Darwin’s Ignorance: The Human Body

The human body is an incredibly complex system of processes that happen every day, much of which goes unnoticed by us. Did you realize you just blinked about 3 times reading that? Did you realize you breathed around 3 or 4 times? You might have even swallowed without noticing that too. Ten to seventy-five trillion cells participate in more than a quadrillion purposeful chemical interactions each day that help us walk, breathe, think, sleep, procreate, see, hear, smell, feel, digest food, eliminate waste, write, read, talk, make red cells, remove dead cells, fight infections, behave, misbehave, absorb nutrients, transport oxygen, eliminate carbon dioxide, maintain balance, carry on dialogue, understand instructions, argue, and make complex decisions, just to name a few common activities. Are these processes a product of biological evolution?

First, we must understand what biological evolution is. Biological evolution rests on two claims. The first is that all organisms can trace their lineage back to a single common ancestor. The dog in your neighbor’s yard, the cat it’s chasing, the birds they scared away, and the kids watching all share the same great-great-great-great grandfather. This is referred to as “common decent.” Even though biological evolution is committed to common decent, it is not the central claim. The bread and butter of biological evolution is natural selection. Before we go any further it’s important to understand that natural selection does happen. An example would be dogs with short hair traits in cold climates. The dogs wouldn’t be suited for that environment and would die out, eventually leaving dogs with only genes for long hair. That’s natural selection at work. The part where Darwin is wrong was in trying to propose that natural selection can be a designer substitute and that the accidental hereditary mutations could somehow create a new species. The dogs in our example are still dogs! They didn’t turn into anything else. Though that is what Darwin proposed.

Let’s take a look at a few activities that throw a wrench into accidental mutation and strengthen the design argument. The first is blood clots. In the book Darwin’s Black Box Michael Behe states that chemical reactions in the human body require multiple steps. Steps that when isolated are useless and can only accomplish their job when joined together. The clotting of blood involves multiple interlocking chemical steps. His question is how could the first and second steps, or even the tenth step, have come about without a plan? Each step is completely useless by itself! Blood would never clot until all the steps were present and in the correct order, incredibly improbable to happen by accident. Dr. Geoffrey Simmons gives a good analogy of that of a dog’s tail somehow adding a useless leg, reproducing as a leg-tail for a million years, then adding another leg, reproducing as a two-legged tail for another million years, then adding a kidney, a liver, a heart, and two more legs at million-year intervals – until finally getting a head with ears that flop. None of those steps would be able to function on their own. It’s the same with the clotting of blood. Can you imagine the amount of blood loss related death from a single cut on an organism that hadn’t yet evolved the complete and necessary steps needed for clotting?

Human reproduction would be impossible without every aspect arriving simultaneously. If the males’ reproductive systems evolved without being met by a reciprocal change in the females’ systems, reproduction would be impossible. Every process would have to evolve in compatible ways between the two sexes at the same time or else…..there goes the planet!

Stand up. Seriously, stand up! Walk around the room and come back. Notice anything? No? What you didn’t notice is what is called your “vestibular system.” There are three semicircular canals in each ear that primarily manage and maintain our balance. It’s an “all or nothing” package. To suggest otherwise is to suggest there were prehistoric animals with partial, useless balance apparatuses. Creatures walking near the edge of a cliff would fall to their deaths, walking near a lake could result in drowning, and hunting other prey would be almost impossible. Without all three working together, something as simple as walking around the room would be a real chore, and possibly very dangerous!

This entry can be summed up by a simple quote from Dr. Simmons in his book What Darwin Didn’t Know. “I am not a theologian, nor do I pretend to be. I’m merely a collector and analyzer of biological and medical facts. The data, as I see it, points directly to an Intelligent Designer, much like a car speaks for an automaker, a souffle for a chef, and a play for a playwright.”

Darwin didn’t understand these functions. Darwin didn’t have the knowledge of the human body as we do today. Would he still be committed to his theory if he did understand these things? The answer to that question would be pure speculation and an argument from silence, but it’s hard to imagine that he would. Should we be committed to his theories? Should we be influenced today by Darwin’s ignorance? You decide.

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