Earlier this year writers for Evolution News posted responses to Dr. Lents, who teaches at John Jay College and wrote a recent book, Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes. He argues that our bodies demonstrate “poor design” or “suboptimal design” which is best explained by evolution. Lents wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal summarizing his case.
He argues in his book that the fact that the openings to the maxillary sinuses (called “ostia”) are situated near the top of the sinuses would prevent gravity drainage of mucus. This, he thinks, is bad design. He asks, “What kind of plumber would put a drainpipe anywhere but at the bottom of a chamber?” Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor, who knows a thing or two about the anatomy of the head, replied to Lents, here and here. Egnor explained that the design of the maxillary sinuses makes sense for several reasons, as follows.
Lents uses Swamidass’s forum to rant at us, saying that we’re “dishonest” and claiming Dr. Egnor was just trying to take advantage of ignorant readers. In Lents’s words, “They made an obvious error, got caught, and then just pretend it didn’t happen.”
No, there was no error to correct. On the contrary, it’s Lents’s description of nasal anatomy that is wrong, at an elementary level. The maxillary sinus and the paranasal sinuses are not “totally different structures.” The maxillary sinus is one of the paranasal sinuses! The paper Egnor cited was discussing the maxillary sinus as well as the other paranasal sinuses. “Nathan Lents Is Back; Still Wrong About Sinuses” at Evolution News
The facts actually don’t matter much because the people who think Nathan Lents and “bad design of the human body” are Cool will merely assume that the existence of refractory contrary facts is part of the bad design.
See also: Does Nathan Lents, author of a “bad design” book really teach biology? A doctor looks at his claims about the human sinuses