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Thanks, Dr. Oz — Our Favorite Super Bowl Ad, a Beautiful Celebration of Complex Senses

Sarah Chaffee

Dr. Oz

“Did you know there’s a world of miracles inside our bodies?” That was the striking first line in a Super Bowl commercial yesterday — Dr. Oz promoting Turkish Airlines.

With beautiful photography and ethereal music, Dr. Oz proceeds to tell us about how our senses of smell, hearing, taste, and sight present marvels of fine tuning.

Those miracles he’s talking about? Dizzying complexity and extreme order — the kind of information best explained, as we would put it, by intelligent design. They are patterns that reflect our experiences of what mind, not meaningless chance, creates.

Let’s examine each in a little more depth than what a commercial can in a minute and thirty seconds:

Your eyes. The CSC’s video from last fall on the eye explains more about these organs and shortcomings of Darwinian accounts for their origin.

Smell. Remember Illustra Media’s discussion of the salmon’s nose? Well, olfaction requires many, many parts working together and scientists currently debate whether olfaction acts like a lock and key (odor molecules fit into receptors designed for them) or whether there is some kind of vibration that results in smell. Maybe a bit of both!

How about taste? In his book, What Darwin Didn’t Know, Dr. Geoffrey Simmons discusses taste, among other topics:

Stick your tongue out as far as you can in front of a mirror. You should see several bumpy growths at the rear — and if you strain a little, you might even see a V-shaped pattern of larger, button-like growths across the very back. These papillae contain most of our 10,000 taste buds. They are present by the third fetal month. Textbooks typically say we detect only four tastes: sweet (sucrose), salty (sodium chloride), bitter (quinine hydrochloride), and sour (citric acid) — but the tongue can actually also pick up metallic iron salts, umami (a meaty or savory taste — for example, monosodium glutamate), certain amino acids, and chalky tastes. Fat sensations can be sensed by the sides of the tongue, and a number of flavors, like chocolate, can be improved when pressed against the soft palate.

Your ears. Dr. Howard Glicksman has an excellent post at Evolution News discussing our sense of hearing. He goes through each part of the ear and the role it plays in transmitting sound.

And (though Dr. Oz doesn’t elaborate) touch! On that, scientists are currently trying to model the hand’s powers.

But the harmony of the package itself — all five senses and the whole body working together — is another layer of complexity. Every intricate function whispers design and planning.

It’s that coherence that allows you to discover the world. Or, as Dr. Oz and Turkish Airlines put it, to “widen your world.”

Photo: Turkish spice merchant, via YouTube/Turkish Airlines.