Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Nature 1, Man 0: Gecko Feet

LamellaeImage by Furryscaly via Flickr
Stanford University News:
A Stanford mechanical engineer is using the biology of a gecko's sticky foot to create a robot that climbs. In the same way the small reptile can scale a wall of slick glass, the Stickybot can climb smooth surfaces with feet modeled on the intricate design of gecko toes.
The toe of a gecko's foot contains hundreds of flap-like ridges called lamellae. On each ridge are millions of hairs called setae, which are 10 times thinner than a human's. Under a microscope, you can see that each hair divides into smaller strands called spatulae, making it look like a bundle of split ends. These split ends are so tiny (a few hundred nanometers) that they interact with the molecules of the climbing surface.
The interaction between the molecules of gecko toe hair and the wall is a molecular attraction called van der Waals force. A gecko can hang and support its whole weight on one toe by placing it on the glass and then pulling it back. It only sticks when you pull in one direction – their toes are a kind of one-way adhesive, Cutkosky said.
Purposeful, goal-oriented, solution-seeking man employs all of his intelligence and design abilities and yet is still playing catch-up to (so we are assured) dumb-as-a-rock, wasn't-even-trying Nature.

I'm scoring this one Nature, 1; Man, 0.
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7 comments:

itsboopchile said...

Rick, Guess I'll never follow nature and clinb walls or glass. I can't even keep a comment from you posted to me. Sometimes I am hopeless!
We have had our share of problems this summer, now Dean will have surgery this month. Dean has had a good summer otherwise and I am working on a scrapbook of all he is doing.
He is especially thankful for the Freedom Flight trip and the way the Vets were so excited about it. He is hoping to promote it locally
in 2011.
Those guys are great!
My best to you and yours.
Betty G

Joe_Agnost said...

Why wouldn't nature be ahead of us? Nature's had billions of years to work, we've had but a fraction of that.

Anonymous said...

So god designed the Gecko's feet superior to the human's feet. Interesting design choice. Maybe the Gecko is really the pinnacle of creation?

Evolution would be able to explain it because every species on earth is just as evolved as humans are - each simply evolved in different ways. So it isn't surprising at all that another species has developed something better than humans have.

How does creationism explain it? Oh, let me guess. God just did it that way. We don't need an explanation, and that's the explanation.

RkBall said...

"Nature's had billions of years to work, we've had but a fraction of that."

According to your view, nature is mindless and purposeless. According to my view, nature reflects the wisdom and creative purposes of its Creator.

Gecko's feet: another Mercedes in the driveway.

RkBall said...

"every species on earth is just as evolved as humans are - each simply evolved in different ways."

Are humans special, or are we just animals like other animals?

Joe_Agnost said...

RK_Ball wrote: "According to your view, nature is mindless and purposeless."

Nature is mindless, yes. There is a purpose to the evolution of ~things~ though - to better reproduce and pass genes on to offspring.
This is more than enough incentive for evolution to take such different paths for the many ~things~ evolving.

The ToE explains things like these gecko feet perfectly - your story?? Not convincing at all.

RK_Ball asks: "Are humans special, or are we just animals like other animals?"

Humans are special, to ~me~. But we aren't "special" in any other sense. We're just animals sharing a planet with a whole bunch of other plants and animals. Nothing special in that.

RkBall said...

"There is a purpose to the evolution of ~things~ though - to better reproduce and pass genes on to offspring.
This is more than enough incentive for evolution to take such different paths for the many ~things~ evolving."

Joe -- we've had this conversation before. There is no purpose to nature, if nature is uncreated -- it just "is" -- there is no purpose to a sun, to gravity, to stardust, to oxygen, to the laws of physics, the laws of chemistry, the laws of biology, and to the unintended effects of these laws -- including ourselves. You are anthropomorphizing or deifying nature -- take your pick.

Nature's "incentive". Nature has no incentive to either try or do anything.

If you are going to be a darwinist and/or atheist then try to at least drain your brain of teleological, purpose-driven ideas -- such as purpose and incentive.

Otherwise, you are simply using terminology that is only coherent if theism and not atheism is true.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"