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Not Very Intelligent Design - Book Review

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by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published September 10th 2018
Why is it possible for vomit to come out of your nose?
Not Very Intelligent Design, books about atheism, creationism, Mark Ingman, Neel Ingman, funny books, atheist books

"Imagine if you had to be careful every time you put fuel in your car, because if you weren't it could spill into the air intake and make your engine choke, perhaps causing it to fail permanently (as in die) if the spillage were large enough. No car designer would be stupid enough to put the fuel filler and the air intake inside the very same body cavity." - Neel Ingman, on the subject of the human throat.

Not Very Intelligent Design
is a humorous look at the idea of intelligent design with regard to the human body. The authors, Neel and Mark Ingman, decide to assume, for the sake of argument, that the human body was designed by a creator, then go on to systematically rate each of its components in terms of the usefulness of the design. Body parts like the appendix and gallbladder, which we seem to be able to do without just fine, and which are liable to cause us enormous amounts of pain and/or try to kill us, score very low. Many of the more obviously useful parts also receive a low rating because it is possible to imagine a number of ways in which they could be improved (eg. wouldn't it be nice if a damaged spinal cord could heal itself as easily as an injured finger?), and indeed humanity has come up with ways to improve some of them (eg. glasses for short-sightedness, hats to prevent sunburn). Others lose points because, although we need them and they do their jobs well for a while, they tend to fall apart with age, or through accidents (eg. dentistry exists because our teeth rot and break, get impacted or grow in crooked).

The Ingmans point out how we humans, who like to think we are special, compare unfavourably in many respects with other animals- our eyesight isn't as good as that of a leaf-tailed gecko, we can't run like a cheetah and, unlike dolphins whose mouths are not connected to their lungs, it is possible for us to choke on our food. The main thing we have going for us is our big brains, and even those can go wrong in horrific ways (personality disorders, mental illness and common garden stupidity). Even those of us with high intelligence and ordinary brain chemistry freely and frequently either waste our intelligence or abuse it by taking advantage of the stupid.

It's easy to imagine this book as the late night ramblings of some bloke down the pub who has had a couple of beers and is halfway through another. That would explain the random digressions into stories about historical figures and incidents the authors find interesting (like the fate of Grady Stiles, the "Lobster Boy"), or their distaste for Deepak Chopra.

Not Very Intelligent Design is a fun, quick read that made me actually laugh out loud in places. It'd make a fine gift for an atheist or agnostic friend or relative, or just someone in need of a good laugh.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by BooksGoSocial, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

April 2018
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Thanks Jennifer. I've put it on my list
by May Cross (score: 3|5382) 403 days ago
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