Copying nature (biomimicry) is now big business.

by Geoff Chapman

According to the Biomimicry Institute (, “Solutions to global challenges are all around us… nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with.”

Janine Benyus, the Biomimicry Institute’s founder, described biomimicry as “a new science that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems.”

Whales’ flippers inspired the design for wind turbine blades
Whales’ flippers inspired the design for wind turbine blades (Photo: Whit Welles, Wikipedia)

However, “nature” is just a description of what we see, so how could it possibly have “ideas”? Strangely, although the scientists and engineers involved in biomimicry use their intelligence, they won’t admit that what they are copying also suggests an intelligent origin.

We could make a very lengthy list of examples of humans plagiarising God’s designs. These include:

  • Helicopters — based on the mechanism used by dragonflies and hummingbirds
  • Wind turbine blades – based on the design of whales’ flippers
  • Solar panels – based on the design of flies’ eyes
  • Air-conditioned buildings – based on the architecture of termite nests
  • Optical lenses for CD and DVD players – based on the eyes of mantis shrimps.

In fact, the list of “God’s  firsts” is almost endless.

The natural designs that humans copy clearly display evidence of intelligent design, however much people deny it. Ideas always come from a mind! So it doesn’t make sense when ‘Nature’ and ‘Evolution’ are spelled with a capital letter, which reports about the natural world often do when claiming that evolution or nature “discovered” something, as though they somehow have intelligence.

Whether they realise it or not, scientists who copy nature are acknowledging that design exists, and design points to a Designer! Yet some scientists appear to be wilfully blind. The late atheist and biologist Dr Francis Crick wrote: “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”1 Why? Because he, and many others like him, don’t want to believe in a Creator.

Mount Rushmore
No one would suggest that natural processes formed the presidents’ images on Mt Rushmore, even if they didn’t know who did it (Photo: Mount Rushmore,

However, John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, rejects the argument that advances in scientific knowledge have removed the need to believe in a Creator. He says: “The major evidence for God is not in what we don’t understand, but in what we do understand. It’s the science that I do understand that points me towards God, not the science I don’t.” (emphases added).

Actually, we all recognise design when we see it. No one, looking at the images of US presidents at Mount Rushmore, would suggest that natural processes formed them, even if they didn’t know who did it.

They won’t admit that what they are copying also suggests an intelligent origin

The same logic should apply to design in nature. Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul wrote: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 20).

Yet Paul knew nothing of many of the wonders of creation since discovered, which add even greater weight to the evidence of intelligent design. Human inventors always claim credit for their designs, so why should the ultimate Designer be denied the credit for his designs which they love to copy?


1What Mad Pursuit, New York: Basic Books (1988), p138

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