Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Intelligent Design - The Senses - First in a Series

I'm sure it's been said before, and probably better, but if human beings were designed, the designer was either a novice, an incompetent or a sadist.

So, I've decided to look at the human body as a designer and see what exists and what could be improved, starting with the senses.

The eye gets a lot of attention from ID'ers because, they say, it couldn't have developed over time. I'll leave the detailed response to that particular idiocy to experts. But have these people ever considered what the eye's defects are? First, we see only part of the spectrum. Perhaps it would be hard to function if we saw the entire spectrum all the time, but wouldn't an intelligent designer have given us a switch or two so we could choose what part of the spectrum we would see at any given moment? And wouldn't it be useful if we could see in the dark? Or had an eye in the back of our heads so we could see danger approaching from the rear? And wouldn't it also be handy sometimes to be able to see really, really, really small things? Or to be able to see the farthest stars without a telescope?

Then, of course, there are all the visual problems human beings are subject to: near sightedness, far sightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, etc. The eye is not, of course, unique in this respect. The typical Windows installation probably has fewer flaws than just about any component of the human body.

What about hearing? And smelling? Well, just as sight is limited to a certain spectrum, so is our hearing. Lots of animals hear better than we do. Since the world can be a very noisy place, however, I think we should be able to increase and decrease our sensitivity to various sounds at will. I would just as soon not listen at all to jackhammers, leaf blowers, or rap. As for smelling - well, I don't know if I'd like to be able to smell more things, but this is another sense for which an on/off switch would be extremely useful.