Chair East London Humanists Paul Kaufman questions the design of teeth

Paul Kaufman

Paul Kaufman - Credit: Archant

I’ve been seeing a lot of my dentist lately. My middle-aged teeth are crumbling away, and weekly visits to the East Ham surgery are called for. As I lie back in the chair my thoughts turn to so-called “intelligent design”.

Teeth are an example of why I have always been such a sceptic of this Darwin-denying notion.

Surely a supreme being would have had the wisdom to design teeth strong enough to last into old age?

The idea of shedding our milk teeth as children for adult teeth is a great one.

So why couldn’t we be given the ability to grow a third set when our adult teeth wear out?


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Surely they are a quirk of evolution. Like our tonsils and appendix, they are of no use and often just prove troublesome.

A further mystery is what possible purpose is served by equipping our teeth with such supersensitive nerve endings.

Could the exquisite pain of toothache be some sort of divine retribution for eating too many sweets?

How people must have suffered over millennia due to problems with their teeth, not to mention all of the other ailments which afflict us. It is only thanks to human ingenuity that we now have anaesthetics which make treatment just about bearable.

We rely on man-made substances which are more durable to replace our decayed natural teeth.

And I rely on the skill and kindness of my brilliant dentist, Mr Patel, to get me through the torment and hopefully give my teeth a new lease of life.

Please take note Mr Patel, and treat me gently!

Last but not least, we should be forever grateful to the social pioneers who gave birth to the NHS and the fantastic achievement of universal healthcare.

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