In 1987, teaching creation science in public school classrooms became illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard may have barred the teaching of creation science, but, shortly thereafter, the term “intelligent design” (ID) was coined as a euphemism to offer an argument against a purely scientific explanation for the creation of the world and as an argument against biological evolution of species in particular. Christian apologists now use words like “irreducible complexity” to try to refute the fact that we evolved from earlier beings. Conservative Christians formed the Discovery Institute to push ID as a theory that should be taught in schools.
But if a woman thinks carefully about her body and how it functions, she will know that an intelligent designer did not create it. Let’s take a look.
If a woman has been through childbirth, she can tell you that while it is exciting to deliver a child, it hurts like hell. I remember the birth of our son. My husband and I had attended a natural childbirth class. When the doctor advised that I get an epidural (after 12 hours of labor), my husband suggested I just continue to take deep breaths. You can imagine what I told him to do with the deep breaths suggestion. Then, I had an epidural and knew in an instant the anesthesiologist was my new best friend. I never had another child, but if I had, I would have asked for the epidural the moment that I pushed open the hospital doors.
The reason for the pain in childbirth is understandable with a quick lesson in evolution. When our ancestors started to walk upright, the shape of the pelvis began to change to accommodate a walking gait. Specifically, a narrower pelvis developed. Over hundreds of thousands of years, human brains gradually became more complex and grew bigger to accommodate a higher level of intelligence. The coincidence of these two changes resulted in a baby with a larger head being delivered through a narrower pelvis. Pain, therefore, results as the mother pushes a bigger baby through a smaller opening. (Today, where a child cannot be delivered through this opening, a caesarean section must be performed.)
Women need not believe that they are being punished for original sin by being made to bear unbearable pain in childbirth. There is a logical explanation for what she experiences, and the “original sin” musings of ancient believers can be set aside in favor of a more rational explanation for pain in childbirth.
Most women might agree that it was not intelligent to create a woman capable of getting impregnated EVERY month. (On the contrary, many women might think such a design was a cruel joke). The impact of a woman having thirteen menstrual cycles in a year is that—prior to reliable birth control—a woman got pregnant about every two years if she was having regular intercourse. I once investigated my family genealogy and the national census listed the ages of the children of one of my ancestors as 2, 4, 6, 8 and so on. You can see the pattern here: women had many children in two-year increments. This was likely not the pattern in early societies, but once nutrition reached a certain level, this became the norm. I found it very prevalent in the 19th century for example.
In general, menstrual cycles are limited to primates. But did you know that in most placental mammals, there is no shedding of the uterine lining? It just gets reabsorbed into the body—no need for tampons there. Biologists debate whether the monthly loss of blood was an evolutionary advantage or not. Whether it was to our evolutionary advantage or not, it is not serving us well today.
Why isn’t it on the inside? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the clitoris to be located on the inside of the vagina where the man’s penis rubs against it during intercourse? Being on the outside, the clitoris is usually only stimulated through external forms of contact that require some extra effort on the man’s part or the woman’s. The organ’s exterior location just isn’t very effective for stimulating a woman through intercourse. Don’t get me wrong, that is pleasurable of course, but inside would have been better. Its location can, in part, be explained because the clitoris and the penis both developed from the genital tubercle. A protein on the Y chromosome causes the tubercle to develop into a penis, hence, the outside location. Without this protein, a clitoris develops.
Since the first publication of this article, I have received several comments about the fact that in the last ten years, it was discovered that there are parts of the clitoris that extend into the body cavity and wrap around the vagina. Who knew? Read more here. Someone also pointed out that the clitoris inside the vagina might not work so well during childbirth.
The exterior location of the clitoris has also allowed genital mutilation to be practiced. A barbarous practice still prevalent today primarily in areas of North Africa, this involves cutting out the clitoris resulting in the female losing any pleasure this organ allows. Had it been hidden inside the vagina, maybe this practice never would have arisen.
In the same location, there is another major flaw—the juxtaposition of the urethral opening and the vaginal opening. The vagina also shares a wall with the bowel. This anatomy is responsible for urinary tract infections and fistulas. The latter often occur when very young girls give birth and endure long labors. A fistula is a hole between the vagina and the rectum or bladder. The resulting seepage causes a woman to be incontinent. The Fistula Foundation has been set up to provide repairs to these women. If a repair is not made, her community often shuns the young woman.
Desmond Morris in his book, The Naked Ape, postulates that large breasts developed in women when intercourse moved from the man approaching the woman from the back to a woman facing a man during intercourse. In the first instance, the large buttocks of a woman were what attracted the male. In the second, the breasts evolved to substitute. Given the current status of female breasts displayed in pornography, the shunning of mothers nursing in public, and the possibility of being arrested for indecent exposure should a woman be bare-breasted in public, the obsession with a female’s breasts continues today regardless of whether Morris was right or not.
However, large breasts are not necessary for lactation to occur. In fact, some women with larger breasts encounter too much engorgement during nursing. The flow of milk is triggered by how much the baby nurses and is not dependent on a large breast, which is just evidence of a large amount of fatty tissue.
It is probably hard to imagine what it would be like to have breasts like a man’s (although that is pretty close to how I was shaped as a young teen—28AAA bra). While men do experience breast cancer, this is much more prevalent in women. Man’s risk of cancer is 1 in 1,000 and a woman’s is 1 in 8. As a breast cancer survivor myself, I would have happily given up female breasts to avoid it.
If you want to learn more about evolution and intelligent design, read Abby Hafer’s excellent book The Not-so-Intelligent Designer. She also outlines problems with men’s bodies. The real point of this essay, however, is to show how illogical and unreasonable the ID argument is. The facts simply do not support it.