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# The design of life, even in a rat’s whiskers

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Rats’ whiskers can vary quite a bit in appearance but a team that wanted to find out how rats get information through their whiskers discovered something quite interesting about the math behind them:

We found that rat whiskers can be accurately described by a simple mathematical equation known as the Euler spiral…

The Euler spiral – also called the Cornu spiral, Spiros or Clothoid – is a shape whose curvature changes linearly with its length. It looks quite like an s-shape, where the tips of the “s” carry on curving in to spirals that get rapidly tighter. As a result, aspects of the curve can fit a wide variety of shapes including those that are straight or s-shaped, those that increase in curvature and those that decrease in curvature.

This is why the Euler spiral can be used to describe all types of rat whisker, even though they come in many different shapes. Some are s-shaped, some get more curly towards the tip and some get less curly towards the tip.

Robyn Grant, “How we found a special maths equation hidden in rat whiskers” at The Conversation

Grant adds, “In this way, maths can give us a special insight into how biological structures and systems work.”

Indeed. It is called structuralism, a first cousin of ID. But shhhh!! Darwin dogma is:

The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.”

As usual Darwin was creating a rhetorical fog. There is no conflict between design in nature and the operation of fixed laws of nature. Quite the opposite. The Euler spiral is a fixed law of the mathematics that helps hold our universe together, resulting in the design we see. There is no reason to believe that the rat went through hundreds of flopped, fatal designs for whiskers (natural selection acting on random mutation) before hitting on the Euler spiral. It was probably implicit from the beginning because the nature of reality in our universe would enact it.

Call that creationism if you want. And yes, it does lead many to think that there must be a Mind behind the universe, to derive such mathematics. But that is a separate discussion. Grant’s idea, to study other mammals’ whiskers to see if similar patterns turn up, sounds like a good next step for a biologist.

Abiogenesis is Impossible
Abiogenesis is basically the belief that life arose from non-life through some unknown, theoritcal, hypothetical, unobservable, untestable and unfalsifiable chemical process. I call it a belief because it certainly isn’t science or scientific in any way at all. World renown scientist, synthetic organic chemist, James Tour refutes every idea that the materialists and evolutionists have come up with that attempts to turn rocks into life by magic.
https://borne.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/abiogenesis-is-impossible/ Truthfreedom
PavelU @4 you wrote: "The appearance of design is just an illusion." Pavel, i already told you - you are a very confused guy. So confused... Moreover, you don't entirely understand what the word "DESIGN" mean. I assume, that English is not your first language .... am i right ? The word "DESIGN" on English has several meanings, for example - "a physical appearance of something (the way someone or something looks) " Pavel, and now, please read slowly and very carefully: When we, ID-community / creationists speak about DESIGN, we mean something completely different.... We speak about DESIGN, WHEN MULTIPLE PARTS WORK IN CONCERN / WORK TOGETHER / CO-OPERATE .... FOR A PURPOSE. Now have a look at the cell, or the human body...there are thousands of parts working in concert for a purpose = DESIGN. WAS THAT CLEAR ENOUGH ? DO YOU GET IT PAVEL ? martin_r
PavelU, as well as others who feel the same., believe things to be an illusion due to their own inability to comprehend basic logic. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be transferred. Those like PavelU never stop to ask themselves the most basic question that should follow. If energy cannot be created, then where did the energy come from? We know energy exists and not even the most staunch Darwinist can deny this to be true. Set aside your evolutionary glasses for a moment and ask yourselves where energy came from. Energy cannot be created, yet it is here. Only something with great intellect, far greater than man, could have put energy in place and set the laws of physics, Chaos does not create order and the removal of God is the removal of order from the beginning. BobRyan
At 4 PavelU claims that:
The appearance of design is just an illusion. Only those who don’t understand evolution can believe such an absurdity.
First off, apparently PavelU believes he is the only one in the world who fully understands evolution. Perhaps he can inform Philip Ball and the rest of us exactly how evolution works:
DNA at 60: - 2013 “In other words, we do not fully understand how evolution works at the molecular level.” - Philip Ball http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/04/genetics_is_too071621.html
There are a few more devastating problems with PavelU's claims. First off, if the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution were actually true, then everything in PavelU's Darwinian worldview, including PavelU himself, is just an illusion:
Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory. Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,, Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM
In short PavelU, because of his atheistic materialism, is forced into the completely insane position of holding that he is merely a 'neuronal illusion' who is having an 'illusion' of seeing design. i.e. An illusion having an illusion if you will. Or a dream within a dream as it were. Small devastating problem for PavelU,, illusions and dreams are only possible for conscious minds:
The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017 Excerpt: “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.” – David Bentley Hart https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist
Second devastating problem for PavelU, for something to be proven to be merely an illusion of design, that so called 'illusion of design' would have to be compared to something that we know to be really designed, say a computer, and found to deficient in some significant ways to that 'real design'. But that is not what we find, When we compare the so called 'illusion of design' in living systems to what we know to be really designed, again say a computer, we find that the so called 'illusion of design' in living systems exceeds the design of what we know to be really designed. For instance, the information storage capacity of DNA vastly exceeds the best efforts of man to store information in his computers. In fact, just 4 grams of DNA, as of 2011, can 'theoretically' store the total world information content:
Information Storage in DNA by Wyss Institute - video https://vimeo.com/47615970 Quote from preceding video: "The theoretical (information) density of DNA is you could store the total world information, which is 1.8 zetabytes, at least in 2011, in about 4 grams of DNA." Sriram Kosuri PhD. - Wyss Institute
Even that astonishing capacity for information storage was found to be an underestimate:
New Coding Strategy Maximizes Data-Storage Capacity of DNA Molecules - 2017 Excerpt: the researchers show that their coding strategy packs 215 petabytes of data on a single gram of DNA—100 times more than methods published by pioneering researchers George Church at Harvard, and Nick Goldman and Ewan Birney at the European Bioinformatics Institute. “We believe this is the highest-density data-storage device ever created,” said Erlich. http://datascience.columbia.edu/researchers-store-computer-operating-system-dna
As well, ""A single cell in the human body is approximately 10,000 times more energy-efficient than any nanoscale digital transistor, the fundamental building block of electronic chips.
Cell-inspired electronics - February 25, 2010 Excerpt: "A single cell in the human body is approximately 10,000 times more energy-efficient than any nanoscale digital transistor, the fundamental building block of electronic chips. In one second, a cell performs about 10 million energy-consuming chemical reactions, which altogether require about one picowatt (one millionth millionth of a watt) of power." - per physorg
Moreover even that astonishing level of efficiency was found to be an underestimate, "the computational efficiency of translation, defined as free energy expended per amino acid operation, outperforms the best supercomputers by several orders of magnitude,"
The thermodynamic efficiency of computations made in cells across the range of life. - 2017 Dec. Excerpt: Here we show that the computational efficiency of translation, defined as free energy expended per amino acid operation, outperforms the best supercomputers by several orders of magnitude, and is only about an order of magnitude worse than the Landauer bound. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29133443/
Moreover. the cell is apparently ingeniously programmed along the very stringent guidelines laid out in Landauer’s principle, (by Charles Bennett from IBM of Quantum Teleportation fame), for ‘reversible computation’ in order to help achieve such amazing energy/metabolic efficiency as it does.
Logical Reversibility of Computation* - C. H. Bennett - 1973 Excerpt from last paragraph: The biosynthesis and biodegradation of messenger RNA may be viewed as convenient examples of logically reversible and irreversible computation, respectively. Messenger RNA. a linear polymeric informational macromolecule like DNA, carries the genetic information from one or more genes of a DNA molecule. and serves to direct the synthesis of the proteins encoded by those genes. Messenger RNA is synthesized by the enzyme RNA polymerase in the presence of a double-stranded DNA molecule and a supply of RNA monomers (the four nucleotide pyrophosphates ATP, GTP, CTP, and UTP) [7]. The enzyme attaches to a specific site on the DNA molecule and moves along, sequentially incorporating the RNA monomers into a single-stranded RNA molecule whose nucleotide sequence exactly matches that of the DNA. The pyrophosphate groups are released into the surrounding solution as free pyrophosphate molecules. The enzyme may thus be compared to a simple tape-copying Turing machine that manufactures its output tape rather than merely writing on it. Tape copying is a logically reversible operation. and RNA polymerase is both thermodynamically and logically reversible.,,, http://www.cs.princeton.edu/courses/archive/fall04/cos576/papers/bennett73.html
The amazing energy efficiency possible with ‘reversible computation’ has been known about since Charles Bennett first laid out the principles for such reversible computation in 1973, but as far as I know, due to the extreme level of complexity involved in actually designing such ingenious ‘reversible computation’ in our own computers, has yet to be accomplished in any meaningful way in our computers:
Can reversible computing really dissipate absolutely zero energy? Of course not. Any non-equilibrium physical system (whether a computer or a rock) dissipates energy at some rate,,, Okay, then can reversible computing really make the energy dissipation of a computation be an arbitrarily small non-zero amount? Only insofar as the computer can be arbitrarily well isolated from unwanted interactions, errors, and energy leakage,,, But, despite all these caveats, it may yet be possible to set up reversible computations that dissipate such amazingly tiny amounts of energy that the dissipation is not a barrier to anything that we might wish to do with them - I call such computations ballistic. We are a long way from achieving ballistic computation, but we do not yet know of any fundamental reasons that forbid it from ever being technically possible. http://www.cise.ufl.edu/research/revcomp/faq.html#zeroenergy
As well, in terms of engineering, memory storage, computational power and efficiency, the human brain also trounces anything man has ever engineered.
The Human Brain Is 'Beyond Belief' by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. * - 2017 Excerpt: The human brain,, is an engineering marvel that evokes comments from researchers like “beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief”1 and “a world we had never imagined.”2,,, Perfect Optimization The scientists found that at multiple hierarchical levels in the whole brain, nerve cell clusters (ganglion), and even at the individual cell level, the positioning of neural units achieved a goal that human engineers strive for but find difficult to achieve—the perfect minimizing of connection costs among all the system’s components.,,, Vast Computational Power Researchers discovered that a single synapse is like a computer’s microprocessor containing both memory-storage and information-processing features.,,, Just one synapse alone can contain about 1,000 molecular-scale microprocessor units acting in a quantum computing environment. An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses. To put this in perspective, one of the researchers revealed that the study’s results showed a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers, and Internet connections on Earth.1,,, Phenomenal Processing Speed the processing speed of the brain had been greatly underrated. In a new research study, scientists found the brain is 10 times more active than previously believed.6,7,,, The large number of dendritic spikes also means the brain has more than 100 times the computational capabilities than was previously believed.,,, Petabyte-Level Memory Capacity Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.9,,, Optimal Energy Efficiency Stanford scientist who is helping develop computer brains for robots calculated that a computer processor functioning with the computational capacity of the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate properly. This is comparable to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. As amazing as it may seem, the human brain requires only about 10 watts to function.11 ,,, https://www.icr.org/article/10186
Thus to sum up, PavelU's claim fails on two fundamental levels. Firstly, illusions are only possible for conscious minds, but Darwinian materialism denies the reality of conscious minds. i.e. PavelU has no foundation for reality in order to discern reality from illusions! Secondly, when the supposed 'illusion of design' in life is compared to what we know is really designed, in this case computers, we find that the supposed 'illusion of design' greatly exceeds what we know to be really designed, in fundamental engineering parameters, by several orders of magnitude. In short, the supposed 'illusion of design' in life displays far more real design than what we know to be really designed. Funny sort of 'illusion of design' that turns out to be even more real in terms of design parameters than what we know to be real design in computers. But never fear, I sure PavelU, and his Darwinian cohorts, will explain to us how illusions of design can be even more real than real design. :) Either that, or PavelU has no clue what Darwinian evolution is actually suppose to explain. i.e PavelU just does not understand evolution! :) My bet is on the latter. bornagain77
@Silver Asiatic
We observe the complex functions of a cell and some people believe the illusion that all of this was created through random mutations and natural selection.
In a world of "Illusions", what is the "truth'? Let's remind our naturalist friends that they are solipsists: The naturalist’s problem is that his own gratuitously-assumed physicalism leads him to the absurd inference that all he really knows are images inside his brain. https://strangenotions.com/the-big-problems-with-naturalism/ Truthfreedom
Silver Asiatic “We observe the complex functions of a cell and some people believe the illusion that all of this was created through random mutations and natural selection. They believe that illusion because, perhaps, they think it is too painful to think that it was designed by an intelligence.” That’s excellent! Your comment is at the level of Dr John Lennox’s response to Dr Stephen Hawking’s 2011 comment in The Guardian: "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark," https://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/may/15/stephen-hawking-interview-there-is-no-heaven pw
The appearance of design is just an illusion.
Pareidolia is the tendency to accept an illusion as being a meaningful pattern such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music. Michael Shermer says that we evolved to believe in illusions because
"... believing that the rustle in the grass is a dangerous predator when it is only the wind does not cost much, but believing that a dangerous predator is the wind may cost an animal its life."
So, it is said that evolution makes us believe in illusions. We see the face of Abraham Lincoln in a cloud. We observe the complex functions of a cell and some people believe the illusion that all of this was created through random mutations and natural selection. They believe that illusion because, perhaps, they think it is too painful to think that it was designed by an intelligence. Silver Asiatic
@PavelU: You are the ridiculous "illusory" human who thinks the OOL has been explained. Reality check, PavelU: you have NOTHING. Duh. Truthfreedom
The appearance of design is just an illusion. Only those who don’t understand evolution can believe such an absurdity. PavelU
“Euler spirals are widely used as transition curves in railroad engineering/highway engineering for connecting and transitioning the geometry between a tangent and a circular curve.” ( Wikipedia ) Apparently that’s done to increase safety while allowing higher speeds than other curves would. pw
There is no reason to believe that the rat went through hundreds of flopped, fatal designs for whiskers (natural selection acting on random mutation) before hitting on the Euler spiral. It was probably implicit from the beginning because the nature of reality in our universe would enact it. Call that creationism if you want. And yes, it does lead many to think that there must be a Mind behind the universe, to derive such mathematics. But that is a separate discussion. Grant’s idea, to study other mammals’ whiskers to see if similar patterns turn up, sounds like a good next step for a biologist.
Interesting point. Yes, it's like a precursor to inferring that there's a Mind - so pre-ID. It's just an observation that we observe in nature these structures, patterns and mathematically precise forms. In another article, scientists refer to these as "coincidences" of fine-tuning, but why not just accept that nature does not show the expected results of blind experimental tests. The Euler spiral has a quality of perfection and precision. They show mathematical beauty and order, and are not really "necessary" for the function of an organism. Silver Asiatic
Accepting Darwin forces one to believe in more miracles than even creationists believe in. It's amazing what they unquestioningly accept in order to prop up Darwinism/evolutionism. tjguy