The engineering in Nature
Airplanes, computers, bridges, and towers are all examples of an engineering design. Various components constituting a single whole are employed in all of them, and plans regarding the way that these components will be combined together are drawn up beforehand.
One must not, of course, forget the engineer, architect, or designer who does all this. But, how are we to tell whether or not there is a plan in something we see from the outside?
If a series of components are brought together in correctly functioning engineering systems in such a way as to perform a superior function to those they perform on their own, then, that reveals the presence of a plan. The greater the characteristics of the components giving rise to the function, the greater the evidence for the plan we need to identify. Examples of this can be seen in systems of various kinds.
Think of a clock, for example. The first components that come to mind will be the hands, cogwheels, pendulum, and face. None of these, on its own, can do what a clock does; indeed, even if they are all present together except for one single component, the clock will still not work.
We can usually easily see engineering designs in mechanical objects. Yet, there are also a great many non-artificial, natural structures all around us. In the same way that a submarine that enables us to breathe in and travel through the depths of the ocean has a plan, so does a fish. The respiratory system that allows it to use the oxygen dissolved in the water as it swims along, the air sac that permits it to ascend and descend in the water, the fins that propel it forward and the special sensory system that permits it to detect vibrations in the water around it are all evidences of this. As with a clock or a submarine, a fish also possesses a large number of systems and components that discharge one basic function.
None of these components, by itself, can be described as a fish, and in their absence the survival of the fish becomes unlikely or even impossible.
You will be seeing just a few of the proofs of this obvious truth in the film you will shortly be watching. The engineering designs that the film describes sometimes appear in a living thing’s eye, or in the circulatory system of a giraffe, or in a bird skull. The more you examine these, the more you will see what a grave error the idea that life emerged as the result of chance truly is.
On the other hand, you will also witness the sublime knowledge with which such engineering structures were created and thus see the proofs of Allah’s flawless Creation. Indeed, Allah’s flawless creative power and artistry are described as follows in one verse of the Qur’an:
“He is Allah– the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form.To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the Heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.” (Surat al-Hashr, 24)
The Engineering in Nature
The aim in engineering, which is divided into very different branches, is to make human life more comfortable and safer, and to facilitate our day-to-day existence.
A vast number of details in human life, from the safety of bridges to the speed and comfort of transport vehicles, from simple kitchen appliances used in the home to military technology, are all the product of engineering.
These products are the result of years of research, study, and acquired knowledge on the part of trained and experienced engineers.
The refrigerator you use, for example, is an engineering design, as are your television, music set, vacuum cleaner, car and computer, as well as industrial machinery, satellites, spacecraft, and so on.
All of these are the products of fine planning and detailed calculations, of the brainpower and the work carried out by large numbers of people, all of whom are experts in their own fields.
Just like these products that make our own lives so much easier, there are also countless engineering designs in the bodies of living creatures in nature:
Shock-absorbing mechanical structures, pumps with special security features, energy converting motion systems, flawless optical structures and toxin-neutralizing chemicals are just a few of these.
Yet, an amazing conclusion emerges when one compares such perfect structures and technology in living things with man-made products developed in parallel with them: none of these products go any further than being copies of nature, and most of the time they are unable to even approach the superior level of Creation in living things.
The way that a tiny insect, a fish or a bird has far superior structures and systems in its body compared to those that can be planned by human beings reveals one single, truth.
The perfect technologies in living things are proof that they were created.
In one verse, Allah tells us: Say: ‘Who is the Lord of the Heavens and the earth?’ Say: ‘Allah.’ Say: ‘So why have you taken protectors apart from Him who possess no power to help or harm themselves?’ Say: ‘Are the blind and seeing equal? Or are darkness and light the same? Or have they assigned partners to Allah who create as He creates, so that all creating seems the same to them?’ Say: ‘Allah is the Creator of everything. He is the One, the All-Conquering.’(Surat ar-Ra‘d, 16)
The aim of this film is to be a means whereby people can comprehend the infinite might of Allah by, once again, revealing different aspects of the immaculate engineering marvels that have remained exactly the same in nature over millions of years.
The Mechanical Marvels in the Woodpecker
Woodpeckers peck away at tree trunks to build their nests and find food.
Some species can do this 15 to 20 times a second. The interval between two pecks is much less than a second.
Every time the bird’s beak strikes the tree, shock waves are set up inside its head. But its cherry-sized brain is unaffected by these. The woodpecker’s secret lies in its neck muscles. When it begins pecking, its beak and neck are exactly aligned. The slightest deviation from this could lead to tearing inside the brain. There is no difference between this high-speed pecking and hitting the head against concrete. The fact that the bird’s brain comes to no harm is made possible by means of an extraordinary structure.
Most birds’ skull bones are fused together. The movement of its jaw opens the beak.
In the woodpecker, however, a rubbery substance that absorbs the shock waves arising during pecking separates the beak and the skull.
This flexible substance is far superior to the shock absorbers in cars. This superiority stems from the fact that it can absorb shock waves arising at very short intervals.
This material is able to absorb the shock caused by one strike and quickly prepares itself to meet the next. In addition, it manages this in the face of a strike rate greater than 10 in a second.
This substance is far superior to any equivalent developed by present-day technology.
The fact that the woodpecker’s skull and top beak are joined in such an extraordinary way permits the area containing the brain to be separated from the beak at every strike and thus gives rise to a second shock absorbing mechanism.
The Giraffe and Its Circulatory System
At up to 5 meters in height, the giraffe is one of the largest terrestrial animals in the world.
In order to survive, it has to pump blood from its heart to the brain, two meters above it. Its heart must, therefore, be exceptionally powerful.
Indeed, the giraffe’s heart is as powerful as to pump blood at a pressure of 350 torrs.
This system, which is normally fatal to human beings, lies in a special compartment equipped with small blood vessels capable of dealing with this potentially lethal pressure.
That section leading from the head to the heart contains a U system formed by veins running up and down.
The blood vessels running on the opposite direction neutralize the total pressure, preventing sudden hemorrhaging caused by internal pressure.
The legs and feet also require special protection in that part descending downwards from the heart.
The fact that the skin around the giraffe’s legs and feet is very thick protects it from the negative effects of blood pressure. There are also small valves inside the veins that can halt the strong flow of blood and thus bring the pressure under control.
The greatest threat, however, arises when the animal lowers its head to the ground in order to drink.
Under normal conditions, blood pressure, intense enough to cause a brain hemorrhage, would increase even further in this situation. But, a flawless precaution has been taken against that danger.
A fluid secreted inside the body enters the equation and reduces the amount of blood pumped by shrinking the volume of the heart.
There are also special valves in the animal’s neck that come into play when it lowers its head. These valves significantly reduce the flow of blood, thus permitting the giraffe to safely drink and raise its head again.
The thickness of the giraffe’s many layers of veins is another precaution taken in the face of the threat posed by this high blood pressure.
The Golden Plover
Is it possible for a Boeing 737 to fly the 2800 miles between Alaska and Hawaii without being loaded with fuel?
Let us first consider some of the facts regarding the plane before answering that question.
The maximum amount of fuel you can place in the tank is 14.2 tons.
Yet, the flight from Alaska to Hawaii requires 30 tons of fuel.
In other words, if that plane takes off with the intention of flying non-stop to Hawaii, it will plunge into the sea en route.
However, it is possible to fly this distance nonstop.
The golden plover is a bird weighing only 200 grams, not a plane weighing many tons.
Every year, the golden plover flies the 2500 miles, from Alaska to Hawaii, in 88 hours, in other words in 3.5 days, flapping its wings the whole time.
Scientists have calculated that the bird needs 82 grams of fat to use as fuel on such a journey.
Yet, the golden plover’s body contains only 70 grams of fat.
Yet, it never falls into the sea because it has used up all its fuel. So what is the secret behind this flawless flight system?
The birds fly in a flock, rather than haphazardly on their own. As they fly, they assume a specific formation and establish a “V” shape in the air.
This V shape lowers air resistance.
This flight arrangement is so effective that the birds save 23% of their energy because of it.
This means they still have an excess of 6-7 grams of fat when they land.
This excess fat is not surplus to requirements, however; it represents spare fuel in the event that the wind starts blowing from the opposite direction.
We now need to ask the following question in the face of this marvelous state of affairs:
How does the bird know how much fuel it will require for the flight?
How is it able to adjust exactly that amount of fat before setting off?
How does it calculate the distance it will have to fly and how much fuel it will consume?
How does the bird know that conditions are better in Hawaii than in Alaska?
It cannot make such flawless calculations, navigate so perfectly, or manage to fly in formation by itself and of its own free will.
All these things take place through the inspiration of Allah, Who has equipped all living things with the systems they need. Indeed, in the Qur’an it is referred to birds flying “with wings outspread and folded back” and it is revealed that it is the might of Allah that permits these animals to fly: “Have they not looked at the birds above them, with wings outspread and folded back? Nothing holds them up but the All-Merciful. He sees all things.” (Surat al-Mulk, 19)
Penguins’ Walking Technique
Emperor penguins embark on a long journey during and after the incubation period in order to take care of their young.
There is something particularly astonishing about this walk.
Although penguins have large bodies, they have very small legs that make walking difficult.
This would normally mean an excessive consumption of energy.
And, this would, in turn, mean death for penguins setting out on a long journey with only a limited supply of spare food.
So how is it that penguins manage to walk such a long distance despite this state of affairs that appears to represent such a disadvantage?
Penguins walk by swaying right and left. The reason for this pendulum-like gait is exceedingly important.
They save an enormous amount of energy through that gait.
The penguins’ legs are very short.
However, they neutralize this disadvantage by swaying to the side and thus reduce muscle fatigue to a minimum.
Indeed, at the end of every step, they have stored enough energy for the next one.
Were penguins to walk straightforward rather than from side to side, they would have to expend twice the energy of an animal of their size.
However, this peculiar gait permits penguins to expend energy only when they start and stop while walking.
This is the best way for their limited food supply to last them until they reach the sea.
A gait that permits such saving of energy is not of course something that the penguin discovered on its own.
Moreover, not just one penguin does this, but all penguins do this.
Penguins know and apply this advantage that permits them to survive the harsh winter conditions, from the moment they are born.
Any other behavior would have serious and possibly fatal consequences.
It is out of the question for penguins to experiment with ways to expend the least energy possible in the freezing cold before finally deciding on this particular way of walking.
This gait is one of the proofs of Allah’s affection and compassion for living things.
It is Allah Who creates penguins and inspires their behavior.
Allah gave all the creatures unique figures and created them with superior features.
The Gecko’s Adhesion Technique
There is a very powerful adhesion system in the feet of the gecko lizard that is not found in any other life form.
The gecko’s miraculous adhesion system does not contain any chemicals; in other words, there is no sticky substance on the soles of its feet.
Nor do their feet have any sucker-like structures.
Research has revealed that the mechanism in the lizard’s feet is an example of sublime engineering.
The fact is that these tiny reptiles’ feet have been specially created for climbing.
A team, in the U.S., established by the environmental physiologist, Kellar Autumn, and the bio-engineer, Robert Full, with funding from the Massachusetts IS Robotics, performed a microscopic analysis of how the gecko climbs.
The results showed that we are dealing with a marvel of Creation, as a result of scientific progress.
There is a force in the gecko’s feet that is probably known only to nuclear physicists.
The factor that enables the lizard to cling to walls and the like is the large number of microscopic hairs on the soles of its feet.
There are some 2 million thick hairs on a single gecko foot. Each one of these thick hairs divides like the branches of a tree, splitting up into 1000 much smaller hairs.
There are approximately two billion such tiny hairs on a gecko’s foot.
The number of hairs on a human being’s head is approximately 100,000.
If the number of hairs on our heads were equivalent to that of the micro hairs on the gecko’s feet, then those hairs would only fit on an area the size of a football field.
This enormous number of micro hairs has been specially planned to permit the gecko to adhere to surfaces. Were the hairs any fewer in number, it would be unable to attach itself to such surfaces.
These micro hairs make contact with the surface on which the lizard is walking in such a way as to leave no empty spaces. Experts have calculated that a gecko has a 120-kilo adhesion capacity. This is equivalent to a 70-kilo human being sticking to the ceiling with a force of 90 tons.
If the system in the gecko’s feet were to exist in the human hand, then we would be able to lift 10 trucks weighing 9 tons each by sticking to the ceiling by the palms of our hands.
It is obvious that the gecko’s feet have been specially created for adhesion.
The hairs used in this process are in exactly the right place and have exact numbers.
Such a perfect structure cannot, of course, be the work of either nature or the gecko itself.
There is absolutely no doubt that this Creation is that of Allah, Creator of all living things on the earth and in the sky and all that lies in between.
The Optical Structure of the Lobsters’ Eyes
There are a number of very different kinds of eye in the living world.
We are generally familiar with the “camera type” eye, unique to vertebrates.
This works on the principle of light refraction.
Light from the outside enters by being refracted by the lens in the front part of the eye, by way of which it is focused on the posterior part.
The eyes of some other living things, however, function very differently.
One of these is the lobster eye.
This works on the principle of reflection rather than refraction.
The noteworthy feature of the lobster eye is that the surface is made up of a large number of squares.
These are highly regular, as we can see.
These regular squares on the lobster’s eye are all in fact the front surface of square prisms.
This structure may be compared to a honeycomb. When you look at a honeycomb you first see only a hexagonal surface. However, these hexagonal surfaces are the surfaces of prisms extending towards the interior of the comb. What makes the lobster’s eyes different is that the shape is square instead of hexagonal.
Even more interestingly, the interior surfaces of each of these square prisms have a mirror-like structure.
These mirror-like surfaces reflect light in a very powerful manner.
These prisms are placed with an angle to flawlessly focus light on one single point.
It is clear that the structure here represents a serious difficulty for the theory of evolution.
First and foremost, the eye possesses the feature known as “irreducible complexity.”
Were it not for the square cells in the front part of the eye, or if these were unable to reflect light, or if there were no retinal layer in the back of the eye, the eye would serve no purpose at all.
For that reason, it cannot be suggested that the lobster eye developed in stages.
To suggest that such a perfect structure came about by coincidences is totally irrational. The gradual loss of the lens in a crustacean’s eyes and the emergence of mirrored surfaces where the lens had once been would leave the animal deprived of sight right from the very outset.
It would, therefore, be eliminated through natural selection.
Obviously, both eye structures have been structured according to two very different blueprints and individually created.
There is such an immaculate geometric order in these eyes that it is ridiculous to even consider the possibility of “chance.”
Like all other miracles of Creation, the lobster eye shows the infinite and flawless creative ability of the Creator.
This is a manifestation of the infinite knowledge, might and intelligence of Allah.
Wherever we look in the living world, we encounter such miracles of Creation.
The Macaw’s Chemical Knowledge
One species of parrot that lives in South America manages to feed on some seeds, even though they are highly poisonous.
The behavior of this parrot is quite amazing. While other living things are unable to even approach these seeds, why is it that nothing happens to these birds that constantly eat them?
Immediately after eating these seeds, which are actually highly nutritious, these parrots, known as macaws, fly off to a cliff face.
When they arrive, they break off a few fragments of rock with clay and swallow them.
This is no random activity. The characteristic of these rock fragments is that they absorb the toxins inside the seeds.
This enables the birds to digest the seeds without the slightest discomfort.
But how did these birds come by the medical knowledge with which to determine the poisonous effects of these seeds?
How do they know how to neutralize those effects?
Could they have been taught enough pharmacology to know that these rocks contain a substance that will neutralize the toxins in the seeds?
No such thing is possible, of course.
A human being cannot tell if seeds are poisonous just by looking at them.
Nor can they know how to neutralize the toxins.
They will either have to have received special training or else to have asked someone who knows.
That being the case, it is impossible to say that a bird, devoid of any reason or consciousness, could have discovered such a thing as a result of lengthy chemical analyses and investigations.
It is impossible for macaws to have acquired the knowledge that human beings can only attain after years of special training by chance.
It is Allah, the flawless Creator of all things, Who taught this to the macaws.
Reflection on such examples is sufficient to show that the behavior of living things cannot be the result of chance.
Allah inspires the knowledge to all living things. None of the creatures are left aimlessly to coincidences.
In one of the verses of the Qur’an it is revealed that all living things are under the absolute control and dominion of Allah:
“I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path.” (Surah Hud, 56)
What Does the Engineering in Nature Tell Us?
There is a fallacy that certain people are constantly trying to indoctrinate people with.
The fallacy that living things have evolved!
Just seeing living things, each of which has its own superior engineering structure, will enable you to grasp the invalidity of the theory of evolution, which is based solely on coincidences.
But what good will that do to you?
Seeing the invalidity of the theory of evolution will show you how irrational and hollow all efforts to deny creation really are, and how they can never bear fruit.
The second thing you will gain, from discovering how things are created around you, is that you will begin to delight in all the beauties presented to you.
Your life will beautify and have meaning as you see the perfection in things around you.
With the acquisition of this perspective, the details you have seen all around you, but have never much thought about, will cease to be “ordinary” and will come to represent a source of enormous joy and excitement.
Beyond all these things, one single living thing whose Creation you have learned and reflected upon will gain you something else, something incomparably more valuable than anything else in the world.
When you learn that there is a flawless mechanical structure in the woodpecker’s head, you will actually be looking at a great and highly significant truth: there is a hidden “mind” in the body of this creature.
There is a flawlessness and perfection that the human mind can never attain through knowledge and experience.
Each component contains such complex structures and systems that it has taken human beings thousands of years of accumulated technology and knowledge to unravel their secrets, let alone to make anything in any way comparable.
Moreover, there are countless miracles in life that have still not been discovered with present-day science and technology.
As a result, the more we discover these perfect examples of Creation in living things, the more we will realize the indisputable existence of Allah and the better knowledge we will have of His infinite and sublime names.
This reality will permit one to readjust the life he is leading in this world towards the infinite life of the Hereafter.
So long as people turn their eyes towards the Hereafter and believe in Allah and seek to please Him, they are promised Paradise, with all its matchless beauties and unending blessings.
The life in Hereafter will not be 100 years, 1,000 or 1 million years; it will be eternal.
There, infinite beauties and blessings will be showered upon the believers, and everything a person desires will be his for all time.
Most important of all, the greatest reward awaiting the believers there is the approval of our Lord.
A little reflection on just one living thing will enable us to grasp this enormous truth and to obtain this wondrous reward by readjusting our lives in the light of these facts.
Understanding this truth, while still in the life of this world, brings with it endless benefits.
Failure to comprehend it, or ignoring it out of arrogance, will spell the beginning of a terrible regret from which there can be no way back.
Every self will taste death. You will be paid your wages in full on the Day of Rising. Anyone who is distanced from the Fire and admitted to the Garden has triumphed. The life of this world is just the enjoyment of delusion. (Surah Al-‘Imran, 185)