Is the Human Form Riddled With Bad Design? No, But This Darwinist Argument Is.

King David had it right. The human body really is fearfully and wonderfully made.

By Jonathan Witt Published on October 8, 2016

“You have no idea how awful the human body is,” Matan Shelomi begins in a recent Medical Daily article. He goes on to argue that the human body is badly designed in many ways, and that this shows we’re the product of blind Darwinian trial-and-error evolution.

“To say that humans were ‘intelligently designed’ by a ‘creator’ is to insult God,” Shelomi writes, “because our bodies show no intelligent design at all.”

Wow, our bodies show no intelligent design at all? Even most atheist biologists grant that living things, including human beings, appear intelligently designed. Professional atheist Richard Dawkins, for instance, went so far as to define biology as the study of things in nature that have the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.

Da Vinci Vitruvian Man - 900

Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

And it’s now common knowledge in biology that the human genome is such a sophisticated information-processing system that it makes our most powerful computers look like a Roman abacus by comparison.

But Shelomi sets aside the engineering marvels of the human genome along with countless other marvels of the human body that far outstrip our most advanced human technologies, and instead focuses on a handful of features he insists are badly designed. The glass for him, in other words, isn’t 99 percent full; it’s one percent empty.

Running Sweating Man 300The Sweat Fret

“Like most mammals, we sweat to maintain our temperature, but most animals don’t have as many sweat glands as we do,” he writes. “We are the least efficient thermoregulators in the mammal world: only apes and (oddly) horses have as many sweat glands, mostly in the armpits, as we do.”

Shelomi isn’t finished complaining. “The way the eye is shaped, there is a spot that we literally cannot see, and the brain fills in the blanks,” he writes. “All vertebrates have this, but not all animals. Octopuses have better-designed eyes that lack a blind spot. If we’re so great, why do octopuses have better eyes?”

This is an old favorite of Darwinists. They talk about the “backward wiring” of our eyes. What they neglect to note is that this “backward wiring” improves oxygen flow. And as even professional Darwin defender Richard Dawkins concedes, its negative impact on vision is “actually probably not much.”

Human v Octopus Eye - 900

The eyes of vertebrates (left) and invertebrates such as the octopus (right). 1: Retina 2: Nerve fibers 3: Optic nerve 4: Blind spot

This is yet another example of what engineers refer to as constrained optimization: in this case, a tiny blind spot in exchange for improved oxygen flow. Complaining about it is a bit like complaining that a heavy duty Silverado pickup doesn’t have the handling and sporty feel of a Corvette.

The Problem of Pain

But our eyes go bad, and sometimes all too soon. “Then you have all of the eye problems like myopia, glaucoma, cataracts — why do our eyes fail so often?” Shelomi asks.
“Who designed these faulty things? The answer can’t be a God, because a God so incompetent in designing vision sensors isn’t worth worshipping.”

Eye Close Up - 400Notice he is now doing theology: A God worth worshipping would have designed our eyes and the rest of our bodies so that they are free of defects and disease. This element of his argument, in other words, is a version of the problem-of-pain argument: A good and all-powerful creator wouldn’t allow pain and suffering in the world.

It’s a fair question — an important question. But if Shelomi is going to invoke a theological argument, he should engage the theological explanations, and for that matter, the sociological and historical record showing pretty clearly that, as Lord Acton famously put it, “Power tends to corrupt.”

The Super Predator

That insight is particularly apropos because threaded throughout Shelomi’s essay is the assumption that any intelligent designer worth his salt would surely have given humans all sorts of additional powers or capacities found elsewhere in the animal kingdom (for example, the ultraviolet vision he notes that bees possess). But let’s pause and ask the question the mad scientists in all those science fiction movies never stop to ask: Is it really a good idea to loose a super-powered subspecies of human onto planet earth?

It’s easy to think of reasons why it would actually be pretty stupid to do so. Man already is arguably too effective a predator. Just ask the megafaunal species of the Quaternary extinction event — the wooly mammoths and giant sloths and such.

Oh wait. You can’t. They’re all dead.


Jonathan Witt is former managing editor of The Stream and now a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He is the co-author of A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature.

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  • Estelline

    Very interesting … and in line with the suggestion in Genesis 6 that God shortened human life because of our corruption.

  • davidrev17

    Amen Dr. Witt!

    It sure is great to see that the metaphysical excesses of what’s been called “Theological Naturalism” – perhaps first identified, then profoundly articulated (I believe?) by molecular biophysicist & computational biologist, Dr. Cornelius Hunter, in his powerful (’07) “Science’s Blind Spot: The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism” – is still alive-and-well, as seen through the a priori “blind spot” assumptions of those ideologically disposed, scientistic Darwinian devotees, such as evolutionary biologist/entomologist, Dr. Matan Shelomi.

    (See also, Dr. Hunter’s very important blog, “Darwin’s God: How Religion Drives Science and Why it Matters”; plus his two other highly-relevant, and equally insightful books, “Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil,” (’01), and his (’03) “Darwin’s Proof: The Triumph of Religion Over Science.”)

    Yet the evolutionary scientist Mr. Shelomi, must’ve received his full-fledged academic indoctrination into this so-called “scientific” enterprise called naturalism – since current “science” itself, literally “means naturalism” – while being educated at the very “fountainhead” of naturalistic philosophy – i.e., our collective universities throughout the West. And this type of rhetoric represents a comprehensive “worldview” system of philosophical thought – from A-to-Z!

    Additionally, the late astrophysicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist, atheist Carl Sagan’s famous mantra of, “The cosmos is all there is was or ever will be…” – beautifully illustrates the foundational, metaphysical “worldview” plank upon which our modern-day scientific enterprise has ultimately positioned itself, referred to as “Methodological Naturalism,” or even sometimes, “Methodological Atheism.”

    And examples of this sort of rank-and-file, naturalistic rhetorical panache (a.k.a., “Theological Naturalism”), utilized by the intellectual elitist’s in American pop-culture “controlling the cultural microphone” (like Dr. Shelomi) could be multiplied right here ad nauseam. So I’ll simply reproduce two favorite, and almost infamous quotations, of which, just like the one supplied by Richard Dawkins above – nicely exemplify what Mr. Witt is thankfully conveying to an otherwise unaware (and largely biblically illiterate) group of folk, called the professing “Church” here in God Bless America.

    ☆ ☆ ☆

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”

    –The late atheist Nobel laureate, Dr. Francis Crick, “What Mad Pursuit,” (1990), p. 138.

    ☆ ☆ ☆

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    “The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.”

    –Marxist/atheist, Dr. Richard Lewontin, Harvard’s emeritus professor of evolutionary biology & zoology, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” New York Review of Books, (Jan. 9, 1997).

    Talk about a “Blind Spot”!

  • Randall Ward

    Darwinism cannot be supported by scientific proof. What else is there to know about the failed theory?

    • Boris

      Darwinism is a term invented by creationists to try to bring science down to the level of the Christian superstition.

      • Randall Ward

        Like all Darwinists, you can present no scientific proof, just rhetoric.

        • Boris

          That’s your deal creatard.

          • Randall Ward

            Just think Boris, you could be the most famous person in the world by presenting scientific proof that Darwinian evolution is a scientific fact. What are you waiting for; you could accomplish what no one has been able to produce for one hundred and fifty years.

          • Boris

            If you have some proof that Evolution is not a valid explanation for the diversity of life on Earth let’s have it man. I mean you could become rich and famous and win a Nobel Prize for science. So far though no one has ever been able to come up with some kind of proof that Evolution is not a valid theory. Gee I wonder why. What planet do you live on? Every Christian college and university in the world that teaches life sciences teaches Evolution by Natural Selection and has for over a century. So your own academic community has not only seen scientific proof of Darwinian Evolution they teach it every day. How do you explain that may I ask? Evolution is the longest standing, best established science we have. Evolution is considered to be the model scientific theory because it is better established than Atomic Theory, Relativity, Cosmological Theory or any other scientific theory. Being a Christian is a good way to be wrong about EVERYTHING. Jesus Christ never even existed. Where’s your evidence that he did? I mean from outside of your magical fairy book.

          • Randall Ward

            I have said nothing about Christianity. Can you supply me scientific proof that Darwinian evolution is a scientific fact. You can’t and neither can anyone else. Darwinians believe in evolution by faith alone; there is no actual scientific proof.

          • Boris

            Creationism breeds a special kind of arrogance. People with no science education whatsoever think they can debunk long standing scientific explanations with a few facile and retarded arguments. Why don’t you just Google “Proof of Evolution” right now? Because we both know you’re afraid of finding out just how wrong you are. You’re not fooling anyone but yourself. Evolution is the standing explanation for the diversity of life on Earth. So you are committing a logical fallacy called shifting the Burden of Proof. If Christians could recognize logical fallacies there wouldn’t be any Christians. It’s on you to disprove it. Go down to any Christian college or university and tell them at the science department you want them to teach your man from dirt, woman from a rib story instead of evolution and see what they say. Let me know how that goes for you. You could not be more wrong. It isn’t possible.

          • Boris

            15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
            Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don’t hold up
            By John Rennie on July 1, 2002

  • parson10

    Medical Daily needs to issue disclaimer to maintain credibility… It is obvious to anyone who can carry on an intelligent and rational conversation that Shelomi has some agenda that drives out objectivity… The human body is actually awe-full… and it doesn’t take belief in a genius Creator to come to that conclusion…

  • Nathan Allan

    Studies suggest that human eyes function better under a healthier diet than most modern humans consume, and it is also possible that we’ve selectively bread many such defects.

  • Billy, Not Really

    Biologists agree that whereas most animals only defecate according to their kind, only humans can create both the horse *and* bull varieties.

  • Joe’s World.

    Odd that this magical super being is so hindered by “constrained optimisation”, which is just what we’d expect from natural formation.

  • Boris

    15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
    Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don’t hold up
    By John Rennie on July 1, 20021077

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