Strongest shells found, according to reports in ScienceDaily 9 February 2016 and PNAS, 2016 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1519790113. Diatoms are microscopic single celled plants with shells made of silica that have intricate honeycomb-like patterns of holes, making them light enough for the cells to float in the water, but still extremely strong.

Scientists at California Institute of Technology tested the ability of the shells of disc shaped diatom named Coscinodiscus to resist breaking under bending forces and found “the diatom shell has the highest specific strength of all previously reported biological materials”.

Julia Greer, one of the researchers, explained: “Silica is a strong but brittle material. For example, when you drop a piece of glass, it shatters. But architecting this material into the complex design of these diatom shells actually creates a structure that is resilient against damage. The presence of the holes delocalizes the concentrations of stress on the structure”.

The research team concluded: “These results demonstrate the natural development of architecture in live organisms to simultaneously achieve light weight, strength, and structural integrity and may provide insight into evolutionary design”.


Editorial Comment: Evolutionary design? Yes, this is a brilliant example of design, but note well, “evolutionary design” is a contradiction in terms, unless you believe that evolution is some kind of intelligent purposeful being, rather than the chance random or naturalistic processes it really is.

And you Theistic Evolutionists in high places in the church listen up real good: “evolutionary design” makes evolution into a god, and a very nasty, incompetent one at that. What kind of a god would work by randomly making millions of unfit creatures, and letting them struggle for life in do-or-die battles of survival of the fittest? The real Creator God of Genesis, who is the Jesus of John’s Gospel, who is all powerful, all knowing, and loves His creation, designed these strong functional shells to work properly from the beginning.

Neither is the diatom shell simply a “natural development of architecture”. Architecture does not develop by natural processes. Architecture requires the pre-existing mind of an Architect who is outside the structure being built, and uses the properties of the building materials and laws of physics to create a structure that the materials themselves cannot make. The difference between the building and the building materials is the architect’s plans, i.e. information imposed on the materials. Design always comes from the mind and never happens without purpose. The silica in the diatom shell did not come up with the information used to create the intricate functional designs in diatom shells, and no-one believes the single cell inside the diatom thought it up. (Ref. structural engineering, design, silicates, microbes)

Evidence News vol. 16, No.4
9 March 2016
Creation Research Australia