For tens of thousands of years our ancestors understood the world through myths, and the pace of change was glacial. The rise of scientific understanding transformed the world within a few centuries. Why? Physicist David Deutsch proposes a subtle answer.

His Imperfect Creations

Posted: November 21, 2009 in General Interest, Religion
Creationists love to point to the perfection they see around them as proof that all things were intelligently designed. They use what Atheists call the ‘Argument from Incredulity,’ which amounts to saying “Look at the wondrous beauty and complexity all around us and tell me there is no God!” The fact that they can´t conceive of a universe without a Creator conveys nothing meaningful about the universe at all; it merely expresses the poverty of their imagination.
When flaws in living things today are pointed out to them, many Creationists claim they are a result of imperfections adding up over time since creation. However, one can see that, far from going backward, the path each creature took in it’s development led inexorably upward.
Below I give two examples of ‘design flaws’ which prove in and of themselves that Evolution by Natural Selection is fact.
The Eye
The human eye is used as an example of perfect design often, despite it’s shortcomings when compared to the eyes of other, ‘lesser’ beings. The fact is, far from being the perfect optical instrument Creationists claim, it bears the stamp of it’s lowly origin every bit as heavily as the rest of our makeup.

Much of the infrastructure that allows the eye to function, including nerves and blood vessels, are unfortunately positioned in front of the light receptors, blocking some portion of the light that would otherwise hit the retina. In creatures such as the octopus, the eye is much better ‘designed,‘ with the infrastructure in back where it belongs.

The video below is an interview of Richard Dawkins on TVOntario with host Allan Gregg where he explains this in a bit more detail. The spot in the interview starts at 20min10sec:

The Laryngial Nerve
Viewers of the UK’s Channel 4 enjoy a series called Inside Nature’s Giants, and the latest episode (4) deals with the giraffe. Professor Richard Dawkins points out that in all mammals the nerve that connects the larynx with the brain takes not a direct route, but rather passes close by the larynx on it’s way down to the middle of the chest, where it then makes a u-turn and heads back up to the larynx!
In the case of a human, the diversion can be measured in inches, but when the giraffe is considered, the journey adds another 30 feet to the length of that nerve! Where it begins it’s journey is two inches from the larynx and it passes within an inch of it’s goal on the way down! What sane designer would have arranged it this way?
Here is a clip from the program on giraffes which deals specifically with the laryngial nerve: (WARNING! Explicit content!)

From these and many, many other examples, one can plainly see that even the most complex parts of the bodies of all living things made their way from rudimentary origins to their present forms. The sheer variety of routes which different creatures took to achieve similar goals, and that some results are markedly better than others proves that Natural Selection is the force which led to everything now living.

I watched the Intelligence Squared debate last night featuring Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry VS Archbishop Onaiyekan (of Abuja, Nigeria) and Ann Widdecombe (Conservative MP in Britain.) I was once again impressed by the tenacity and intelligence of the Atheists, and sadly was again disappointed by the Church Team.

The subject being debated was “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.” The vote count coming into the debate was:

after the debate, this stunning result was obtained:


After hearing the speakers, the number of people in the audience who opposed the motion increased by 774!

Here are a few of the dynamite quotes mined from this event:

“Owning a billion souls – such an opportunity to do something remarkable, to make this planet better. It’s an opportunity that is constantly and arrogantly being avoided and I’m sorry for that.”
– Stephen Fry

“There will come a time when the Church will issue apologies and explanations and half-baked appeals for forgiveness for things it is still doing.”
– Christopher Hitchens

“When he dies, [Pope Benedict] there’s quite a long interval until the Conclave can meet, and for that whole time, there is a delicious, lucid interlude where there isn’t anyone on Earth who claims to be infallible… If the human species is to rise to the full height that is demanded by it’s dignity and it’s intelligence, we must all of us move to a state of affairs where that condition is permanent, and I think we should get on with it!
– Christopher Hitchens

The debate is absolutely fantastic, and I recommend it to all! It’s less than an hour long and can be viewed here:

Here is an article from