When I see what this Answers in Genesis idiot article is written by, I'm reminded about Marcus Ross who lied his way to getting a PH.D from Rhode Island University as mentioned before. This article is entitled Did Microraptor gui invent the biplane before the Wright brothers? and guess who wrote this idiot article, a creationist with an undeserving PH.D! That's who! David Menton, a creationist, who claims to have a PH.D, wrote this article, in response to this article, that deals with one of China's most incredible fossil findings ever unearthed in Liaoning Provence in China. Living about 125 million years ago, this dinosaur, according to recent studies, is known to probably fly or glide around from tree to tree like a WWI Bi-plane. Menton is trying to discredit this by claiming that Microraptor was only a bird, not a dinosaur. He's lying. Microraptor was a feathered dinosaur closely related to Velociraptor and Sinornithosaurus. Apparently, he never look at the scientific papers or the fossil of Microraptor enough to know who Microraptor really is. Instead he imagines Microraptor as being just a bird so he won't face up to the truth about Microraptor being a transitional dinosaur that violates the creationists' way of dealing with animal "kinds".
The article starts out,
"Once again, the media is abuzz with feathered dinosaurs busily "experimenting" with flight. This time the presumed dinosaur, Microraptor gui, is claimed to be a double-winger just like the biplane the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk!"
The claim is true. However, he claims this is all made up by evolutionists to make evolution plausible to the layperson in his own words "by likening the process of evolution to the progressive development of air travel from the Wright brothers to the space shuttle."
He then says,
"Never mind that the process of evolution is without goal or purpose, while the progressive development of aircraft involved a vast amount of intelligent design."
To be honest with you, I don't know much about intelligent design (ID). But I do know for certain is that intelligent design (the teachings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) is just as flawed and false as young earth creationism is. Just like all creationists, Menton doesn't want his followers to know that what "evolutionists" promote is all based on evidence only, not made up, plausible stories with no purpose and goal like what ID advocates and creationists only promote to the lay people. Thus, it is evident that Menton's article from top to bottom has the word hypocrisy written all over it.
While quote mining an article taking from the January issue of The Cincinnati Enquirer (He never specifically mentions the exact date of the January issue where the article is said to have appeared in. I've tried looking for the article on both The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Cincinnati Post websites, but I didn't see it. Obviously, the article is either non-existent or coming from another newspaper than what is mentioned in the article.) along with playing word games, Menton rhetorically asks, "But are we to conclude that evolution actually 'employed strategy' in its effort to 'figure out' how to fly?" and then adds,
"Isn't it interesting that biology teachers are forbidden to use the expression "intelligent design" when referring to the integrated complexity of biological systems but they apparently can use words like 'invent,' 'experiment,' 'strategy' and 'figure out' when referring to the chance evolution of these same systems."
He's lying. No one has ever forbade biology teachers to use the expression "intelligent design" when explaining anything about Evolution and Chance. What they, the creationists and the IDers are really doing is forbidding the biology teachers to mention the word "evolution" in their classrooms or face the screaming rants from the kids' idiotic parents who whine about evolution being taught in schools and either force the teachers teach them creationism and intelligent design together alongside evolution, fire or put the teachers elsewhere, or have their kids get taken out of public schools so they can force feed creationism toiletry, ignorance, and stupidity down their throats rather than have them learn about evolution, facts, and reality based upon evidence.
The reality is that Intelligent Design advocates wanted science classrooms to promote the teachings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as an alternative to Darwin's evolutionary theory in hopes to gaining more followers that willfully make the creationists rich and powerful, dispel evolution, and become followers of creationism. Thankfully thus far, their strategies to impose ID in the classroom always end up in failure, just like the "creation science movement" of the 1970s'.
The next segment, entitled Did Microraptor gui have a second pair of wings? (Answer: it does!), in the first part describes the fossils of the dinosaurs and describes how scientists once thought that Microraptor glides through the air like a flying squirrel until recent studies on its leg structure shows us that Microraptor actually flies about like a WWI Bi-plane.
Next in M. gui and the Origin of Flight, Menton mentions about 2 theories about how dinosaurs/birds get off the ground, the ground-up theory (flight occurs off the ground), and the off-the-tree theory (flight occurs off a tree branch) and concludes that the off-the-tree theory is the prevailing view scientists are embracing based on evidence, not their imaginations.
Menton then explains about distinguishing flying birds from non-flying birds just by looking at the kinds of feathers they have in the next section entitled, Feathers may provide evidence for powered flight. But what does that have to do with Microraptor? Answer: Nothing. Menton made this up out of ignorance of the fact that Microraptor is hands down a transitional form that violates the lie creationists constantly tell about transitional fossils being non-existent.
Now the next section, entitled What kind of feathers did M.gui have?, displays complete ignorance of the fact that Archaeopteryx was not just the "world's first bird", but also a dinosaur as well, sharing the exact same characteristics as Compsognathus, its closest relative. As a matter of fact, some Archaeopteryx fossils were mistaken as Compsognathus fossils because of its anatomy being very similar to that of Compsognathus. Scientists even speculated that the fossils once belong to a certain species of Compsognathus that had flippers on its forelimbs which it used to swim in lakes and rivers in search for food. But that was before palaeontologists noticed that the supposed Compsognathus fossils actually bore faint feathered imprints on it, telling them that the fossils are really that of Archaeopteryx, not a Compsognathus with flippers on its forelimbs.
The next section entitled, But was M. gui a dinosaur? (Answer: A definitive yes!), displays complete ignorance of the fact that Microraptor, like Archaeopteryx, was indeed feathered dinosaur transforming into a bird and, like Archaeopteryx, shares many traits with other theropod dinosaurs such as Compsognathus and Tyrannosaurus Rex (i.e. Clawed hands on its wings, beakless, toothed mouth, saurischian hip, and a long bony tail). Here, Menton claims,
There are in fact known dinosaurs with feathers. What Menton is really doing is misrepresenting Alan Feduccia and his coworkers, who are ornithologists who believed that birds and coelurosaurs evolve separately from an earlier drepanosaur (specifically, megalancosaur) ancestor they both share with. As you can see here in Feduccia's abstract, this is not what Feduccia is really saying about feathered dinosaurs. It is evident that Menton, like Ken Ham in his idiot propaganda book, The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved, thinks that Feduccia is supportive of his young earth beliefs while in fact he's not.
He then went on,
"They further point out that the three digits of the theropod hand are 1, 2, and 3 (digits 4 and 5 being reduced during embryonic development), while the three digits of the bird hand are 2, 3, and 4 (digits 1 and 5 being reduced or resorbed during embryonic development)"
That claim is also a lie, too. Just ask PZ.
He then claims,
"Perhaps the biggest problem is that Archaeopteryx, a true bird with true feathers, is believed by evolutionists to occur in the fossil record 60-80 million years earlier than the Chinese theropod dinosaurs that are presumed to be the ancestors of birds."
And goes on,
"Finally, several unquestioned birds with unquestioned feathers have been found in the early Cretaceous in China including the modern looking aquatic bird Gansus yumenensis. The microraptors themselves, including M. gui, are more like birds than theropod dinosaurs. If we compare the hands of Microraptor to Archaeopteryx, for example, we find the same bird-like phalangeal formula for their digits (2-3-4). Feduccia et al. have concluded that 'the microraptors of China are birds, regardless of their ancestry'"
That statement is a misrepresentation of what Feduccia wrote in his 1999 book, The origin and evolution of birds, which actually talks about how dinosaurs and birds evolve separately from a common ancestor both groups share with. It has nothing to do with what creationists like Menton has claimed about Feduccia at all. In fact this is no different than the falsehood about humans can't evolve from apes because they're not extinct AIG supposedly debunked in their arguments they think creationists should not use but use them anyway.
And finally, Menton concludes this article by claiming,
"The story that emerges then is not as charming as that presented in the popular media of feathered dinosaurs "experimenting" with flight using the same biplane "strategy" as the Wright brothers used, in an effort to "figure out" how to fly. A critical assessment of the data by evolutionists themselves reveals that, regardless of how it flew, M. gui was a bird, not a dinosaur. The evidence supports the conclusion that birds give rise to birds, and that they reproduce after their kind. But this is a story unlikely to be embraced by evolutionists or the popular media."
He's flat out lying. Microraptor is a dromaeosaurid closely related to Velociraptor, Dromaeosaurus, Deinonychus, Sinornithosaurus, Noasaurus, and all other Dromaeosaurs out there. Microraptor was a sickled clawed dinosaur whose skeleton looks like this:
Now compare Microraptor with Velociraptor
And here's what a skeleton of a modern bird really looks like.
Now does Microraptor really look just like a bird to you? No it doesn't. It looks just like a Velociraptor and is closely related to Sinornithosaurus. Thus, Microraptor is hands down a dinosaur evolving into a bird. Menton made up this stupid article as a feeble attempt to hide the fact that Microraptor is a transitional dinosaur giving rise to a bird, not some Dolly type cloning machine that produces another bird just like it at a very fast rate, like what Menton and other creationists would like for you to believe rather than facing the hardcore reality of having actual dino-bird transitional forms around, which is a direct violation of the creationists' own version of the Bible phrase "reproduce after their kind" which they daily flash out in front of your face like porn.