See what you can make of this new item at the blog of the Discoveroids — it’s by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. He and the Discoveroids are described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.
Casey’s post is titled Biomimetics Strikes Again. There’s not much to it, but here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and Casey’s links omitted:
A fascinating piece at Gizmag, “Cardboard bike helmet could revolutionize head safety,” discusses “a bicycle helmet constructed from cardboard and designed by Royal College of Art student Anirudha Surabhi.” Before you scoff, consider this: the helmet “promises to be 15 percent lighter than standard helmets, while absorbing up to three times the impact energy during a collision.”
Here’s the article Casey’s referring to. It’s very nice, but you’ve got to be wondering what this has to do with The Controversy between evolution and creationism. Nothing, really, but Casey is a Discoveroid, so he sees things that we can’t. He says:
And did they turn to some evolutionary algorithm to invent this improved bike helmet? No. They turned to the skull of the woodpecker:
[Casey quotes the Gizmag article:] The designer was struck by the woodpecker’s ability to withstand repeated heavy impact, thanks to the bird’s unique corrugated cartilage structure which separates beak from skull — this concept gave rise to the Kranium’s honeycomb cardboard structure dubbed “Dual Density Honey Comb Board,” or D2.
Getting impatient, dear reader? Bear with us, the good stuff is coming. It’s all in Casey’s final paragraph:
The woodpecker’s skull, which allows it to beat its head against a tree for long periods of time without damaging the brain, has a unique form which has long been cited as an argument for design. But the woodpecker’s skull wasn’t designed, just bike helmets that copy it — right?
That was bad. Very bad. We’d be more impressed by something in nature that we couldn’t replicate — and not because it’s difficult, but because its existence violates the laws of nature. Faced with something like that, one could understand the impulse to invoke a supernatural cause, as our ancestors did with things like lightning. Alas for the creationists, there are no known examples of such phenomena. Even life itself doesn’t seem to be impossible, although we haven’t reproduced it yet.
We’ve mentioned this kind of argument in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Under the heading “Copying Nature Requires Intelligence” we said:
Creationists claim that because copying something found in nature requires conscious effort on our part, this means that nature required intelligence to produce the results we try to copy. However, genetic algorithms are excellent evidence of nature’s ability to produce spectacular design results without thought. The everyday use of genetic algorithms to solve difficult problems clearly demonstrates, again and again, that the unthinking processes (mutation and natural selection) identified by Darwin are quite sufficient for the task. [See also: Nature Doesn’t Need To Think.]
In honor of Casey’s post, we shall henceforth refer to this category of evidence for intelligent design, based on man’s designing something modeled after nature, as the Peckerhead Argument.
Afterthought: ICR has also used the Woodpecker as an argument for creationism — see ICR: Two Typically Silly Articles.
Addendum: We note in passing that the Discoveroids have mentioned this humble blog in a recent post: Darwinism and Stalinism, Cont., a commentary on our Discovery Institute: Beyond Despicable. We’ve been around for almost five years, and this is the first time they’ve done that. We don’t intend to respond, because their thoughts about us are of no importance.
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