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Marcos Eberlin: A Design Perspective on Diarrhea

When chemist Marcos Eberlin was in Seattle recently, he spoke one evening at the Woodland Park Zoo and broached an uncomfortable subject: diarrhea. It was a first as far as I’m aware at an intelligent design event. We talked about it briefly here:

In his new book, Foresight, Dr. Eberlin develops a case for ID from the observation that so much in life and in nature appears to have been designed with a view to anticipating future problems and solving them ahead of time. Only minds can do that. Take the problem of eating adventurously and possibly consuming some bad food. The solution is diarrhea — the body’s “power wash” cycle, as he puts it. “It’s really nice,” he adds. “Diarrhea is a blessing.” You’ve probably never thought of it that way before. 

But discomfort aside, the solution itself comes with a problem: it depletes the intestines of necessary microorganisms. The solution to that is the appendix, the supposedly useless, vestigial organ according to Darwinists, which in fact serves as a helpful reservoir of microorganisms.

What about appendicitis? What’s the design purpose of that? As Eberlin explains, the ailment is largely a problem of the First World, where our hygiene habits are such that eating bad food is rare. Following from this, at the Woodland Park event, Dr. Eberlin offered some playful advice for First World residents (which, however, as John West was careful to point in the Q&A, should not be taken as a medical recommendation from Discovery Institute!).

Marcos Eberlin is a delightful personality even when talking about digestive complaints. Stay healthy, whatever you do, and enjoy! 

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



bad fooddiarrheaDiscovery InstituteFirst Worldforesighthealthhygieneintelligent designintestinesJohn WestMarcos Eberlinmicroorganismspower washvestigial organsWoodland Park Zoo