Watchman Newsletter

Dumb Design Proving Evolution or Reason Behind Design?

(November 3, 2010)

I recently came across a video of Richard Dawkins mockingly speaking of the lack of intelligent design behind the laryngeal nerve as he and several other scientists dissected a giraffe, marveling at the lack of design seen in this nerve because it is so �inefficient.� They believe that it is due to evolution over time from the fish to modern mammals.

From Wikipedia: The recurrent (inferior) laryngeal nerve is a branch of the vagus nerve (tenth cranial nerve) that supplies motor function and sensation to the larynx (voice box). It is referred to as �recurrent� because the branches of the nerve innervate the laryngeal muscles in the neck through a rather circuitous route: it descends into the thorax before rising up between the trachea and esophagus to reach the neck.

The nerve is best known for its importance in thyroid surgery, as it runs immediately posterior to this gland. If it is damaged during surgery, the patient will have a hoarse voice. Nerve damage can be assessed by laryngoscopy, during which a stroboscopic light confirms the absence of movement in the affected side of the vocal cords.

Similar problems may also be due to invasion of the nerve by a tumor or after trauma to the neck. A common scenario is paralysis of the left vocal cord due to malignant tumour in the mediastinum affecting the left branch of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The left cord returns to midline where it stays.

  • If the damage is unilateral, the patient may present with voice changes including hoarseness.
  • Bilateral nerve damage can result in breathing difficulties and aphonia, the inability to speak.
  • The right recurrent laryngeal nerve is more susceptible to damage during thyroid surgery due to its relatively medial location.

Now I�m no biologist, but I was immediately struck by the thought of what could be the �design� behind a nerve that connects the brain to the voice box travelling in a big loop connected to the largest artery exiting the heart? Then I vaguely remembered some scriptures that seemed related. I did a search for speak + heart and here were a couple results, there are more.

Psalm 12:2
They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

Psalm 15:1-2
Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

Proverbs 24:1-2
Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.

Isaiah 32:6
For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.

Isaiah 59:13
In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

Jeremiah 23:16
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

Matthew 12:34-35
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Luke 6:25
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

There definitely seems to be a strong connection in scripture between what is in the heart and what is said with the mouth. Is it that big of a surprise that the design of our �temples of flesh� would show this mind-heart-mouth connection seen in the laryngeal nerve? Is this a sign of a lack of intelligent design that these nerves would travel so far out of the way, or could it be that a rejection of scripture hides a reason for this physical layout that expresses a spiritual truth? Or maybe I�m just reading into things. �