Biomimetics: Does It Flatter Darwin?

first_imgThe imitation of natural design (biomimetics) is a cutting-edge approach to engineering these days.  Many times, the reports on attempts to mimic the amazing properties of cells, plants, and animals have no time to discuss evolution (e.g., 09/24/2010).  Once in awhile, though, scientists or reporters go out of their way to tell their readers that the exquisite designs they want to imitate are the work of billions of years of evolutionary trial and error.  A press release from MIT News is a recent example – and an occasion to investigate the explanatory power of Darwin vs intelligent design.  It begins:Nature has one very big advantage over any human research team: plenty of time.  Billions of years, in fact.  And over all that time, it has produced some truly amazing materials – using weak building blocks that human engineers have not yet figured out how to use for high-tech applications, and with many properties that humans have yet to find ways to duplicate.Presumably the human engineers use intelligent design (ID), but want to mimic the products of an undirected natural process (evolution) acting slowly over billions of years.  That’s the thesis.  The advantage humans have is choice: they can choose their building blocks to make their materials.  That’s ID – purpose, goal, choice.    Most of the article concerns how organisms, such as diatoms, achieve their feats.  First, they use simple local materials: “Nature … often has to make do with whatever is readily available locally, and whatever structures have been created through the lengthy trial-and-error of evolution.”  Second, they take these local, simple materials and employ them in complex ways:It all comes down to assembling complex structures from small, simple building blocks, Buehler explains.  He likes to use a musical analogy: A symphony comprises many different instruments, each of which on its own could never produce something as grand and complex as the combined rich, full musical experience.  In a similar way, he hopes to construct complex materials with previously unavailable properties by using simple building blocks assembled in ways that borrow from those used by nature.The MIT team wants to follow nature’s lead: pick simple materials and creatively combine them.  A brick is a simple structure that doesn’t vary with scale.  A protein complex, however, depends heavily on how its simple parts are assembled.  Life builds hierarchical structures – patterns built on patterns at different scales.  “This paradigm, the formation of distinct structure at multiple length scales, enables biological materials to overcome the intrinsic weaknesses of the building blocks,” Buehler said.    Evolution was left by the wayside, as the remainder of the press release focused on biomimetics.  “Buehler suggests that just as biology has done, humans could engineer materials with desired properties such as strength or flexibility by using abundant and cheap materials such as silica, which in bulk form is brittle and weak.”  The question left begging is how a living thing, like the diatom accompanying the article, could build hierarchical structures with “desired properties” by an impersonal, undirected process like natural selection.  Is evolution really an engineer?  If its method is trial-and-error, who or what decides when success has been achieved?The answer to that last question, you evolutionists are itching to say, is “survival – adaptation.”  Caught you.  Re-read the first part of the 10/19/2010 entry.  Now, realize also, that you must purge your mind of all teleology, all purpose-driven-life concepts, all personification fallacies, to be a consistent evolutionist.  “Evolution” is not a person, nor is “Nature.”  Natural selection, furthermore, is a chance process: both the mutation part and the selection part.  Why?  Because mutations or “variations” (Darwin’s term) are clearly random, and the environment is random.  Earthquakes and landslides and meteors just happen; they have no goal to push life toward survival.  What do you get when you add chance to chance?  Chance!  Stuff happens!  If all you can say is Stuff Happens, even if you call it a law (SHL; see 12/07/2009, 09/22/2009 and 09/30/2008), it is equivalent to saying, “I haven’t the foggiest idea.”  You may now exit the Science Lab and return to your cult.    The rest of us sensible people are wondering how evolutionists get away with this shallow tripe year after year after year.  It is illogical, absurd, nonsensical, empty, and devious.  It is dumbness taught to the dumb, and if the dumb lead the dumb, both will fall into the dumpster.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Community Builder: Farouk Abrahams

first_imgFounder: The Farouk Abrahams Goalkeepers AcademyWhy is Farouk a Community Builder?It all started with a burning passion to produce great goalkeepers. Farouk Abrahams, an accomplished football coach and player, believes you can have a fantastic club but, if your goalkeeper is erratic, the overall performance of your team will be poor.Almost seven years ago, Farouk presented to insurer Metropolitan his idea to launch a goalkeeper’s academy that would not only train talented youngsters for potential football careers, but also feed much-needed skills development into previously disadvantaged communities.Farouk believes that too many clubs in South Africa focus only on football development, disregarding the need for social upliftment. Farouk has built his academy on these principles, and it’s no surprise that the boys see him not just as a coach but also as a mentor and, for some, even a surrogate father.In his own words .“Beyond this academy is creating the structure for the boys to become good adults. Because if you are a good adult you are going to find something to do that is positive. You are going to find something worthwhile to live for. We are going to produce complete people and not just goalkeepers.”Fast FactsEvery Sunday, 80 to 100 children turn up for training.Today, The Farouk Abrahams Goalkeeper Academy in the Western Cape not only provides essential goalkeeper training, but also offers life skills in the form of HIV counselling, regular bonding camps, drug awareness campaigns, a feeding scheme and a school support system.The 20 best goalkeepers between the ages of 14 and 18 years are selected from the academy and placed in an advanced coaching school.Farouk was the goalkeeper coach for Bafana Bafana at the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.How can I help?For more information on the Farouk Abrahams Goalkeepers Academy and how you can help, e-mail Christabell Kota.Story published on SAinfo on 4 June 2008.Source: Brand South Africalast_img read more

Glen Newcomer, April 10

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest There is no doubt that the weather we had last week had an impact on doing any field operations in northwest Ohio. With the rain we received, it will be at least 10 days before we will be in a position to do tillage or planting. We received about 2.5 inches of rain. It wasn’t just the volume of rain it was also the intensity. Now there are areas that are ponding and will take longer to dry out.Overall, the wheat crop looks very healthy in our area. It is handling the spring weather extremely well and it’s off to a great start. The wheat that is out there looks extremely healthy to me and there is tremendous potential there. If those farmers follow through with appropriate fungicide and insecticide applications there should be a tremendous wheat crop in front of us.As a result of the rain, my main concern will be application of pre-emerge herbicides for the soybean acres. There are many winter annual weeds that have emerged with the favorable weather and warmer temperatures we’ve had. You can see purple deadnettle pretty commonly in areas where no-till was performed. Where we did apply herbicide last fall there is a tremendous difference. I wish we had applied more fall herbicides. All of the winter annuals are off to a healthy start and it will require attention before planting.Most farmers in our area are anxious to get started. My concern is that farmers will get too anxious and put more emphasis on the calendar than on the actual soil conditions. Soil compaction is the most yield-limiting factor we can control this time of year. I want to be very cautious on our approach but when the time comes, we will be pushing very hard.last_img read more

Ottawa mulls preservation of Mikmaq cemetary

first_imgAPTN National NewsFederal officials will be meeting with the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources to explore ways of saving an ancient Mi’kmaq burial ground.APTN National News brought you the story of the Malagawatch cemetery on Cape Breton Island in 2009.The graveyard has been a traditional gathering place to the Mi’kmaq people for hundreds of years.The cemetery, however, has been slowly slipping into the lake it’s situated by because of soil erosion.There are concerns that many of the gravesites will be destroyed.The federal government recently announced $500,000 in emergency funding for the cemetery.The meeting is expected to take place on Monday.last_img read more