The theory of intelligent falling

“Do you know every creationist has a blind spot?”

– Randolph Nesse

Evolution is only a theory. Yeah, so is gravity. And germ theory. But you don’t see people carrying banners that say “Teach the controversy” for those theories. Teach the controversy! There is no controversy. All the scientists with any level of credibility and knowledge on the matter accept evolution as a fact. The disputes are only between scientists and non-scientists, and since the topic is science, the non-scientists don’t get to vote.

But the gaps in the fossil records. Show me the transitional fossils. Well, every time a scientist comes up with one, it only makes the creationists even more happy as there are now two new gaps to explain in the fossil record. Intelligent design you say. Hmm, I bet I know who your intelligent designer is going to be.  How about an intelligent theory of falling. Then you can teach the controversy in the theory of gravitation. As Nick Matzke rightly quipped :

Intelligent design is creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

 

More evidence? First get hold a good book on evolution. I recommend The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. He has poured his heart out in explaining the various evidence available for evolution, not just from fossil records, but from radiometric dating, palaeontology, embryology, anatomy, genetics, artificial breeding and geography. The following is an except from the book (Chapter 11, pp.356) which shows an example of unintelligent design in mammals (that includes us).

 

[Recurrent laryngeal nerve] is a branch of one of the cranial nerves, the vagus (the name means ‘wandering’ and is apt), has various branches, two of which go to the heart, and two on each side to the larynx (voice box in mammals). On each side of the neck, one of the branches of the laryngeal nerve goes straight to the larynx, following a direct route such as a designer might have chosen. The other one goes to the larynx via an astonishing detour. It dives right down into the chest, loops around one of the main arteries leaving the heart (a different artery on the left and right sides, but the principle is the same), and then heads back up the neck to its destination. If you think of it as a product of design, the recurrent laryngeal nerve is a disgrace.

The following video shows the recurrent laryngeal nerve in a giraffe. As you can see the detour it takes from the brain to reach the larynx suggests anything but intelligent design. Viewer discretion is advised  as the video contains graphic images.

No engineer would ever make a mistake like that. If you are still not convinced, you can just float the hell off.
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3 comments

  1. It is almost as if saying that evolution is an unintelligent process. For instance, in the example that Dawkins talks about, it would be hasty to call the design as unintelligent – immaterial of weather it has evolved over time or been created by an engineer – because, for all you know, it is probably essential.

  2. Evolution is indeed an unintelligent process. It has no foresight as Dawkins says. It doesn't plan ahead for changes in the environment. It is this strange inversion of reasoning that people find hard to come to terms with. But you see the same thing happens in a computer. At the basic level it is all about following simple rules. A computer doesn't have to know arithmetic (in fact it doesn't in our sense of the word know). But it still does a marvellous job at it, much faster than us humans.

  3. It is tempting to call something as designed as we are so used to that concept. Every watch has a watchmaker, every painting a painter. But what we see is that instead of starting from scratch and building a new model (as any intelligent designer would do), evolution corrects its mistakes with small and gradual changes. And the whole history – in case of the recurrent laryngeal – can be traced back to our common ancestors with the fish. Why do we have an appendix? Or the whale vestigial hind legs? To presuppose a designer only complicates the problem as then you'd have to explain where he (or she) came from.

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