Hurriyet Bilim, a supplement of the Turkish daily Hurriyet, used a long since discredited piece of Darwinist canard as the cover story for its June 12 edition. This canard in the article concerned, titled “18 Vestigial Organs in Our Bodies Set to Disappear.” The “vestigial organs” thesis, proposed by Darwin in the 19th century and further developed by later proponents of his theory, has actually long since been discredited. The organs described as “vestigial” by Hurriyet Bilim have been discovered to have functions, and the idea of “vestigial organs” has even been abandoned by a number of evolutionist authorities.
In this article we shall first be looking at the way in which this fantasy developed and was later discredited, and then revealing the functions performed by these organs described by Hurriyet Bilim as “vestigial.”
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE VESTIGIAL ORGAN MYTH
The myth of vestigial organs began with Darwin. In his Origin, he described as “primitive” organs that had lost their functions, or whose functions had diminished. He compared them to the letters one finds in some written words but which are silent and not pronounced. (1)
Like Darwinism”s other claims, however, this was a myth reinforced by the primitive level of science at the time. As research and discoveries advanced, gradually it emerged that the organs described as “functionless” were actually ones whose functions had not yet been established. The more of these functions were discovered, the shorter became the list of “vestigial” organs. The list set out in 1895 by the German anatomist R. Wiedersheim contained around 100 “vestigial human organs,” including the appendix and the coccyx. As science progressed, it was established that all the organs on Widersheim”s list, and which Darwin and his followers regarded as “vestigial,” actually had important functions.
Today, in fact, a great many evolutionists have accepted that the myth of vestigial organs was actually based on ignorance. In an article titled “Do “Vestigial Organs” Provide Evidence for Evolution?” in the journal Evolutionary Theory, the evolutionist biologist S.R. Scadding sets out this fact:
Since it is not possible to unambiguously identify useless structures, and since the structure of the argument used is not scientifically valid, I conclude that “vestigial organs” provide no special evidence for the theory of evolution. (2)
AN UNFOUNDED THEORY COLLAPSED IN THE FACE OF SCIENTIFIC FACTS
In the same way that the claim for vestigial organs rests on no scientific facts at all, neither can it be supported by logic. For example, the moles on our skin that appear with the excessive functioning of melanocytes cannot be explained along the lines of “all human beings were once dark skinned.” Neither can we describe our fingernails and toenails as a “primitive feature” left over from when we lived in the wild, as predators. Such an approach stems from evolutionists” preconceived view of human beings. According to evolutionists, many features of our bodies are unnecessary: Our hair, earlobes, eyebrows and little fingers should not exist. In the same way, it might be claimed that canine teeth are left over from our meat-eating ancestors, just as it is suggested that the hairs on our bodies are left over from our ancestors, the great apes. You can expand such a list indefinitely. But however long, that list will have no scientific basis, and will be shaped by the prejudices and viewpoints of the person making it.
Moreover, it must be recalled that these organs and tissues provide no evidence for evolution. That is because in every respect, the theory of evolution has collapsed, in the face of the evidence for God”s incomparable creation. Out of the infinite number of signs leading to faith, just a few examples are enough to demonstrate God”s flawless creation:
It is mathematically impossible for amino acids to come together in the correct sequence to give rise to proteins and then to a cell, all by chance. The theory of evolution cannot account for the formation of a single protein in terms of chance, and can never explain how the cell and even more complex structures came into being.
The energy generator in our cells known as the mitochondrion, just 100th of a millimeter in size, is more complex than any gasoline refinery or hydroelectric station. The energy in these artificial stations is maintained by thousands of engineers, technical experts and industrial designers, all working together and using the most advanced technology. The workings of the cell”s mitochondrion cannot be similarly explained by saying that a number of atoms are teaming up to produce energy on their own.
The DNA molecule in the nucleus of every human cell contains enough information, in a most sensitive and significant order, to fill 1 million encyclopaedia pages. DNA cannot be the result of blind chance.
Some genes have the power to control others. This hierarchical order among genes is too complex for “chance” evolution to explain.
The flawless and extraordinary design in animals and plants clearly demonstrates that they must be the result of intelligent design.
The brain consists of approximately 100 billion nerve cells, and the number of synapses between them is estimated to be around 1 quadrillion. It is absolutely impossible for chance to have organized nerve cells so as to construct such a breathtaking intercommunication.
The flagellum, comprising 240 separate proteins, is used by certain bacteria to move in a liquid environment. and works like an engine. The flagellum must have functioned perfectly ever since the moment it first came into being. This structure alone is enough to invalidate the theory of evolution”s claim of “stage by stage” development.
The way immune system cells recognize antigens and destroy them by producing substances known as antibodies cannot be explained in terms of evolution.
Blood coagulation, a phenomenon of vital importance, comes about when a string of enzymes react and activate one another. The way these collections of atoms display such intelligent intent is doubtless a great miracle and cannot, of course, have resulted from a process of “evolution” based entirely on chance.
By itself, each of these examples is enough to demonstrate the superior design in life. By learning just one of these signs, even someone with no information at all can be led to faith and see the existence of an Almighty Creator.
In addition, the existence of any living thing can only prove the existence of God, Who created it. The ways that inanimate, unconscious atoms and molecules combine to form a human being with all five senses is proof of God”s impeccable creation, because it is impossible for atoms?unable to see or hear or have any sense perceptions?to combine for that purpose. The theory of evolution fails to account for how a collection of matter can look at itself in the mirror, or taste and touche and hear. These senses can only be explained by the existence of God and His flawless, super-material creation.
If, despite all these facts, the theory of evolution is still brought up, it can only be through lack of information. Therefore, the duty of informing people of the invalidity of evolution assumes great importance. Let us now examine the actual functions of the organs and tissues referred to as “vestigial” a myth that Hurriyet Bilim has sought to resurrect.
THE IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS OF THE APPENDIX
Hurriyet Bilim describes the appendix, which lies at the beginning of the large intestine, as functionless. It has long been the best known of all the allegedly “vestigial” organs, though that this assumption has been proven to result from ignorance. True, that the appendix does sometimes becomes infected and poses a danger to health. But it still has important functions in all healthy individuals, as is set out in one scientific paper that cities various anatomical sources as references:
An examination of the appendix microscopically, shows that it contains a significant amount of lymphoid tissue. Similar aggregates of lymphoid tissue (known as gut-associated lymphoid tissues, GALT) occur in other areas of the gastrointestinal system. The GALT are involved in the body”s ability to recognize foreign antigens in ingested material. My own research, in particular, is focused on examining the immunological functions of the intestine.
Experiments in rabbits demonstrate that neonatal appendectomy impairs the development of mucosal immunity. Morphological and functional studies of the rabbit appendix indicate that it is probably the equivalent of the avian bursa in mammals. The bursa plays a critical role in the development of humoral immunity in birds. The histological and immunohistochemical similarity of the rabbit and human appendix suggest that the human appendix has a similar function to that of the rabbit appendix. The human appendix may be particularly important early in life because it achieves its greatest development shortly after birth and then regresses with age, eventually resembling such other regions of GALT as the Peyer”s patches in the small intestine. These recent studies demonstrate that the human appendix is not a vestigial organ, as originally claimed. (3)
Why was the appendix regarded as vestigial? The reason lies in the dogmatism based on the primitive level of science at the time of Darwin and his supporters. The appendix”s lymphoid tissue could not be viewed under their primitive microscopes. Unable to understand its structure, they regarded the tissue as “functionless” in the light of their own theories and added it to their list of “vestigial” organs.
The same applies to the other so-called vestigial organs.
In assuming the third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, are in fact vestigial, Hurriyet Bilim repeats a classic evolutionist error.
This is a widespread misconception. Many dentists adopt a moderate approach to day-to-day problems posed by other teeth and seek to preserve them, while extracting wisdom teeth has become routine. But the fact is, some recent research has shown that these teeth are no different from any other in terms of function. (4) Studies have also shown that the belief that these molars disrupt the position of other teeth is unfounded. (5) Scientific criticisms have also been published of problems encountered in extracting these teeth, when medicines could be used. (6)
In conclusion, contemporary medicine agrees that the belief that wisdom teeth do have a masticatory function just like the other teeth.
That being so, why do wisdom teeth cause a many people such great discomfort? Scientists researching this question established that wisdom teeth presented very infrequent problems to pre-industrial societies. Over the past few centuries, the preference for soft foods over hard ones has impacted on jaw development. Therefore, it”s been determined that most wisdom teeth problems have emerged in connection with problems resulting from dietary habits.
Similar changes in dietary preferences are known to have a negative impact on other teeth. For example, the preference for sugary and acidic foods over the past century has led to an increase in the rate of tooth decay. This, of course, does not mean that our teeth are functionless or vestigial. The same applies to wisdom teeth. Problems with these teeth stem not from any evolutionary “vestigialization,” but from modern dietary habits.
THE “THIRD EYE LID” AND EAR
The tissue referred to as the “third eyelid” by Hurriyet Bilim consists of a thin fold at the inner corner of the eye. Darwin portrayed this tissue as a “vestigial organ,” and it is commonly referred to as the semilunar fold.
However, this tissue, with the scientific name plica semilunaris, is not a functionless structure inherited from reptiles, as Darwin (and Hurriyet Bilim) believed. Researchers have shown that the plica semilunaris secretes a fatty liquid that moisturises the eye, playing an important role in protecting it from foreign bodies. (7)
Therefore, referring to this tissue as a vestigial organ only highlights the ignorance and bigotry of Darwin, and those who blindly follow in his footsteps.
Hurriyet Bilim regards the small fold in the upper part of the ear and the muscles that let the ear move as “vestigial,” but this, likewise, is totally speculative.
Hurriyet Bilim also suggested that the small bone at the very end of the spinal column has no function-an error that has long since been abandoned. It is now known that the coccyx supports the bones around the pelvic bone, and did it not exist, we would be unable to sit comfortably. Moreover, this bone is also stated to be the fixing point for various organs and muscles in the pelvic region.
THE MALE NIPPLE
Evolutionists frequently?and superficially?seek to depict the male nipple as a “vestigial organ.” Yet this claim is actually inconsistent. In order to claim that an organ is vestigial, it must be shown to have once had a function in some previous living organism. But the fact is, none of the males of species portrayed as the alleged ancestors of man have ever secreted milk, and therefore the male nipple has no biological function.
THE LITTLE TOE
One particularly fine example of the speculative, frivolous nature of Hurriyet Bilim“s claims is what they say on the subject of the little toe. It claims that apes make use of all their toes to grasp and catch branches, but when human beings stand upright, they only need their big toes to keep their balance. It then goes on to infer that the little toe is “surplus to what”s required.” The fact is, however, that not all apes live in trees; and not just apes, but most land-dwelling vertebrates have a five-toed (pentadactyl) foot structure. The five-toed structure therefore has nothing to do with clinging onto branches, but is rather a design common to most land-dwelling vertebrates.
BODY HAIR AND ERECTOR PILI MUSCLES
The erector muscles that cause one”s hair to stand on end in times of danger have been discovered to play an important role in maintaining the health of the hair. John P. Cole, an expert on baldness, carried out studies showing that in human beings suffering from baldness the erector pili muscles were weakened. (8) In other words, this muscle is essential for healthy hair.
THE PLANTARIS MUSCLE
In humans, this muscle at the front of the knee is attached to our Achilles tendon. In apes, on the other hand, it controls the toes?which is why apes” toes are prehensile. The only conclusion we can draw from this is that the human foot was not designed to pick up objects. The same applies to the palm muscle, also regarded as being one of the vestigial organs by Hurriyet Bilim.
Hurriyet Bilim is using these examples to portray an anatomical difference between human beings and apes and then interpreting that as evidence of evolution. For Hurriyet Bilim to support its case, however, not an interpretation but a scientific explanation based on empirical evidence is necessary. Clearly, evident differences alone constitute no evidential ground for evolution. If the theory of evolution is to be valid, it needs to demonstrate by which natural processes these differences came about?and this it cannot do.
To give just one example, apes” bodies are covered in fur, while there are very few hairs on the human body. An evolutionist might try to account for this by saying “We lost our fur as we evolved.” but that is only an interpretation, not evidence. The same difference can also be explained by saying, “Apes were created in one form, human beings in another.” Which of these two explanations is correct? This we can determine by looking at other criteria: the picture in the fossil record, genetic differences between living things, the effect of the mechanisms of natural selection and mutation, etc.?all of which demonstrate that evolution is false, and creation true.
THE THIRTEENTH RIB AND CLAVICLE MUSCLE
Hurriyet Bilim“s comments regarding these bones and muscles are totally speculative. Some humans possess these structures, others do not; and such small bone and muscle differences exist among the races. But significantly, none of these constitute evidence that human beings evolved from another living creature.
“THE MALE WOMB” AND “THE FEMALE SPERM DUCT”
Hurriyet Bilim suggests that in the female reproductive system, the blind tubules around the ovaries are the remnants of sperm ducts. Similarly, they claim that the male prostate gland contains an undeveloped female organ, and that these bodies belonged to organs that had become functionless during the evolutionary process. But when we examine the bodies in question, we see that they are the remains of embryonic structures that served a purpose during the development of the embryo in the mother”s womb, which purpose has now been fulfilled.
An adult human”s permanent organs are preceded by a set of structures which begin to form while in the embryo stage. With the exception of the ducts, all of these structures disappear almost entirely before the end of fetal life. Of these embryonic structures, the Wolffian duct and the Müllerian duct connect the reproductive organs to the outside world. With reproductive organs, a single tissue develops in either the male of female direction. With ducts, there are two tissues, one develops in the male direction and the other in the female direction.
On the middle of the Wolffian duct, a series of tubules called the Wolffian tubules, is developed. These tubules collectively constitute the Wolffian body. The reproductive glands develop from the Wolffian body during the fifth and sixth weeks of pregnancy. This body disappears with the development of the permanent kidneys. Degeneration of the Wolffian bodies begins in the sixth to seventh weeks, and by the beginning of the fifth month, all that remains is the ducts and a few of the tubules.
In the male, the Wolffian ducts persist and give rise to different portions in the sperm canal (epididymis, ductus deferens and ejaculatory duct). In females, the Wolffian bodies and ducts degenerate and disappear, while the Wolffian tubules leave behind two small collections of blind tubules between the ovary and the uterine tube. (9) This stage of development of the baby in the mother”s womb shows clearly that these tubules are not leftovers from a male reproductive system that has lost all function from lack of use, but the remains of an embryonic structure.
In the female, the Müllerian ducts-the second pair of ducts which develop shortly after the formation of the Wolffian ducts?, develop into oviduct, uterus, and the upper vagina. In the male, they degenerate and virtually disappear, and their remnants can be found as small sacs (hydatids of Morgagni) on the testes, and as a sac on the lower part of the prostate in the urinary tract, urethra. (10) It is therefore wrong to describe the remnant of the embryonic Müllerian body as a womb that has lost its function. To claim that these sacs are the remnant of a womb that later lost its function is to admit one”s ignorance of embryology.
THE PYRAMIDALIS MUSCLE
This muscle, Hurriyet Bilim says, is absent in 20% of modern human beings, and is thought to be a remnant from marsupial, or pouched mammals. This idea, based entirely on Darwinist preconceptions, has no scientific foundation whatsoever.
Even according to the theory of evolution, it is impossible to propose a marsupial ancestor for human beings. Marsupials comprise one of the three main mammal groups. According to evolutionary theory, they developed some 50 to 60 million years ago by splitting away from the placental group (to which human beings belong). In other words, even according to the theory of evolution itself, there is no “marsupial ancestor” from which human beings could have inherited this muscle. Not only is Hurriyet Bilim claim invalid, but internally inconsistent.
THE VOMERONASAL ORGAN
Some findings reveal that the sense of smell is actually divided into two. The first sense perceives the aromas we are all familiar with, but the second, little known and generally overlooked, detects pheromones. The structure responsible is a small piece of tissue inside the nose known as the vomeronasal organ.
Evolutionist claims are based on the fact that some animals” vomeronasal organs are much more sensitive than ours. Snakes and various reptiles use their tongues for vomeronasal scent detection, and various mammals have powerful abilities to detect scents. Evolutionists maintain that our low level of vomeronasal perception stems from “vestigialization.”
In fact, however, if we possessed greater vomeronasal sensitivity, then we could be said to have evolved very well. Creating various scenarios by making such comparisons between living things is far from scientific. Eagles have far sharper eyes than we do, but that does not mean that we evolved from eagles, or that our vision became “vestigialized” during this evolutionary process.
The fact is, every living thing has been equipped with the ideal senses it needs in its own particular environment. Sensory organs that function with exceedingly complex designs are proof of creation, not of evolution.
We have looked briefly at 18 of the organs Hurriyet Bilim has labeled as “vestigial.” Today, all of them, and other alleged vestigial ones as well, have been found to fulfill specific functions, either in their full-developed state, or else during embryological development.
It”s interesting that Hurriyet Bilim should bring up these hoary old “vestigial” chestnuts, with no anatomical or physiological foundation. The theory of evolution, devoid of supporting evidence, has eventually collapsed in the face of advances in medicine and all other related branches of science. The conclusion that modern science advances is that man is not a creature that evolved by chance. Humans and all other living things were created by God.
1 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 3rd. ed., Chapter 13: Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs.
2 S. R. Scadding, “Do “Vestigial Organs” Provide Evidence for Evolution?“, Evolutionary Theory, vol. 5, May 1981, p. 173.
3 www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/6562/evolution/designgonebad.html .
4 M.S. Leonard, 1992, “Removing third molars: a review for the general practitioner,” Journal of the American Dental Association,123(2):77-82.
5 M. Leff, 1993, “Hold on to your wisdom teeth,” Consumer reports on Health, 5(8):4-85.
6 Daily T. 1996. Third molar prophylactic extraction: A review and analysis of the literature. General Dentistry, 44(4):310-320.
7 “Evidence of Comparative Structure and Function”, http://www.ibri.org/Books/Pun_Evolution/Chapter2/2.5.htm#6 .
8 http://www.hairlosshelp.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=32&threadid=32851 .
9 Gray”s Anatomy of the Human Body, 20th edition, 2000.