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Discussion 16 to Talk Back 88
Perfection is not a requirement to flourish.

by: JT

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Michael asked:

If our bodies have design flaws, how come there are seven billion of us? *

I'll just write a quick response to Michael's question here. I would hope someone will expand on it once Michael has considered what Will Petillo had to say so we are dealing with a common understanding of what evolution means.

I'll start by saying that I don't like the term design flaws. Obviously the various less-than-ideal elements of our bodies are not design flaws if we were not designed. The term only applies if we were created, and thus are pointers to a less-than-perfect creation.

But viewed in evolutionary terms, these elements serve as clear evidence of evolution. They reflect that nature had to work with what was provided in earlier species. Nature did not build new species from scratch.

Consider the hernia operation discussed by Steve Jones in his article Islam, Charles Darwin and the denial of science. The fact that one in four men of his age require such an operation indicates our bodies are not all they could be. As discussed in the article, evolution has explanatory power to tell us why our bodies are that way. On the other hand, a perfect creator provides no explanatory power at all for our susceptability to hernias.

How did we survive and multiply with less than perfect bodies? Because perfection is not required for survival. All that was required is that our ancestors were better able to use available resources than their competitors for the same scarce resources.

It is not survival of the perfect. It's survival of the fittest - and fittest is a comparative term, not an absolute one.



* Michael actually wrote: Third, you say our bodies have appalling design flaws, if that was true how come there are seven billion of us on this planet, and we are getting more every year? The abbreviated version is my summary of that question.