Just because the laryngeal nerve in mammals takes a long route does not mean it is not the product of intelligent design. A mammal embryo needs a functioning heart early on, which is transported in the developmental process.
Additionally, as an analogy, in cars with the engine in front, the exhaust system takes a long route which actually puts it at greater risk, but it is an engineering trade-off for the benefits of having the engine in front. 2 Although we may not at first understand this long exhaust system, we realize that it is the result of intelligent design by capable engineers.
Coyne, J. A. (2009). Why Evolution Is True. New York: Viking.
- Coyne, 2009, p. 82: “One of nature’s worst designs is shown by the recurrent laryngeal nerve of mammals. Running from the brain to the larynx, this nerve helps us speak and swallow. The curious thing is that it is much longer than it needs to be. … But the pathway makes sense when we understand how the recurrent laryngeal nerve evolved. Like the mammalian aorta itself, it descends from those branchian arches of our fishlike ancestors. In the early fishlike embryos of all vertebrates, the nerve runs from top to bottom alongside the blood vessels of the sixth branchial arch; it is a branch of the larger vagus nerve that travels along the back from the brain. And in adult fish, the nerve remains in that position, connecting the brain to the gills and helping them pump water.” ↩
- http://creation.com/recurrent-laryngeal-nerve ↩