Aspects of Human Anatomy & Physiology That Prove That Intelligent Design Really Wasn’t

I’ll be operating here not on the principle of 100 Things in the Affirmative Prove A Point, but more on the principle of Just 1 Thing to the Contrary Proves It Wrong.  It’s that old Nazi scientists vs. Albert Einstein argument.  100 anti-Semites walked into a bar and were asked how many Jews it took to make them all look stupid.  And when they found out it was just one, they committed the self-fulfilling prophecy of writing a paper that proved that he had to be a fraud.  But as Einstein himself pointed out: “Hey, if I were wrong, just one [of those assholes] would have been enough.”

Turned out he wasn’t.  Who knew?

Not the “master race,” that’s for sure.

And while debate on the existence of God will carry on longer after I’ve been Hemingwayed out of existence, I’m going to shed some sure-to-be, self-righteously maligned rays of mere mortal light on the fundamentalist side of it.

Because that’s what we do, as scientists.  We don’t prove things.  We more or less shed light.  We eliminate all the other possibilities in which a thing could possibly be true, so that there’s only one likelihood remaining.  Remove more obstacles out of the path of view, and you’ve got a thing that’s easier to perceive.  And when you eliminate everything else, what you’ve got is, with almost 100% certainty, your correct answer.

Bible-writers of tomorrow, take note.  Of the things you’re not supposed to do to invent a religion.

Before I begin, I need to say I’m going to omit any pathologies that destroy the body from within which can be sourced, even with an etiology that spans decades, from without.  While there is still a clear medical, cytological explanation—even if the onset, sometimes, is misunderstood—I guarantee the same folks who live and breathe Intelligent Design are going to say, no doubt smugly: “That’s the Devil, my boy.  Why, that’s the Devil’s handiwork,” (as if I’m the idiot) or, of something like a developmental disability: “That’s the Lord’s punishment.  The Lord giveth and the Lord yadda yadda.” So, I refrain.

Because, honestly, I can’t refute any of that on scientific grounds.

But there are, however, a handful of well-documented, idiopathic conditions / somatic aberrations that stand to refute the existence of the fundamentalist Lord on scientific grounds.  A handful of realities do exist, I’m going to show, that imply, medically or scientifically, not that the design has been somehow fancifully corrupted by some outside influence, or that heathens and Pharisees don’t understand #truth, but that there must have been flaw in the original design and blueprints.  Which would, subsequently, deny the existence of an almighty, all-knowing, perfect God that once had “created” mankind in His image.

From those blueprints.  Which were, no doubt, perfect.  I mean, except for the part about anyone being duped by a talking snake.

Did I say one would be enough?

Well, here are five:


1. The Structure of the Retina

In a human being, the sensory modality that the human body devotes the most resources to, and that which takes up the most real estate in the brain, is vision.  But here we have the design of the retina, the area of the eye where phototransduction takes place—the changing of the photons in light rays to the electrical signals that produce the images that we perceive as humans—and it’s got some notable imperfections.  Or just one, anyway.

It’s inverted.  Which means, basically, that the inside of the eye is backwards.  The receptors that catch light are at the rear of the retina.  Which would be fine, except the jungle of cells that carry the signals from the retina run forward toward the front and sort of get in the way, making it difficult for each photon coming in to reach its destination, and also making the design highly inefficient.

And you can’t say that the developmental opposite here is implausible, because it does, in fact, exist.  It’s called an everted (i.e., non-inverted) eye, wherein light doesn’t pass through a tangled, cellular matrix to hit the receptors.  But, wait.  It belongs inalienably to another type of creature: a cephalopod.  Which makes clear that God, straight out of the box, gave a cuttlefish a more potentially successful eyeball than a human, even though He gave humans a visual processing center that is vastly more developed and complex.

And then, continuing to heap one secular implausibility on top of the next like a pantheistic hot fudge sundae consisting of some random Norse god’s giant testicles for ice cream and Cthulhu spit for hot fudge: There actually is an ocular mechanism for reflecting back any light that might have missed its target in the first place, increasing overall eyeball efficiency.  It’s called the tapetum lucidum (or just “tapetum”), and it’s that thing that gives dogs, leopards and anglerfish (among others) those eerily reflective eyes when you shine a light on them in the dark.  It exists in almost all vertebrates, increasing their visual efficiency, especially when not a whole lot of light is present.  Except, well, in human beings.

It doesn’t exist in human beings.

If you’ve studied neuroembryology, you’d understand why all this is the case.  Because that’s the way it evolved from the fucking primitive creatures with which we all share a common, evolutionary ancestor. 

Okay.  Ushering the confusion onward…

2. Mitochondria

A mitochondrion (plural: “mitochondria”) is the organelle wherein most of the body’s energy is produced, and it’s found in abundance in almost every single cell in the human body.  It’s the final stop in aerobic respiration, the energy-producing cycle in all oxygen-breathers, and it produces nearly all the electrons a body uses to pump protons into the cell, which in turn, energizes the production of ATP, the body’s primary source of energy.

It’s basically responsible for your being able to lift that beer to your mouth, put that bong to your lips, get up on stage to sing drunk karaoke or unwittingly volunteer to be the next big blackout-drunk meme on the internet, and then get up the next morning after it all and go into work.

But there’s a majority consensus among biologists that it came from somewhere else, that somewhere along the line of evolving life, it used to be free-standing bacteria that was somehow, over time, absorbed into the membrane of a larger, unicellular organism.  And, also, that it used to be closely related to Rickettsia, another bacteria, which causes typhus.  Which is a nasty group of human diseases, by the way, and not a supervillain organization dedicated to the eradication of all clear thought and reason by using some evil Fog Machine or giant, mechanical Chigger Army to generate typhoons and bug bites and shit to spread confusion and cloud everyone’s mental capacity, making them all susceptible to the havoc it ultimately desires to wreak upon the planet.

Not that.  In case you were wondering.

So, why wasn’t it placed inside a cell in the first place?  Religion doesn’t dispute the findings of science; it seeks to find alternative (i.e. self-serving) reasons for them.  Therefore, the origin story here isn’t in question.

So, why?

Dunno.  Nobody does.  But it seems like an intelligent Person would’ve made it a priority.

3. Autoimmune Disorders.  Any of them.

There seems to be no sicker a joke in all of evolution by means of natural selection than the existence of an autoimmune disorder.  Let alone the four score of them documented by medical science.

Autoimmune disorders occur, quite simply, because the cells that fight off foreign invaders in a singular human body, keeping it healthy, begin to perceive its own benign and unthreatening tissue as a threat, and set out to attack and destroy it as if it were.

That’s all there is to say about it.

Except to use this as a good time to reiterate: That while any number of human pathologies can, in ignorance of the study of pathogenesis, be faithfully attributed by fundamentalists and/or creationists to the work of some netherworldly, biblical nemesis to alleviate any challenge to one’s core belief system, to say that this crucial internal organization called the immune system, designed by an intelligent Being, could potentially, and without any explicable reason, zombify and begin to perceive its own body as a mortal threat, is, as faithfully as one speaks of an anthropomorphic God, to speak of a completely fallible one.  It doesn’t imply that some demonic being was able to infest or infect a perfectly healthy human body and subsequently alter it for the worst; again, it implies a reworking of the blueprints.

It implies a diabolotheistic, diabolocratic creationism.  Or, at least, that God had some kind of Almighty Dissociative Identity Disorder during universal Genesis.  Is that what you want to believe?  That God was mentally ill?  Which, I suppose, would make sense if you chose to buy into a completely fundamentalist, deterministic universe and totally disregarded scientific progress of the last, say, 400 years.  Earthquake = violent social outburst?  Check.  Rain = depressive episode?  Sure.  Scorching heat = manic episode?  I’ll buy that.  Volcano eruptions = public masturbation?  Oh, you better believe it.

4. Male Pattern Baldness

Another sick evolutionary joke.  Not long after puberty, hormones called androgens stimulate the production of pubic hair, chest, back, arm and leg hair and beards in men, while at the same time increasing the chances that between puberty and a man’s death he will begin to lose the congenital hair on top of his head, however only in a defined pattern that lays the scalp bare.

Now, God may have a male-patterned bald head.  That’s all well and good.  I can’t and won’t attempt to disprove it.  But, then, it should be asked, why doesn’t everyone have a male-patterned bald head?  And why, in just that one particular area, in that one particular pattern, repeated over and over again, randomly in adult males (and women, too, though slightly less patterned) would this loss occur, when it could likely contribute to cranial overheating and potentially cause physical damage (via ultraviolet rays) to a person’s one and only central processing unit?

And while it could be argued that pubic hair, chest hair, bonch hair (which is still pubic hair) is all superfluous and, also, that variation and frequency of phenotypic representation is all okay because the Bible says nothing to refute it, and therefore people can possess all kinds of variance and still be created in the image of their Lord, it does nothing to answer the question.  Which is: Do you think God has bonch hairs?

Of course.  Big, long silver, ropey ones.  That has all kinds of Pluto-sized clingers partying, using them as bridge swings every time The Old Man vengefully bends down to rain one onto his Holy Heap.

By which I mean the rural American South.

And, possibly, a male-patterned bald head.

Now, if nobody had hair from the start, I wouldn’t make the argument.  I wouldn’t even bring it up.  “We should have hair.  Not having hair means there’s no intelligent design.”  False dichotomy, right there.  But the fact that some people lose after having been born with it?  Well, that makes even less sense.

Except to say: design flaw.

5. Fingernails and Toenails

Another one left over from evolution that Intelligent Design just can’t explain.

We have fingernails because we once had claws, and we lost them mainly because we learned we could chuck a rock or a spear at something and kill it way easier than we could by stalking it, jumping on its back, clinging to it for dear life while it ran around trying to buck us, and waited for it to tire before putting it into an illegal choke hold maneuver.

Or however early hominins killed things before the concept of weaponry ever occurred to them.

And if you want to say that’s not true, that God made nails to protect our fingers and toes because it’s with these that we lead ourselves when we move about in time and space, then how come God didn’t give our knee caps, noses or nipples a hard, outer casing?  I mean, if you need an outer casing for something, I would think those would be the places.  Just ask anyone who’s ever been attacked by a pack of hyenas.  They’ll tell you.