Saturday, December 28, 2013

Evolutionists Conclude Magnetoreception Evolved

After They Doubted its Very Existence

Many animals use a built-in sixth sense called magnetoreception to sense direction and even location as they travel long distances. These magnetoreception capabilities are highly sophisticated and, after many decades of research, scientists still have not unraveled the full story. But as a recent report explains, a barrage of ingenuous experiments have begun to piece together many important aspects of magnetoreception.

Anyone who has used a compass can imagine how animals might be able to sense direction. A compass uses the Earth’s magnetic field to show north, east, south and west. Perhaps animals have miniature bio-compasses hard-wired to their brains, giving them an innate sense of direction.

But that alone does not account for the incredible feats of navigation and travel animals perform. Loggerhead turtles, for instance, after swimming in the swirling currents of the North Atlantic gyre need to adjust their direction carefully at key locations to return to the American coast. They need to be able to sense the key locations, not just know the compass directions. Simply put, they need map information and the sensory data to determine where they are on the map. One possibility is that they use the angle which the magnetic field lines make with the Earth surface, along with intensity anomalies.

From loggerhead turtles and homing pigeons to monarch butterflies and rainbow trout, scientists are researching not only how magnetic signals are sensed but how they are later processed. By exposing animals to different magnetic field patterns and observing their behavior scientists can infer much about how the signals are processed. Scientists have even observed the specific neurons that respond to different field patterns indicating the specific patterns the animal is perceiving.

What has been more elusive, however, are the actual receptors that detect and report the magnetic field measurements. In birds, scientists had thought that these miniature marvels were in the upper beak. But that hypothesis was found to be false and other possible locations include eyes and the inner ear.

The research can be “maddeningly difficult,” as one writer put it. But that does not mean the scientists are slowing down. As one scientist explained: “[Magnetoreception] is a huge mystery. That’s what makes this such an exciting field. We simply don’t know how they do this, so it’s wide open to discovery.”

It is also another example of the failure of evolutionary theory. Not only is there no scientific explanation for how such magneto reception, processing and decision-making could evolve, but the entire idea runs counter to evolution. Fifty years ago evolutionists ridiculed the idea that animals could detect such weak signals and use them in a sort of geographic information service. Now they claim it is all a result of blind evolution. As one evolutionist explained regarding the loggerhead turtles, “We think different areas along the migratory pathway are marked by unique magnetic signatures, and the turtles have evolved responses that are coupled to these signatures.” They think that not because the turtle’s magnetoreception appears to be a product of evolution, or that they have anything close to a scientific explanation for how it could have evolved. They think that because they believe evolution is true.

That is the extent of evolution’s contribution to this research.


  1. Genesis 1:20
    And God said,,, “and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

    The following articles are interesting for they point out a truly amazing design feature in the beaks, brains, ears and eyes of birds that allows some birds to ‘quantumly’ navigate as they migrate extremely long distances:

    Natural 'Magnetometer' in Upper Beak of Birds - Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: “Most probably each of these more than 500 dendrites encodes only one direction of the magnetic field,”,,, “These manifold data are processed to the brain of the bird and here – recomposed – serve as a basis for a magnetic map, which facilitates the spatial orientation.”

    Where Does a Bird’s Magnetic Sense Reside? - June 30, 2013
    Excerpt: The beak contains areas rich in iron, the article explains. Prior research had been inconclusive about a beak-to-brain connection from those iron particles to the brain. Recently, a German team cut the nerve between those regions and the brain in half of a group of Eurasian reed warblers, then moved the whole population from their normal take-off grounds in Russia to the east, 1000 km away. Here’s what happened as a result:
    "The warblers that had their beak-to-brain connection cut flew northeast, as if they had departed from near Kaliningrad -- they had lost their "map sense" and could no longer determine their location. Those with the nerve intact, on the other hand, quickly oriented themselves and turned northwest, toward their breeding grounds, the team reports this week in PLOS ONE. This meant that the beak-to-brain system, which, according to the earlier tests, had no impact on the "compass sense," did matter for the "map sense" of the birds -- if the link was damaged, the birds simply did not know they had been displaced."
    But the experiments are still inconclusive, so far, to explain all the observations. More iron clumps have been found in the birds’ inner ear, Current Biology reports:
    "This organelle is found in hair cells in a wide variety of avian species, but not in rodents or in humans. This structure may function as (1) a store of excess iron, (2) a stabilizer of stereocilia, or (3) a mediator of magnetic detection. Given the specific subcellular location, elemental composition, and evolutionary conservation, we propose that this structure is an integral component of the sensory apparatus in birds."
    By “evolutionary conservation,” the authors meant no evolution was found. The trait is common to all birds. Further, no precursor in reptiles was identified, nor any ancestry for the organelle. It appears evolutionary theory is useless for understanding bird migration.

    Bird Navigation: Great Balls of Iron - Apr. 25, 2013
    Excerpt: Their work,, reports the discovery of iron balls in sensory neurons. These cells, called hair cells, are found in the ear and are responsible for detecting sound and gravity. Remarkably, each cell has just one iron ball, and it is in the same place in every cell. "It's very exciting. We find these iron balls in every bird, whether it's a pigeon or an ostrich"

  2. Quantum compass for birds - January 2011
    Excerpt: In the new research, physicists at the University of Oxford and the National University of Singapore calculated that quantum entanglement in a bird’s eye could last more than 100 microseconds — longer than the 80 microseconds achieved in physicists’ experiments at temperatures just above absolute zero,,, The new prediction interprets data from earlier experiments that hinted at a quantum basis for magnetic navigation in migrating birds. In 2006, researchers in Frankfurt, Germany, netted 12 European robins migrating from Scandinavia. Researchers locked the robins in a wooden room and applied small magnetic fields tuned to a frequency that would disturb entangled electrons, if the birds indeed relied on entanglement to navigate.
    The magnetic field, at 150 nanoTesla, was about 300 times weaker than Earth’s magnetic field, so it wouldn’t be expected to confuse the birds in the absence of an entanglement-based navigation system. But with the magnetic field on, the birds flew randomly instead of all flying in the same direction.

    Vlatko Vedral Group
    Excerpt: we have recently showed that quantum coherence and entanglement present in the retinas of European Robins have a high noise tolerance, and thus could play a role in avian bird navigation.

    This ‘quantum navigation’ over long distances is indeed very impressive:

    Featherweight songbird is a long-distance champ - February 2012
    Excerpt: A tiny songbird weighing just two tablespoons of sugar migrates from the Arctic to Africa and back, a distance of up to 29,000 kilometres (18,000 miles), scientists reported on Wednesday.

    Study shows alpine swift (bird) can stay aloft for 200 days - Oct. 8, 2013
    Excerpt: In analyzing the data captured by the sensors, the researchers found that the test birds stayed in the air at one point for 200 days, covering approximately 10,000 kilometers in the process. This, the researchers report, is the longest flight duration ever recorded by a bird, and is only equaled by some sea-going creatures who need only propel themselves forward—birds of course also have to keep themselves in the air, a process that consumes a lot of energy.
    Some of the most obvious questions that come to mind regarding the birds are: how do they eat and drink? When do they sleep? Prior research has an answer for the first, they eat what is known collectively as aerial plankton—a mix of fungus spores, small insects, seeds and even bacteria that float about in the sky. The water in their food is apparently enough to sustain the birds indefinitely. As for how and when they sleep, scientists are still divided. Data from the sensors in the study indicated slow-downs, or periods of reduced activity where the birds glided more than flapped, but that clearly isn't enough evidence to prove that the birds were sleeping. Some suggest that the birds, like some other organisms, don't have to sleep, or only do so during certain periods of their lifecycle, such as during mating season.

  3. As well this ‘quantum navigation’ of birds is very nuanced:

    To Birds, Storm Survival Is Only Natural, - November 12, 2012
    "...powerful new satellite tracking studies of birds on the wing... reveal birds as the supreme masters of extreme weather management, able to skirt deftly around gale-force winds, correct course after being blown horribly astray, or even use a hurricane as a kind of slingshot to propel themselves forward at hyperspeed. ...
    Among a bird’s weather management skills is the power to detect the air pressure changes that signal a coming storm, and with enough advance notice to prepare for adversity. Scientists are not certain how this avian barometer works, yet the evidence of its existence is clear. ...
    ...once the storm had passed they took off, presumably heading back to where they wanted to be. “Birds have tremendous situational awareness...They know where they are and where they’re going, they’re able to fly back repeatedly, and they’ve shown an amazing ability to compensate for being pushed off track."

    FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds – Starling murmurations – video

    Starlings - Murmuration

    Verse, Quote, and Music:

    John 14:4-5
    “You know the way to the place where I am going. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

    “Death is not the end, it is simply walking out of the physical form and into the spirit realm, which is our true home. It’s going back home.” –
    Stephen Christopher

    Alison Krauss-Gillian Welch - I'll Fly Away - music video

  4. It has always been difficult for scientists (or anyone else) to imagine the possibility that various animals have sensory capabilities that we do not. An example would be the decades it took for us to realize that rats can learn to avoid novel foods when the time between tasting and nausea was as much as hours. Magnetic reception and then magnetic mapping was stumbled upon after years of being baffled by the navigation of homing pigeons, made more difficult by their using it only when they didn't have other means such as solar displacement available.

    Our not knowing the evolutionary history of magnetoreception is not an argument against its being evolved. Determining the evolution of any characteristic that does not leave a fossil record is darned difficult. In this case, it is not necessary that there even be a hard-shell receptor like ear bones - magnetic field travel right through us, so the sensory system could be completely within the soft tissue of the brain. Most likely it will eventually come about by tracing DNA signatures among animals exhibiting the characteristic backwards toward a common ancestor, but even that would be iffy. Bottom line on using this argument is the old and reliable "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

    1. Timothy:

      Bottom line on using this argument is the old and reliable "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

      Thank you for your comment, but please be careful not to misrepresent the OP. What you are calling "the old and reliable 'The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' " is an argument that you have projected onto the OP. In fact that argument is not made in the OP.

      If you're interested in "old reliable" arguments, this general approach is one example. Evolutionists claim evolution is a fact, and then when it is pointed out that the evidence is contrary to their claim, they switch to "you didn't disprove evolution." Do you see the fallacy?

  5. As a layman, I think the system is another example irreducible complexity as it would be useless for survival unless all the components are present, ready to assemble and work together accurately as one mechanism. Something I don't think evolutionary "cobbling" can account for.

  6. And yet -- supposedly -- the earth's magnetic field periodically collapses and reverses. So, *clearly* "evolution" also provides a means for these magnetorecepting species to take that into account -- else they'd be unable to get to where they need to go come breeding season, and would thus go extinct every time the magnetic field collaped.

    1. And yet -- supposedly -- the earth's magnetic field periodically collapses and reverses.

      Agreed. I have not seen this problem addressed by evolutionists.

  7. A collapse and reversal is supposed to happen on an average of 450,000 years, right? That hardly seems like time enough for magnetoreception to randomly evolve-and-fix. Or, even if it were enough time, about the time a species came to depend upon it, the magnetic field would collapse and reverse.

    According to the Wickedpedia (no foe of evolutionism, that!) – "A geomagnetic reversal is a change in the Earth's magnetic field such that the positions of magnetic north and magnetic south are interchanged. The Earth's field has alternated between periods of normal polarity, in which the direction of the field was the same as the present direction, and reverse polarity, in which the field was the opposite. These periods are called chrons. The time spans of chrons are randomly distributed with most being between 0.1 and 1 million years[citation needed] with an average of 450,000 years. Most reversals are estimated to take between 1,000 and 10,000 years. The latest one, the Brunhes–Matuyama reversal, occurred 780,000 years ago. A brief complete reversal, known as the Laschamp event, occurred only 41,000 years ago during the last glacial period. That reversal lasted only about 440 years with the actual change of polarity lasting around 250 years. During this change the strength of the magnetic field dropped to 5% of its present strength"

    So, according to evolutionism, a mere 41,000 years ago, there was a brief (i.e. 440 years) complete reversal of earth’s magnetic field. Now, while 440 years (or 250 years) may be “brief” on geological time-scales, in the life-span of an organism which needs to be at the right places -- feeding grounds and/or breeding grounds -- at the right times, this span of time of being unable to rely upon its magnetoreception to get there equals species extinction.

    1. Migratory birds that use the Earth's magnetic field are just using it to find their way from where the feeding was good for them in the Northern hemisphere Summer to where it was good for them in the Southern Hemisphere Summer.

      The bird when it hatches would get an imprint of what the magnetic field 'looks' like at its species' nesting site (where the feeding is excellent). Its parents (and all the other birds of the same species) would act to guide the new juvenile bird on its first migration to the other hemisphere to its alternate feeding site, where it would be imprinted with the how the magnetic field 'looks' like there too.

      So perhaps the bird when it migrates is just trying to match the magnetic field of its destination by successive approximation from the current magnetic field.

      And the Earth's magnetic field doesn't change quickly enough, year to year, to significantly change the magnetic field at its two end points. Navigation by magnetic fields could well be a stable evolutionary feature over millions of years, perhaps tens of millions of years, but the actual destinations could be just learned from one generation of migratory birds to the next.

      The destinations favoured by the migratory birds have to change over time too. We're currently in an ice age (there's Summer ice at both poles) for the last 3 million years or so, with about 50 glaciations and the same number of interglacial periods. In the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago, migratory birds would have had a much shorter distance to migrate each year between destinations each much closer to the equator.

      Migratory patterns can change, perhaps. People in England often feed birds in Winter. A sub-population of a migratory bird which normally winters in the Mediterranean region was apparently recently blown off course and landed in England, where it found a reliable source of food. So if this sub-population thrives in its new Winter site and if it interbreeds entirely with other members of itself in the Summer nesting site, potentially over time it could become a new sub-species and eventually a new species.