Monday, July 15, 2013

Colors and Patterns

An article at recounts some amazing results of research that was done into why bird feathers take on the colors and patterns that they do.

It turns out that there are cells in the feather follicles that act like the ink jets in a printer. These cells inject colored pigments into the feather as it emerges from the follicle.

This is astonishing. What turns these cells on and off? What determines which colored pigments will be produced, when, and in what sequence? And how did a biological ink jet color printer ever evolve as a result of purely unintelligent, unguided processes?

The fundamental question each of us must answer, it seems to me, is this: Assuming that we don't know a priori whether a transcendent, intelligent artist exists or doesn't exist, and given what's now known about the production of the peacock feather in the above photo, does it seem more reasonable to think it's the result of intentional design or mindless chance?