Ray Comfort, fundamentalist apologist, is obsessed with the banana. Supposedly, the banana’s curved shape and easy-to-remove skin, along with its taste, proves that it was designed by a supernatural being. Is this the case?
Well, first off, the banana was filled with inedible seeds and had very little consumable fruit, before humans (not God) came along and, through plant husbandry, made it edible (beginning about 7,000 years ago).1 If God did design the banana with a shape and skin designed to be eaten, he must have a rotten sense of humor – since anyone who would have eaten it would have been in for an unfortunate surprise.
Furthermore, three problems exist with the idea of the designed banana:
- Mr. Comfort argues that the “pull-tab” of the banana prevents it from squirting. This raises the question, why would he think a banana would squirt? It’s solid.
- If that was the reason, why do citrus fruits not have a “pull-tab”?
- Why didn’t God make an easy-open tab for other difficult-to-open foods, like coconuts and hazelnuts?
But that’s not my main point here. Mr. Comfort’s argument reveals a flaw in Intelligent Design (ID). ID assumes that all we see is designed for life. The earth’s axial tilt (often cited), the presence of the correct oxygen balance, etc., is supposedly all designed for the life we have.
This is the opposite of the truth. In fact, the world first existed, and life evolved on it to conform to this existence. The fact that life on Earth needs Earth’s oxygen balance is a fact because life evolved to conform to this oxygen balance.
What if Earth had a different atmospheric balance? Perhaps a different form of life would have evolved. This other form of life would likely be killed by the balance we have now. Similarly, it is far from inconceivable that there is life in the universe that would be, for example, killed by the presence of water.
What about all the micro-constants present in our planet that are often cited as facilitating life? In fact, it is estimated that there are 21.6 sextillion planets in the universe! Written out, it’s 21,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets. With such a mind-blowing number of planets, it would be beyond remarkable if not a single one could facilitate life. In fact, NASA in 2020 estimated that about 300 million potentially inhabitable worlds could support life.
But it’s often asked, “Why ours specifically?” But to this we might ask, Why not? There’s nothing special about it. There is no “center of the universe” in which Earth lies. Ours was just one of the (probably many) planets that happened to allow for life. And then, life evolved to conform to the details of our planet. Most likely, other “aliens” in planets far away are also wondering why their planet was specifically “chosen.” (And there’s no reason to think that those “aliens” would be monstrous, as is often depicted. They’d probably be similar to us.) If Earth had not been inhabitable, we just wouldn’t be here to talk about it. This does not indicate the presence of a supernatural being.
1 “Modern bananas are sterile, containing only tiny residual seeds, so new banana plants are propagated from cuttings. The sterile domesticated banana is the result of ancient crossbreeding between wild species. In contrast, wild bananas are packed full of bullet-like seeds and contain very little edible fruit.”