We are informed that sleep apnea is a consequence of “too many adaptations stuffed into our neck.”
Critics of evolution often argue that life, rather than gradually changing over the years through natural selection, was actually created by a so-called “intelligent designer.” Their position is that the biological machinery which makes up living bodies is so complex, and so perfectly calibrated to support our numerous needs, that it had to have been planned out by a deliberate and thoughtful force of some kind.
Yet if God actually did design human bodies according to a plan, they forgot to make sure that we can breathe while we sleep — a remarkably crucial detail to overlook. While not everyone suffers from the aforementioned anatomical glitch, known to doctors as obstructive sleep apnea, it affects 22 million Americans — and has become an even more hazardous condition amid the spread of a deadly virus that attacks the lungs.Matthew Rozsa, “The human neck is a mistake of evolution” at Salon (October 12, 2021)
It is, on the whole, a mistake to get human evolution news from a glitzmag. Engineer Walter Myers III offers some alternative thoughts:
The headline itself admits that sleep apnea afflicts 1 out of 15 Americans, so that means 14 out of 15 Americans (93 percent) breathe freely at night with no issues. Thus, the problem doesn’t appear to be with the design itself, but with potential problems that can occur after the fact, such as an obstruction in the throat muscles or improper signals sent to the throat muscles that control breathing.
Rosza does examine the possible causes of sleep apnea, which weaken his argument, as in each case the cause is because something has gone wrong, not that the original design is somehow flawed. He discusses sleep apnea caused by obesity, which is likely due to the actions of that person or to a metabolic abnormality, neither of which indicates a fault in the design itself. Any design can be adversely impacted if not properly maintained, or if it becomes defective through injury or disease. He cites aging as a cause, but we all know aging is a natural process that will eventually lead to the death of any organism. No organisms are designed to live forever. Even the best designed human artifacts eventually fail (and again, intelligent design makes no judgments about why a designer might intend mortality in organisms). Finally, he discusses genetic or anatomical issues that, again, cause the structures to not operate as they should according to the original design.Walter Myers III, “Is the Human Neck a “Mistake of Evolution”?” at Evolution News and Science Today (October 20, 2021)
Now that Dr. Myers mentions it, humans were not designed to live forever in a world where everything else is transient. Something always gives.
But someone should tell Nathan Lents, author Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes, about this one.
You may also wish to read: Nathan Lents is still wrong about human sinuses but still writing about them.