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John Blumenthal

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Intelligent Design? Not If You're Over 50

Posted: 10/27/11 08:12 PM ET

Thanks to Michele Bachmann, the tired concept of Intelligent Design has once again become a topic of conversation among Creationists, most of whom, ironically, often sound like Neanderthals. In case you don't know, this boneheaded theory claims that the human body is simply too remarkable to have come into being through millions of years of haphazard evolution, and that some super-intelligent deity must have been the engineering wizard behind the miracle of our anatomies.

Miracle? Really? If you're over 50 and your body is starting to fall apart, it's pretty obvious that the design is anything but intelligent.

Let's start at the beginning. If you've ever given birth, you know that the notion of a seven-pound baby struggling to fit through an opening that's roughly the size of a silver dollar is hardly an example of brilliant engineering. Why do turtles, hens and fish have it so much easier? Even the stork idea would've been better.

Let's consider the divinely-inspired concept of mortality. I can understand why the Intelligent Designer created death -- living forever would probably be insufferably boring by the age of 200 or so. After all, how many "Seinfeld" reruns can one person endure? And who wants to buy birthday presents for someone for 200 years, unless they don't already have a blender? But wouldn't it have been much more intelligent, not to mention humane, if we just perished painlessly in our sleep instead of having to bear agony and suffering first? Or better still, if we just vanished into thin air or spontaneously combusted or, I don't know, melted?

Speaking of pain, if you were the Intelligent Designer what possible reason would you have had to invent constipation? Or cancer? Or diabetes? Or Alzheimer's Disease? Or penile warts? Why do our supposedly flawless bodies so easily pull tendons, host unsightly rashes, develop hemorrhoids? Why do some of us lose our vision or our hearing or our car keys? Wouldn't the design have been more intelligent without all this unnecessary nasty stuff?

Then there's the unsavory process of waste elimination. Surely, an entity with limitless brainpower could have come up with something a little less simpleminded than bowel movements. I have no idea what that alternative might be, but just think how nice it would be to fly from Los Angeles to London without having to use those vertical, germ-infested sardine cans the airlines call lavatories.

Okay, for the sake of argument, let's imagine that you are the super smart architect behind Intelligent Design. You're starting from scratch -- people don't exist yet. Your task is to create them. You start with two arms, two legs, eyes, ears, a nose and so forth. And you decide to make the creature stand upright so he can maneuver better and escape from predators, such as paparazzi, process servers and bill collectors.

Not a bad start, but unfortunately you weren't thinking outside the box. How is your new creation supposed to drive a car, put on make-up, eat a muffin and talk into a cell phone at the same time with only two hands? Wouldn't multi-tasking be easier with a few more limbs? Wouldn't three hands have been a more intelligent way to go? Or four? Shouldn't you have foreseen these problems? Frankly, they do better trend analysis at Apple.

If the design had been more adept, life might be a painless, disease-free frolic, brought to a humane close. Think of how many hours we might have used for more pleasant pastimes than perusing ancient copies of golfing magazines in an internist's waiting room.

Yup, Darwin was right and Bachmann (who is 55) is wrong. We are nothing more than products of random evolutionary mutation. The design of the human body might seem pretty grand if you're 20, but for the over-50 group, it could have used a rewrite.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have to find my bifocals and limp to the pharmacy.