Intelligently Designed Guinea Worms

What kind of god would design such creatures?

(source)

  • Revyloution

    Thank Bob Dobs for Jimmy Carter. Carter might be a religious nutjob, but his brains are in the right place. He was worked to kill this parasite, and has removed it from many countries in Africa. Thanks to his work, Guinea worm might be eradicated completely in the next 10 years.

    Of all the ex presidents alive, I think he is the hardest worker who has done the most.

    • Paul

      And god didn’t like that he was undermining his punishments of the heathens. That is why he sent an aquatic rabbit to attack Carter.

  • Erick I

    Just one of the truly Horrifying creatures that serve no practical use in Nature. Isn’t God great?

    • DDM

      Well that’s the nature of parasites. You can’t really hold it against them, can you? That’s how they survive and it’s worked for them for countless years.

      • Roger

        Only 6,000 years, DDM! ;-)

    • LRA

      Ummmmmmm yeahhhhhh…. check this out:

      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-05/wuis-dlw052510.php

      Lung worms from crayfish. Ew.

    • Fentwin

      Organisms don’t have to “serve a purpose”, they just have to survive and reporduce. :)

      Kind of reminds me of my second cousin on my mom’s side. No real purpose other than to pop out kids like a pez dispenser. (that sounds mean I know, but its twue, its twue)

  • Mark Mukasa

    I have an innate repulsion to worms, leeches and anything else of this sort. Reading how it works just grossed me out and has made this my least favourite UF article.

    But the point was excellent!

  • uzza

    Y’know, considering that the human race is in the process of destroying the entire planet, you’d have a better case saying they were the creatures that serve no practical use in Nature.

    • elizabethdamaro

      I think Carlin said it best when he said humans are not going to destroy the planet. The planet is fine. It will be fine. We’re arrogant to think we need to “save it”.

      • Michael

        Certainly. We are very unlikely to kill more than 90% of plant and animal species currently on Earth.

        • JonnoSan

          Hey, 99.8% of all previous life on the plant has already been made extinct without human intervention…

          • Michael

            Yep. Isn’t it time we made it 99.98%?

        • JonnoSan

          ah, that would be ‘planet’

  • Fearglic

    So my blister may be a wormhole?

    • Mark Mukasa

      Please set to Warp 5.

    • Kimberly

      Haha! Win!

  • Gumboz1953

    You think this is nutty, you should read about the process of blood clotting. If there’s a god, she’s Rube Goldberg.

  • Agentsmith

    You unrependant fools!!!!

    Can’t you see that God designed this wonderful creature with his infinite wisdom that is beyond our mere human comprehension?

    It is but a tool to test the faith of the infected, to hold them in awe of the mysterious ways God works through their bodies.

    Praise the Lord Goddamnit!

  • http://susanthegreat.com PuntyBunny

    Uch! I hate parasites. Bleeargh!!! I remember working in animal medicine & seeing all kinds of things. Yech, yech, yech.

    I saw some pro-god vid recently & one of the questions was something like – why is it that all teh colors of flowers look so beautiful to us? with the implication being that god wants to give us something good to look at so he made the flowers all pretty.

    So….we find the parasite gross sooo….it’s the devil making it ugly? Signed, confused.

    • Jerdog

      Why do flowers come in colors we can’t even see?

  • v

    god made parasites, that was for practice…
    then he created politicians and religious leaders…
    (thnx to SLC)

    • Jeremy

      Thread over. v wins.

    • LRA

      Actually, thanks to Mark Twain…

      “In the beginning God created monkeys, that was for practice. Then He created school boards.”
      Mark Twain

  • Siberia

    Simple, because God is a sadist dick.

  • Brian M

    Well…you see..it’s because Eve and Adam ate the apple…that’s what created the worms. It’s OUR FAULT the worms exist.

    I just made that up, but I think that is the actual argument. :)

    • JohnMWhite

      The worm was in the apple and Eve’s bite set it free.

      • wazza

        and she was like “Ew!” and then Adam was like “Just bite around that bit, hun, don’t throw away the whole fruit.”

  • 10plus

    Y’all should check out the Wikipedia article on the male angler fish (or better yet, The Oatmeal’s version of it :)

  • Kimberly

    I must be weird, I find codependence of species facinating. And this UF post is tame compared to the wasp/catepillar one. That was messed up!

  • Ben

    There’s a great (but a bit graphic) video report by New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof about a kid stuck with the Guinea worm in Sudan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtE0clOnGhg&playnext_from=TL&videos=phUIUPPBFaM

    This video was just posted a few days ago, I wonder if that’s where Daniel heard about the Guinea worm and decided to post this.

  • zombieroach

    That ‘water flea’ is actually a copepod. The NYT mislabeled it as a cladoceran (commonly called a water flea).

    Why can’t they just get someone with a scientific background to look over science articles before publishing them?

  • zombieroach

    Also, the word ‘larvae’ is pleural; they should have used ‘larva’

  • JonnoSan

    Best example: Why did a loving God create the smallpox virus? It causes immense suffering to people, has a 60% mortality rate, incredibly contagious, leaves survivors with horrible scars, isn’t even a living ‘creature’ (being a virus) and best of all ONLY attacks humans… Got to be the best work of creation – if you had a god who hated humans…

  • Simão Marto

    “And then He created the parasites capable of going through human tissue causing an intense pain, and He thought it was good”

  • Prem Isaac

    Now this is a stimulating question to say the least. But lets slow down a bit and ask, is there any reason to think that there is any design whatsoever present in the guinea worm and in the manner in which it is able to survive. Lets not confuse the issue of whether there is something designed with whether the design produces a malevolent effect on humans. The teeth of familiar carnivores, like the T. Rex for example, appear designed for a carnivorous diet(unless one has already believed in evolution). So the structures which enable a Lion to capture, kill and feed on a deer are beneficial for a lion, but are also the reason why the deer will die. Does this by itself therefore demonstrate that the lion’s claws and teeth are not designed?

    There are atleast 3 distinct questions : (a) whether there is any design at all in the Guinea Worm(features unexplainable by naturalistic evolution). (b) Whether or not that design spells pain for humans (c) Why a Designer would do this, i.e. what the Designer’s intentions would be (d) Whether this Designer is God.

    Perhaps you may not agree with the proponents of Intelligent Design, but you should not mis-characterize the ID position:
    (a) the proponents of ID do not confuse the existence of design with whether the implications of such design are beneficial to humans.
    (b) they do not judge whether or not something is designed based on whether or not that design is beneficial to humans.
    (c) they do not think that the methods of ID can reveal the identity of the designer.

    However, if it really is God we are wanting to talk about, then in order to suppose that the existence of Guinea worms is incompatible with there being a God you must make the assumption that God has to abide by a moral structure that you dictate – but for someone who doesnt grant God’s existence, how do you even justify that the pain caused to humans by Guinea worms is evil? Within an atheistic framework, what exactly is evil objectively speaking , and why should your God agree to abide to your definition before you “allow” him to exist?

    • Yoav

      (a) the proponents of ID do not confuse the existence of design with whether the implications of such design are beneficial to humans.
      (b) they do not judge whether or not something is designed based on whether or not that design is beneficial to humans.
      (c) they do not think that the methods of ID can reveal the identity of the designer.

      As was revealed during the testimonies in the Dover case ID creationism is a the equivalent of putting a new paintjob on a stolen car so you can drop it on an unsuspecting buyer. It was invented for the sole purpose of circumventing the supreme court’s decision that stop the teaching of creationism.

      However, if it really is God we are wanting to talk about, then in order to suppose that the existence of Guinea worms is incompatible with there being a God you must make the assumption that God has to abide by a moral structure that you dictate – but for someone who doesnt grant God’s existence, how do you even justify that the pain caused to humans by Guinea worms is evil? Within an atheistic framework, what exactly is evil objectively speaking , and why should your God agree to abide to your definition before you “allow” him to exist?

      The problem is not that it doesn’t fit atheist’s definition of god but that it doesn’t the 3Xomni god the proponents of the abrahamic religions claim to believe in until it becomes too inconvenient.

    • trj

      how do you even justify that the pain caused to humans by Guinea worms is evil? Within an atheistic framework, what exactly is evil objectively speaking

      Oh please, not this silly argument. As if we can’t make qualified moral assessments because good and evil are not objective (by the way: for all you Christians who talk about objective morals, when are your own moral decisions ever objective in practice? When are they not qualified by circumstances, in the exact same way as the decisions of people who don’t subscribe to your “objective” morality?).

      How about this: intentionally causing unnecessary harm is evil. This is a universally accepted truism and a powerful moral guideline. No divine pronouncements on good and evil are needed to accept it.

      You are the one who claims an intelligent designer (which, despite your prevarications, you quite obviously believe to be God) is behind the guinea worm. So it’s up to you to explain how the intentional introduction of a harmful parasite which targets humans is consistent with a benevolent God.

      • Prem Isaac

        TRJ,
        You may be misunderstanding the meaning of my question, so let me clarify: if you study ethics, there are 2 divisions made:
        1. theoretical ethics (what is morality, does it exist, where does it come from, how can we know it, is it the same for everyone, is it objective or subjective),
        2. and practical/applied ethics(how should I act, how should we act/make decisions, what should our motives be, what should our goals be,should we punish, how, and how much, and for what end goal)

        My question is about #1: the OP is implying that a moral God could not exist because it would be wrong of him to design Guinea worms in such a way as to cause harm to humans. So my answer is, since you don’t admit there is a God of any kind, how do you determine what is good and evil.

        I am not saying that atheists dont make good decisions on how to act or that they dont know what is good and evil. I am asking how Atheism justifies coming up with a definition of evil that legitimately applies to a (hypothetical) Deity.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com M

          We’re humans. We judge. If a hypothetical deity is evil, we calls it like we sees it. Actions are good or evil, intentions are good or evil. If there is a creator deity, and it is supposed to have the 3xOmnis (love that phrase, btw), or at least omnipotence and omniscience, then designing a parasite that creates great suffering to hir “special, chosen species” for no particular purpose is an evil act. We, with our human flaws, wouldn’t do that. That would be mean. So why does a (hypothetical) god get a pass? If this hypothetical god existed, ze’d be a jerk. An evil, nasty jerk. How could we avoid coming up with a definition of evil that includes god? Special pleading?

        • trj

          I am not saying that atheists dont make good decisions on how to act or that they dont know what is good and evil.

          I realize you were not making this point, and it was not what I attempted to reply to.

          I am asking how Atheism justifies coming up with a definition of evil that legitimately applies to a (hypothetical) Deity.

          I just gave you an example of how to assess evil – a criterion which is widely agreed to be a useful and sensible measure of morality. Do you agree that a person who intentionally causes unnecessary harm to others behaves in a bad/evil/immoral way?

          I’m guessing you agree to that (otherwise I’d like to hear the reason for your disagreement). So I suppose it is at this point, where I propose that we apply this criterion to God, that you will claim that it may be well and good for judging human behavior, but it can’t possibly be applied to God, because… well, because God is beyond our puny understanding of morality, or some such excuse.

          As you asked, I’ve presented you with a perfectly straightforward criterion for judging evil behavior, but you will never accept that it should be applied to God, for the simple reason that he fails the test miserably.

        • Jabster

          “I am asking how Atheism justifies coming up with a definition of evil that legitimately applies to a (hypothetical) Deity.”

          That’s missing the point of the question … your version of god fails spectacularly badly when it’s subjected to the definition you have of moral/evil/ethics etc. which was also created by your version of god. If you say your version of god is all loving then is it to much to hope that its actions demonstrate this?

          It’s completely irrelevant what definition, if any, atheism has of evil – it’s your definition that is being questioned.

    • Prem Isaac

      I think the ID proponents should speak for themselves and any criticism should hold up to the facts. Whether I or anyone else is religious hasn’t anything at all to do with whether ID’s claims are well founded or truthful. One of the main takeaways from ID is the negative claim that naturalistic evolution does not deliver on its promises. And no ID proponent thinks that ID has proven the God of Abrahamic religions. That is a task for philosophy and apologetics. So whether ID succeeds with any positive claims or not, the negative claim still holds. And, you havent actually contested (a), (b) and (c) from my previous post.

      So getting back to the point, you havent shown that the Guinea worm does not exhibit characteristic of intentional design.

      In fairness, my post did not indicate I was Christian, nor was my post was trying to defend the Judao-Christian notion of God, so we’ve branched out in to a different line of thought here. Sure, I am Christian, but I wasnt trying to persuade you from any Biblical texts that the Guinea worm exhibits design.

      Concering the Abrahamic notion of God (i.e.Judaeo-Christian), the existence of creatures which propagate harm on humans and other creatures actually is compatible with such a God, according to the texts which are authoritative for these faiths (Old & New Testaments).

      So I dont mind delving into the issue of Theodicy(How a Benevolent God can be reconciled with evil in the world) – but fair warning, it assumes you are going to take the time to understand it., even if you may not like the explanation the Bible gives: God responded to human Sin and pronounced a curse on the world wherein conditions of life have become, needless to say, quite nasty in many parts of the world. According to the Old and New Testament, God has and will use disease as a means of judgment on those who resist him. – This is not to say that each instance of sickness and disease implies that the affected individual is guitly in some special way that others are not. Moreover, there is an afterlife for which we are preparing – either to live in communion with Him forever or to live away from his presence (and its benefits) for ever. So pain in this world is not the end of the story. It can in fact be a vehicle to call us back to repentance and obedience, it can motivate us to develop enduring character, it can move us to seek the good of our fellowman by humanitarian effort and medical progress.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com M

        Yeah yeah yeah, standard Christian misreadings of Jewish creation myths, which are read entirely differently btw. Also, Jews don’t really have an afterlife belief. Then again, Jews don’t exactly believe in a Nice God ™. He’s jealous, cruel, and petty sometimes. He gets into arguments with his high priests about whether to murder everyone or not, and sometimes backs down. He’s by no means perfect- he actually seems like a young god, learning from his mistakes as he goes. Toddlers with infinite power are … scary.

        So he becomes a teenager and grows up some in the New Testament, according to Christians. And then, instead of rescinding his stupid bloodline curse (if you believe the Adam and Eve story to be literally true), he sacrifices himself to himself (but only temporarily!) in an obscure corner of the world after not telling people anything useful, like basic hygiene practices. The curse is only lifted on people who believe in this absolutely crazy story, even thousands of years after it happens. Instead of just, oh, saying hi every hundred years or so, this god decided it would be better to give people a contradictory book full of crazy bits, genocide, rape, war, false (or at least inaccurate or extremely vague) prophets, historically inaccurate “history”, and ripped-off myths from other local cultures.

        Pain in this world is the end of the story. We’re born, we live, we die. And then it’s all over. Heaven and Hell are elaborate doctrines that have almost no backing in the NT and none whatsoever in the OT. Jews today still believe that all punishments and all rewards are meted out in this life, because after you die, you’re dead. Not to mention, some pain has a purpose. The pain of a burn says we shouldn’t touch hot things. The pain of grief is a measure of how much joy we had before. But the agonizing pain of a guinea worm being slowly pulled out of your body by a stick? That has no purpose other than the body sending screaming alarm signals along the nerves about its base layer of protection being violated. In situations where you can do something about it, pain is useful. Using suffering as an excuse to make us better is, though, is what abusive parents say to their children. “I’m doing this for your own good”. “This hurts me more than it hurts you”. I call BS.


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