The Nose Knows
At one point an exasperated Darwin asked Lyell—it always comes down to metaphysics—if he believed “the shape of my nose was designed?” If Lyell did think so then, Darwin added, “I have nothing more to say.” The infra-dignitatem, or infra-dig for the irreverent, argument, which insisted that it was beneath the dignity of the Creator to stoop so low as to dwell in the details of the world, had been promoted by no less than the father of natural theology John Ray and Platonist Ralph Cudworth, and in Darwin’s day was in full swing. Its influence on the young Darwin was clear in the naturalist’s early notebooks, and here in his appeal to Lyell. One look at one’s nose is all one needs to know about origins. Obviously we evolved. Now, a century and a half later, science finally has its say in the matter.
A new study out of, appropriately enough, England, now reveals the underlying genetic details that influence the shape of our noses. It seems there are four genes that influence the width and length of our olfactory device and, as the press release informs us, “The new information adds to our understanding of how the human face evolved.”
Glad to have that cleared up. Religion drives science, and it matters.