Your Inner Jesus Fish
I guess at some point I’m going to have to read Neil Shubin’s book, Your Inner Fish. People in the blogosphere keep pulling out interesting tidbits.
Life started in the oceans, so there is much within us that harkens back to our youth in the high seas. The Panda’s Thumb points us to an article that you can find in the University of Chicago Magazine or over at RichardDawkins.net. The article is excerpted from Shubin’s book. Here is one choice excerpt:
In many ways, we humans are the fish equivalent of a hot-rod [VW] Beetle. Take the body plan of a fish, dress it up to be a mammal, then tweak and twist that mammal until it walks on two legs, talks, thinks, and has superfine control of its fingers—and you have a recipe for problems. We can dress up a fish only so much without paying a price. In a perfectly designed world—one with no history—we would not have to suffer everything from hemorrhoids to cancer.
Nowhere is this history more visible than in the detours, twists, and turns of our arteries, nerves, and veins. Follow some nerves and you’ll find that they make strange loops around other organs, apparently going in one direction only to twist and end up in an unexpected place. The detours are fascinating products of our past that, as we’ll see, often create problems—hiccups and hernias, for example. And this is only one way our past comes back to plague us.
Virtually every illness we suffer has some historical component. The examples that follow reflect how different branches of the tree of life inside us—from ancient humans, to amphibians and fish, and finally to microbes—come back to pester us today. Each of these examples show that we were not designed rationally but are products of a convoluted history.
He then gives several fascinating examples of how problems such as heart disease, obesity, sleep apnea, hernias, and hiccups are the direct result of our prior evolutionary incarnations as fish, amphibians, and early mammals. He also repeatedly shows how none of this exhibits intelligent design.
Yet more overwhelming evidence for evolution. Yet more overwhelming evidence against creationism. You’d have to be extremely ignorant or extremely stupid to be a creationist these days.