Following the New York Times’ anti-evolution op ed piece by Michael Behe two weeks ago, (debunked here and here), today’s magazine editorial by Jim Holt sets the record straight, to an extent. Holt asks the question, if there was a designer, was he any good at his job? The answer clearly is no, and he gives a couple of examples:
In mammals, for instance, the recurrent laryngeal nerve does not go directly from the cranium to the larynx, the way any competent engineer would have arranged it. Instead, it extends down the neck to the chest, loops around a lung ligament and then runs back up the neck to the larynx. In a giraffe, that means a 20-foot length of nerve where 1 foot would have done.
Perhaps 99 percent of the species that have existed have died out. Darwinism has no problem with this, because random variation will inevitably produce both fit and unfit individuals. But what sort of designer would have fashioned creatures so out of sync with their environments that they were doomed to extinction?
Fewer than one-third of (human) conceptions culminate in live births. The rest end prematurely, either in early gestation or by miscarriage. Nature appears to be an avid abortionist, which ought to trouble Christians who believe in both original sin and the doctrine that a human being equipped with a soul comes into existence at conception.
Of course, there are numerous examples of what looks like really bad design in nature. This is a major problem for proponents of intelligent design that no amount of waffling about irreducible complexity will make go away.