Whales Inspire New Turbine Design | The Institute for Creation Research

Whales Inspire New Turbine Design

For decades, human design engineers have been laboring to make more efficient machines, like propeller blades that produce steady airflow patterns. Our thinking has been fixed on the idea that smooth surfaces are the best basic form, but studies on whales and dolphins are changing that.

A whale flipper has a bumpy edge. After incorporating some bumpy, irregular features into experimental fan blades, Dr. Frank Fish of West Chester University observed, “This design has been shown to be more efficient and also quieter, but defies traditional engineering theories.”1 It turns out that the bumps on whale flippers have a purpose—to reduce drag, increase lift, increase fluid flow efficiency, and decrease the risk of stalling.

Scientists have increasingly looked to nature for structural design elements, a practice known as biomimicry. The obvious inference is that better engineering design requires smarter engineering, and that therefore whale flippers and dolphin tails must have been designed by a smart engineer. However, the report on Dr. Fish’s findings—which were presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting on July 8th—started with, “Sea creatures have evolved over millions of years to maximise [sic] efficiency of movement through water; humans have been trying to perfect streamlined designs for barely a century.”1

The vast majority of biologists have been trained to attribute the origins of advanced design features in living creatures to nature itself. For instance, one correspondent to Nature magazine stated that researchers who use the word “design” to describe the way a system is organized “fail to note that its construction is a consequence of the incremental, biased random walk of evolution.”2

We have good reasons, however, to doubt that an “incremental, biased random walk of evolution” could be the author of such advanced design features as fast-flow flippers. No one has ever observed nature producing a new, more advanced design. It is a much poorer candidate for a designer than an all-wise God.3 Truly, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”4

References

  1. Whales and dolphins influence new wind turbine design. Biology News Net, based on information provided by the Society for Experimental Biology. Posted on Biologynews.net July 8, 2008, accessed July 16, 2008. [Link to:
  2. Sever. R. 2008. Reduce confusion by using ”design” more intelligently. Nature. 454 (7200): 27.
  3. Romans 16:27.
  4. 1 Corinthians 3:19.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on July 24, 2008.

The Latest
NEWS
No Evidence T. rex Hatchlings Had Feathers
The recent discovery of a tiny tyrannosaur jaw bone fragment and a claw has some scientists again pushing dinosaurs as birds.1 But is there...

NEWS
Inside March 2021 Acts & Facts
Why does ICR uphold the clarity of Scripture? How do we know that canyons were formed by the Genesis Flood? How do fossilized fish confirm biblical...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Spring 2021
...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Human Hands
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Dross and Dilution
The first of seven great signs of Jesus’ deity recorded in John’s gospel is the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). By the time Jesus...

APOLOGETICS
Do the Unpersuaded Have Enough Proof?
At a local Bible conference, a respected seminary professor unintentionally contradicted the apostle Paul. During the Q&A session, he opined that...

ACTS & FACTS
Gunnison's Black Canyon: The Flood Solves Mysterious Missing...
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. The Gunnison River winds westward from the Colorado Rocky Mountains through dry and dramatic landscapes....

ACTS & FACTS
Do We See Complex Design in Mosquito Eggs?
Mosquitoes hatch from tiny eggs and spend a few days filter-feeding on things like bacteria, pollen, and algae. They molt three times as they grow,...

ACTS & FACTS
A Texas-Size Spider Mystery
The delightfully creepy spider belongs to a class called Arachnida—which is distinct from the “bug” class Insecta. Not surprisingly,...

ACTS & FACTS
The Fossils Still Say No: The Fins-to-Feet Transition
One of the alleged greatest transformations in vertebrate evolution is said to be the emergence of creatures that traded fins for feet and transitioned...