Imagine you’ve just bought an immensely detailed model airplane kit. How do you set about putting all the hundreds of tiny parts together? First, no doubt, you’ll examine the illustrations on the box. Then, following the instructions inside shortens the whole process of putting a model together in the best way possible, making no mistakes.
Even lacking any assembly instructions, you can still manage the task if you already possess a similar model airplane. The first plane’s design can serve as an important guide in assembling any later one. In the exact same way, using a flawless design in nature as a model provides shortcuts to designing technological equipment with the same functions in the most perfect possible manner. Aware of this, most scientists and research and development (R&D) experts study the examples of living things before embarking on any new designs, and imitate the systems and designs that already exist. In other words, they examine the designs God has created in nature and, then inspired, go on to develop new technologies.
This approach has given birth to a new branch of science: biomimetics, which means the imitation of living things in nature. This new study is being spoken of more and more often in technological circles and is opening up important new horizons for mankind.
As biomimetics emerges, imitating the structures of living systems, it presents a major setback for those scientists who still support the theory of evolution. From an evolutionist’s point of view, it’s entirely unacceptable for men—whom they regard as the highest rung on the evolutionary ladder—to try to draw inspiration from (much less imitate) other living things which, allegedly, are so much more primitive than they are.
If more advanced living things take the designs of “primitive” ones as models, that means that we’ll be basing a large part of our future technology on the structure of those so-called lesser organisms. That, in turn, is a fundamental violation of the theory of evolution, whose logic maintains that living things too primitive to adapt to their environments soon became extinct, while the remaining “higher” ones evolved and succeeded.
Biomimetics, while placing the proponents of evolution in a vicious circle, is expanding by the day and coming to dominate scientific thought. In the light of this, yet another new scientific branch has emerged: biomimicry, or the science of imitating the behavior of living creatures.
This book considers the advances that biomimetics and biomimicry have made by taking nature as their model. It examines the flawless but hitherto, little noted systems that have existed ever since living things were first created. It also describes how nature’s many varied and highly efficient mechanisms, which baffle the proponents of evolution, are all products of our Lord’s unique creation.
What Is Biomimetics?
Biomimetics and biomimicry are both aimed at solving problems by first examining, and then imitating or drawing inspiration from models in nature.
Biomimetics is the term used to describe the substances, equipment, mechanisms and systems by which humans imitate natural systems and designs, especially in the fields of defense, nanotechnology 1, robot technology, and artificial intelligence (also known as AI, for short).
The concept of biomimicry, first put forth by Janine M. Benyus, a writer and scientific observer from Montana, was later taken up and begun to be used by a great many others. One of their accounts describes her work and the whole development of biomimicry:
A naturalist and author of several field guides to wildlife, she visited the laboratories of a number of scientific researchers who are taking a more modest approach to unraveling nature’s secrets. The theme of “biomimicry” is that we have much to learn from the natural world, as model, measure, and mentor. What these researchers have in common is a reverence for natural designs, and the inspiration to use them to solve human problems. 2
David Oakey is a product strategist for Interface Inc., one of the firms making use of nature to improve product quality and productivity. On the subject of biomimicry, he has this to say:
Nature is my mentor for business and design, a model for the way of life. Nature's system has worked for millions of years... Biomimicry is a way of learning from nature. 3
This rapidly expanding concept found favor with scientists, who were able to accelerate their own research by drawing for inspiration on nature’s incomparably flawless models. Scientific researchers working on economic systems and raw materials—in the industrial field in particular—have now joined forces to determine how best to imitate nature.
Designs in nature ensure the greatest productivity for the least amount of materials and energy. They’re able to repair themselves, are environmentally friendly and wholly recyclable. They operate silently, are pleasing in aesthetic appearance, and offer long lives and durability. All these good qualities are being taken as models to emulate. As the journal High Country News wrote,“By using natural systems as models, we can create technologies that are more sustainable than those in use today.” 4
Janine M. Benyus, author of the book Biomimicry, came to believe in the need for imitating nature by considering its perfections. Following are some of the examples she cites, which led her to defend such an approach:
- Hummingbirds' ability to cross the Gulf of Mexico on less than 3 grams of fuel,
- How dragonflies are more maneuverable than even the best helicopters,
- The heating and air conditioning systems in termite mounds—in terms of equipment and energy consumption, far superior to those constructed by man,
- Bats’ high-frequency transmitter, far more efficient and sensitive than radar systems created by human beings,
- How light-emitting algae combine different chemical substances to give off light without heat,
- How arctic fish and temperate-zone frogs return to life after being frozen, with the ice doing their organs no harm,
- How anole lizards and chameleons change their colors—and how octopi and cuttlefish change both their colors and patterns in a moment—to blend in with their surroundings,
- Bees’, turtles’ and birds’ ability to navigate without maps,
- Whales and penguins diving underwater for long periods without scuba gear,
- How the DNA helix stores information in all living things,
- How, through photosynthesis, leaves perform an astounding chemical reaction to create 300 billion tons of sugar every year.
These are just a few examples of the natural mechanisms and designs that create great excitement, and have the potential to enrich a great many areas of technology. As our information accumulates and technological possibilities increase, their potential becomes ever clearer.
In the 19th century, for example, nature was imitated only for its aesthetic values. Painters and architects of the time, influenced by the beauties of the natural world, duplicated these structures’ external appearance in their own creations. But the deeper one looks into the fine detail, the more astonishing nature’s immaculate order becomes. Gradually, as the extraordinary nature of natural designs and the benefits that their imitation would bring to mankind, natural mechanisms began to be studied more closely—and finally, at the molecular level.
The emerging materials, structures and machines being developed through biomimetics can be used in new solar cells, advanced robots and future spacecraft. From that perspective, nature’s designs are opening incredibly broad horizons.
How Will Biomimetics Change Our Lives?
Our Lord has given us the designs in nature as great blessings. Imitating them, taking them as models will direct mankind toward what is right and true. For some reason, only recently has the scientific community understood that nature’s designs are an enormous resource and that these need to be made use of in daily life.
A great many authoritative scientific publications accept that natural structures represent a huge resource for showing mankind the way toward superior designs. Nature magazine expresses it in these terms:
Yet fundamental research on the character of nature’s mechanisms, from the elephant to the protein, is sure to enrich the pool from which designers and engineers can draw ideas. The scope for deepening this pool is still tremendous. 5
The correct use of this resource will certainly lead to a process of rapid developments in technology. Biomimetics expert Janine M. Benyus has stated that imitating nature will let us advance in a great many fields, such as food and energy production, information storage, and health. As examples, she cites mechanisms inspired by leaves, which work on solar energy; the production of computers that transmit signals the way cells do; and ceramics made to resist breakage by imitating mother-of-pearl. 6
Therefore, it’s evident that the Biomimetic Revolution will influence mankind profoundly and let us live in ever greater ease and comfort.
One by one, today’s developing technologies are discovering the miracles of creation; and biomimetics is only one of the fields that’s putting the extraordinary designs of living things to use as models in the service of mankind. A few of the scientific papers dealing with these matters include:
- "Learning from Designs in Nature" 7
- "Projects at the Centre for Biomimetics" 8
- "Science Is Imitating Nature" 9
- "Life’s Lessons in Design" 10
- "Biomimicry: Secrets Hiding in Plain Sight" 11
- "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature" 12
- "Biomimicry: Genius that Surrounds Us" 13
- "Biomimetics: Creating Materials From Nature’s Blueprints" 14
- "Engineers Ask Nature for Design Advice" 15
Perusing articles like these demonstrates how the results of this scientific research are, one by one, revealing proofs of the existence of God.
INTELLIGENT DESIGN, IN OTHER WORDS CREATION
In order to create, God has no need to design
It’s important that the word “design” be properly understood. That God has created a flawless design does not mean that He first made a plan and then followed it. God, the Lord of the Earth and the heavens, needs no “designs” in order to create. God is exalted above all such deficiencies. His planning and creation take place at the same instant.
Whenever God wills a thing to come about, it is enough for Him just to say, "Be!"
As verses of the Qur’an tell us:
His command when He desires a thing is just to say to it, “Be!” and it is. (Qur'an, 36: 82)[God is] the Originator of the heavens and Earth. When He decides on something, He just says to it, “Be!” and it is. (Qur'an, 2: 117)