Biomimicry and Intelligent Design Seeing Increased Media Coverage

Last year I wrote a series of posts about biomimetics (also called “biomimicry”), a term used to describe the way human engineers mimic nature in order to improve human technology. In fact, I recently blogged about how biomimicry of cuttlefish luminescence in new television technology further strengthens the case for intelligent design (ID) in biology. Even some members of the media cannot deny the relevance of biomimicry to the ID debate. A recent article in the London Telegraph was titled “Biomimicry: Why the World is Full of Intelligent Design.” It reported, “Forget human ingenuity — the best source of ideas for cutting-edge technology might be in nature, according to experts in ‘biomimicry’.” Of course the writer felt compelled to deny Read More ›

“Color-shifting cuttlefish inspire TV screens” – Intelligent Design Overtones?

One of the coolest animals on the planet has got to be the cuttlefish. They are notorious for their ability to change color to camouflage themselves, communicate with one-another, stand out and be intimidating, or confuse predators. According to a recent MSNBC article titled, “Color-shifting cuttlefish inspire TV screens,” scientists “are developing cuttlefish-inspired electronic ink and screens that use less than one-hundredth the power of traditional television screens.” According to the article, the screens are cheap to make and easy to assemble: “The screen is so easy to assemble, said Thomas, that he that is working with a Boston area science teacher to produce a version cheap enough, safe enough and simple enough for middle and high school students to Read More ›

Biologic Explores the Successes and Pitfalls of Evolutionary Biomimetics

The Biologic Institute has an excellent article discussing how biologists are copying the “brilliant designs” they see in nature for technological purposes. We’ve discussed this intriguing phenomenon of biomimetics many times before here on ENV. (For a couple examples, see here, here or here.) The presumption of evolutionary biologists, of course, is that these “brilliant designs” evolved by natural selection preserving random, but beneficial mutations. Engineers operating under such presumptions have thus tried to mimic not only the “brilliant designs,” but also the evolutionary processes that allegedly produced the designs. Biologic’s article notes that one success story of such methods was the case of NASA engineers who used evolutionary computing to produce a better antenna. Did they use truly Darwinian Read More ›

As Engineers Turn to Marine Biology to Improve Wing, Turbine, and Armor Designs, the Media Tries to Quash Intelligent Design Overtones

According to a Science Daily news release, engineers are turning to marine biology for insight into building better turbine blades and wings. The article reports that “[t]he shape of whale flippers with one bumpy edge has inspired the creation of a completely novel design for wind turbine blades. This design has been shown to be more efficient and also quieter, but defies traditional engineering theories.” Apparently small bumps on the leading edge of the flippers create vortices as the whale moves through the water, and this uneven flow “help[s] to generate more lift without the occurrence of stall, as well as enhancing manoeuvrability and agility.” The authors of the article seem cognizant of the unwanted design overtones, and thus lead Read More ›

Engineers Improve Human Technology by Turning to Biology

Intelligent design does not necessarily mean optimal design. Yet the realm of human technology is a realm of intelligently designed objects, many of which strive to optimize energetic efficiency. It is therefore intriguing that designers of human technology would find solutions to technological needs from the biosphere–a realm which neo-Darwinian scientists tell us is the result of blind, random processes. I recently discussed how biologists are turning to natural flagellar biochemical pathways to help improve biomedical technology. A new article in Business Week confirms that this is a common trend in industry, observing that engineers are increasingly turning to nature for guidance and inspiration in producing human technology: Spot the common theme: a bullet train with a distinctly bird-like nose; Read More ›