That video is titled “Richard Dawkins demonstrates laryngeal nerve of the giraffe.” It shows a rather graphic dissection, but it’s over in less than five minutes. We think it’s well worth watching because it demonstrates a spectacular example of un-intelligent design. The evolutionary explanation is presented at the end — the giraffe’s oddly meandering nerve is the result of something that started with our fish ancestors.
Try to guess, dear reader, the effect of such evidence on the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
There’s no need to guess. Here are some excerpts from a new article at the Discoveroid blog. It’s by Casey Luskin: The Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Does Not Refute Intelligent Design. Casey doesn’t mention Dawkins, except briefly at the end. He’s mostly responding to Jerry Coyne. But the Dawkins video is right on point so we’re using it anyway. Casey says, with bold font added by us:
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that common ancestry between mammals and fish is the best explanation for the nerve’s path. Would that refute intelligent design?
Hey — Casey actually stated the question. To that extent he appears to understand the problem. But now what? Let’s read on to see how he handles this:
As one pro-ID biologist wrote me on this topic, “this is only a problem for design if one assumes design means designed from scratch for each taxon, and if one believes that the designer would necessarily use the shortest distance between two points (in other words, that the designer thinks like we do), and that there are not other design considerations at play.”
Ah, so a “pro-ID biologist” (presumably Behe) informed Casey that the designer works in mysterious ways. We continue:
But if we set aside the question of whether evolutionary history explains the RLN’s path —
What? How can he just set the question aside? Isn’t he going to address it? Apparently not. Casey’s sentence resumes:
— it’s also never been clear to me why “imperfect design” should refute design.
Lordy, lordy. How could we have been so wrong? All this time we thought the Discoveroids were touting a concept they called Intelligent Design. Now Casey is telling us that ID can also mean “Ridiculous Design That Looks Just Like Sloppy Evolution.” But perhaps we’re leaping to an unwarranted conclusion. Is Casey really saying that? Let’s see:
I’ve complained before about the breakdowns and flaws I’ve had with computers, but obviously computers are designed. In fact, every piece of technology that has ever had a flaw shows that imperfect designs are was [sic] still designed! “Imperfect design” — a term used by Coyne — is still design.
An interesting notion. But would William Paley’s watchmaker analogy have impressed anyone if it had been about Paley’s Unwieldy, Barely Functional Device?
This new concept of imperfect design is the only reason we’re blogging about Casey’s post. As is his custom, Casey’s little essay drones on, and he spends the rest of his time attempting to argue that the tortuous, elongated path of the giraffe’s laryngeal nerve really is a great design after all. We don’t know why he bothers, because sloppy design that seems evolved is good enough for Casey’s purposes.
We’ll spare you the rest of Casey’s post. But if you’re interested, click over to the Discoveroid blog and read it all.
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