Monday, January 14, 2013

An Argument From Design


About 3.15 this afternoon there was a beeping sound in my ear.  It was a sound that only I could hear, but unlike the sounds in my head that are not real, this was a real beep.  The battery for my hearing aid was about to die and I was being warned that I needed to replace it.

Yes, I have a hearing aid – two actually – one for each ear.

I always thought that if I could just get rid of the tinnitus my hearing would be perfect.  The volume of the buzzes, whistles and rumbles had become so loud that it was no longer a background noise, but had shifted to centre stage.  It was like the child in the school choir who cannot sing standing next to the microphone – a sound that refuses to be ignored.  However, take away the tinnitus and I am not really hearing so well at all.

I had a hearing test which revealed that I am significantly hard of hearing and was fitted for a hearing aid.  I pictured ugly pink slugs nestling in my ear drums and was pleasantly surprised to see something very discreet.  I daresay they are not the top range of hearing aids and there are better deals out there for those who wish to chase them down, but I am happy with the product for now.  Until my brain gets adjusted to filtering out the unnecessary noise, I get to hear everything…and I mean everything.  I turn my head at someone whispering, expecting them to be within touching distance only to discover they are standing at the far side of the room.  Eves-dropping is unavoidable.

Answering the telephone has become just about impossible.  My mobile phone is fine, but the typical hand set with its gentle curve is proving a challenge.  The handset doesn’t fit anymore.  The space beside the ear drum is full of stuff.  I have resorted to pulling out the hearing aid.  That’s what my mum does and she has had hearing aids for a long time.

The whole experience makes me think about William Paley’s argument from design.   He talked about watches and cameras rather than hearing aids, but hearing aids fit too.  Paley compared the complexity of man made things like watches and cameras with the complexity of living things which are far more superior.  Simply looking at watches and cameras leads a person to the conclusion that they are designed by an intelligent being. A watch, or a camera, or a hearing aid for that matter, could not exist without a designer and maker. Paley concluded that neither could living things, more complex than anything man can make, exist without an intelligent designer…God.

Darwin shot holes in Paley’s argument with his theory of evolution and the tiny, miniscule changes that take place over millions of years, but did Darwin ever wear hearing aids?  The best that man can come up with, even in this day and age of rapidly evolving technology isn’t a patch on the original.  My hearing aids amplify volume but find it hard to hear nuances that the natural ear picks up.  How my brain is adapting to the foreign material in the ear is amazing!

At best we can only mimic what God has created we cannot better it. 

Until I had a bit of plastic tubing stuffed into my ear attached to a tiny amplifier, I took my hearing for granted.  I didn’t really think about all the little bits of bone, hair and fluid that make up the ear.  The workings of the inner ear are so small, so intricately balanced, so fragile and yet so robust.

I am, as the Psalmist declared, fearfully and wonderfully made.


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