Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Intelligent Design » Giraffe Recurrent laryngeal nerve

Giraffe Recurrent laryngeal nerve

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1 Giraffe Recurrent laryngeal nerve on Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:10 pm


Recurrent laryngeal nerve , evidence of poor design ?

Design features of the recurrent laryngeal nerve

As for good reasons Owen did not draw evolutionary conclusions, there are several. The well-known textbook Gray’s Anatomy states:

“As the recurrent nerve hooks around the subclavian artery or aorta, it gives off several cardiac filaments to the deep part of the cardiac plexus. As it ascends in the neck it gives off branches, more numerous on the left than on the right side, to the mucous membrane and muscular coat of the esophagus; branches to the mucous membrane and muscular fibers of the trachea; and some pharyngeal filaments to the Constrictor pharyngis inferior.”6

That is, Dawkins considers only its main destination, the larynx. In reality, the nerve also has a role in supplying parts of the heart, windpipe muscles and mucous membranes, and the esophagus, which could explain its route.
Even apart from this function, there are features that are the result of embryonic development—not because of evolution, but because the embryo develops from a single cell in a certain order. For example, the embryo needs a functioning simple heart early on; this later descends to its position in the chest, dragging the nerve bundle with it.
Also, would a circuitous route necessarily be bad design? There could be reasons for this (and in the case of the RLN we have a good idea, as per Gray’s). Biologist and geologist John Woodmorappe’s review of Jerry Coyne’s book Why Evolution is True (which Dawkins recommends for its section on the RLN (note, p. 356) points out:

“Human-designed machines and structures are full of such things as circuitous wiring and plumbing, but that hardly means that they are not the products of intelligent design.
“Now let us consider situations in which a circuitous route is actually harmful to its bearer. The automobile with its engine in front requires a long, tortuous exhaust system perched underneath the car. This clearly makes it more vulnerable to injury from obstructions than the short exhaust system of engine-in-back cars (I speak from personal experience). Following Coyne’s logic, should we suppose that engine-in-front cars are not the products of intelligent design? No. We realize that there is an engineering trade-off between the advantages of the car with its front-situated engine and the concomitant disadvantage of its more easily-damaged long, circuitous exhaust system.”7

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