Discoveroids: Science Copies Nature, Therefore …

The Discovery Institute likes to think that the world of science is gradually catching up with their “theory” of intelligent design. In truth, science left them behind centuries ago, but it pleases them and their moronic followers to think that they’re way ahead of the pack.

Their latest claim of being the avant-garde is If Nature’s Designs Weren’t So Good, Engineers Wouldn’t Be Rushing to Imitate Them. They’re merely recycling one of their old themes, which we’ve discussed before — for example Humans Copy Nature, Therefore Intelligent Design!, where we said:

We’ve previously debunked the Discoveroids’ claim that because copying something found in nature requires conscious effort on our part, this somehow means that nature required intelligence to produce the results we try to copy. It’s a goofy claim. If mere humans can copy what nature does, and sometimes improve on it (for example, our telescopes are better than anything found in nature), then it obviously doesn’t require a supernatural being to accomplish such things. See our discussion in Common Creationist Claims Confuted under the heading Copying Nature Requires Intelligence.

Well, they’re at it again, so let’s take a look. They say, with bold font added by us:

We’ve reported on biomimetics many times, but the news keeps flooding in. Here are just a few recent examples of new science projects that seek to imitate nature: [big list, from which we’ll give you just one example] Engineers at Harvard have created a lightweight honeycomb material that mimics the material performance of balsa wood.

Wowie! And that demonstrates what? We’re told:

The list goes on. Two things are notable from it. One is the variety of living organisms (vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, cells) that are inspiring human intelligent design. Those other sources of inspiration include [a big list of critters].

The other thing is the variety of institutions actively involved in bio-inspired engineering (Harvard, MIT, Lawrence Livermore, universities in Georgia, Arkansas, California and Switzerland, and technology companies like Sony).

Did you notice anything missing from that list of institutions “involved in bio-inspired engineering”? Hint: it’s the Discoveroids. Their article continues:

There were nature-inspired products in the last century (Velcro being a classic example), but biomimetics really caught on in the last decade or so. It’s now an international gold rush. Its hidden assumption? Intelligent design. Good engineering is worth reverse engineering.

Ah, there you have it. Everybody’s using the Discoveroids’ “theory,” and they don’t even know it. That’s because the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — is a master engineer, so his miraculously created biological species demonstrate “good engineering.” We recognized that when we wrote Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer. Here’s how they end their brilliant essay:

If Darwinism were the assumption, researchers would just let objects sit around and mutate for millions of years then see what turns up. Good luck with that.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! As we’ve said before, 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. Here are some specific examples of genetic algorithms being used to solve a variety of engineering problems. Nature Doesn’t Need To Think.

The Discoveroids, however, do need to think. They ought to give it a try.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Discoveroids: Science Copies Nature, Therefore …

  1. The Anonymous ‘Tuter’s list includes prunes. Prunes! Why? He tells us that “to reduce drag on an airplane or car hood, make like a prune.”

    So the G.O.D. purposefully made dried plums aerodynamic?

  2. I also imagine that the plum, much like Ray Comfort’s banana, is quite different from it’s pre-domestication ancestor. But what do I know?

  3. docbill1351

    I thought “prune” referred to Dense O’Leary as a method of keeping crows out of cornfields.

  4. If Darwinism were the assumption, researchers would just let objects sit around and mutate for millions of years then see what turns up.

    Um, guys? … We already did. Those things we are copying have been evolving for millions of years already.

    Or is the DI morphing in a YEC outfit?

  5. waldteufel

    “Um, guys? … We already did. Those things we are copying have been evolving for millions of years already.”

    Brilliant!

    I think John could drop a man at 20 paces with one lash of his tongue.

  6. waldteufel

    John, I think there has been a component of YEC to the DI. For example, Discoveroid Paul Nelson is a YEC if my memory is right.

  7. As we’ve said before, 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.

    But genetic algorithms were created by humans, so creationists will say they prove nothing; a “designer” is still involved.

    I know, I know–but that’s the quality of reasoning we’re dealing with.

    By the way, someone needs to retitle the piece “Common Creationist Claims Confuted”–it should be “Refuted.”

  8. BlackWatch

    Our Curmudgeon says “The Discovery Institute likes to think that the world of science is gradually catching up with their “theory” of intelligent design”.
    A recent article in The Atlantic reveals that the ‘tuters and their “theory” are gradually losing ground within the general public’s imagination. Acceptance of ID as valid “science” continues to erode.
    Thanks SC !

  9. Retired Prof

    Eric, check the definition of “confute” in a good dictionary. You’ll find it serves the purpose nicely.

  10. James Chapman

    If copying nature’s good designs is called biomimetics, what do we call the creation and retrofitting of devices–such as artificial hip and knee joint replacements–to correct nature’s crappy designs?

  11. BlackWatch says:

    Acceptance of ID as valid “science” continues to erode.
    Thanks SC !

    I doubt that I’m responsible. They pretty much manage to undo themselves.

  12. docbill1351

    Curious that the Tooters failed to list all the biotech products that are mimicked from evolution, and gene therapy and vaccine development, food augmentation and so forth. Using Darwinian principles to engineer products seems to have escaped them altogether!

    Yet, according to the Tooters we should all be driving Flintstone’s cars!

  13. SC asks, “Did you notice anything missing from that list of institutions “involved in bio-inspired engineering”?

    Besides the DI, there’s Biola U., Bob Jones U., Bryant College, and any number of similar Bible colleges around this great land of ours.

  14. The DI needs to give credit where credit is due — their “Grand Old Designer” is Mother Nature herself, and as John Pieret points out, her design tool is natural selection.

  15. SC explains: “They pretty much manage to undo themselves.”
    Isn’t that a comforting thought?

  16. I think that this is a case of “proving” too much.

    For human designers use even the simplest structures found in nature – simple machines like an inclined plane of a wedge; and the wall – rather than trying to invent a new way of doing it. (How about an engineer’s way of finding a minimal surface by letting nature “design” a soap bubble?)

    Which means that they have “proved” that an inclined plane, wedge, and wall are “intelligently designed”. And that means that “intelligently designed” means next to nothing.

  17. Charles Deetz ;)

    James Chapman asks: “what do we call the creation and retrofitting of devices–such as artificial hip and knee joint replacements–to correct nature’s crappy designs?”

    I just love this comeback, it probably does need a name. Biorepair is my swing at it. But yea, DI, what about the need for joint replacements, or is it our fault for being fat and lazy and the designer didn’t plan on that??

  18. Charlie, the Designer is all-knowing — He knew we were going to be fat and lazy and could have “designed” better joints. The fact that He didn’t goes back to the Fall.

    (Or maybe He was providing the set-up for “What’s a joint like this doing in a girl like you?)

  19. God made man in his own image. The bible doesn’t indicate that he changed his design after the fall, only that he cursed Adam and Eve and expelled them from his “garden”, which, oddly, was apparently a small space on the earth.

    So, all the faults that we deal with today must also have been present in the source of our “image”, God. It is obvious that God, being infinitely old, must by now have really bad joints and numerous other problems — so we should probably be a bit more understanding of his occasional outbursts of temper; for example when he destroys the world, or annihilates particular cities, or unlucky individuals. It’s just to be expected of a creaky old man.

  20. The Discorrhoids’ biomimicry “argument” suggests that their supposed intelligent designer — busted be he! — was inspired by intelligent design. In that case, whence the intelligent design? Or is it circles all the way down?

    P.S.: docbill1351, you owe me a new keyboard. My old one got drowned in tea after reading your first comment in this thread…

  21. @Con-Tester
    Myself, I prefer asking where the raw materials that the intelligent designer(s) worked on came from.

    When there were those poor bacteria without flagella that the intelligent designer took notice of, when the intelligent designer were poorly
    designed and needed some work on – who or what were responsible for those bacteria? Were they created that way? Or were they just a random chance event?

  22. Well, there are all sorts of pointed questions one could ask about the details of Inelligen Design. The absence of any informative, coherent and/or fruitful answers to such questions reveals ID as devoid of any scientific substance. However, its proponents simply paper over those yawning gaps undeterred and pray pretend that nobody notices. When pressed on such issues, it becomes clear soon enough that all they really have are a tatty arsenal of anorexic analogies and a hatful of haphazard hand-waving. It is enough for them to fancy design, agency and meaning in everything worthy of their attention so that they might continue to be overwhelmed by awe and wonder at the magnificence of you-know-who. Scientific understanding and insight come a distant second.

    Their contempt for the details is no doubt due to the devil being in them…

  23. Con-Tester says: “Inelligen Design … arsenal of anorexic analogies … hatful of haphazard hand-waving”

    Having a good day, I see.

  24. Con-Tester, speaking of the ‘Tuters: “Their contempt for the details is no doubt due to the devil being in them…”

    Pure genius!