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THURSDAY, MAY 8, 200815 years ago
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Science Learns from God’s Creation

You may never have heard of biomimetics. The word is new enough that even my word processor's dictionary could not recognize it. It is the formal term for that branch of science that takes design from nature and applies it to human needs, especially in the area of medical innovation. Take the following examples.

When scientists recently announced the development of a microphone that can pinpoint exactly where a sound is coming from and raised the hope of a new technology that could be added to hearing aids to make them much more efficient, they had not produced some glorious feat of human engineering. No, they had taken the design that God had used in a tiny fly whose hearing is so exceptional that its "fly microphone" is eight times more effective at pinpointing the direction of sound than the best that man could produce.

By taking a design he found in the mocker swallowtail butterfly an English doctor who became a leading medical geneticist was able to develop a treatment that saved the lives of many babies born to mothers who were Rhesus negative. Frequently, such babies died of anemia but the doctor noted that his mocker swallowtail butterflies could make themselves resemble a species that predatory birds didn't like and that they inherited this trait in much the same way that Rhesus blood groups were inherited among humans. By studying and copying the divine design in butterflies he was able to develop a way to destroy dangerous antibodies developed during a first pregnancy so that all future pregnancies would be safe.

In recent years electrical brain implants have been developed to control tremors in Parkinson's disease, and also for patients with stroke or spinal cord injuries. But some fail within a few months and one reason seems to be that the implants use electrodes that are stiff and can damage brain tissue over time. To overcome this difficulty scientists have turned to the humble sea cucumber. Sea cucumbers are squishy creatures but when they are threatened their skin suddenly becomes rigid. Apparently this trick is achieved by chemicals secreted by the animal when in danger, stiffening fibers embedded in their soft bodies. In Cleveland, researchers have copied this mechanism to produce a mixture that is soft when wet but hard when dry, thus hopefully alleviating the damage caused by stiff electrodes.

The list could go on and on. Science is copying "nature," as most people put it, "God's creation," as I see it. When you stop to realize what is happening in the field of biomimetics you cannot help but see a powerful argument for the truth that these wonders of nature are not the freak accidents of a blind evolutionary process but the product of an all wise God whose designs are far in advance of anything man can come up with. Biomimetics is hampered by one simple fact: man at his best cannot do nearly as good a job at replicating the designs and processes he finds in God's creatures as the creatures themselves do in accordance with the design their Maker placed within them.

If anyone were to suggest that microphones with pinpoint accuracy in detecting and isolating sound sources or treatments for destructive antibodies or electrodes for brain implants appeared either suddenly or over a period of time "by chance," he would be taken for a lunatic-a good description of anyone who thinks that the originals from which these designs were taken arose without design or are anything but the creation of God. 

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