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Engineer Stuart Burgess on “bad design” in nature

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From an account of the recent Christian Scientific Society meeting:

Stuart Burgess had fascinating details about his role as a senior design engineer for satellites for the European Space Agency. He pointed out that many biologists who write popular books are quick to dismiss certain elements of biological systems as bad design, who apparently have never actually designed anything or talked to real engineers. Some of the biological elements called bad design are actually ones that systems engineers value quite a bit and use in their work frequently. In fact, the trend is mostly that engineers seek to learn good design from biology. Stuart also raised the issue of living creatures that seem “well designed to kill.”

David Snoke, “Brief review of the meeting” at Christian Scientific Society Newsletter (November 19, 2020)

Lots of other interesting talks summarized at the link.

4 Replies to “Engineer Stuart Burgess on “bad design” in nature

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    The article doesn’t really say much.

  2. 2
    Belfast says:

    Have to agree.

  3. 3
    martin_r says:

    (i apologize in advance, i posted the following before)

    I am a mechanical engineer …

    Most lay people including all Darwinists consider A DESIGN as a thing which can be seen with naked eyes, e.g. geometrical shapes etc…

    TOTALLY WRONG !!!!

    What most people don’t realize, is, that when you look at any species, there are always multiple layers of design.

    for example – a hummingbird

    Layer #1: the design of the humming itself – the shape of the body, the shape / geometry of the wings, its weight, the frequency of its wing-flaps … in other words, lots of sophisticated design features need to be met so the hummingbird flies as it flies including the hovering-ability.

    Layer #2: the design of hummingbird’s fully automated self-assembly process (biologists call it – a development). All assembly-steps need to have the right order, there are no workers who put a hummingbird together, also, there are no parts / materials suppliers, everything is made/developed IN A FULLY AUTOMATED process. This is an engineering SCI-FI !!!!

    Layer #3: The design of the materials a hummingbird’s body is made of. All high-tech materials, perfectly designed and adjusted to fulfill its function. What is remarkable, all these sophisticated materials, some very lightweight and strong, are developed at species’s body temperature, no fire of thousands of degrees is needed. 21st century material-engineers can only wonder…

    Layer #4: the design of automated maintenance / repair processes. When you look at any species, almost everything gets repaired. Broken bones, eye’s cornea, the skin,, even DNA molecule gets repaired… I am sure that a biologist could provide a very long list of what else gets repaired.

    I never understood how Darwinists imagine the evolution of any repair-process. How an unguided natural process with no foresight can ever recognize a problem, that something needs to get repaired (e.g. broken leg). How does unguided natural process know, that this leg is broken and it needs to be repaired, when, and in what way. Any repair process is an undeniable proof of design.

    i am sure that there are many other layers of species’ design … somebody may add to mine…

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    One thing in neurology that strikes me as bad design is the vagus nerve. It controls and regulates most processes needed for life, but it’s poorly protected and doesn’t have backup. Most important organs have multiple layers of failsafe and backup.

    Despite the seemingly bad design, the vagus is rarely the main cause of death, so it must somehow function better than it looks.

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