Unintelligent Design – Why evolution explains the human body and “intelligent design” does not

Dr. Abby Hafer is a zoologist and anatomist. She (figuratively) took a jackhammer to “intelligent design,” focusing on five aspects of human anatomy. In each case she showed not only how the design is not optimal, but how better design would be perfectly possible and in fact is seen in other animals.

TESTICLES – They have to hang outside the body because the body’s temperature is too high for sperm production. Putting such a valuable organ in such a vulnerable position is bad design. Cold blooded animals don’t have this problem; their testicles are tucked safely inside.

Dr. Hafer explained that good enough is the design standard in evolution by natural selection. That is, the design need only be good enough to get the animal to reproduce. Testicles meet this unambitious criterion – most men don’t lose their balls before using them. In contrast, the design standard for an intelligent (indeed, infallible) designer should be far higher (especially, one might add, if this particular designed creature is in his image.) But maybe he flunked Design School.

BABY CROWNING – A human baby has to realllllly squeeze through the birth canal. This often kills the baby, the mother, or both. Why are we built like this? Because walking upright favors narrow hips, while being smart favors big heads. Women’s hips are just barely wide enough to enable birthing big-headed babies. Usually. Good enough. Barely.

Might a better design solution have been possible? Sure – kangaroos! They have it easy. The Creator must have liked them better than humans.

CHOKING: Our air passages and food passages interconnect with sometimes fatal results. Other animals have separate passages and cannot choke to death on food.

THE EYE: Ah, the favorite of anti-evolutionists: “irreducible complexity” — “what good is an incomplete eye?”

A lot of good, actually. Dr. Hafer showed many examples of creatures with much more primitive light-sensitive organs which still provide them with survival advantages.

Meantime, the human eye is not so great after all. That screw-up designer of ours inexplicably put the wiring in front of the light-sensitive parts, blocking some of the light, and also bunched the optic nerve fibers to cause a blind spot. The result is that we can’t see well in dim light, and our brains must do a lot of “photoshop” type work to collate and make sense of the images, with resulting loss of information. Animals like squids have much better eye design. (And wouldn’t an intelligent design include a third eye in back of our heads?)

THE APPENDIX: The killer argument. And the killer organ – literally. The appendix has no function – and sometimes kills its bearer. It once had a function (in rabbits it’s useful for digesting wood; as evidenced in my home’s woodwork, from when my daughter had rabbits) – and it remains as a vestigial organ because evolution hasn’t had enough time to get rid of it. If you were designing a human being from scratch, you certainly would not include an appendix. This is really bad design.

The stock answer to all this, the last redoubt of the “intelligent design” adherent, is to say, “Well, that’s the way God wants it.” If you want to believe that, fine. But it’s not science!


16 Responses to “Unintelligent Design – Why evolution explains the human body and “intelligent design” does not”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    This argument doesn’t get far with creationists because they also believe that god created man with a pretty miserable brain which is inclined towards evil

  2. Denzil Says:

    Great article good points. And yet- theists insist they are fighting on the same side as science

  3. Get your hands off me you filthy stinking ape Says:

    Accept for the childish ad hominem attacks (against God) and the blatant disregard of common medical knowledge, I actually enjoyed this article. I’m sure God had a big laugh at this.

    I find it interesting that Dr. Hafer fails to make mention of the cremastic reflex, which, in times of danger and excitement, draws the testicles closer to the body, so they are less likely to be struck in a fight or other dangerous events. I suppose those blind forces of evolution were feeling quite generous that day to equip the testes with self protecting mechanisms.

    God said to Eve, He would greatly increase the pain of child bearing, as punishment for her disobedience. That was not God’s original design plan.

    Dr. Hafer also fails to point out the complexity of the eye. A biological camera that can process 36,000 bits of information a day is poor design? A biological camera that can discern 2.7 million colors is poor design?

    I don’t see how choking refutes intelligent design. God created man in His image, mans sin brought death into this world. Don’t blame God.

    Dr. Hafer fails to point out even basic medical knowledge about the appendix. It is a well documented fact that the appendix creates useful endocrine cells for the fetus after 11 weeks. Dr. Hafer disregards this and tries to pass this off as science? Bunk!

    The living God will not be mocked. This article has no scientific truth.

    I pray the doctor will see the light.

  4. Get your hands off me you filthy stinking ape Says:

    *cremasteric. My mistake.

  5. rationaloptimist Says:

    Suppose, for argument’s sake, Eve DID sin. Does that justify punishment for women thousands of years later? Why would anybody believe in a God who is such a creep? No sense can be made of Biblical faith.

  6. Get your hands off me you filthy stinking ape Says:

    Eve didn’t just sin, human kind did. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world with perfect communion with God.

    They willfully disobeyed His very simple commandment. They both had the seed of all future humanity in them. Once they allowed sin in, it was too late.

    God was not being a creep. Would you want to serve a God who had no justice?

    “Oh well, accidents happen, here have a million babies and keep sinning” No, God punished the serpent, cursed the earth, and set a stern reminder of mans fallen state in child bearing.

    He could of just did away with humans. What does He do instead? He comes and dies for us on a cross.

    If that doesn’t show just how much He loves us, I don’t what does.

  7. rationaloptimist Says:

    Punishing A because of something B did is not justice, it’s barbarism. So is the idea of “original sin” which makes no rational sense in any understanding of justice. And the idea that to save humanity from this so-called crime, somebody had to be tortured on a cross? That too is barbaric, a throw-back to human sacrifice practices, which the story was clearly made up to evoke. You ought to open your mind and really think about what you’re saying. And think about whether you’d buy into such twisted doctrines if you hadn’t heard them before and were considering them fresh. Further, ask yourself this question — really think it through — by what means do you KNOW any of your religious ideas are true? (Hint: faith is not an answer; after all, what causes you to have faith?)

  8. Get your hands off me you filthy stinking ape Says:

    Sin is in the genes. Once Adam and eve passed on their genes, we are born into the world they ruined.

    We aren’t punished for what Adam and Eve did. We are “Shapen in iniquity” now, and “conceived in sin” according to the Bible. God does not say “The first two humans sinned now ye must suffer!!!” No, we are naturally born into a world of sin and sinful fallen bodies.

    What did God do when Adam and Eve found out they we’re naked? He made them coats of animal skins. He had to kill an animal because their fig leaves weren’t enough. We can’t fix our own sin. God tells us to our face the result of sin is death.

    So now what? Because you, me, and the first humans are sinners we must die and perish now? No. The unchanging law that sin results in death had to be fulfilled.

    God Himself took the fall for us. All of our sin was laid upon Jesus Christ, and He took it to the cross with Him.

    Now we are free from death hell and the grave because of God’s unfathomable mercy.

    That’s not human sacrifice, that is the bring you to your knees make you want to shout and sing praise, mercy and glory of God. That although you me and the guy next to us broke the Law of Moses, we’re born in sin, and fell short of the glory of God, He still had so much mercy on us, He said, “No, I will take the fall.”

    How do I know this to be true? Because for going on fifteen years I’ve been walking with the Lord, and He is ALWAYS there for me, always by my side, never to leave nor forsake me.

    Jesus died to free me from the sin I was born in, the sin I willfully committed, and to give me eternal life in His kingdom.

    And guess what? He did the same for you Mr.

    All you must do is accept His free gift of salvation, and make Him your Lord and Savior.

  9. rationaloptimist Says:

    So, let me understand this — all the thousands who lived BEFORE Jesus had to, what, die and go to Hell? But now afterwards we’re free from death & the grave? (Not so you’d notice.)
    But never mind, everyone is entitled to believe what they like. No matter how contrary to reason and reality.
    My sincere good wishes to you — even IF you were “conceived in sin”!! (Conceived in ignorance might be closer to the truth.)

  10. Get your hands off me you filthy stinking ape Says:

    They didn’t go to hell automatically, that would be unfair. They were judged according to the law, and the old testament makes it clear that there were many in heaven.

    The law was just temporary though.

    My best wishes to you.

    Take care.

  11. rationaloptimist Says:

    So . . . about going to Heaven vs Hell, there really was no difference before & after Jesus . . . but that would make Jesus irrelevant . . . so to reconcile that, you come up with the idea that pre-Jesus it was just a temporary law. Right. Doesn’t it begin to strike you that all this casuistry is a tiny bit tortured? That the whole thing is just complete nonsense?

  12. Artealis Agelo Antimanusia Says:

    more likely a stupid design. if GOD a woman, she wiil be making a better design then this

  13. Kevin Brosius Says:

    It’s precious seeing a creationist reference something being “in the genes.” It takes that special kind of cultist doublethink to simultaneously reject the findings of science and yet cherry pick concepts from exactly the things they’re rejecting whenever those concepts are convenient.

    However, I doubt the poor sap actually knows enough to even understand what is so ridiculous about it.

  14. Don Says:

    Interesting expose. If “good enough” has replaced “survival of the fittest”, then why are there two testicles? One would work just as well.

  15. Don Says:

    For an “intelligent” proposed reason for having an appendix, please see the report of Duke University surgeons and immunologists reported in January 2008 Discover Magazine.

    To those who believe in God…..If man was to be perfect….why does he need an immune system? Why do so many plants have curative values?

    I have questions for everybody….lol

  16. Intelligent Design(ID), Fine-Tuning, Kalam Cosmoloy, Creationism are nothing but Arguments from_ faith/belief. Do you know about- ‘PSEUDOScience’ !? – Welcome To Blogger Biplob' s Site Says:

    […] =https://rationaloptimist.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/unintelligent-design-%E2%80%93-why-evolution-expla…/ […]

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