Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Was The Human Body Designed?

The Argument from Life – particularly human life – is one of the go-to arguments for a theist’s insistence that a ‘designer’ exists. (Naturally, their own designer; never anyone else’s.) Teaching A&P and human anatomy such as I do, it is quite apparent that if anyone did design the human body, they did a piss poor job of it. When you consider all the things that can go wrong with the human body, to say nothing of the malfunctions that afflict the supposedly wondrous brain alone, and it seems odd to me that anyone would consider the human body designed. Sure, how the kidneys balance bodily fluids and monitor blood pressure is amazing, but the process is so convoluted that kidneys actually seem to have arisen by chance. Being undersigned, the human body is the biological equivalent of a ’71 Ford Pinto, a vehicle that would burst into flames if you happened to tap it with a feather.

As always, one should have evidence for their assertions. Fortunately, a lot of this work has been done for me. Allow me to point you in the direction of some articles that lament the failure of God’s design:

Granted, many of the articles speak of the same design flaws, and this is because the design flaws are so egregious that they can’t possibly go unnoticed. All of this points to the opposite of the Argument from Life, the Argument from Poor Design, indicating there is no designer.

There are two possible objections to these many foolish ‘designs.’ One is that the designer or designers did not see fit to design the human body for optimum efficiency. Human beings are well known for creating things that perform sub-optimally, but this is always due to either a lack of knowledge or resources, or is done out of plain ol’ greed. If we are anything like our designer(s), this says something about them. If it’s the case that we just don’t know the reason why we were created for sub-optimal performance, there is no reason to assume any such designer(s) had noble intentions. Even if it were the case that the designer(s) had designed some non-optimal features to improve the overall quality of the human body, this might indicate the incompetence of the designer(s), being or beings that are often regarded as omniscient. The worst flaw of all, death, has always afflicted human beings, even Adam and Eve upon their very creation! If human beings were designed, they might as well have been iPhones, with their obsolescence built in.

The second objection is that human disease is the result of sin.* This is quite obviously ridiculous since babies who are baptized have their sins taken away but still may become sick at a moment’s notice (or are baptized when sick, and are still sick immediately thereafter). People are also noticeable sick after confession, which supposedly asks for the forgiveness of sins. Of course, the designer(s) could never have allowed for sin, which even the dumbest engineer would have agreed seemed like a good idea.

[* Speaking from a fundamentalist Christian perspective]

“Finally, from what we now know about the cosmos, to think that all this was created for just one species among the tens of millions of species who live on one planet circling one of a couple of hundred billion stars that are located in one galaxy among hundreds of billions of galaxies, all of which are in one universe among perhaps an infinite number of universes all nestled within a grand cosmic multiverse, is provincially insular and anthropocentrically blinkered. Which is more likely? That the universe was designed just for us, or that we see the universe as having been designed just for us?” Michael Shermer in Why Darwin Matters

Ah, yes, cognitive bias, one of the worst ‘design’ flaws of all.

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