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Dawkins, I.d. And The Bird's Egg.

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Khandro | 15:05 Tue 23rd Aug 2016 | Science
36 Answers
"Ben Stein: What do think is the possibility that intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics, or in evolution?
Richard Dawkins: Well, it could come about in the following way: it could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto, perhaps, this planet. Now that is a possibility and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of our chemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer, and that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe. But that higher intelligence would itself have had to have come about by some explicable, or ultimately explicable, process. It couldn't have just jumped into existence spontaneously, that's the point."

So even he is prepared to consider the possibility, but can you read the following and have any doubts?;


The freshly laid bird’s egg is a
complete and self-contained support
system for the developing embryo
within, and thus its yolk must contain,
by necessity, all the nutrients for its
transformation into a fully formed
fledgling – the twenty essential amino
acids to construct its body parts, a dozen
vitamins, sufficient energy-rich fats
(saturated and unsaturated), the
minerals iodine, selenium, phosphorus
and zinc, and that crucial structural
component of the cell wall, cholesterol.
There is certainly perfection in how
the yolk contains all these nutrients
in precisely the right amounts and
proportions, but more perfect still, is how the egg
acquires through its seemingly
impermeable shell the only vital
requirement from the outside world for
the embryo’s development – oxygen.
The egg’s ability to ‘breathe’ is
determined by the shell’s method of
construction. The arrival of the yolk and
enfolding ‘white’ in the uterus activates
dozens of tiny aerosol sprays that squirt a
concentrated solution of calcium
carbonate. The solution hardens to form
columns of calcite packed against each
other ‘like a stack of fence posts’ and
separated by tiny vertical spaces – or
microscopic pores.
This method of construction might
seem a bit haphazard but the ‘total pore
area’ – their number multiplied by their
diameter – must be precisely calibrated
to ensure the correct flow of gases in and
out of the shell: too high and the oxygen dependent
metabolism goes into
overdrive, too low and the embryo within
will suffocate through lack of oxygen or
be poisoned by the accumulation of
carbon dioxide.
Thus the ‘total pore area’ of the ten
thousand pores in the shell of a 60g
chick’s egg is determined by its
requirement, over the 21 days of its
incubation, to take up six litres of oxygen
and expel as waste products 4.5 litres of
carbon dioxide and 11 litres of water
The volume of gases exchanged are,
biologist Hermann Rahn discovered in
the 1970s, perfectly ‘attuned’ to the size
of the embryo with a direct correlation
between the total pore area and the mass
of the egg – from the 300 pores of the
tiny darting hummingbird to the 30,000
of the 1kg egg of the lumbering emu.
The practicalities of how the number and
size of the pores in an eggshell is so
exquisitely determined, Birkhead
observes, ‘is completely unknown’.
Next, colour. In the final hours before
the egg is laid, a further set of aerosol
sprays squirt coloured dyes over the
calcite to provide the ground colour of
the egg’s surface – blue or green, yellow,
red or brown. And when this dries,
another set of sprays provides the spots
and streaks as if, Birkhead remarks,
‘Jackson Pollock were trickling paint
across a canvas from a heavily loaded



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beso; //What a stupid argument based on profound ignorance.//
Even someone as stupid as I can see that the complexity of the egg as outlined above has been arrived at by an evolutionary process, but that isn't the point. Do you believe that such complexity and perfection of function can be arrived at by a continual series of blind accidents, or do you think there might be a driving creative force, there embedded ?

jim; There are no better or worse eggs, worse eggs would be imperfect and only perfection can produce the chick. Which is not to say that a chick cannot be born with defects, then it wouldn't survive, but the 'mechanism' of the egg was successful.
"jim; There are no better or worse eggs, worse eggs would be imperfect and only perfection can produce the chick."

But that's not actually true, and therein lies the entire problem with your argument.

As to "blind accidents". Evolution isn't blind to natural pressures, and indeed that's the whole point of how it works.
Question Author
I'm not sure why it isn't true.
and the process from say, a simple hour-glass to a digital chronometer is an incrementally evolutionary one, but each stage has required intelligence.
I suggest the egg is much more complex than a watch.
No of course I don't think that there were lots and lots of 'failed eggs' which didn't work until by some amazing accident one did. I doubt anyone would believe that "straw man". Reproduction goes ahead via something that doesn't quite qualify as an egg, beforehand. This is how evolution works. Eventually an improvement occurs and this gives it a survival advantage and becomes the norm over the next set of generations.
At the very least, Khandro, you have a horribly narrow definition of "perfection" -- which covers a far broader spectrum of viable eggs than you seem to think is the case. That allows the observed end-product to have been reached naturally, because it absolutely did not have to be achieved in a single step.
But eggs are subject to changes over time and a filter system that removes those unsuitable for use. No watch reproduces generation after generation in order to evolve. Complexity is no indication of a problem; it is what one would expect over the longer time period. It just needs an ability to travel a path from what was to what is.

It just needed an ability to travel a path from what was to what is.
It just needs an ability to travel a path from what is to what will be.
Question Author
'you have a horribly narrow definition of "perfection"' --My dictionary defines perfect as, 'Complete, faultless' doesn't that apply to the OP description of an egg? how would it be improved?
Time & evolution will tell. Although I'd suggest it has a variation of perfection not a single example so improvement may not even be necessary. At least until circumstances change.
Turning to a dictionary in a scientific argument is a poor choice.

What I mean is that -- well, firstly, eggs aren't prefect anyway, as I keep stressing. And secondly, even if they are, there is plenty more tolerance to that perfection than you give credit for, so continually trying to insist that if the egg were not how it is now then it would be useless is simply wrong.

As is usually the case with "irreducible complexity" arguments, the entire position is flawed from the start. It should come as no surprise that the conclusions of that argument are equally mistaken.
Question Author
jim; I have not on this thread mentioned irreducible complexity, you did that. The egg is certainly not that, otherwise there would be no difference between that of a humming bird and an ostrich.
There are though things which are, - the process of blood-clotting for example, but that is another argument.
Naomi, 'Why if the design is intelligent are design faults so prevalent?'

Simply because the process hasn't reached its Zenith?

My question in relation to a pre programmed driving force in evolution would be the sheer variety of species. Surely such a driving force would result in the evolution of 1 type of bird, 1 type of fish, 1 type of human etc?

Very interesting debate Khandro. My apologies for making light of it yesterday.
It wouldn't reach a zenith. A design would be right from the start, or at least avoid obvious weaknesses.
Your wordy explanation of the egg proofs nothing. An reptile's egg with a soft shell is just as complicated, as are all stem cells.

The existence of the bird egg shell is proof that evolution has found an successful way for a birds to propagate their species with sufficient numbers to compensate for the predation of the progeny. A bird could not survive properly if it was to carry a clutch of eggs inside it's body until hatching time, some have so many eggs in a clutch that the total weight exceeds the bird's weight, so hard shells are essential for birds.

-- answer removed --

Need to subscribe to read it all, but it's on the shelves now.

Start to life without ID. Implying honing the organisms to best fit occurs without intelligent manipulation.

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