Biomimicry: Where Faith and Science Find Common Ground
Although technology benefits the world in many ways, some people have the natural tendency to resist new advances until they become part of the fabric of everyday life. Of course, there's always those who line up to buy the latest technology and revel in being the first in their social circle to master it.
As a group, people of strong religious faith typically fall into the first category. The more conservative the religion or denomination, the greater the resistance. The prevailing attitude is that using the many forms of new technology could take them out of alignment with God's will. The one exception to this is the field of biomimicry.
The term biomimicry comes from a Greek translation that literally means imitation of life. Take airplanes, for example. The original design for these large mechanical modes of transportation that can carry hundreds of people across the world at the same time comes from the study of birds. Since people of faith consider birds to be one of God's creation, they respect the invention of the airplane and have no problem using it when needing to travel long distances in a short time.
A more advanced definition of biomimicry considers how we can solve world problems and create innovative solutions by studying the natural processes of geology, biology, and chemistry. A modern-day example is the Shinkansen Bullet Train of Japan, a marvel of transportation than can reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour.
When first developed, the train was extremely loud as it emerged from a tunnel due to air pressure changes. Engineers studied the kingfisher bird to resolve this problem. They redesigned the train to imitate the aerodynamic shape of the bird's skull and beak that produces very little splash when it dives into water.
Can Building Screen Systems Imitate a Flower?
Sigrid Adriaenssens, a Princeton engineering professor, is currently designing building screens that open and close as they receive direct sunlight. This is similar to how flowers open and close. For this project, Adriaenssens uses the principals of thermobimetal, geometry, and elasticity to get the screen to do her bidding.
As an engineer, she's more concerned with the functioning of the product than any aesthetic benefit it proves. As in nature, the beauty typically comes secondary to the functioning and raw design of the materials. The work of Adriaenssens highlights the potential of biomimicry in product design, architecture, and many other fields.
Creationists and Evolutionists Can Finally Agree on Something
Creationists, who believe the world came into being through Intelligent Design ordered by God, and evolutionists, who believe that nature evolved from chance encounters over billions of years, have been at odds with each other for centuries.
The current debate over whether to teach creationism in public schools has only added fuel to the fire. However, the field of biomimicry brings them together in a unique way. Creationists can respect the work of scientists who look to God's creation for inspiration rather than fear technology as the downfall of society.
In a recent post on Creation Worldview Ministries, the author describes several examples of biomimicry and encourages readers to support these projects. This is an encouraging development between two groups that many people assumed would never find common ground.