On this ID the Future, Stuart Burgess, one of Britain’s top engineers, explains how the skeletal joints in the human body are masterpieces of intelligent design. He also responds to claims by some evolutionists that human joints are badly designed and supposedly evidence of Darwinian evolution’s blind trial-and-error process. This presentation was taped at the 2022 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith in the greater Philadelphia area, which was jointly sponsored by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, and Westminster Theological Seminary. Here in Part 1, Burgess focuses on the ankle joint, showing that it packs an extraordinary amount of functionality into a small space, beyond anything human engineers have managed to achieve either in prosthetics or robotics.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a Bristol University engineer whose design work helped Great Britain’s cycling team win gold in the most recent Summer Olympics. Stuart Burgess, currently on a visiting fellowship at the University of Cambridge and an expert on linkage mechanisms, discusses with host Eric Anderson how top engineering firms are paying big money to learn from the extraordinary designs found in biology so as to improve their own designs. Burgess has designed groundbreaking linkage mechanisms, but he says the human knee is still well ahead of what even the most advanced human engineers have managed in this area, even accounting for the fact that wear and tear and misuse can lead to knee problems. He walks listeners through some things that make the knee an engineering marvel, and takes a look at some other masterfully designed linkage mechanisms in nature, including those found in the jaws of fish. The occasion for the discussion is Burgess’s recent scholarly paper in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.
On today’s ID the Future, physicist and engineer Brian Miller sits down with host Casey Luskin to survey exciting developments in intelligent design research that are driven by an engineering model for understanding and studying variations in species. ID researchers are pushing this work, but so too are systems biology researchers outside the intelligent design community. Tune in to hear Miller and Luskin discuss everything from fruit flies, finch beaks, and stickleback fish to mutational hotspots, phenotypic plasticity, and the gravity well model of biological adaptation.