If we are to believe the words of many Intelligent Design supporters (formerly Creationists (soon-to-be Intelligent Evolutionists (never-to-be Actual Scientists))) then evolution exists but it’s far too complex to have just simply evolved into said complexity and must have been designed to simply look complex so as to, er, cause arguments because, ahm, it’s fun to annoy scientific people yes? By redefining science to shift away from an observable and measurable basis and towards a "things I thought when I hit my head on the coffee table" basis it is possible for anyone – especially religious anyones who would otherwise struggle to hold down jobs – to label themselves "a scientician", receive funding, write books, and appear on lecture circuits, thereupon to be beswooned by easily-starstruck fundamentalists and power-hungry, small-dicked (sufferers of tiniwilli, to give it the specific medical term) politicians.
Now, proceed to ask an IDiot to speculate what we will evolve into and you’ll undoubtedly run into a problem area for these "brains". You see: either we have now stopped evolving because we are the ultimate goal, the pinnacle of achievement, the perfect beings, or there’s still some growing to do. They would have us believe that far from being merely an adequate form for this environment at this time, we have instead been manipulated through the aeons at a level far too complicated to require proof and we are either the end result or another link on the path to the ultimate prize.
Which leads to more questions: if we’re the ultimate goal then what took the definitely-not-God, oh-no creator so long to reach this point? Couldn’t He or She (just kidding: it’s He) have taken some shortcuts? Couldn’t we have jumped from shrews straight to Homo sapiens or are chimpanzees needed for testing cigarettes? Were the dinosaurs all killed off just so we could run cars because, if not, then it seems pretty cruel to wipe them all out and a significant waste of time in the scheme of things? What happens now that we’ve become perfect and how can you measure it happening since this is a sciency thing after all? If we’re not the ultimate goal then how do – ooh, let’s pick a religion at random here – Christians feel about your firm belief that we and – ooh, let’s pick a name from history at random here – Jesus are not in God’s image, unless God Himself isn’t actually perfect or God was created by the not-God creator as well?
The answer to all those questions is simply: Darwin’s theory of evolution can’t explain everything and my dad is bigger than your dad.
But let’s say that somewhere among the lunatic drivel that spews forth from proponents of ID there is some truth; we were designed by a supreme being, someone who might not be the infallible, omniscient, omnipotent God but then again might be and we’ll assume is. Further, let’s suppose that we are the ultimate design and not at a stage before we start to converge with marsupials because of the usefulness of awesome pouches. Just what, exactly, did God design and should He consider not giving up His day job?
Our ancestors – apes, chimpanzees, orang utans – have considerable amounts of hair and we have less. Some of us have less than others of us and some of us have more. For instance I’ve seen pictures of some people who would make the Yeti feel naked but that’s what happens when you forget that searching for "bears" in Google can have hirsute and naked repercussions.
- Eyebrows – designed to convey the emotion of surprise,
- Pubic hair – designed to prevent misuse of bikinis and Speedos on people who really, really shouldn’t be wearing them,
- Armpits – designed to aid identification of hippies and German women from distance,
- Back hair – an abomination put on this planet to test our strength of will against the natural urge to depilate it into oblivion,
- Head hair – shame of passports past is a powerful humbler,
- Facial hair – designed to prevent non-missionary position, other-than-procreational sex through the awesome power of stubble burn.
And then we get to nasal hair. What the hell was God thinking? Did nasal hair really get designed or did a moustache expedition become cut off from the lip? What’s that? It stops microbial-sized bad things from being inhaled, traps them, and allows the body’s defences to amass and attack? You mean snot. Which is then trapped in the nasal hair. That’s the best design the ultimate designer could come up with!? Do you know why we use rinsable or disposable filters rather than a tangled mass of hair in coffee machines? Two words: hair is crap at filtering. And just what possible reason is there for it to keep growing when your nostrils remain the same size? Shoddy design, that’s what.
Do you know what one of the greatest feelings is? When you stretch – really, really stretch with your arms up and your back arched and your teeth clenched – and you get that wave of euphoric bliss washing all over you and you let out a gasp because it’s just sooo good. You know it’s good because animals do it too and they’re connoisseurs of goodness. Cats do it at least thirty times a day inbetween periods of drooling on the sofa and digging their claws into (and ruining) the cushions and you can see them smile with utter joy too. Isn’t it just utterly fantastic to have a stretch and turn your muscles to jelly?
But why don’t you ever see cats suddenly freeze and start shouting "Arggh! Oh God! My back. Ow-how! Oh Goddamn it to … ya motherfu … aarggh! Fucking back. I’m in agony. I heard it pop. Oh you bastard fu … aarggh! Ow! Damn it!"?
Wings and Gills and Armoured Skin
God: Here it is … the one we’ve been waiting for … the ultimate design … the perfect being! I call it a … human!
God Design Workshop Audience: Ooh! Get you!
God: Get me indeed. Let me take you through the specs of this ultimate species. As you can see it’s bipedal – we did toy with six legs but the economics of keeping the females in shoes was too horrific to contemplate. These things here at the ends of the arms are called "opposable thumbs". Boffins in the lab came up with them and, if they work out as we think they will, then we’ll roll out upgrades to the other species, probably starting with the caterpillars.
Audience Member: Sorry, God, may I? These whatever-they-are thumbs; what are they for?
God: Opposable. They have many uses but one I’m particularly fond of is this … hang on … there, it’s called a sock puppet and do you see how I can form the mouth?
God: Okay, back to the human. Trichromatic vision, two eyes for depth perception, air breathing so it can fit in and manipulate the planet more easily. Notice the large skull; we’ve got the biggest and latest brain model to go in there. Here in the throat we’ve added the capability for speech to develop too. No more grunting and pointing and hitting! Any questions?
Audience Member: I can’t see a carapace and the exposed flesh looks quite soft. I assume the bones are strengthened to prevent crushing or snapping and there’s protection for the organs too.
God: No. Anything else?
Audience Member: Do the wings fold out of the back or is this using a membrane between the arms and torso?
God: No, no wings. It’s land-based.
Audience Member: Oh. Will future models have flight capabilities?
God: Not naturally, but in a manner of speaking I guess some will be able to leave the ground.
Audience Member: Doesn’t sound very ultimate to me. Fancy not being able to fly. Tell me it swims, though.
God: Oh yes, don’t worry about that. Body density and air-filled lungs will make the human really quite buoyant and a wide range of motion of the arms and legs mean swimming will be a doddle, albeit not at very great speed owing to a lack of flippers.
Audience Member: Are those things on the side of the head gills?
God: No, they’re ears. Breathing is performed through the mouth here with air traversing down here into the lungs. Fairly standard breathing, taken from the mammal line.
Audience Member: Whoa! You mean it can’t actually breathe underwater? It – what? – has to take a breath and hold it in those lungs? Won’t that cause problems when it dives down and the pressure increases?
God: Land-based. Land. It’s a land creature. It sort of compacts into a squishy mess at high pressures.
Audience Member: Wouldn’t it have been more "perfect" to have made it a flying amphibian? With armour. It doesn’t even look very luminescent unless that thing at the front between the legs is some kind of torch. Oh, hang on … that’s not …?
God: I’ve got a plan in place to make sure it won’t use that that much anyway, okay?