Are You Hairy? Thank the Intelligent Designer!

They’re really getting desperate. Who? You know, it’s 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).

We recently wrote that the Discovery Institute Justifies Vestigial Organs. It was about their frantic attempt to rescue the reputation of their incompetent designer by inventing some really silly excuses for the obvious presence of evolution’s legacies: the human appendix, tailbone, male nipples, goose bumps and body hair, and wisdom teeth.

That didn’t go too well for them, so they’re giving it another try. Their latest is Behold, a Further Use for Body Hair. Yes, it’s by Klinghoffer. He says, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:

It’s one of those supposedly useless parts of us that demonstrate the purported incompetence or nonexistence of design reflected in bodies, but the hair on your arm or face or elsewhere turns out to have yet another use that was previously unknown. Hair follicles, along with the folds and oil-producing glands in the skin, form a habitat for microorganisms that are vital to the skin’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens.

Microorganisms on our skin? Big whoop! It’s no secret that we’re quite literally covered with bacteria. There’s even more inside us (see Olivia Judson: What’s In Your Guts?), about an article in which the lovely Olivia Judson said:

On a cell-by-cell basis, then, you are only 10 percent human. For the rest, you are microbial.

Okay, we’re awash in microbes. That’s to be expected. We evolved to live here, and it’s pretty much their world. Klinghoffer then purports to quote from an article in Nature which says:

The folds, follicles and tiny oil-producing glands on the skin’s surface create a multitude of diverse habitats, each with its own community of microbes. Most of these “commensals” live harmlessly on the skin, and their presence is thought to stop pathogenic microbes from invading the skin’s habitats. But these benign residents are not just innocent bystanders — according to a paper published today in Science, skin-specific bacteria also influence the response from the host’s immune system to help fight off infection.

That’s nice. Some of our bacteria live off of other bacteria. We’re not surprised; that’s what the little darlings do. Then Klinghoffer stops quoting and gives us his own summary:

Mice raised in a sterile germ-free environment, thus without their normal complement of skin microbiota, were unable to mount an effective immunological response to attack by a particular pathogen — but the ability was restored after scientists introduced a normally friendly bacterium, Staphylococcus epidermidis.

He ends his article, which in his mind triumphantly rescues the reputation of the magic designer — blessed be he! — by telling us:

The finding, by the way, adds to earlier news that fine body hair is part of our defense system against parasites; see here: [link to a Discoveroid article].

So where does that leave us? We’re told that some of our bacteria — with which we’ve evolved to live — eat other bacteria. Shocking! Well, it’s not really shocking, it’s the way of the world. And although our skin-inhabiting friends sometimes eat other bacteria that might be harmful to us, we are nevertheless subject to a multitude of skin diseases — and other maladies — so the dwellers in our body hair aren’t doing a perfect job.

If body hair were an indicator of health, then hairy women would be perceived as sexually attractive. Somehow it doesn’t work that way. Well, maybe the Discoveroids see things differently than the rest of us do.

We say: Phooey on the designer! He could have made us bacteria-free, and then we wouldn’t have to gape in wonder at the critters who live in our otherwise useless follicles. Therefore, we continue to maintain that the designer is an incompetent boob who does no better than evolution would, and we stand by our post from three years ago: Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Are You Hairy? Thank the Intelligent Designer!

  1. SC said:

    about an article in which the lovely Olivia Judson said:

    You miss her, don’t you?

  2. Gary says: “You miss her, don’t you?”

    I think we all do.

  3. SC says: “I think we all do.”
    Yeah, but some more than others.

  4. He could have made us bacteria-free, and then we wouldn’t have to gape in wonder at the critters who live in our otherwise useless follicles.

    But there’s nothing to gape at how else would we recognised design? Hmm? I have you now!

  5. So, friendly bacteria were designed to combat unfriendly bacteria. And those unfriendly bacteria had their flagella designed to help them.

    Just like the eyes of predators were designed to help them be better predators, while the eyes of prey were designed to help them avoid predators.

    Can anybody think of an example of “intelligent design” where the evidence of design is not its effectiveness against seeming design somewhere else in the world?

  6. retiredsciguy

    TomS asks, “Can anybody think of an example of “intelligent design” where the evidence of design is not its effectiveness against seeming design somewhere else in the world?”

    Devastatingly excellent point! Along the same line of reasoning, don’t the hard-core creationists hold that all animals were herbivores before “The Fall”? If that were the case, what good were canine teeth to the wolves and tigers? Or did the “Intelligent Designer” design them after “The Fall”?

  7. If we were hairless, a different population of microbes would have evolved to live on our skin. Even from a design perspective, there’s no reason to believe that the designer could not have designed a different set of microbes. I can’t understand why the existence of microbes adapted to our skin is an argument for design.

    If you think about it for a moment, Kling’s argument seems to imply that the designer designed us with hair for the benefit of the microbes, rather than the other way around. I doubt that was his intent, but he certainly argues that the purpose of hair is to create an environment friendly to a particular population of microbes.

    Maybe they are God’s chosen microbes.

  8. But why would the designer create parasites so he then has to create microorganisms who live on your skin and combat the parasites?
    This sounds more like, oh no! , organisms filling
    ecological niches that they’ve , gasp, evolved
    to exist in doesn’t it? How come the Old Testament doesn’t cover micro-organisms?
    I think the magical designer was playing
    with his flea circus the day he made Adam and decided that starting up a little biological warfare project before he pulled a rib to make female homo sapiens. Then Adam gave the bugs to eve after the apple thing. This would make sense to Hambo at least.