A question for your Intelligent Designer regarding supernumerary nipples

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Why do you suppose the Designer might put extra nipples on men and women in exactly the same places they appear in other mammals? Almost as if we evolved from the same ancestors. Kee-ray-zee, man!

A fundamental point of creationism is that Man was created by God in His image. Man is not an animal. We were created separately. We have souls, they do not. We can be saved, they can be made into dinner and hats. And we absolutely, positively, most assuredly did ¡ not ! evolve from animals.

But of course we are and we did–

Supernumerary nipples

This isn’t some 1 in 1,000,000 genetic deformity. This is a 2-4% of the population regular old feature. There are probably fewer redheads than supernumerary nipple carriers in America. It’s what one might call commonplace.

The amazement here is that we haven’t been related to animals with more than two nipples for something like 10–30 million years. That is one tenacious bunch of DNA (or relationships between parts, it’s complicated information).

Even for those who perhaps accept that evolution is real but it is under the direction and plan of God there is a problem. For God to have created us via evolution requires a massive, though popular, misunderstanding of what evolution and natural selection are and do.

Evolution is not a process for the betterment of a life form. It’s DNA driven pure capitalism. This leads to diversity and complexity. Chasing long tail. It does not lead to perfection or permanence. Living forever or never getting sick makes absolutely no sense from an evolutionary perspective. While we improve, so do cancers and parasites and viruses and bacteria and pressures to make the quick changes for which 500 year old animals are useless.

Once you understand evolution, life, and the news media in particular, hold precious few surprises. Of course new diseases appear without the aid of the CIA. Of course they don’t wipe us out. Of course misery and death stalk us. Of course we evade it predictably.

The real surprise is that there are not more women in the skin industry with the feature. The only one I could find was Masuimi Max. Hers are at the top of her “milk line,” just before the armpits. One wonders if the monumentally risable FCC would require them to be covered with a bra or tape or a black bar in post.

Masuimi Max and her amazing extra nipples!

Strangely enough she and I have something in common. Not nipple counts, sadly. We share an affection for the underappreciated sweet spot of gun bores. The caliber known as 40. How many rap tunes with which I’m unacquainted celebrate this lucky coincidence I wonder. Fahrenheit and centigrade in retrograde even mark the miracle of the number. Some of my not insignificant trepidation regarding the number soon being visited upon me has been evaporated, and sweetened, by the charm of this numerology.

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Ashley

Re: A question for your Intelligent Designer regarding supernumerary nipples

A reader, yes, there are one or two, points out–

Nitpicking or not, but this statement is not completely correct: “While we improve, so do cancers and parasites and viruses and bacteria”

From an evolutionary point of view, cancer itself does not evolve, as it is part of our genome; a genetic defect that occasionally surfaces out of chance, increasingly so as people get older. So assuming that natural selection prefers specimens who do not get sick, evolution works against cancer.

This is a good point, sort of. Saying cancer evolves is a bit like saying bruises evolve. It’s more of a consequence of other bits of evolution; it’s a muddy point so I should not have written it. However, many cancers are caused by viruses and natural selection is only partly driven by individuals so, strange as it may seem, individual health may actually be selected out if it screws with group fitness. There are no straight lines of causality in a chaos system.

Here is an example I have been meaning to write about–

A cooper’s hawk killed and ate a flicker outside my window last year. I went out to pick up feathers afterwards and found the skull and beak. The brain was entirely and cleanly gone though the skull was completely intact. Seems strange that pulling on the spine of a healthy individual could get the whole brain out through a tiny hole. Why might nature set up a situation where it’s trivially easy to pull out your brain?

Because that’s a lot of calories (brain tissue is mostly fat) which just went to your predator. Why help your predator? Better fed he’s going to be less eager to kill another one of you. That means your group survival rate just went up a little.

Is that the real reason the brain comes out so easily? Maybe it’s really a factor. Maybe woodpeckers (which flickers are) just have especially loose brains to help protect them when using their heads as jackhammers.

The weirdness of evolution can only be appreciated as the web that it is. The reason it was so hard to pinpoint to start with (taking the desolation + isolation of the Galapagos to make obvious) is that it is so mind-bendingly complex it can casually appear to be random; or divine.

By Ashley on 7 April 2007 · 12:21
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