This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 11/1/2011

Super-Strong Spider Silk

To the average person, a spider’s web looks very weak and flimsy. With the greatest of ease, a person can destroy a web. In only a second, the spider’s house is destroyed with the wave of a hand. Even Job’s uninspired friend, Bildad, mentioned the weakness of webs when he compared the unrighteous to those “whose trust is a spider’s web” (Job 8:14), who are leaning upon a house that easily perishes. So why are scientists so awestruck by the spider’s silk webbing?

Scientists are fascinated with spider silk because it has the amazing ability to absorb a strong impact. Think about it. Spider silk is much, much smaller and lighter than the flies and grasshoppers that often fly full speed into a spider’s web. Yet the web doesn’t break. It stretches (30% farther than the stretchiest known nylon) but it doesn’t break—at least not usually. Some spiders’ webs are so strong, in fact, that they can even catch small birds, such as hummingbirds. (Yes, some spiders will even catch and eat birds.) Although it may not seem strong and tough from the vantage point of a human who easily can tear down a spider’s web, pound-for-pound, the silk from certain kinds of spiders is five times stronger than steel.

Since harvesting silk from spiders is not very practical, scientists are attempting to make artificial “spider silk” that could be used for countless things, including bulletproof vests, bridge cables, and artificial tendons. How have scientists fared so far? Although they have made some progress, one scientist admitted that despite years of research, artificial webbing “can’t even come close” to equaling the amazing qualities of spider-produced silk. Sadly, this same scientist believes that spiders just “evolved the capacity to spin silk.” Are we to believe that the mastermind behind the light, stretchy, shock-absorbing, tougher-than-steel, better-than-anything-man-made, spider webbing is mindless evolution? Absurd!

Spider webbing is God’s wonder material. That is, God designed these arachnids with the amazing ability to weave wonderful webs. Truly, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

Copyright © 2011 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio