We close the week’s blogging by savoring an amusing example of just how bad things have gotten for the creationists.

For as long as there have been creationists there has been the argument from complex structures. You know the one I mean. Some erstwhile evolution critic points to some complex structure and says, as smugly as possible, “Surely something that complex could not have evolved by natural means.” Then they slink on back to their hidey hole perfectly secure in the belief that they have just said something clever.

The annals of creationism record many such examples. For a time they were all a’twitter over the bombardier beetle, which has an intricate firing mechanism for squirting its enemies with a painful brew of chemicals. More recently they have shifted their focus to bacterial flagella and blood clotting systems. And now there is a new one to add to the collection:

Did the earwax produced by ceruminous cells and the complex antimicrobial molecules within the secretion, along with the unique manner in which old squamous cells slough off, come about through time, chance, and natural processes? Or was it by the purpose and plan of an all-wise Creator?

Take that evolutionist swine!

If ear wax is an example of God’s design, then I am afraid it is yet another example of poor work on His part. It has a nasty tendency to build up in the ear canal, eventually imparing hearing. I have some personal experience with that. Woke up one morning to find I couldn’t hear out of my left ear. That was a fine how do you do let me tell you. I had to exist in this comical state for several days, until I could make an appointment with the doctor. Happily, I wasn’t going deaf. Just needed to have my ear flushed out.

Somehow the experience did not make me think about the glory of God.


  1. #1 NeverTheTwain
    January 30, 2009

    Haven’t you heard that God works in mystEARious ways?

  2. #2 Tex
    January 30, 2009

    I am waiting for creationists to declare that smegma was intelligently designed. Then we will really know they have reached the end.

  3. #3 Jason Failes
    January 30, 2009

    God is a mosquito.

    It’s the only explanation why they have it so good at our expense.

  4. #4 wrpd
    January 30, 2009

    God invented that creepy guy from Lord of the Rings?

  5. #5 llewelly
    January 30, 2009

    Of course earwax is intelligently designed. Earwax is one of the many means God uses to prevent believers from hearing atheist arguments that would otherwise destroy their faith. God was trying to give you an opportunity to return to Him, and you rejected Him! Oh, how much greater is the Darkness which surrounds those who have been invited into the bosom of the Lord, and yet have rejected Him!

  6. #6 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    January 30, 2009

    I have recently had a spate of problems related to earwax. I have to clean it regularly, but if I neglect to keep up with it, I too lose my hearing. It kind of “pops” in and out.

    I flush my ears with warm water. Just before New Year’s I used a little too much force (being “tangled up in blue guy,” of course.) I had irritated my canal, and from that developed a case of swimmer’s ear. So, I went to the doctor and she says to use “ear wax drops.” I bought a little bottle and used the drops in my right ear while the left healed. The left healed fine, thanks top the antibiotics. Then a week later, the right ear started hurting, and I still had wax in it despite using the recommended drops.

    Back to the doctor, this time another person. She said that I shouldn’t use said “ear wax drops.” Told me that they also irritate the canal. She recommended saline solution to keep the wax at bay. It seems to be working so far.

    If earwax is an invention of God, the God hates me as much as he hated Salieri.

  7. #7 Prometheus
    January 30, 2009

    I look forward to the great flood being verified by God’s miraculous and awe inspiring gift of snot.

  8. #8 Jason Rosenhouse
    January 30, 2009

    Mike –

    My doctor recommended using a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide a few times a year. In my case my left year seems to accumulate wax no matter how thoroughly I wash it, while the right ear does not have this problem. My doctor suggested that the problem is probably that my ear canal is a bit more curved and twisty than it is supposed to be, and that is why it is harder to keep it clean.

  9. #9 Bob O'H
    January 31, 2009

    What a fascinating discussion you’re having. The things you learn on ScienceBlogs.

    With a bit of nuturing you should be able to blow this up into a full-scale blog war.

  10. #10 Ron Brown
    January 31, 2009

    Maybe earwax build up is just punishment for your Godless heathenism. If anyone knows how to turn earwax against people, it’s the architect of earwax.

  11. #11 Ian
    January 31, 2009

    “God invented that creepy guy from Lord of the Rings?”

    C’mon now – Frodo wasn’t that creepy….

  12. #12 Ear Doctor
    January 31, 2009

    The peroxide you should use for dissolving cerumen is benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in the various over-the-counter products. It can be a mild irritant if you use it every day. Flush out the softened wax afterwards with a rubber bulb and warm water. Hydrogen peroxide is less effective and risky — it can make a mild case of swimmer’s ear turn rapidly worse.

  13. #13 Blake Stacey
    January 31, 2009

    Oh ye of little faith and less learning! Anyone with the slightest acquaintance with theology would remember that earwax is part of the curse we received during the Fall. Haven’t you read Genesis 3?

    And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

    Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    Thy teeth will bring forth plaque, and thine ears will grow thick with wax, which thou shalt have to dig out with the nail on thy littlest finger; thy lower back shall bring forth dull ache and fiery pain alike.

    And I shall make thy seed weak in thee, so that it may not endure the full heat of thy body. And thus will I make thy testicles descend from their safe enclosure and dangle in the reach of clubs and small animals and power tools.

    It’s all there in the Bible if you’d just bother to look it up.

  14. #14 Nemo
    January 31, 2009

    A few years ago, I too had my left ear completely stopped up by wax. It was near Christmas, and it took forever (well, maybe a week) to get an appointment to get it cleaned. Ever since then, I’ve had tinnitus in that ear.

  15. #15 Sven DiMilo
    January 31, 2009

    Oh, ye of little faith. G-d never makes us bear more than we can handle. For yea, though S/He cursed us with intelligently designed earwax, S/He also thoughtfully supplied the Cure: ear candling.

  16. #16 Raymond Minton
    January 31, 2009

    How about the male urethra, which runs through the prostrate, making urination painfully difficult when the prostrate becomes infected? Or human retinas being inside out? Or the sub-optimal arrangement of humans breathing out of the same orifice they must use to eat, causing choking? These are but a few examples of human anatomy that don’t work well, while wisdom teeth, the appendix, and pseudo-genes are among our physical features that no longer serve a purpose at all. Far from indicating “intelligent design” these features indicate a “mend and make due” system at work, which has been slipshod at least as often as it’s been efficient. Natural selection, and not some intelligently directed “design” is the explanation that best fits the facts at hand.

  17. #17 Bezoar
    January 31, 2009

    I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again and again). I work in my rural Kentucky hospital’s Emergency Room and when the folks come down from the hills for “free” healthcare, it remains clear that Intelligent Design is the quintessential oxymoron.

  18. #18 Kevin
    January 31, 2009

    “My doctor suggested that the problem is probably that it is a bit more curved and twisty than it is supposed to be, and that is why it is harder to keep it clean.”

    I heard Bill Clinton had that problem too…..

  19. #19 Koray
    January 31, 2009

    Yes, creationists cannot be unimpressed by earwax. By their definition, there can be no cutoff point for them to admit where certain things may have evolved, and certain other things are just too impressive to have evolved. From earwax to toenails to the human eye, everything must look amazing to them. It’s a bit like comparing every number to minus infinity and be amazed by how large it is.

  20. #20 Takis Konstantopoulos
    February 2, 2009


    I’m afraid you are wrong on two accounts:

    First, the reason that you had problems with earwax is, precisely, that you are not a man of faith. If you knew, deeply in your heart, that earwax is one of the pinnacles of creation, then you’d never have a problem with it. You see, god is testing you by making you go deaf. Open your ears and you shall hear. And if your ears go deaf, then open your soul and listen with it.

    Second, I’m afraid that you have not studied the scriptures carefully. According to the article you commented on, the earwax appears in the book of Genesis, בראשית

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    Why, is it not OBVIOUS to you that when it is said “in our image”, it, clearly, includes earwax (and every other bodily secretion)? The book of Genesis is compact, so it cannot list all the details.

    I suggest a remedy, in two steps:

    A) Read the Genesis (and look for earwax).
    B) Become a man of faith.

  21. #21 SiMPel MYnd
    February 2, 2009

    So, when we had tubes put into my daughter’s ears, we were subverting God’s will? Awesome.

  22. #22 Donna B.
    February 3, 2009

    Complexity requires that no man or his Gods could invent it, else it would not be complex.

  23. #23 Caliban
    February 3, 2009

    Jason’s soul is filled with earwax!!
    That’s why he thinks so wrong.
    He can’t hear Jesus because his heart is heardened with mucus!

    You fool! Open your heart to the Divine smegma, the Holy sebum and the Righteous phlegm so God’s milky grace may flow from every orifice. Praise be!

  24. #24 Dave S.
    February 3, 2009

    Ladies and gentlemen, please. What makes you all think that human earwax is for the benefit of humans? Now I don’t know about some, but my cat goes crazy for earwax, loves the stuff. I don’t let him eat it because ewww gross, but he would if I let him. Follows the Q-tip all over the house. Clearly earwax is God’s way of creating an emergency food supply for cats.

  25. #25 Scott Fanetti
    February 5, 2009

    I find that a 50 percent solution of peroxide and rubbing alcohol works well to both soften the existing wax and dry the excess fluid. I too have had numerous ear porblems — I think Harrisonburg’s weather is to blame.

  26. #26 Matthew F
    February 6, 2009

    My brother recently suffered an ear infection due to ear wax. I prayed for him, but it didn’t work. I guess it’s cause he’s made in God’s image…God also had an ear infection.

  27. #27 söve
    February 7, 2009

    God invented that creepy guy from Lord of the Rings?

  28. #28 Emil Sugak
    February 9, 2009

    if thats the best ,earwax you all can come up with,then for all you evolutionists,you must evolve to something bigger.science is supposed to be based on FACT, since the beginning of man ,there has been no PROVEN or WITNESSED animal or living thing evolving from one to another.EVOLUTION is based upon assumptions or by heresay.they found some bones and assumed we evolved from that,there are no FACTS to prove this.cut off your ears then you will be without,thats a FACT.as for earwax,it is just a part of life.you get dirty,you take a shower your clean.if you get earwax clean them.YES GOD CREATED ALL THINGS,YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT.MAN CREATED THE THINGS FROM MOVIES AND THE SUCH.MAN,BECAUSE HE THINKS HAS A TENDENCY TO BLOW THINGS ALL OUT OF PROPORTION.LETS SEE YOU PUT TOGETHER A FEW THINGS THAT YOU THINK WILL EVOLVE INTO SOMETHING,WATCH IT,YOU WILL BE WATCHING FOR A LOOOONG TIME,EVEN YOUR CHILDREN WILL WATCH FOR A LOOOONG TIME AND SO FORTH.FACT IS IT WILL NOT EVOLVE INTO ANYTHING……… EVOLUTION IS BASED UPON ASSUMPTION.

  29. #29 Emil Sugak
    February 10, 2009

    when people realize they are wrong they start blaming other things or people. I said nothing about voices,I simply stated the truth you obviously cannot handle.Maybe you need to have your eyes examined or EVOVLE TO SOMETHING THAT READS BETTER.i am not trying to attack or be mean to you, i am saying you must read and think before you reply to someone. THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY

  30. #30 Barklikeadog
    February 10, 2009

    Emil, I most certainly WAS an accident. My mommy said so several times. nya nya nya. Once I tried to evolve into a flying shit for brains but it didn’t work , so I gave it up, but now my son is doing it. He just complained to me yesterday while leaping through the house flapping his arms that he couldn’t fly.

  31. #31 Barklikeadog
    February 10, 2009

    I tried an evolution experiment once. I put a 5 gallon bucket full of swamp water in my garage and everyday I introduced a new form. A rabbits leg here, a turtle head there. and what-do-ya-no, I got something that evolved into a very consistent gooey mass that wiggled when I touched the bucket, it even farted better than I could. It smelled great and my dog was so excited over the new discovery he wanted to roll in it to get the new turtabbit to play.

    Who says evolution isn’t for lay people like I was then? HuH?

  32. #32 Pepper
    March 9, 2009

    So, Jason, where’s the “intelligent” evolutionist’s response to the creationist assertion that earwax (or bacterial flagella or blood clotting systems – you choose) were intelligently designed? Or do you just want to express your own personal (and vapid) opinion that it is pure nonsense and then slink on back to your hidey hole perfectly secure in the belief that you have just said something clever? Do you ever have anything substantive to say? Or do you simply prefer to be argumentative?

  33. #33 John Smith
    March 14, 2009

    Ear wax can tell you a lot if you listen and believe. It can tell you how polluted the air around you is, and it can tell you when an undesirable friend has taken home in your ear.

    It can be saved up and used to make candles. It removes pollution from the ear. It tastes funny, and makes people laugh when you eat it.

    It can even seal wood protecting it from weather.

  34. #34 söve
    June 14, 2009

    A rabbits leg here, a turtle head there. and what-do-ya-no, I got something that evolved into a very consistent gooey mass that wiggled when I touched the bucket, it even farted better than I could.

  35. #35 Science Avenger
    June 14, 2009

    Pepper, the intelligent response is that until you come up with a design detector system that can demonstrate its effectiveness in a blind test (say, distinguishing a rock from a die), then your assertions are just that, assertions, no more credible than my assertion that god is a giant intelligent noodle monster.

  36. #36 Paul
    August 23, 2009

    The funny thing is, this entire thread is really beside the ultimate point. If you hate God– or simply don’t want to follow him because you don’t like the he goes about doing things– then you choose to put your faith in other things, like evolution.

    I definitely see a lot of hate and sarcasm in these entries. But, in case you ever choose to give him a chance, consider surrendering to him. The same one who created the universe created you– and he put just as much of his heart into making you as he did into making the universe.

    And yes, I know most of you reading and posting here will tear up this entry into tiny shreds. That’s okay. But I couldn’t just read this thread (I was trying to find out some facts about ear infections) and not say anything. There is a God, he does love, and he does forgive ANYTHING you’ve EVER DONE. His forgiveness is unfathomable, yet very real. If you’ve lived a life that’s added up to emptiness, consider the God– Jesus Christ, the Lord– who can replace emptiness with fulfillment, replace misery with joy, and replace darkness with light.

    Just wanted you to know. I realize most of you will call me stupid, ignorant and insane, but I can attest to the fact that God has changed my life, forgiven my sins, and given me lasting joy. I love him because he first loved me. He is a good father, and he cares for me. I experience it every day, and I am convinced it is utterly REAL.

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