evannichols (evannichols) wrote,

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It Could Have Happened

This morning when I was chatting online with sanguinity, and she said she wanted a word with the designer of the human body about some of its shortcomings (this is not the first time she and I have discussed this topic). Today, it got me thinking about Evolution, and how our bodies have developed to do things that weren’t part of the original design, and it occurred to me: We’re the products of a million years of Scope Creep.

Okay, it’s funnier if you have a Systems Development or Project Management background.

But that led to me contemplating what a conversation would have been like in the Divine Design Lab, where God is more like the Pointy-Haired Boss, and the actual Intelligent Designer is an Angel Bio-Engineer. (If you think this might be blasphemy, don’t worry; I ran it by God, and He thought it was totally funny.)


An Angel sits at his drawing board. God enters.

GOD: Hey, how’s it going? You’re looking especially beatific today.
ANGEL: What do you want?
GOD: Oh, nothing. You know me, just managing by wandering about. But, since I’m here, there is one thing I wanted to discuss.
ANGEL: Now what?
GOD: We’re all really pleased with the whole primate line, you know? Especially these humans we’re developing. But I was brainstorming the other day about how they could be even better, and get this: Bipedalism!
ANGEL: But... you do know that they already have two legs?
GOD: Of course! So it’s not really a big change, right? All I want is for them to walk around, you know, upright.
ANGEL: On the branches?
GOD: No, I was envisioning on the ground.
ANGEL: Wait, now you want them back on the ground? We’re halfway into your ‘Take to the Trees’ campaign...
GOD: I know, but I realized that whole strategy just wasn’t going to work for civilization. I mean, how can they have agriculture if everyone’s in a tree?
ANGEL: Civiliz...?
GOD: I’ll explain later. Anyway, I know what I said before, but now I’m thinking I’d like them back on the ground. This time, though, and this is the really good bit, they walk around on two legs! Upright!
ANGEL: I can’t believe you’re doing this to me...
GOD: What’s the problem?
ANGEL: Plenty! Like hips! The pelvic system was never designed for vertical support! You’ll have all this weight pushing straight down on the spine and pelvis. I can make the musculature here bigger, but even with a million years of development, your humans are going to have muscle aches, alignment issues, slipped disks...
GOD: But you can do it, right?
ANGEL: And what about reproduction? With a reinforced pelvis, the birth canal is going to be about as big around as a flashlight. How can you squeeze an increasingly large cranium through that?
GOD: Well, and I’m just thinking outside the box here, how about... egg laying?
ANGEL: Oh, my g... You swore you would never bring that up! I told you that once we switched out the oviparian systems, there’s just no way to engineer those back in!
GOD: Well... You made the platypus.
ANGEL: But that was from scratch, with leftover parts!
GOD: Come on! There must be some way we can use backward compatibility to proactively synergize a forward-looking solution!
ANGEL: You have no idea what those words mean, do you?
GOD: Hey, you can make it work! I mean, who came up with lungs? You, right? Pure genius!
ANGEL: Yeah, but only as a work-around for existing system constraints. I’ve told you that a flow-through system would have been...
GOD: Right, right; water under the bridge. The point is, you’re my Go-To Angel for brilliant ideas!
ANGEL: Humph. Well, I guess we could kinda push the pelvic girdle out for females, make the opening bigger.
GOD: See! That’s the spirit!
ANGEL: Dang it! That’s going to cause problems with the shoulders, though. The hands will be constantly bumping on the wider hips.
GOD: That’s easy; just make the arms shorter.
ANGEL: Oh, like the T-Rex?
GOD: Hey, that looked really good on paper...
ANGEL: I don’t like building in sexual dimorphism, but I guess I could angle the arms out a bit. That will solve the hip issue, but makes an overhand throw more difficult...
GOD: See? I knew you could do it.
ANGEL: I’m still a little worried about how it will affect brachiation, though.
GOD: Well, that’s no problem.
ANGEL: Why not?
GOD: You know, once they’re walking around upright, they won’t really need to get around in the trees any more...
ANGEL: What? After all that time I spent retrofitting the shoulder assembly, you’re just going to scrap that?
GOD: Didn’t you say last week that swinging branch to branch wasn’t all that efficient?
ANGEL: Not yet. Not efficient yet. Some of these changes take eons to put fully into production. You can’t just wave your hand and rebuild a biological system.
GOD: Well, I can...
ANGEL: Every time you make these big revisions, it causes problems. Why didn’t you think these things through at the beginning, so I could design all the features properly the first time? Like the shark?
GOD: Sharks! Sharks are cool.
ANGEL: Exactly. Simple, efficient, and they do exactly what they’re designed to do! I bet we could keep that product line going for millions of years just as it is. Why couldn’t we have done that with all the species?
GOD: You know me, I like to try stuff out and see what happens.
ANGEL: I know, but we end up with clunky systems, like the human eye. It’s going to have to look through its own nerves. And do that twitchy movement thing to get better resolution. If you’d told me up front what you wanted with eyes, we could have gone with my ideal multi-spectrum sensor array.
GOD: Oh. Yeah. Those are creepy.
ANGEL: But they’d have worked really well!
GOD: I know, I know. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that there are reasons for doing it this way. I can’t really explain; it’s that whole “Mysterious Ways” thing.
ANGEL: Whatever.
GOD: So, we’re good? You can make the bipedalism thing happen?
ANGEL: Yeah, I guess.
GOD: That’s great. Because I wanted to talk to you about the whales. Have you noticed they’re having a bit of trouble getting about? Yeah? Now, don’t get mad, but what if they went back into the ocean?
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