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Leading Biomimetic Scientist: Don’t Let Materialism Trump Evidence


Here’s another ID-goes-international story, hard on the heels of the Discovery Institute-Mackenzie launch in Brazil last week: A groundbreaking South Korean scientist, Dr. Seung-Yop Lee, has come out against the practice of ruling intelligent design hypotheses out of bounds before considering the evidence.

“As a biomimetic researcher, I wonder how the complex photonic nanostructures of insects first arose,” he writes. “Biological designs are sparking a gold rush of innovation for engineers and scientists, but by and large, only materialistic explanations for these biological structures are allowed in the biomimetic field.”

Lee is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Sogang University in Seoul and a leading figure in the field of biomimetics.

Lee’s recent reading of Jonathan Wells’s new book, Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution, precipitated the comments. “In his excellent new book, Zombie Science, Jonathan Wells urges another approach to scientific investigation,” Lee wrote. “Don’t let materialistic philosophy trump the evidence, Wells says. Instead, follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

An article in the journal Nature reports on one of Dr. Lee’s biomimetic innovations, “a film that changes color according to the ambient humidity.” According to the article, the invention was “inspired by the natural design of the Hercules beetle” and paves the way to the development of a sensor that “would not need electricity and could be used in small medical or agricultural devices.”

More of his insect-mimicking work was recently published in Scientific Reports here.

Professor Lee’s success at making design breakthroughs by looking for inspiration from engineering marvels in the biological realm appears to have left him impatient with dogmatic materialism in origins biology, and sympathetic to the argument Wells makes in his new book. “The title, Zombie Science, is quirky and colorful,” Lee said, “but Wells uses it to highlight a real problem: Vivid ‘proofs’ of evolution still lumber along even after contrary evidence has killed them off and mainstream biologists have renounced them.”

Zombie Science is a sequel to Dr. Wells’s 2001 book, Icons of Evolution. “Wells brings readers up to date on the original ten icons, and debunks six more,” Lee comments in his endorsement of the book. “Wells argues that these debunked icons persist in textbooks and elsewhere only because they support a dominant evolutionary paradigm and a materialistic dogma. Zombie Science is a timely call for reform.”

Evolution News has reported here, here, here, here, and here on just a few of the many veins being mined in the field of biomimetics. Find many more articles on the subject by plugging “biomimetics” into the website’s search field.

Photo: Hercules beetle, by Richie Diesterheft via Flickr.