it will ever see the light of day there is very doubtful, as my experience tells me that they are not at all willing to publish material which stabs the sacred cow where it hurts. I'll keep an eye open for it, but as I say, I'm not hopeful.

Dear Dr Dawkins

You have written such books as the Blind Watchmaker whose descriptions I have read, and to be frank, could not better myself. Your description of the bats and their echolocation devices is unsurpassable.

You described feats of biological engineering which the US Military even today is investigating with a view to emulating them - by so far do they exceed their existing missile tracking and echolocating devices in planes and submarines.

You look at the flying capacities of bats, which in terms of body length per hour, far exceed the speeds of F-14 Phantom jets. The little animals achieve all this flying with their fingers, yet.

Their insect-catching capacity is at the rate of about 5 per minute: and the insects are dodging and weaving – and still being caught. The calculations defy belief – yet they do occur, so effectively that the bats are one of the most successful groups of living animals today, being about 20% of all known mammal species.

And all this, you say, ‘evolved’ by little steps.

For shame, sir.

Such claims insult the intelligence of your readers. Anyone, such as yourself, who could look at an F-14 Phantom jet and say it evolved by little steps, without direct intelligent guidance and construction, would rightly attract the speculative psychiatric eye, and MacDonnell Douglas would probably have your shirt for slandering their splendid aeronautical engineers and their years of work.

Yet, the bats are far superior to the jets. They can reproduce themselves – and no jet can even begin to do that. This capacity is beyond even the imagination of the aeronautical engineers. They may dream about it, but that’s all. And here are the bats doing just that from the early Eocene, that’s over 50 milion years ago, as I’m sure I don’t need to remind you.

Curiously enough, the very earliest bats possess the echolocation apparatus. The very earliest has been shown to use a form of laryngeal echolocation. And there the situation stands: they emerged at one go, it seems, with no discernible ancestors. Where are your ‘little steps’ of evolution then? Nonexistent, of course.

Such factual information as this hews great holes in any theory of evolution. And we haven’t even touched the greatest problem of all yet: where did the instincts which power the flight of the bats come from? Where did they originate, and how did they enter the genome? Please answer that if you will.

So I regret that I am not one joining the universal paean of praise for your alleged excellence. I can see the holes in the road before you far too clearly to be taken in by your fantasising.

Yours faithfully