Saturday, November 3, 2007

What Intelligent Design?

Ever had to argue with someone who claims that feminism is evil because their god has a plan for women - and that plan is for us to stay at home knocked-up for most of our adult lives? Because everything that is 'natural' (except for homosexuality, of course) conforms to a perfect plan for humanity? Yup - if you try to buck the system with your birth control pills, you are committing a sin, because your body has been intelligently designed by a benevolent creator who knows what's best for you.

Or has it?

Denialism Blog seems to think that the female reproductive system
is one of the best arguments against intelligent design, and I have to say that I agree. According to Mark:
Ideally reproductive systems and waste removal equipment shouldn't share space or have a such proximity to each other increasing risk of infection. The pelvis could do with some widening so women could actually deliver kids without killing themselves a significant portion of the time. Further, pregnancy in humans results in a fetus sitting on the bladder and colon for several months (and vaginal delivery acutely injures these muscles), as a result, post-partum many women have difficulty with urinary incontinence, and with age and with more kids the greater the risk of incontinence (this can not be prevented by c-section - so the damage is likely from positioning of the fetus on top of the bladder rather than acute trauma during birth). This unfortunate arrangement of the uterus appears to be a result of the change from walking on all fours to walking upright, the fetus, which would ordinarily sit mostly on the wall of the abdomen, ends up sitting directly on internal organs.

Was part of the plan high morbidity rates and life long urinary incontinence? Because that sounds rather like a dumb plan to me, and not very benevolent. Instead of thinking of family planning methods and modern life-saving medicine as thumbing our noses at an either incompetent or simply mean designer deity, I prefer to think we are using our own intelligence to get around some evolutionary flaws. And so should you.


Casmall said...

On top of significant mortality and morbidity, painful childbirth for all! Bad design of the female reproductive system probably had a lot to do with how man thought about what type of god he had. Original sin and all that.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Yeah, a god who would make childbirth so dangerous and painful must have a vendetta against women. So we need a myth to explain what it was that women did to deserve their punishment.

Laura said...

Childbirth can be the biggest risk in a young woman's life, and the risk is getting bigger as we get fatter. Diabetes is increasing baby size leading to cephalo-pelvic disproportion. C-sections, however, only increase the overall risk of complications, and therefore should be reserved for only when necessary. Even if the big baby can be delivered vaginally, there can still be bad complications--including shoulder dystocia, where the shoulder is impinged on the pelvic bone and the brachial plexus nerves can be stretched. It may lead to temporary (and sometimes permanent) palsy of the arm.

End point--America stop being so fat.

La Pobre Habladora said...

But, Laura, why would the gods have invented hamburgers and T.V. if they didn't mean us to be fat???

Agincourt said...

Indeed! Not to mention beer. What would I drink while I ate my hamburger and watched T.V.?

After all, 'beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy'.

lilith attack said...

Really interesting article, thank you! I visited a creationism museum this summer for kicks and one of the most bizarre notes was that Evolution couldn't have happened because God made everything perfect just the way it is! And therefore a species cannot improve, it can only decline in "design." That being said, there were obviously gaping holes in ALL the museum's arguments (petrified teddy bear being my favourite). It follows that in a patriarchal religion blatent flaws in progressive evolution such as women's reproductive systems would be answered with blame; parralel with a culture deeply rooted in woman-hating.
The clitoris, however, is biologically an evolutionary celebration... much to an ID or Creationist's dismay; designed purely for pleasure - a gem indepentent of any other purpose, now how could a god who punishes women for her original sin possibly endow her with something so wonderful, so exhillerating in providing sexual independence from men? Now that is a screwup in a mysogynist god's design plan.

La Pobre Habladora said...

lilith attack-
What a great example of cherry picking examples to support an asinine argument (no puns intended)! You've sold me on vacations to creationism museums.
But, what is petrified teddy bear? Some way to explain away those embarrassing saber tooth tiger and woolly mammoth remains?