September 19, 2018 | Jerry Bergman

Is the Human Body Poorly Designed?

For starters, three claims of poor design in the body are refuted by a college teacher of human anatomy.

Is the Human Body Poorly Designed?

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

Confronting Professor Nathan Lents

From direct experience in the classroom and the gross anatomy lab, I know that most anatomists acknowledge the human body is a wonder of marvels and design. This is reflected in the title of a popular book by medical doctor Tommy Mitchell, The Wonders of the Human Body.[1] By contrast, evolutionists (at least some of them) believe the human body, in Professor Nathan Lents’s words, “is a mess,” so much so that Lents writes about what he would “change in the human body if I could. It wouldn’t be a short list.”[2]  So many changes are needed, he argues, because

Imperfection is the essence of nature. There is no finished product, no gold standard. Evolution is messy and aimless and our bodies reflect that. [3]

Conversely, if the human body were shown not to be “messy and aimless’ it would reflect an intelligent designer.

Having taught human anatomy and physiology at a medical school and a large college for many years, it is my experience that students are generally amazed at the complexity, wonders and good design of the human body. When in medical school, my anatomy professor spent 20 minutes on one of the smallest bones in the human body, the simple U-shaped hyoid bone. He explained that “whoever designed the hyoid bone sure knew what he was doing.” After his lecture, we all agreed. He never explained who he thought designed it, and we never asked.

Intrigued with the poor design argument, sometimes called dysteleology, I have now completed an almost 400-page book I plan to publish soon, refuting every claim of poor design that I could find, including those in biology professor Nathan Lents’ new book titled Human Errors. This task has been a very rewarding activity for me, because the peer-reviewed literature has carefully documented that the poor design claims made by Darwinists are false and, in some cases, harmful. I will review only a few examples and save the best ones for my forthcoming book.

Sinus Trouble

First, let’s look at the ‘poorly-designed sinuses’ claim. Lents writes:

Few people realize what a mess our nasal sinuses are.… Many people are intimately aware of the wretched state of their sinuses, but few are aware of the silly reason why. Our nasal cavities are constantly making mucus to help trap particles, but this mucus must be kept flowing and collected for disposal. It turns out that the mucus drainage point of the largest nasal cavity … is placed at the top of the chamber, rather than the bottom. If it weren’t for the hard work of the hair-like microscopic cilia, constantly propelling the mucus upward, there would no drainage in this cavity whatsoever, at least not while we’re standing or sitting.[4]

The poor design advocates often use the term drain, as if the goal is to empty the sinuses. Their role is to steadily supply the nasal cavity with mucus containing antibiotics and the means to kill viruses to protect the body against pathogens, air pollution containment and dust. The problem Lents ignores is, if the exit were at the bottom of the maxillary sinuses instead of emptying into the nasal cavity where the mucus does its important work of trapping pathogenic organisms and dust particles and other contaminants, much of the mucus would end up in our oral cavity (i. e. mouth) and that would be a mess! This is because the maxillary sinuses extend below the nose and rest on top of the hard pallet above the mouth.

Furthermore, Lents actually does not know if gravity would be of much help, if any. He just assumes it would. This question needs to be answered by scientific experiment. First, measure the maxillary sinuses output in the noses of a large random sample of healthy persons and then make a comparison by using a fluid of similar viscosity of the sinus fluid in an artificial maxillary sinus cavity using only gravity and the same size opening as in the maxillary sinuses. Thus experiment will at least provide some data to estimate the difference. Lents continues:

How could evolution have made this big of a goof? And do other animals have this silly arrangement too? The answer to the second question is: definitely not. Neither dogs nor cats nor any of our ape relatives get colds and sinus infections as often as we do. Not even close. This is because they all have nasal sinuses that drain properly, working with gravity to keep the mucus flowing .[5]

Many reasons could account for this difference, assuming one even exists. The veterinarian literature and dog owners tell me dogs do get upper respiratory infections like colds, especially if they are often around crowds of people, a factor that is also true about people. Last, in humans the sinuses virtually always drain properly in most healthy people, except in cases of abnormality and certain illness, such as a severe cold or an allergy.

[For an additional critique of Lents’s view of human sinuses, with details and illustrations, see Evolution News, 13 Sept 2018 –Ed.]

Birth Pangs

Other examples of poor design often used include the birthing problems claim, a topic Lents covered in his best-selling book.[6]

The birthing poor design, evolutionists teach, is that human birthing problems commonly result because the female birth canal size has not significantly evolved since our ape common ancestor, but the human head has evolved to become significantly larger since then. Actually, this concern, called cephalopelvic disproportion is rarely a problem today, and in the rare case when it is, caesarean section delivery can normally deal with it without serious difficulty. The birthing system’s design ensures that almost all healthy mothers birth without major problems except the normal birthing pain mentioned in Genesis.

The many mechanisms to insure the cephalopelvic disproportion problem is rare include a female pelvis consisting of two large hip bones on each side of the body that meet together at the symphysis pubis connected by a fibrous joint composed of dense connective tissue. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin causes this joint to become more flexible, allowing the birth canal opening to significantly increase in size to permit a healthy mother to birth her baby with very few complications.

As a result of good design, cases when a baby cannot properly fit through the pelvis due to cephalopelvic disproportion are very rare today.[7] In the past, more problems occurred, but the human mortality rate has been reduced enormously by cleanliness, antiseptic measures, vaccination and antibiotics. Even simply washing one’s hands before helping with delivery has produced a significant reduction of birthing problems, as the pioneering physician Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865) proved.

Sore Throat

A third commonly claimed example of poor design is the human throat:

our throat was “designed, quite incredibly, to convey both food and air through the same narrow tube. If we were to design the body from scratch, no sane person would design our throats in this way. But evolution doesn’t make designs.[8]

Lents’ suggestion is to redesign our face to consist of the existing mouth, and adding another mouth to serve a role our mouth now serves. This new mouth is to be used for breathing. It is connected to a new separate tube for breathing, moving air directly from the mouth to the bronchial tree and into the lungs. We would have to have a second mouth because our mouth, not our nose, allows us to take deep breaths and to breathe hard when involved in strenuous activities like sports or mountain climbing. One result of this innovation is more body parts, and more things that can go wrong.

One other problematic result would be a thicker neck and more crowed space, plus the problem of turning the head with an added compressible tube. Another problem is where would Lents put this extra mouth, one on top of the other, side by side, or stagger them? Most people would agree that, regardless of which option is selected, the face would not look as attractive. Which mouth would a man use to kiss his wife good night?  Another negative result would be one more opening for dust, germs and, at times, insects to get into. Also more sites for cancer or disease to occur in view of the fact that the epithelial tissue lining these tubes are very susceptible to cancer.

Last,  a means must exist for the new mouth to close, such as another movable jaw to allow swimming, and skin diving as well as to prevent contingencies such as water intake as occurs when, in a playful mood, a friend pours a bucket of water on your face while you are taking a nap at the beach. A detailed examination shows the existing design is by far superior to the proposed alternatives. One has to wonder if those scientists who advocate a redesign of the body think of the many negative ramifications of their ideas, only a few of which were noted here. Yet Darwinists teach the existing design was not designed but created by Evolution which “is messy and aimless and our bodies reflect that.”[9]

Just a Start on a Big List

This brief illustrates, in the area of poor design,  the evolutionary worldview is irrational. For example, Lents concluded that “Our bodies are the result of the random forces of mutation and selection, making tiny tweaks and tugs along an aimless path toward… nothing in particular. These are just a couple of the flaws in our heads and necks. Don’t get me started on all the poor design we find below the neck…”[10]

What we find below the neck are numerous examples of even better design. When my book comes out Lents will find all of the poor design claims have already been dealt with in the peer reviewed literature, showing very good design in all cases as these three examples illustrate.

Dr Jerry Bergman, professor, author and speaker, is a frequent contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. He is currently a staff scientist at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). See his Author Profile for his previous articles and more information.

 


[1] For one of many examples see Wonders of the Human Body: Cardiovascular & Respiratory Systems (Wonders of the Human Body: Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology) by medical doctor Dr. Tommy Mitchell. Master Books 2016.

[2] Nathan Lents. 2018. The Flawed Human Body: What Would I Change If I Could?, PowellsBooks.Blog, May 8, 2018.

[3] Lents, 2018.

[4] Lents, 2018.

[5] Lents, 2018.

[6] Lents, N., 2018a.  Human Errors: A panorama of our glitches, from pointless bones to broken genes, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA. Pp. 97, 104-112

[7] Pyanov, M., 2018. Small pelvis? Big baby? Here’s the truth about CPD, BellyBelly.com, June 2018.

[8] Lents, 2018.

[9] Lents, 2018.

[10] Lents, 2018.


Editor’s Note: Evolutionists are such ingrates. God has given us incredible bodies; they provide so much pleasure and comfort through life, and all Darwinians can do is harp about the occasional sore throat. Their hearts can beat billions of times without fail and all they think about is hardening of the arteries (sometimes due to their own bad habits). Their muscles allow them to walk for miles every day for decades, and all they can think about is the occasional sprain. They can enjoy filet mignon, mashed potatoes with gravy, salad, drinks and all the fixings, while conversing with friends, and get all upset at God if they choke by going too fast through their own carelessness. Billions of babies have been born in the history of mankind, and all evolutionists can think about are the occasional birth defects and stillbirths. Trillions of cells divide successfully, copying every letter of DNA at high speed, and all they complain about is the occasional cancer cell (most of them destroyed or repaired anyway). No human invention can come close to the performance of the human body!

This is a world of cursed sinners, after all; we can’t even fathom the perfection of the first man and woman. The amazing thing is not that we get sick and die; the amazing thing is that we are ever well. One day of health should be enough to give thanks to our Maker. No wonder one of the major causes for the wrath of God is a lack of gratitude (Romans 1:18-23). As a cancer patient myself, who sees every new day as a wonderful gift, I get so irritated at Nathan Lents and his ilk who gripe just because one point on the rim of his cup is not overflowing. They grumble like the Israelites right after God parted the Red Sea for them. For shame! I’m glad Jerry Bergman is helping set the record straight by answering their complaints. Let Lents become a ‘better-designed’ ape or dog for a day, and within a minute he would be screeching or barking in mournful tones to become a man again.

Look at all the things athletes can do with these bodies of ours. The abilities of gymnasts, rock climbers, ice dancers, runners, swimmers, high jumpers, long jumpers, javelin throwers, divers, weight lifters, archers, and decathletes, to say nothing about the incredible capabilities of artists and musicians, all shout design – design – design! Sure, there are trade-offs, just as with any engineering design. We aren’t made to do everything simultaneously, like sing and eat, or sprint and sleep. Some animals have specializations that surpass human capabilities (eagles with better eyes, pronghorns that can run faster, etc.). Overall, though, there is nothing to compare with the upright-walking human body for versatility. We can survive all seasons and from equator to pole. We can cover great distances over hills and through valleys. We were given the gift of creativity to make up for some of our limitations: airplanes for flying, boats for traveling across the oceans, scuba gear for diving. How could any human not be thankful? Even an invalid like Stephen Hawking had an incredible brain, and the ability to communicate for decades in spite of his disability. He chose to deny his Maker, but paraplegic Joni Eareckson Tada blesses the world with her Christian joy, faith, and humanitarian work.

What is it about evolutionists that makes them obsessed with ugliness? At Live Science, Chelsea Gohd presents “10 Reasons Why Humans Are So Gross,” acting like an immature teen smirking about burps, boogers, BO and other unseemly bodily issues. Look; none of her 10 “gross” things stops a mature man or woman from dressing attractively in a suit to carry on a business meeting or formal presentation with decorum. Most of us learned good manners in childhood. We learned how to comport oneself honorably in public and take care of less discreet matters in private. Good grief, Chelsea, grow up!

Let Nathan Lents try to design a better body. He wouldn’t get past the first protein of the first cell! The rest of us, let us all take moments throughout each day to give praise to our Maker, and strive to accomplish His will for us on Earth, after first repenting of our sin (much of it ingratitude and self-will), and embracing the forgiveness He freely offers (see Map).   —David Coppedge, Ed.

Comments

  • Buho says:

    I wrote this over a decade ago. It’s good to see Dr. Bergman address #5.

    Six reasons why dysteleology simply doesn’t work:

    1. Dysteleology is inherently presumptuous: the invoker presumes to know more than the supposed Creator of the universe.

    2. Dysteleology is fundamentally a theological argument, not a scientific one. Rather than arguing with science, the invoker merely reveals their prior choice in the heart against God.

    3. Calling something “broken” implicitly implies a “proper” design by which to judge (but isn’t dysteleology meant to argue against design?). It refutes itself.

    4. Calling something “broken” is essentially a science-stopper; the invoker is unwilling to probe further to see if there might be hidden genius in there.

    5. The alternative design is never tested. If, for example, the eye is poorly designed, a better eye is never created by humans to prove the claim. Suppose there exists no better design due to unique engineering constraints?

    6. Most people who use the argument from bad design forget to account for the Biblical creationist clause that biology today is under the Curse and the example may actually be a broken version of what was originally created good.

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