Monday, October 21, 2013
It is often stated by religious people that Earth is so wonderful and well suited to human inhabitation that it must have been created by God. However, this is only plausible if viewed from the human level looking up. Were we to look from the universal level downwards, we would see this argument doesn’t hold. It is not through divine guidance that humankind has thrived but through natural selection. If the Earth had been designed it would be an unrecognisably different place, without the flaws and difficulties that it has in reality.
The first and most obvious hole in the divine design argument is the fact that three-quarters of the Earth is covered in water. Now if a God wanted humans to live on Earth why would he cover it with a substance that humans cannot live on? If anything it implies that Earth is designed for marine life, with land life being a small sideline affair. Furthermore, not only is Earth covered in uninhabitable (to humans) water, but it is not even the water we need for life. It is almost as though someone was trying their best to prevent humans from living on Earth when they filled the ocean with saltwater.
A cursory examination of humans will show that in no sense were we intelligently designed. Some might think that the surprising fact our bodies function is proof of God, but if a God were to create a master species (as religion claims we are), they would not resemble humans. First of all, why do humans need so much sleep? A species that must spend between half and one third of its existence resting seems to be suffering from a major design flaw. Imagine how much we could achieve if this was not necessary, a point a supposedly intelligent designer would quickly spot. Likewise, why must we spend so much time eating? This requirement is so arduous that early humans did little but eat and sleep. The necessity of eating three times a day is a serious design flaw as is the fact that so many die for failing to meet this requirement. Why are there so many foods that will poison us and make us sick? Why would the supposed all-knowing, all-loving designer not create a food containing all the nutrition we need and fill the Earth with it? Combining a constant need for food with a planet that seems to be designed as to not produce much food suggests either a cruel God who does not want us to grow or one that does not exist.
The human body itself is full of flaws that mitigate it being intelligently designed. We eat and breathe through the same pipe which greatly increases the chance of choking. Sex which is necessary to reproduction is also prone to disease and childbirth has a very high death rate (until advances in modern medicine). What God would make such necessary activities so dangerous? We have an appendix, an organ with no use or purpose whatsoever that can randomly explode and kill us. Was that placed there as some sort of joke? Knee joints are not designed to withstand much use as any sports player can tell you. The spine is not designed for vertical movement and as a result most people suffer severe back pain in their life. We are easily susceptible to diseases and our bodies decline rapidly. We are weaker and slower than animals our own size and only a few would last in the wild. There is an endless list of ridiculous design flaws in humans and most animals that exclude the possibility of intelligent design. However, the one final and definitive proof that we were not designed by God is the simple fact that men have nipples.
The most famous argument for intelligent design was made by Ray Comfort with a banana. He claimed a banana was proof that God designed the world for us as it was the right shape, texture and was nutritional. This is almost of a parody of the Voltaire quote that claiming the Earth was designed for us is like claiming the nose was designed to fit your glasses. If a soft banana is proof of God, then what is a hard pineapple proof of? The Earth was not designed for us; rather we have adopted to suit it. Through natural selection, humans die out in harsh climates and thrive in hospitable ones. Likewise we are masters at changing our surroundings to suit ourselves, after all, Europe was covered entirely in forests until humans arrived and cut them down. Most foods such as wheat and bananas are inedible and even poisonous in the wild; it is only after long periods of selective breeding that they adjusted to the modern edible and nutritious forms. Bananas in the wild were small, black, oval and hard to eat. Foods that are uncomfortable or awkward to hold and eat are discarded while easy ones like bananas are chosen and grown specifically.
Religious people used to believe that the Earth was the only planet or at least the centre of the universe. In a way, this was logical. If God created humans specifically and we were all that mattered (holy books making no mention of other species or planets) then the Earth must be the most important planet. However, advances in astronomy have ridiculed this belief. We are by no means the most important planet, but rather a tiny speck in a universe beyond comprehension. We are but one of trillions of planets and millions of galaxies that form, grow and explode before we even learn of their existence. How can any believer look at this and still claim that the universe was created by God? If humans are so special, why do we only live on one tiny and insignificant planet? How can the universe be designed for us if huge parts of it are created and destroyed before we can explore it? In fact we may never reach capabilities to explore the universe, mocking the notion that it was built for us. We are but grains of sand in the larger scheme of the cosmos and it is absurd to claim we are the masters of the universe.
Claiming God created Earth for us is merely wishful thinking. People want to believe they are important and special. They focus too narrowly on their immediate surroundings and fail to see the larger picture. When stand back and look at the whole Earth with its vast inhospitable areas, the many flaws of the human body and difficulty of merely surviving, there is no way but to conclude that Earth was not designed. Once we acknowledge this fact, then we can fully appreciate the amazing effect of evolution, natural selection and the universe.