Scientists, Soldiers, and Fish Scales
Operating on a grant from the U.S. Army, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing better body armor for soldiers. Surprisingly, the inspiration for their work comes from a foot-long African fish known as Polypterus senegalus.
According to scientists, the fish’s “armor” is able to protect it from others of its own species, as well as other carnivores. Its overlapping armored scales “first dissipate the energy of a strike, then protect against any penetrations to the soft tissues below and finally limit any damage to the shield to the immediate area surrounding the assault” (Crane, 2008). What makes the fish’s armor so effective? Aside from its four layers of overlapping scales, “researchers believe the dermal scales’ different composite materials [including bone and dentine—EL] and the geometry and thickness of various layers” all contribute to the armor’s strength and effectiveness in protecting the animal (Crane, 2008). Dr. Christine Ortiz, lead MIT researcher on the Polypterus project, stated: “Such fundamental knowledge holds great potential for the development of improved biologically inspired structural materials” (Bryner, 2008).
Brilliant scientists in the 21st century are spending an untold amount of time, energy, and money studying the scale structure of a fish, in hopes of designing new and improved armor applications for U.S. soldiers and military vehicles. Scientists admit that the “design” of the overlapping scale layers is “fascinating, complex and multiscale” (Crane, 2008). Yet, at the same time, we are told that this fish, which is inspiring state-of-the-art human armor systems, had no Designer (Bryner, 2008). Once again, naturalistic evolution allegedly was the great cause of a “fascinating” and “complex” creature. But design demands a designer. An effect (especially one of this magnitude) demands an adequate cause. In truth, blind chance, plus non-intelligence, plus random mutations, plus eons of time, neither designed nor caused Polypterus senegalus. Only an intelligent Designer could make such an awe-inspiring creature. As the psalmist wrote: “This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all” (104:25,24, emp. added).
Bryner, Jeanna (2008), “Incredible Fish Armor Could Suit Soldiers,” LiveScience, July 27, [On-line], URL: http://www.livescience.com/animals/080727-fish-armor.html.
Crane, David (2008), “Flexible Biological Scalar Body Armor for Future Soldiers?” Defense Review, July 31, [On-line], URL: http://www.defensereview.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article& amp;sid=1159.