Medical Considerations for the Intelligent Design of the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve

In the previous three posts (see part 1, part 2, and part 3), we’ve seen that the arguments of intelligent design (ID) critics based that the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) is an “imperfect design” fail for a variety of reasons. These include: (1) There is evidence that supposed fundamental evolutionary constraints which would prevent loss of the circuitous route of the RLN do not exist. This implies that there is some beneficial function for the circuitous route. (2) The path of the RLN allows it to give off filaments to the heart, to the mucous membranes and to the muscles of the trachea along the way to the larynx. (3) There is dual-innervation of the larynx from the SLN and Read More ›

Direct Innervation of the Larynx Demanded by Intelligent Design Critics Does Exist

Intelligent design (ID) critics Jerry Coyne, Kelly Smith, and Richard Dawkins have all argued that the allegedly circuitous innervations of the larynx from the brain by the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) is an “imperfect design” that refutes ID. What they rarely disclose, however, is that there are in fact nerves that innervate the larynx directly from the brain through the superior laryngeal nerve (SLN), without taking the longer path of the RLN–exactly as they demand. Thus, the larynx is in fact innervated from both above and below, by both the RLN and the SLN. This is clearly seen in the diagram below, from Elsevier’s Atlas of Regional Anesthesia, 3rd ed., hotlinked from here: As noted here, damage to the SLN Read More ›