For Uncommon Descent Question 12: Can Darwinism beat the odds?, we have declared a winner, and it is Philip W at 11.
Philip W must provide me with a valid postal address* via firstname.lastname@example.org, in order to receive the prize, a free copy of the Privileged Planet DVD.
Philip W tells me that he is a pilot, and I liked his analysis of issues around flight:
Darwinian evolution can not possibly explain the life which we find on this planet. Let’s explore one of these methods by asking the question “How, and why, did flight originate?” Before any creature took to the air there was nothing there to eat and so why would any creature, even an intelligent creature, want to fly. There could have been no powerful survival benefit in flight beyond perhaps escaping a predator to recommend it. Also, there are many other and far simpler ways to escape a predator. Flight is perhaps the most complicated and sophisticated activity that any creature possesses which means that it would have taken an extraordinary number of attempts by random evolutionary methods to make it a reality. There is another and even more fundamental question which underlies biological flight. Did nature, completely unguided by intelligence, just somehow know that flight was even possible or achievable? Humans, with their intelligence, were able to make gliders and toy airplanes long ago but they had an objective and they also had the model of the birds to follow. Even at that it took a long time to achieve human flight despite the huge cost in time, effort, and treasure which they were willing to expend. No amount of tinkering, especially without a conscious objective, could possibly account for biological flight. There are simply too many things which would have had to happen all at once for that to be possible. Remember that nature had no way of knowing that flight was possible and it certainly had no previous conception of flight. Without having an objective how can random tinkering achieve anything?