Falcons, Guided Missiles, and God

From Issue: R&R – January 2018

You might not be aware that in certain scientific circles there is a heated debate as to how birds of prey, especially peregrine falcons, are so adept at catching their prey. These amazing birds can reach speeds of over 200 mph and successfully snatch a bird out of the air. A vast amount of research has been done in an attempt to identify exactly how this is possible. New research, highlighted by NPR science writer Rebecca Hersher, suggests that peregrine falcons use virtually the same technique as rocket scientists use to program their guided missiles.

Hersher focuses on the work of several Oxford research scientists that recently came out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.1 Their research points to the fact that peregrine falcons use something called proportional navigation. Hersher explains: “Proportional navigation is based on the idea that if you’re a missile (or falcon) it’s possible to collide with an object (or prey) simply by tracking how the line between you and the target is changing.”2 One of the researchers noted: “There is an elegance to the fact that this is the same thing control missile engineers have ended up at.” 3

It should come as no surprise, then, that when God confronted Job, He asked Job: “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle mount up at your command?” (Job 39:26-27). When talking about the peregrine falcon, we are literally dealing with rocket science. But it does not take a rocket scientist to know that such intelligent design capabilities cannot come about by an evolutionary process of random events over millions of years.


1 Rebecca Hersher, Peregrine Falcons Attack Like Missiles to Grab Prey Midair, Scientists Find, NPR,

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.


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