The Process of Creating by Combining

The fundamental process of Continuing Creation is this: When a steady flow of energy encounters a receptive environment, it weaves patterns and creates systems of increasing Complexity.

Thomas Edison’s invention of the usable light bulb entailed combining the right bulb components into a bulb that really worked over several hours of time. Edison’s light bulb combined four pieces of scientific knowledge:

(1) Knowledge that an electric current in a fine wire (“filament”) could make it heat up and glow, shining out light.

(2) Knowledge that when such a fine filament was surrounded by normal air, the oxygen in the air would make the filament rapidly burn up.

(3) Knowledge that if the filament is placed in a glass bulb that has had all the air (oxygen) sucked out of it the filament likely would not burn up.

(4) Knowledge that after trying countless different filaments, Edison made a successful light bulb by using carbonized cotton thread filament. Later, a tungsten filament was found to last far longer.

In common speech we usually say that the bird species “learned” how to fly.  It would be more correct to say that one (or a few) particular species of small dinosaur evolved feathers for warmth, then used longer feathers for gliding, and then used feathers further tapered and streamlined by additional evolution for more efficient flying.

But it would also be correct to say that early birds and Earth’s atmosphere combined to create useful flying. Can we say that useful, controlled flying is something utterly new and different than anything that came before?  Pretty much we can, although flying was preceded by light-weight dinosaurs jumping from limb-to-limb and then by gliding from limb to limb. The shape of bird wings parallels the shape of fish fins because twisting both wings and fins achieves guidance through a surrounding medium.