Sunday, 15 February 2009

Unintelligent Designer

Scientists have been able to create a model of what our Australopithecine ancestor's heads looked like- and in particular their jaws. They've found that our ancestor-cousins had much stronger jaws than we do.

I know everything is a trade-off. I know that if they had really strong jaws, then there was probably some detriment too. It's not like evolution dictates that things get better and better, but rather that every organism just gets continually adapted to changing environments. I still want those strong jaws that could crush large hard nuts.

I wish I didn't have lower back problems. But I know I must, as all humans do with age, because I walk on two legs. I know my back works better for a four-legged animal, but evolution works with the material it has. If I walked on four legs, then it's unlikely that I would have developed the intelligence I have to post blogs, for it is believed that intelligence was a byproduct of being able to see for greater distances and judge distance when standing on two legs in the savanna- not to mention the ability to use tools because my hands are freed from walking. If I had a narrower stance, then the vertebrate I have would work just fine on two legs, thank you. But then women would have a narrower stance. (Sure, women could have lower back problems only. But 1) that would be sad and unfair, and 2) evolution works with what it gets.) If women had a narrower stance, then they would be unable to fit our rather bulbous heads through the birth canal. If we had smaller heads, they could do it, on two legs, without back troubles. They could even have fewer birth pains, for they could keep us in longer, and allow us to develop further, as our head wouldn't be too large for the birth canal upon emergence. The trade-off of intelligence is so great, that our heads are not only too big to fit through a narrow birth canal, but we have to be born neotenously, born with fewer developed features than most animals, including other primates. That means we are dependent for post-natal development on our parents, to a ridiculous degree not seen in other mammals or primates.

If God is a smart God, could he have created us with all of these features? Could he have found a way to have us walk on two legs, be smart, give birth without pain, have short gestation periods, have short post-natal development, have working back bones without pain, and yes, most importantly, super strong jaws capable of crushing hard nuts? Yes, of this I have no doubt. The God I believe in could have done that all. So why didn't he? Why didn't he make us with bodies that work better than they do now, with cooler add-on features?

I have forced to conclude he is stupid. He made mistakes. If, that is, I believe he created using a snap-your-fingers-with-a-brilliant-flash-of-light style, like Q of Star Trek. And I just have trouble believing that a stupid God rules the cosmos. If however, I believe that God created using the process of evolution, then suddenly everything falls into place. Evolution is an incredibly beautiful and complex theory, and it would take the truly divine- and truly intelligent- to come up with such a process. And evolution doesn't create novel structures and processes; it works with the material it has, using work-arounds, to develop new features that are in truth new ways of using old features. And I have the confidence that one day, we will receive just such a body as here described, when we receive our new, fully physical bodies, made like Jesus' post-resurrection body, able to do far more than we can now imagine, where there will no longer be any pain or suffering.

So, the choice is: A smart God, using evolution, or a Literal Creationist God, who is rather stupid. You decide.

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