One of the glaring design gaffes we mentioned in Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer was: “Our teeth are troublesome — they decay, they don’t replace themselves, and there are too many of them for the size of our jaws.”
From time to time, creationists make silly attempts to deny the obvious — for example, in Discovery Institute Justifies Vestigial Organs, we discussed how the Discoveroids attempted to justify vestigial organs, including wisdom teeth, by saying:
Just because we don’t know something’s function doesn’t mean there isn’t one. … An ID advocate would be curious to investigate and discover the function, not dismiss the whole question out of hand. He or she would start with the assumption that if it’s there, it probably has a function.
The issue is back in the news today. At the News OK website, run by the The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, we find this headline: Wisdom-tooth extraction presents challenges for people of faith. They have a comments feature, but there aren’t any comments yet. Here are some excerpts from the article, with bold font added by us:
For many teens, the extraction of four healthy teeth is a ritual of high school, much like getting a driver’s license or going to the prom. But some people question the wisdom of pulling wisdom teeth, saying that it’s a traumatic procedure that may be unnecessary. … And deciding whether to subject their child to surgery can be an especially tricky dilemma for people of faith who reject the reason dentists give for the need: the shrinkage of the jaw through evolution over millions of years.
That’s one of the many crises a creationist must face when dealing with the real world. Then the article says:
“From a creationist viewpoint, wisdom teeth are valuable gifts from the Creator and should not be removed if healthy, wrote John D. Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas.
Should not be removed if healthy? Why would they ever be unhealthy? No answer. The article is loaded with conflicting advice from dental authorities about removing wisdom teeth before it becomes necessary, and the risks of the procedure at any time. This isn’t a blog about dentistry — nor will it ever be! — so we’ll skip all of that. Scanning for some creationism, we come to this:
Scientists say that’s because our jaws are significantly smaller than those of our ancestors, largely because of what we eat. The transition from diets of meat and roughage to refined grain removed a lot of work our teeth and jaws used to have to do. This affects not only wisdom teeth, but our teeth’s alignment (meaning orthodontists have jobs because we started cultivating grain).
That’s Lysenkoism! Now that Stalin is dead, what scientist would say something like that? Eating differently from our ancestors won’t, by itself, alter the jaw size of our progeny. It might allow small-jawed individuals to survive long enough to reproduce, but it wouldn’t remove large-jawed people from the gene pool. Oh, wait — the mystery is explained:
For people who believe in the Bible’s account of creation, changes due to diet offer a plausible explanation for the wisdom-tooth dilemma, since they reject the idea of macroevolution.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Creationists will say anything, as long as it isn’t evolution. The article continues:
“Creation science says, God doesn’t make junk,” said Frank Sherwin, a zoologist and researcher with the Institute for Creation Research and co-author of [who cares?] and other books. “There’s a perfectly good reason for those teeth coming in, and it’s to grind the groceries, as it were,” he said. “When individuals who are maturing into adulthood have a diet that stimulates mandible development, they chew on material that stimulates the jaw to become more robust. Maybe the most robust thing we eat today is a Big Mac,” Sherwin said.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! If you chow down on dinosaur meat, like your ancestors used to do before the Flood, you would need those wisdom teeth, and your jaw would grow large enough to accommodate them.
The rest of the article is about dentistry, and that doesn’t interest us at all, so this is where we’re going to quit. Some may find the creationist viewpoint to be entirely satisfactory. Not your Curmudgeon. We’ll stick with our decision to give the designer — blessed be he! — our Buffoon Award. It’s well deserved.
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