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Isn't the human body a machine?

Hi, folks.
Isn’t the human body a machine? In the view of atheist thinking, is it created by chance? Is it a random union of elements? If you were walking in the desert and happened to find a watch, would you say it were always there? Would you say it were created by chance? It was a random union of materials? Even if you do believe in the theory of evolution (i believe in it, too), you don’t find it hard to understand how it can work without someone or something behind it?
Thanks.

Posted: November 18th 2011

Blaise www

You say you “believe in evolution too”, but your argument contradicts evolution, and supports so-called “intelligent design”.

Science is about developing a hypothesis that makes a prediction, and then looking for evidence of that prediction either coming true or failing. Let’s apply that logic here.

The “intelligent designer” hypothesis says that an immensely intelligent being purposely laid out a body-plan for everything that has ever lived. It predicts, therefore, that the current designs are the best, most optimal versions that the designer can create. Things like design flaws, useless parts, and parts that just don’t work very well would be eliminated from the final product. You don’t see many watches, for example, that run unusably slow by design, or with extra gears just hanging off them, or that are missing a number.

Likewise, the evolution hypothesis says that random variations in organisms are selected by a current environment, and that over time, as environments change, or organisms move into new ones, they will accumulate “obsolete” or seemingly poorly functioning traits.

What we actually see in organisms supports the second hypothesis. The human body, to use your example, has: retinas with an optic nerve right in the middle, causing a dangerous blind spot; millions of apparently useless transparent body hairs; poorly designed joints; a useless and problematic tailbone; a gall bladder that does very little but has a nasty habit of killing it’s owner from time to time; a birth canal that passes needlessly through an altogether too-small hole in the pelvic girdle; a defective gene for vitamin C; wisdom teeth that almost always grow in at the wrong angle, causing pain and damage; a tangled, crushed intestinal tract seemingly designed to promote blockages.

So, if “intelligent design” is right, all the evidence is far from what you’d expect, while if evolution is right, all the evidence is just exactly what you’d expect.

Back in engineering school, we had a joke: “God must be a civil engineer, because only one of them would think to run a waste-water line through a recreational area”...

Posted: December 5th 2011

See all questions answered by Blaise

Eric_PK

You apparently have been reading creationist websites.

To answer your first question; yes, the human body is a machine, a very complex machine. Your claim is that it is designed. If so, you’ll need to explain a few things (the following are just a sample):

1: Why is the human pelvis “designed” so that the infant head is such a tight fit, leading to lots of women dying in childbirth?
2: Why are my middle-aged eyes unable to focus closely and why do I have floaters in my eyes?
3: Why does the vagus nerve run all the way down into the chest just so that it can come back up to the larnyx?

All of these have great explanations from an evolutionary standpoint. The only explanation if there is a designer is that the designer isn’t very good.

Posted: December 5th 2011

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

SmartLX www

The human body is a machine, but it is not created by chance and it’s not a random union. I’m glad you “believe” in evolution, but you have much to learn if you think it’s a random process. Mutations are random, yes, but every part of the modern organism has developed by survial-or-death testing over billions of years. Is golf a completely random game because the players have to adjust their swing based on wind conditions that day? Of course not, or the balls would never reach the holes. A random element does not a random process make.

A watch is obviously designed, but not because it is ordered (rocks in a container will sort themselves by size when shaken) or because it has a function (a rock can carve tools or start fires). It looks designed because it’s artificial. Someone obviously mined the metal ore, cast the gears, polished the glass, painted the numbers on and sealed it all up with rubber and grease. A human body, on the other hand, develops by itself from a single cell and these days we can watch the whole process.

Exactly why couldn’t evolution work without “someone or something behind it”? Life forms compete for resources, and those whose offspring receive the most beneficial mutations outbreed the others, changing and customising the group as a whole. This is all that is needed to effect change over time, and there has been an almost inconceivable amount of time so far. To declare the whole process impossible by natural means based on a vague sense of awe at its achievements means very little.

Posted: December 4th 2011

See all questions answered by SmartLX

 

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