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Discovery Magazine 12/1/2006

Smells Like Design

Billy laid awake in his bed. Something was wrong. He could not see anything wrong. And he did not hear anything unusual. But he did smell something wrong. He smelled smoke. He got out of bed and walked to the kitchen. He saw that the kitchen was on fire. He woke up his parents. They rushed out of the house to safety. Soon the fire department arrived and put out the fire, saving Billy’s house.

 Now try to imagine what would have happened to Billy and his family if they could not smell. If Billy could not smell the smoke, he might have stayed in bed too long and been hurt or killed by the fire. Did you realize that the sense of smell was so important? It is. In fact, your sense of smell protects you and keeps you alive.

God designed the human nose to do many wonderful things. The nose contains hairs (nasal hairs) that filter dirt and germs from the air we inhale. The nose also warms the air we breathe so our lungs don’t freeze. It even moistens the air we inhale so that our lungs can use it. Yet, even though the nose does all these amazing things, the act of smelling is one of the most astonishing.

God designed the human nose to have about 10 million receptor cells. These cells “receive” chemicals from the environment. The cells then send messages to the brain through nerves. These messages tell the brain what kinds of chemicals are in the air. Humans have the ability to detect 3,000-10,000 different odors or smells—like oranges, roses, cookies, or garbage.

 God designed the nose to be above the mouth for a very good reason. It acts as a warning detector, smelling things that are rotten, old, or moldy. When the nose smells something rotten, it tells the brain that eating the food could hurt the body.

Scientists have spent years studying our sense of smell and they still do not completely understand it. They have attempted to make machines, called “electronic noses,” that have the ability to “smell” certain chemicals. It is interesting that brilliant scientists have spent thousands of hours designing “electronic noses.” Yet these machines cannot do all the things human noses can do. That means whoever designed the human nose must be smarter than scientists. In truth, it is easy to sniff out God’s design in our sense of smell.



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